Oh What a Tangled Web Obamacare Weaves!

Want to see what Obamacare really looks like? Take a gander at this dazzlingly complex chart mapping out America’s new health care system (the chart was developed by the House Joint Economic Committee).

It’s no wonder that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in March said of Obamacare, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” Well, the health care monstrosity passed and we’re left with a confusing fog of new government agencies, regulations and mandates. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The Zombie Option

Health Care: A 2,000-page government takeover of the health system was just enacted, but now congressional Democrats want even more government. The "public option" is rising from the grave.

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delighted the liberal Netroots Nation convention in Las Vegas on Saturday by telling them, "We're going to have a public option. It's a question of when," most people assumed he was talking long-term.

But 128 House Democrats have co-sponsored a bill to establish a "robust" government-operated health insurance program. Their selling point is, surrealistically, deficit reduction. (IBD)


America's New Health Care Zookeeper

American seniors take note: There's a new bureaucrat in charge of your health care. Perhaps zookeeper is a more appropriate title, as the newly appointed but never-to-be confirmed head of Obama's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) likes to refer to the U.S. health care payment system as a zoo.

If you haven't heard of Dr. Donald Berwick, that's because President Obama and his Capitol Hill Democratic colleagues don't want you to have this information. After leaving the post vacant, Obama snuck him in on Independence Day weekend with a recess appointment. A Washington Post columnist admiringly called the move "positively dictatorial." (Sally C. Pipes, IBD)


New York to spend big to kill bloodsucking guests

NEW YORK - In the city that never sleeps there is one increasingly busy nocturnal resident who New York wants to evict -- the bedbug.

The city announced plans on Wednesday to spend $500,000 raising awareness of the tiny bloodsucking mites in a bid to kill them off after bedbug complaints grew by 40 percent in the past three years.

"Everyone wants to come to New York, including bedbugs," said New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn. "But we have a message for them ... drop dead."

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has battled an outbreak at his Harlem office, along with lingerie outlet Victoria's Secret, teen clothing store Hollister and countless hotels who have lost thousands of dollars in revenue fighting the bedbug.

New York has been hard hit by bedbugs -- who like to nestle in furniture and suck the blood of humans and animals -- in part because of the high density living and the millions of tourists who visit the city each year, Quinn said.

Last year more than 33,000 people called the city's bedbug complaint line to ask for help in dealing with the mites.

Bedbugs don't carry disease, but they can be difficult and expensive to get rid of and cause "emotional, psychological and economic anguish," said Councilwoman Gale Brewer. (Reuters)


They even throw in the "climate change" chestnut: Gender-bending fish on the rise in southern Alberta

University of Calgary researchers say cocktail of chemicals skew sex ratios in river populations

Chemicals present in two rivers in southern Alberta are likely the cause of the feminization of fish say researchers at the University of Calgary who have published results of their study in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

"What is unique about our study is the huge geographical area we covered. We found that chemicals – man-made and naturally occurring – that have the potential to harm fish were present along approximately 600 km of river," says paper co-author Lee Jackson, executive director of Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, a research facility that develops and tests new approaches for treating wastewater which will be located at the City of Calgary's new Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Centre. "The situation for native fish will likely get worse as the concentration of organic contaminants will become more concentrated as a response to climate change and the increase in human and animal populations," adds Jackson. (University of Calgary)

At least they do mention that natural compounds also implicated. On the other hand we do agree that effluent treatment should constantly be upgraded and would prefer only water was discharged without all the therapeutic leftovers.


The Strange Case of Dr. Tyrone Hayes

Warning to reader: Some of the emails quoted below from Dr. Tyrone Hayes are obscene.

For years, the Natural Resources Defense Council and their trial lawyer allies have worked to persuade EPA to ignore 6,000 studies, as well as the agency’s recent determinations, to re-investigate atrazine, the herbicide that corn growers and other farmers have safely used for more than fifty years.

Exhibit A in their case is Dr. Tyrone Hayes, a University of California at Berkeley biologist, who links atrazine to endocrine disruption in amphibians. Hayes specifically asserts that atrazine interferes with the sexual development of frogs and is, therefore, a likely cause of abnormalities in humans.

The EPA, alarmed by these claims, designed and oversaw the execution of two multi-million dollars frog studies, one in Germany and one in Maryland. Neither test could replicate the results Hayes claimed to have found. U.S. EPA officials have also informed state legislators in Minnesota and Illinois that Dr. Hayes refuses to make his data available to them—although a willingness to share data is the sine qua non of any reputable scientist. A careful analysis of Dr. Hayes’s recent publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found numerous weaknesses in his methodology and misrepresentations in his cites of other studies.

Now we have evidence that Dr. Hayes is not only biased but seriously unbalanced in his attitude toward atrazine and its manufacturer, Syngenta. (Alex Avery, CGFI)


Will Science-Phobia Kill the Green Revolution?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 23:12 
Huffington Post
Jon Entine
July 23, 2010

One only has to look to the hunger crisis in Haiti to see how the debate over innovation and technology in agriculture has degenerated into a cartoon discourse.

In early May, two shipments -- 135 tons -- of hybrid varieties of corn, cabbage, carrot, eggplant, melon, onion, spinach, tomato and watermelon seeds began arriving in Haiti. It was the first installment of 60,000 seed sacks -- more than $4 million worth -- of high-yielding hybrid corn and vegetable seeds donated after months of careful negotiations with government and international agricultural experts.

To say the donations are desperately needed is an understatement. According to the UN, every year 38,000 Haitian children, one out of three, die of malnutrition, and more than half of the country's inhabitants survive on $1 per day. But to some advocacy groups in the United States and Europe, the charity was a nefarious capitalist plot.

Haitian peasant groups, with their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York and with deep ties to international NGOs, marched through Port-au-Prince, carrying "Down with GMOs and hybrid seeds" banners and threatened to burn the donated seed. It was an odd display. Genetically modified seeds are controversial but none was provided, asked for, or anticipated by the Haitian government. These were hybrid seeds, around since Gregor Mendel's time in the 1800s. There is no question that they increase yields over pollinated seeds, whether fertilizer is applied or not. What could possibly be the downside for Haitians?

Unfortunately, the world's poor are often caught in the middle of a ferocious but under-the-radar war over the future of world agriculture and the fate of the malnourished. According to the World Bank, about three-quarters of the 820 million people who live in extreme poverty depend on farming for a living. How should we as a society respond to a crisis of such malignant proportions? (Truth About Trade & Technology)


Speculators Rediscover Agricultural Commodities

With the financial crisis fading into the past, speculation on agricultural commodities markets has returned in force. Food prices are climbing once again as hedge funds rediscover the immense profits that can be made -- led by a British chocolate baron. (Spiegel)


Joints grown in body

Scientists have for the first time regrown a joint inside a body, cultivating thigh joints that were fully functioning only one month after the experiment.

The research could give hope to the almost 72,000 Australians who have joint replacements each year, many of whom run the risk of their artificial joint wearing out before the end of their life.

Researchers from the US implanted a joint-shaped scaffold into the thigh joint of 10 rabbits, and stimulated the rabbits' stem cells to regrow both the bone and cartilage around it. They used a naturally occurring protein, called a growth hormone, to direct the stem cells to the site within the body, rather than harvesting them and manipulating them outside.

The new joints had the potential to do away with metal joint replacements which had a limited lifespan and needed to be replaced within 15 years, said Patrick Warnke, professor of surgery at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

Professor Warnke, whose commentary on the article was published alongside it in the journal The Lancet, said the future of joint replacements would involve figuring out how best to grow them in the patient's own body.

"In essence, growing bodies is what all mammals are about," he said. "Human females have the capability to grow a whole new person".

He said scientists had only been able to grow very small parts of the body outside it, with the biggest being the size of a sugar cube.

Professor Warnke said it may be better for patients to grow the joints in parts of their body not needed for movement.

He said the technology could take 10 years to develop, barring any big breakthroughs. (SMH)


SPIEGEL Interview with Craig Venter: 'We Have Learned Nothing from the Genome'

In a SPIEGEL interview, genetic scientist Craig Venter discusses the 10 years he spent sequencing the human genome, why we have learned so little from it a decade on and the potential for mass production of artificial life forms that could be used to produce fuels and other resources. (Spiegel)



Senate Energy Debate is Still all About Cap-and-Trade

The American people broke the code. They know about cap-and-trade. They know it’s a huge tax hike and they don’t want it. 

A headline on Thursday screamed: “Democrats pull plug on climate bill.” Don’t believe it. It’s a diversionary tactic.

The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leadership, seeing their window for shoving the country to the hard left closing quickly, are intent on making one last major push for cap-and-trade. It starts with their “spill-response bill” or “energy bill,” but it’s really about cap-and-trade.

The irony is that the political genius of cap-and-trade was supposed to be that it hides a tax hike from the American people. 

The concept was developed largely as a response to the political price suffered by Democrats for their advocacy of outright energy taxes. As Al Gore explained: “I worked as vice-president to enact a carbon tax. Clinton indulged me against the advice of his economic team. That contributed to our losing Congress two years later to Newt Gingrich.” (Phil Kerpen, FoxNews.com)


In Wreckage of Climate Bill, Some Clues for Moving Forward

Ample blame exists for the demise of climate legislation in the U.S. Senate, from President Obama’s lack of political courage, to the environmental community’s overly ambitious strategy, to Republican intransigence. A way forward exists, however, to build on the rubble of the Senate’s failure to cap carbon emissions. (Eric Pooley, e360)


The Death Of The Global Warming Movement

The Reid energy bill abandons cap-and-trade, dooming the cause.

Future historians will pinpoint Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's energy legislation, released Tuesday, as the moment that the political movement of global warming entered an irreversible death spiral. It is kaput! Finito! Done!

This is not just my read of the situation; it is also that of Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate-turned-Democratic-apparatchik. In his latest column for The New York Times, Krugman laments that “all hope for action to limit climate change died” in 2010. Democrats had a brief window of opportunity before the politics of global warming changed forever in November to ram something through Congress. But the Reid bill chose not to do so for the excellent reason that Democrats want to avoid an even bigger beating than the one they already face at the polls. (Shikha Dalmia, Forbes)


EPA Denies Challenges To Greenhouse Gas Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday rejected 10 petitions challenging EPA's 2009 finding that climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health and the environment.

The EPA received petitions questioning the scientific basis for the so-called endangerment finding -- which cleared the way for the EPA to curb carbon dioxide emissions -- from Texas and Virginia and groups like the Ohio Coal Association.

With the U.S. Senate abandoning climate measures in the energy bill until at least September, the EPA has the authority to regulate emissions from such human activities as coal-fired power plants and fossil-fueled factories and vehicles.

"The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement. "These petitions -- based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy -- provide no evidence to undermine our determination." (Reuters)


Comment On The Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings For Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) Of The Clean Air Act”

There is a news release titled July 29, 2010 EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate Science.

It is based on

Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration of the Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act

I am going to comment here on just one of the EPA findings in the rejection. In EPA Rejects Claims of Flawed Climate Science they write

“…the IPCC report… provided a comprehensive and balanced discussion of climate science.”

The EPA, however, in contrast to what they write,  chose to ignore the conclusion of such reports, peer reviewed papers, and testimony as

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

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

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.

Pielke, R.A. Sr., 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.

as well as documentation of the deliberate successful attempt to exclude viewpoints in the CCSP and IPCC reports which differ from the EPA findings; e.g.

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

The EPA claim that

“After months of serious consideration of the petitions and of the state of climate change science EPA finds no evidence to support these claims”

is absurd.

It is almost trivial to show that the EPA is not properly considering peer reviewed research that differs from their findings.

As just one example, they write

“The global warming trend over the past 100 years is confirmed by three separate records of surface temperature, all of which are confirmed by satellite data.”

There are not three independent records of surface temperatures trends as we reported in our Pielke et al 2007, i.e.

“The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003).

They also ignored  peer reviewed research that shows a discrepancy between the surface and lower tropospheric temperature trends; i.e.

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.

This EPA Denial is yet another perpetuation of the group think that was so evident in the released CRU e-mails. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association files lawsuit to change California's global warming ballot measure

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking to rewrite the ballot description of Proposition 23, a measure voters will consider in November that would suspend California's global warming law.

Saying that state Attorney General Jerry Brown had deliberately written a misleading title and summary aimed at killing the measure, the taxpayers association asked a Sacramento County Superior Court to nullify and change it.

"Whether intentional or not, it certainly looks as though the attorney general has crafted a description intended to sway voters to vote 'no' on Prop. 23," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (Mercury News)


THES on climate bootleggers

There is a really interesting article at the Times Higher Ed Supp, discussing the coalition of big business and big green - the baptists and the bootleggers - who have joined forces to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

BP has a representative at the top of the Earth Institute. The European Commission funds offices for Friends of the Earth and the WWF. The UK government supports climate-change research. Have the poachers turned gamekeepers? Yes - although it might be more precise to say that the bootleggers have become Baptists. Everywhere, the bootleggers can be seen walking around in black, spouting biblical prophecies of doom - and growing ever richer in the process

(Bishop Hill)


NOAA to Skeptics: We’re Right, You Can’t Deny It

by Richard Morrison
29 July 2010 @ 6:03 pm

A recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has received wide media attention, has come to the conclusion that evidence for anthropogenic global warming is “undeniable.” This has, of course, been seized on by alarmists as confirming that all of their proposed solutions to future warming must therefore be undeniably correct as well. The conclusions of the report are also being used in attempts to try to bury the Climategate scandal of recent months.

Fiona Harvey of the Financial Times reported on this story (reg. req’d.) for the front page of today’s print edition and has the good sense to quote our very own Myron Ebell for a rebuttal:

Sceptics remain unconvinced. Myron Ebell, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said: “I think climategate is…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Alarmist ‘State of the Climate’ Report Draws Fire

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its new “State of the Climate 2009” report on July 28, claiming that evidence for global warming is “unmistakable” and that it’s happening because of greenhouse gases. But critics are already poking holes in the alarmist arguments as the press jumps on the story. (Alex Newman, New American)


Global Temperature And Data Distortions Continue

Recent reports claim June was the warmest on record, but it seems to fly in the face of reports of record cold from around the world. (Tim Ball, CFP)


The Left and Its Talking Points

The Journolist story demonstrates active, covert collaboration among leftists to plant political themes in the media. Long-time listeners of conservative talk radio are aware of audio montages where old-line media talking heads repeat verbatim a set of words that can't be anything other than shared talking points. A perfect example was the 2000-era Dick Cheney "gravitas" showcased by Rush Limbaugh.

It's one thing to ask how proper reporting of Obama might have changed the outcome of the election. I'll ask a bigger question: Did old-line media journalists share talking points to prop up the global warming issue? (Russell Cook, American Thinker)


Response to George Monbiot: Why 'Amazongate' matters

George Monbiot should be calling the IPCC to account for its unreferenced rainforest claims, rather than attacking its critics (Richard North, Guardian)


Is New Scientist making things up?

New Scientist has published a rather remarkable leader to go alongside its interview of Phil Jones:

For years, ruthless climate sceptics have harassed scientists, drowning them in freedom of information requests and subjecting them to vicious personal attacks. Climategate was merely the public face of this insurgent war. In that hostile climate, some scientists fired off personal emails that occasionally lacked decorum. The CRU accepts this. When will their opponents apologise for their own excesses?

It would be interesting to see whether the leader writer at New Scientist can explain from where they got the idea that CRU had drowned under FoI requests. This was not the finding of the inquiries. The Information Commissioner specifically told the Parliamentary Inquiry that the level of FoI requests was nothing out of the ordinary:

I am also bound to say that I think a figure of around 60 [requests] has been mentioned. That does not strike me as being an absolutely huge number...I do recall one example—I think it involved Birmingham City Council—where an individual made about 200 requests about a particular allotment site in Birmingham and how that was being developed.

I'd like to invite whoever it is that wrote this column to provide some backing for their claim - perhaps someone who is registered at the New Scientist website can pass the invitation on. (Bishop Hill)


Expert: Win climate change debate by easing off science

Panelist says issue must be reframed before time runs out

The battle to get Americans to accept the science behind climate change has been “lost,” an expert at the Aspen Environment Forum declared Wednesday, but there's still a way to win the war to reduce carbon emissions.

Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, said leaders on climate change need to concentrate on changing behavior in ways that appeal to people — and also happen to reduce carbon emissions.

“Climate scientists — stop talking about climate science. We lost. It's over. Forget it,” Foley told a surprised audience during a featured panel discussion on the last day of the three-day forum. (Scott Condon, Post Independent)


Is Prince Charles ill-advised, or merely idiotic?

I do wish the Prince of Wales weren’t such a terrible prat because then I wouldn’t have to say it in print and quite ruin my chances of a knighthood. But he is a prat. A dangerous prat at that — as he reminded us yet again just the other day in a speech he gave to ‘business leaders’ at St James’s Palace about what he thinks is happening with ‘climate change’.

He said: ‘It has been profoundly depressing to witness the way the so-called climate sceptics are apparently able to intimidate all sorts of people from adopting the precautionary measures necessary to avert environmental collapse. For too long we have treated the planet like a perpetual cash machine which doles out money without there ever being any need to check the bank balance. But now finally the money is running out.’

There are so many idiocies, false assumptions, inversions of the truth and malevolent yearnings in just that one paragraph that I’m not sure where to begin. The phrase ‘so-called climate sceptics’, for example. What exactly is the Prince suggesting that the rational, decent empiricists who oppose global climate change alarmism ought to be called instead? Is ‘deniers’ perhaps the word he’s straining for? Or would he prefer something a little more robust? Untermenschen, maybe. (James Delingpole, The Spectator)


Nice work if you can get it: $1.5m for climate chiefs

THE five climate change experts Julia Gillard hopes to inform public opinion on the issue will be paid an average of $300,000 a year.

Further detail on the government's heavily criticised attempt to build a community consensus on climate change have emerged in Labor's official request for costings from the Treasury. It reveals the $6 million Climate Change Commission will have five commissioners, each earning an average of $300,000, in line with the mid-point of pay guidelines set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

The commission, which the government expects to start in October and last four years, is intended to be an independent source of information and expert advice to explain the science of climate change and report on international action. (The Age)


Our Climate: the ultimate AGW Apple app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

A very large fraction of the respectable names of the climate science that you know - Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Fred Singer, Henrik Svensmark, Willie Soon, Will Happer, Bob Carter, Craig Idso, Paul Reiter but also folks such as Lord Christopher Monckton, Joanne Nova, Anthony Watts, or your humble correspondent, among many and many others - have helped Aeris Systems - a truly professional and well-educated firm - to build the state-of-the-art application that explains and studies the science of climate change.

Click the tree logo at the very top to get to the Apple home page of the app or remember the ourclimate.info URL (old). AppShopper has a page, too. To actually buy the app, you need an Apple ID. When you have it, run your iTunes, search for Our Climate in the right upper corner, filter by apps, and you will see the tree logo once again.

... (click to open app page directly in iTunes)
The result is a fantastic application sold for USD 0.99 (or EUR 0.79) whose real value is hundreds of dollars.

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


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, July 29 2010

A game show host challenges Al Gore to live the green life, the Governator seems rudderless in defense of his climate bill and global warming causes Mexicans, or something. (Daily Bayonet)


This is on UHIE: More Frequent, More Intense Heat Waves in Store for New York

Heat waves like those that baked the Northeast in July are likely to be more frequent and more intense in the future, with their effects amplified in densely built urban environments like Manhattan, according to climate scientists at The City College of New York (CCNY).


Running this again because it seems to surprise a few: UI researcher finds black carbon implicated in global warming

Increasing the ratio of black carbon to sulfate in the atmosphere increases climate warming, suggests a study conducted by a University of Iowa professor and his colleagues and published in the July 25 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. (University of Iowa News Release)

Funny thing is that AGW proponents still object to the idea of supporting cheap coal-fired electricity in southern Asia even though that will reduce the Asian Brown Cloud, "global warming" and Himalayan glacial melt allegedly of such concern. Go figure...


Signs of reversal of Arctic cooling in some areas

New data indicate rapid temperature rise in the coldest region of mainland Europe

Moscow/Stuttgart/ Halle(Saale). Parts of the Arctic have cooled clearly over the past century, but temperatures have been rising steeply since 1990 also there. This is the finding of a summer temperature reconstruction for the past 400 years produced on the base of tree rings from regions beyond the Arctic Circle. German and Russian researchers analysed tree growth using ring width of pine from Russia's Kola Peninsula and compared their findings with similar studies from other parts of the Arctic. For the past 400 years since AD 1600, the reconstructed summer temperature on Kola in the months of July and August has varied between 10.4°C (1709) and 14.7°C (1957), with a mean of 12.2°C. Afterwards, after a cooling phase, a ongoing warming can be observed from 1990 onwards. Researchers from the Institute of Geography in Moscow, Hohenheim University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) report in journal Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research: "The data indicate that solar activity may have been one of the major driving factors of summer temperatures, but this has been overlaid by other factors since 1990". (Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres)


Recent News from Antarctica

We have featured Antarctica many times in our essay series, and despite a million claims that “the icecaps are melting,” we continue to find no end of articles in major journals building a case for the opposite. Here we examine some recent research, and find evidence for decreased melting and, at least local, mass gains. (WCR)


First Results from THE BOX: Investigating the Effects of Infrared Sky Radiation on Air Temperature

(UPDATED: 3:10 p.m. July 29, 2010 with temperature difference plot)

As promised, here are the first results from my little backyard experiment to investigate the role of downwelling infrared (IR) sky radiation on air temperature. (High school students looking for a science experiment, pay attention).

It’s a heavily insulated box that — theoretically — should chill air at night to a temperature below that of the outside air. The following is a conceptual design of The Box before I built it, along with the key components:

This all came about because I got tired of being asked about the theory behind global warming, specifically, how can downwelling infrared sky radiation from greenhouse gases (mostly water vapor, to a lesser extent CO2) cause global warming of the Earth surface, when the emitting temperature of the sky is colder than the surface?

Some people are convinced that this cannot happen, since the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says energy naturally flows from higher temperature to lower temperature. In contrast, the mainstream science community, while agreeing the NET energy flow is from warm to cold, you can still cause warming by adding more greenhouse gas to the colder atmosphere. This happens even though the IR emitting temperature of the sky “causing” that warming is 10’s of degrees colder than the surface.

[NOTE: the direct warming effect of more atmospheric CO2 is small; its the resulting indirect warming (positive feedbacks) from clouds and water vapor that has most scientists worried. But not me...I think the net feedbacks are negative.]

The Box

So, since I have two automated weather stations in my backyard, I decided to build a heavily insulated box that would contain a small amount of air, and try to reduce all the other kinds of energy exchange between that air sample and the environment to a minimum EXCEPT for the influence of the downwelling sky radiation.

The air sample and the sky would be allowed to exchange IR radiation, and the colder the infrared emitting temperature of the sky is, the colder the air in the box should become compared to the air outside of the box. More about that later.

While we might not put the debate to rest with such an experiment, we can build some intuition about the energy flows that cause day and night air temperatures to be what they are. Of course, one could simply buy a hand-held infrared radiometer and take the sky’s “temperature” directly. But since everyone (myself included) has at least some trouble conceptualizing the role of infrared radiation in weather and climate (after all, we can’t see IR radiation), I thought that letting the IR effect be measured through its influence on temperature would make a bigger impact.

So, here’s a picture of the real thing that I took this morning, after collecting data since about noon yesterday:

The wireless data processor for the cavity temperature data is the little unit on the top. It sends a new temperature measurement every 5 minutes to my desktop computer in the house.

Here’s a close-up of the cavity. There is an insulating layer of air trapped between the two thin sheets of polyethylene, which are nearly transparent to infrared energy. The temperature sensor itself can be seen below that, in the cavity, the walls of which are painted with high emissivity paint (Krylon 1502 Flat White, IR emissivity = 0.99; Note that in the infrared, black is not necessarily more emissive than white…it depends on what the paint is made of, and whether the surface is rough or smooth).

Meanwhile, my regular weather station is about 20 feet away, and it is collecting air temperature and dewpoint data on the same schedule as The Box cavity temperatures are taken:

First Data from The Box
The first 17 hours of data, from midday yesterday until 8:05 a.m. this morning, are plotted below:

When I first closed up the box with the thermometer placed in the cavity, I was surprised how hot the cavity became. The maximum temperature recorded yesterday afternoon was 158 deg. F, and that must have been the limit for the sensor, because the temperature then flatlined for about an hour.

The reason for the high temperature was some direct sunlight reflecting off of one wall of the airspace, above the cavity. Even though the cavity was painted white, it still absorbed enough energy to make the air very hot. From what I have been able to gather, it is very difficult to get the solar reflectance of white paint above about 0.9.

It is interesting to calculate what rate of energy input would be required to cause this rapid rate of warming, which was about 3 deg. F per minute. If the cavity is initially in energy equilibrium, and we start reflecting 20 Watts per sq. meter more onto the cavity walls, about 10% of that (2 Watts per sq. meter) would be heating the paint, and so the air in the cavity.

According to my calculations, that would be more than enough to explain the initial rapid rise of temperature in the cavity on its way to 158+ deg. F. My calculations are only approximate, though, since I did not take into account the heat capacity of the cavity walls (painted aluminum foil), or the increased loss of IR as the cavity warmed, or conductive losses to the styrofoam and air space above the cavity.

But what we are really interested in is what happens when the overwhelming influence of solar radiation subsides. In the above plot, look at what happens as sunset approaches. Despite diffuse solar radiation still entering The Box from the blue sky, the cavity air cools to a couple of degrees below the ambient air temperature by sunset. Then, during the night, the cavity air averages about 4 deg. F colder than the outside air. This is easier to see in the next plot of the temperature difference between the cavity and the outside air, which we see remains pretty constant during the night:

To see how even a little diffuse sunlight from the sky can cause warming of the cavity, note what happened just after sunrise this morning…even though our yard does not see direct sunlight till close to 11 a.m. (very tall trees in the way), the blue sky started warming the cavity almost immediately after sunrise.

Then, after a short while, I put a white cover from a plastic cooler over the cavity to minimize the daytime heating of the cavity. At the end of the data plot you can see this solar cover caused the cavity to cool back down to the same temperature as the ambient air.

So, we already can see the cooling effect of infrared radiation in the data…in the form of cavity temperatures colder than the air. This happens from just before sunset, until sunrise — the period when there is little or no sunlight, either direct, or diffuse from the sky. But what, exactly, is the reason for this chilling effect?

Why Was the Cavity Colder than the Outside Air Temperature?
The temperature of virtually anything is the result of a balance between (1) energy gained and (2) energy lost. As long as the energy gained exceeds that lost, the temperature will rise. This was clearly seen when I closed up The Box, and the rate of sunlight absorption in the cavity exceeded the rate of energy lost by infrared emission (and any — hopefully small — conductive losses). The temperature skyrocketed.

But once the rate of energy loss exceeds that gained, then the temperature will fall, as was seen when The Box entered the shade. Then, then rate of IR energy lost (which increases rapidly with temperature) exceeded that gained from diffuse solar radiation, and the cavity temperature fell.

So, at night when there is no solar energy available, what is to prevent the cavity from getting very cold? Outer space is supposed to emit near absolute zero, 3 K. The Box’s cavity enters the hours of darkness at something like 300 K temperature. At 300 K, and assuming an IR emissivity of 0.99, the cavity is emitting IR at a rate of just over 400 Watts per sq. meter. Assuming the box is very well insulated, and is not leaking air, what is to prevent the cavity temperature from dropping well below freezing (273 K)?

The answer is downwelling IR from the sky. During the day in the summer, the broadband infrared sky temperatures viewed from the ground generally runs about 10 – 20 deg. F cooler than the near-surface air temperatures. This source of energy must exist, because without it the temperature of a cavity in a well insulated box at night would plunge even faster than we saw it heat up when exposed to indirect sunlight. And that rapid rate of temperature rise was due to only about 2 Watts per sq. meter! Imagine what in imbalance of 400 Watts per sq. meter would do.

Instead, the sky emits at only a slightly lower temperature than the surface, so the cavity cools only a little at night: about 4 deg. F cooling out of a “potential cooling” of 15 deg. F, assuming the IR emissivity of the cavity is 1.0.

By the way, I calculate that, if the cavity emissivity was only 0.90 rather than the advertised 0.99 (we really don’t know), we could explain the entire 4 deg. F drop based upon the cavity coming to a radiating temperature equal to that of the sky.

Presumably, once drier air arrives here in Alabama in another couple months, I should see larger temperature falls in the cavity, since water vapor is the Earth’s main greenhouse gas. In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions regarding simple ways to make The Box more efficient at rejecting all sources of energy except downwelling infrared radiation from the sky.

…a radiation source which some say, does not exist. ;) (Roy W. Spencer)


Exclude fuel from carbon scheme: Caltex

Oil refiner and marketer Caltex Australia Ltd says motorists should be excluded from any proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme because it would be ineffective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Caltex chief executive Julian Segal said a price on carbon would have little effect on fuel consumption, with a long-term reduction of only two per cent.

"As a result, Caltex proposes motorists and light commercial vehicles should not be included in any emission trading scheme."

Mr Segal also called for greater support through tax concessions and grants to establish a first generation biofuels market in Australia. (AAP)

Here's a better idea: forget about carbon altogether.


BP Shrinks by $16 Billion

BP Shrinks by 16 Billion

Ed. note: This piece first appeared on Energy Outlook, Geoffrey Styles’ blog.

I've been going though BP's second-quarter earnings press release and results to get a better sense of the impact of the Gulf Coast oil spill on the company's finances. It's a measure of the scale of a "Supermajor" like BP and the robustness of its underlying cash flows that it could continue to invest more than $6 billion (B) in capital projects and acquisitions in the quarter and even pay down a bit of debt, while recording a charge of $32.2 B against earnings related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and ensuing oil leak. To put that figure in perspective, it's more than the market capitalization of Exelon Corporation, the largest owner and operator of nuclear power plants in the US. Yet among all of the remarkable and morbidly-fascinating numbers presented here, the one that stood out for me was the net decrease of shareholder equity by $16 B since the end of 2009. Anyone seeking to explain the decision of BP's board to change CEOs should start there. (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)


Ethanol Opponents Launch Counterattack

For months, the corn ethanol industry has been pushing the Obama administration for permission to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended into the US gasoline supply. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)


Energy Subsidies — Good and Bad

Congress must soon decide whether to extend federal tax subsidies for renewable energy that expire at the end of the year. The subsidies for wind, solar and geothermal energy are necessary to give these energy sources the help they need to compete with oil, coal and natural gas. While it renews those subsidies, Congress should end tax breaks for corn ethanol, which can stand on its own and is of dubious environmental benefit. (NYT)

At least we agree about ethanol. I'd junk the wind and solar subsidies for sure and I'm none to enthusiastic about any other taxpayer teats either.


New Mexico: Raising Rates for Bad Energy in a Poor State

by Marita Noon
July 29, 2010

New Mexico has enjoyed some of the lowest energy prices in the country—which is good as it is a poor state. However, the major supplier of electricity to the state, PNM, has just asked for a 21.2% rate increase on top of the 24% they’ve received over the last few years. Welcome to the new world of government-forced renewable energy–and one reason why Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently said he didn’t have the votes for a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The anticipated rate shock gets worse for New Mexicans: a nearly 50% rate hike in five years. While PNM claims New Mexico still has some of the lowest rates in the country, the citizens are not taking the preventable increase lying down. David King, chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), for example, calls the rate increase a “hot potato” saying that he’s received “a flood of calls from ratepayers.”

Public Outcry

During the month of July, PNM has been holding Public Forums through out their service area regarding their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The flyer promoting the event invited the “public” to join in on the discussion on topics such as “To what degree are consumers willing to pay more for a different combination of power sources?” The news about the proposed rate increase came out at the same time as the forums were scheduled. While PNM had a set program they’d planned to deliver, the attendees had little interest in the PNM’s dog-and-pony show. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Analysis: BP Spill Seeps Into Norway's Arctic Drilling Debate

Norway's decades-old political consensus on offshore drilling is under attack in the wake of the BP oil spill, just as it covets new riches in the Arctic.

The powerful oil industry says it needs to tap resources off the Arctic archipelagoes of Lofoten and Vesteraalen and in a huge, recently demarcated Barents Sea border region with Russia to continue Norway's oil boom amid dwindling North Sea output.

But, emboldened by the Gulf of Mexico well blowout, Norwegian environmentalists seek to grab the upper hand in a battle they feel they have long been loosing.

So far Oslo's energy policy has not been affected much by the spill, but the drilling lobby is nervous. (Reuters)


Engineers race to design world's biggest offshore wind turbines

British, American and Norwegian engineers are in a race to design and build the holy grail of wind turbines – giant, 10MW offshore machines twice the size and power of anything seen before – that could transform the global energy market because of their economies of scale. (ERW)


We need to talk about wind farms… 

“Energy prices may rise by a third,” says our disastrous secretary of state of energy and climate change Chris Huhne. Rubbish. They’re going to rise by a hell of a lot more than that before he is finished. Alternative energy, let us never forget, is just that: an alternative to energy. Wind power and solar power are so risibly inefficient that the only way they can ever be economically viable is with lashings and lashings of taxpayer subsidy. Nuclear power would be much more effective but Huhne has effectively ruled it out. Why? Because in Huhne’s bizarre Weltanschauung, it’s OK for the taxpayer to subsidise low-carbon energy that doesn’t work (wind, solar) but not low-carbon energy that does work (nuclear). (James Delingpole)



JournoList Has Proved News Is Anything But

Tucker Carlson's Web site, the Daily Caller, has unearthed a treasure trove of liberal journalists talking (nastily) to themselves in a private e-mail list about how they should use their media power to remake the world in their image.

The funniest thing about this expose of JournoList was witnessing journalists say it was unfair to leak these e-mails when reporters had an "expectation of privacy." More than 90,000 pages of secret documents on Afghanistan have been leaked and journalists are tripping over one another in a mad stampede to cover the story. Everyone should laugh heartily at leak-devouring journalists getting a fistful of their own bitter pills.

The saddest thing about all this is the confirmation (as if it were necessary) that liberal journalists really aren't journalists first. They're political strategists. (L. Brent Bozell III, IBD)


CBO's Grim Diagnosis: Enemy Is Us

Debt: In the long debate over financial reform, proponents repeatedly argued that an overhaul was needed to "prevent the next financial crisis." Who'd have thought the real threat for another crisis was government itself?

That stunning assessment comes not from a think tank or political group, but the government itself. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, whose job it is to make reasonable projections about the economy and budget, now says it's not the financial sector that's putting us at serious risk — it's government's almost insatiable desire to spend ever larger sums of money. (IBD)


Judicial Abuse Hits Health Care--Again

While it's hardly the only cause of out-of-control health care costs, absurd legal judgments are right up there, along with pointless layers of administrative bureaucracy. You've probably read articles by plaintiff's lawyers suggesting that this was a myth.

It's no myth. I grant you that if one considers only the value of the judgments themselves (as all the apologists do), the factor is not terribly large. But, that is a foolish and misleading analysis.

The real cost derives from the countless extra tests ordered on virtually every single patient, done solely to protect against future litigation. A hidden cost—and one that no doubt inflicts harm on many patients—is the tendency toward conventional therapies, as the risks inherent of trying something innovative are more legal than medical.

My latest HND piece describes an incandescently preposterous judgment in California, against a well-regarded nursing home operator, in which absolutely no patient harm was even alleged. The stars were definitely aligned for the ambulance chasers in this one.

A clueless jury, led by a more clueless judge put the worst possible bias on every aspect of the proceedings. And there was also a grotesquely inflated class, likely comprised of a majority of members who had no problem with Skilled Healthcare, and didn't even know that they were included.

Read the piece, and weep for the future of health care. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Breaths found unnecessary in bystander CPR

BOSTON, July 28 - When someone collapses suddenly, mouth-to-mouth rescue may not be necessary and could lower the chances of survival, researchers said in two studies on Wednesday that found chest compression alone is enough.

The findings add to evidence that the simpler approach works best during cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.

"Chest compression alone is at least as good, at least as beneficial," Dr. Thomas Rea, medical program director for King County Emergency Medical Services in Washington, said in a telephone interview.

The findings come at a time when less emphasis is being placed on mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, which people often regard as unsanitary anyway, and more emphasis is focusing on properly pressing on the chest at a rate of 100 times a minute -- coincidentally, about the same pace as the Bee Gees 1977 disco hit "Stayin' Alive."

"Overall, this study lends further support to the hypothesis that compression-only CPR, which is easier to learn and perform, should be considered the preferred method for CPR performed by bystanders in patients with cardiac arrest," Leif Svensson of the Stockholm Prehospital Center in Sweden and colleagues wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Reuters)


Health group sues FDA over antimicrobial soap

SAN FRANCISCO - A nonprofit environmental group has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, claiming the agency failed to regulate toxic chemicals found in "antimicrobial" soap and other personal care products.

The National Resources Defense Council alleges that two common ingredients, triclosan and triclocarban, can damage reproductive organs, sperm quality and the production of thyroid and sex hormones. It also names U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant. (Reuters)


Mom's pregnancy diet not tied to wheezing risk

NEW YORK - A woman's overall diet during pregnancy may not be related to her child's risk of developing wheezing problems by preschool age, a new study suggests.

Wheezing refers to a high-pitched whistling sound, most obvious while exhaling, that is usually caused by blockages in the small breathing tubes in the chest.

Occasional wheezing is common in infancy and early childhood, and is often related to viral infections. But young children with recurrent wheezing episodes are more likely than other children to develop asthma, particularly if they have risk factors such as family history of allergies and asthma.

Several studies have found connections between a pregnant woman's intake of specific foods or nutrients and her child's risk of developing recurrent wheezing or asthma.

Women who eat more fish, apples, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and E, for example, seem to have relatively lower risks of the breathing problems. However, those studies do not prove that the foods and nutrients themselves bring the benefit.

One of the questions has been whether women who consume more of those foods simply have a healthier diet overall, and it's the overall diet pattern that matters. (Reuters Health)


Obesity 'epidemic' in pregnant women

Obesity among pregnant women has reached epidemic levels, according to health experts, who are warning women not to "eat for two".

About half of women of childbearing age in England are either overweight or obese and about 16 percent of women are obese at the start of pregnancy, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of serious complications like pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes and the likelihood of miscarriage or stillbirth. (AFP)


Doctors should tell people they are fat, not obese, minister says

Anne Milton says word fat more likely to motivate people into shedding pounds, adding it was important they took 'personal responsibility' for lifestyles (Guardian)


Obesity trend means more people are using canes and walkers

The rising rate of obesity means more people are using mobility devices, such as canes and grab bars, and at younger ages than ever before, according to a study released Wednesday by researchers at Purdue University.

Mobility devices have, traditionally, been used by frail elderly people or individuals recovering from an illness or injury. In those cases, people usually receive some instruction on how to use the devices. But more people appear to be using mobility devices in order to cope with obesity. Those individuals may not receive instructions and run the risk of using the devices incorrectly, the authors said. (LA Times)


Low Social Interaction Harms Lifespan on a Par with Obesity, Smoking, Inactivity

A new study from the US suggests that social interaction should be considered an important factor for extending lifespan, on a par with other health and lifestyle factors, to the extent that low social interaction harms longevity as much as alcoholism and smoking, has more impact than lack of exercise, and is twice as harmful as obesity.

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, conducted a meta-analysis of published studies and found that having social ties with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues can improve our odds of survival by 50 per cent. You can read about their study online in a paper published in the July issue of PLoS Medicine. (Medical News Today)


Do multivitamins improve student performance?

NEW YORK - Despite its well-known health benefits, a daily multivitamin may not help students ace exams or even make it to school on time, suggests a new study of New Jersey elementary school kids.

The finding counters previous research that reported improved academic performance and behavior with supplements use, particularly for underserved children at risk of a poor diet. (Reuters Health)


Study suggests swimmers at sub-tropical beaches show increased risk of illness

Univ. of Miami oceans and human health study uncovers potential health issues for beachgoers; health tips for bathers

MIAMI – July 28, 2010 – A yearlong beach study led by a team of University of Miami researchers suggests that swimmers at sub-tropical beaches face an increased risk of illness. The multi-disciplinary team examined the risk of illness that beachgoers face when exposed to recreational marine water at sub-tropical beaches with no known source of pollution or contamination. (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)

Don't look now but I think they've discovered pathogens live in sea water.


The fungus among us: A new way of decomposing BPA-containing plastic

Just as cooking helps people digest food, pretreating polycarbonate plastic — source of a huge environmental headache because of its bisphenol A (BPA) content — may be the key to disposing of the waste in an eco-friendly way, scientists have found. Their new study is in ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal. (ACS)

Actually BPA is not an environmental headache at all, it's just an enviro bellyache but never mind...


Tall men and fat women 'most likely to get bitten by midges'

Tall men and overweight women are most likely to get bitten by midges, new research has found.

The findings represent the first time that researchers have found a relationship between body size and a person's attractiveness to midges.

Scientists claim midge flight patterns could account for the insects attacking taller men first as most midges fly at a height of around two metres from the ground.

And they said that larger women give out greater amounts of heat, moisture and chemicals that attract midges.

Scientists from Aberdeen University and the Rothamsted Research Institute in Hertfordshire conducted a survey of more than 300 people in Scotland.

Dr Jenny Mordue, one of the researchers, told the BBC that tall men are bitten "significantly more than smaller men".

"Size does matter. We think that relates to the midge biology because midges like to rest in trees when they’re not flying.

“They also like to fly at around two metres height so we think that tall men are just the first hosts they come across.” (TDT)


China trains fur farm foxes to combat rat plague

BEIJING - Authorities in China's far west have bred and trained "an army" of silver foxes bought from a fur farm to fight a plague of rats threatening a huge expanse of grasslands, state media said on Wednesday.

The Xinjiang government bought 20 foxes in 2004 and they have since increased to 284 and been released into the wild, the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Foxes are excellent natural predators of the rodent. One fox can catch about 20 rats per day. There has been a decline in the rat population in several counties where the measure has been adopted," it quoted official Ni Yifei as saying.

Rat numbers have exploded due to unusually dry conditions and threaten more than 5.5 million hectares of grasslands, the report said. (Reuters)


Next Crisis: Water Consumption

Climate journalism is like being at a third-world bazaar where the media behave like merchants all shouting, pitching their catastrophe stories. (P Gosselin, No tricks Zone)


U.N. assembly asserts water rights, some disagree

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. General Assembly asserted a global right to water and sanitation in a resolution on Wednesday, but more than 40 countries abstained, saying no such right yet existed in international law.

Some 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water, more than 2.6 million have no basic sanitation and around 1.5 million children under age 5 die each year from water- and sanitation-linked diseases, sponsors of the resolution said.

The non-binding measure, presented to the assembly by Bolivia, said the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation was "a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights."

And in a clause that appeared to put the onus of rectifying the situation on rich countries, it called on states and international organizations to "scale up efforts" to provide drinking water and sanitation for all.

The resolution passed with 122 votes in favor, none against and 41 abstentions. The abstainers were mainly developed countries, although European Union members Germany and Spain voted for the measure.

Abstaining countries argued that an independent expert, Portuguese lawyer Catarina de Albuquerque, was due to report to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council next year on countries' obligations related to water and sanitation.

They accused sponsors of the resolution of seeking to preempt her findings. (Reuters)


Free-Range Versus Caged Animals: Each Has Problems

Do you prefer eggs from free-range hens over those from caged hens? If so, here’s some upsetting news. (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)



Cap-and-Trade Cronyism

Don't believe the headlines. Cap-and-trade is not dead. It's too important to fail. Why? Because well-heeled Democrat cronies are expecting an opportunity to score big bucks via the trading of carbon dioxide. (Brian Sussman, Human Events)


Eye-roller: Obama must take a lead on climate change – and soon

The US leader must lay out a comprehensive and costed plan to the American people showing how he will move beyond oil

All signs suggest that the planet is still hurtling headlong toward climatic disaster. The US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its "State of the Climate Report" covering January-May. The first five months of this year were the warmest since records began in 1880. May was the warmest month ever. Intense heat waves are currently hitting many parts of the world, yet still we fail to act. (Jeffrey Sachs, Guardian)


Developing Nations See Cancun Climate Deal Tough

Reaching a binding climate deal at the upcoming U.N. conference in Mexico will likely be difficult, delegates from a group of developing nations said on Monday, spurring further doubts about a global climate accord this year.

Environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- known as the BASIC group -- meeting in Rio de Janeiro said developed nations have not done enough to cut their own emissions or help poor countries reduce theirs.

Delays by the United States and Australia in implementing schemes to cut carbon emissions has added to gloomy sentiment about possible results from the Cancun meeting.

"If by the time we get to Cancun (U.S. senators) still have not completed the legislation then clearly we will get less than a legally binding outcome," said Buyelwa Sonjica, South Africa's Water and Environment Affairs minister. (Reuters)


Why Cap-and-Trade Is Politically Failing: Cost, Cost, Cost (The Chamberlin study and his response to Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
July 28, 2010

[Editor note: The summary and analysis below is reprinted with the permission of the Institute for Energy Research. The sections past the summary are authored by Dr. Andrew Chamberlin. Cap-and-trade remains alive unless the U.S. Senate fails to pass legislation to go to conference with HR 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.)

To better understand the broad consequences of the proposed Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act on the U.S. economy, the Institute for Energy Research commissioned Chamberlain Economics, L.L.C to perform an economic and distributional analysis of cap-and-trade portion of the proposal.

The report examines the impacts that the American Power Act would have on the U.S. economy, the method by which emission allowances are distributed to corporations and the distributional cost of the bill on households by income, age group, region and family type.

The study’s key findings of the American Power Act follow:

  •   U.S. employment would be reduced by roughly 522,000 in 2015, rising to over 5.1 million jobs by 2050.
  • Households would face a gross annual burden of $125.9 billion per year or $1,042 per household, with costs disproportionately borne by low-income households.
  • On a net basis, the top income quintile will benefit financially, redistributing to these households roughly $12.3 billion per year from the bottom 80 percent of earners.
  • Households over age 75 bear the largest burden at 2.3 percent of income, followed by households aged 65-74 and under age 25 at 2.1 percent. By contrast, the nation’s highest-earning households between age 45 and 54 years would bear the smallest percentage burden of just 1.5 percent.
  • Contrary to the legislation’s stated goal of reducing price volatility by excluding petroleum refiners from quarterly auctions, the Kerry-Lieberman bill is likely to significantly increase allowance price volatility from quarter to quarter, compared to an ordinary auction in which all covered industries bid for allowances.

The authors also explored two specific propositions: the first, the potential for shareholders, and not consumers, to benefit from the distribution of free emission allowances; and, second, the expected consequences of the bill’s creation of a separate pool of allowances for petroleum refiners, thus adding to the price volatility of those allowances.  Both conclusions are contrary to Kerry and Lieberman’s stated intent of the legislation. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Krugman's 'Fraud'

Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman delivers the good news that 2010 is "the year in which all hope of action to limit climate change died." Needless to say, he thinks this is bad news, but that's not why we're highlighting his column in yesterday's New York Times. Instead, it is for this passage:

"You've probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers--allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of "Climategate," and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media."

Now, it would be one thing for Krugman to argue--wrongly, in our opinion--that the "supposedly damning e-mail messages of 'Climategate' " were not actually damning. But no one has denied that they are genuine. Krugman's description of them--and every other accusation "leveled against climate researchers"--as "a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action" is flatly false.

Wall Street Journal (GWPF)


Daily Kos Editor Says Skeptics Should Commit Suicide

A Daily Kos contributing editor has suggested that “Steve Milloy and his buddies” commit suicide or be euthanized apparently for the crime of opposing global warming alarmism.

Amid a rant on his Examiner.com blog about skeptics “carpet-bomb[ing] newspaper editorial pages with climate change disinformation…], Steven Alexander, who writes for Daily Kos under the nom-de-plume “Darksyde,” wrote that,

… if only Milloy and his buddies could check into one of the [Soylent Corporation's] lovely medical suites for a short nature movie and a glass of wine…

The reference is to the assisted suicide scene in the 1973 movie Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston.

The Clarity Digital Group, which owns Examiner.com, removed the offensive posting immediately upon notification.

Former Washington Post reporter David Weigel was recently fired from the paper for privately writing on the Journolist listserv that Matt Drudge should “… set himself on fire.”

Now Alexander has publicly wished a similar fate for climate skeptics.

If you wonder why the skeptics fight so vigorously against the greenshirts, the sort of intolerance exhibited by Alexander over a mere difference in opinion is one reason. God help us all, if they prevail. (Green Hell)


"Good Gaia Day"

(Steve Woodman, Quadrant)


Environmental lessons from the late Stephen Schneider

Stephen H. Schneider, hailed as the “Carl Sagan of climate science,” and who served on the international panel that won the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore, has passed away at 65. He should be remembered as much more than a global warming alarmist. In fact, he was once a global cooling alarmist. (K. Lloyd Billingsley, Daily Caller)


Nasa: "Hide This After Jim Checks It"

Written by Steve McIntyre

The word “hide” has obviously attracted a lot of attention lately – “hide the decline” even occasioning its own song.

Today I’d like to discuss the following remarkable instructions by a NASA employee in the recently disclosed NASA emails (available at Judicial Watch): Robert please move to the CU site and hide this after Jim checks it. Darnell please send it out to Jim’s email list. Jim said if I don’t want to you should do…

What is that they are planning to “hide”? And why would they be “hiding” it in the first place? And why would Hansen think that one of his employees wouldn’t “want” to send something out to Jim’s email list?

Read more... (SPPI)


Sigh... Met Office report: global warming evidence is 'unmistakable'

A new climate change report from the Met Office and its US equivalent has provided the "greatest evidence we have ever had" that the world is warming. (TDT)

Another "Well duh!" moment. As so many have already pointed out, yes, the world has warmed since it was colder and we are mostly pretty happy about (unless you happen to hate life, then it's not so good). The why is not yet understood but carbon scammers are hoping you'll fall for the claim carbon-dense energy is a hazard. It's all so tedious.


Dubious claim of the day: Scientists warn of global warming threat to marine food chain

Numbers of phytoplankton - the microscopic organisms that sustain the marine food chain - are plummeting as sea surface temperatures rise (Guardian)

Let's see, warming temperatures are blamed for increasing turbidity, which is bad, apparently but now we have warming blamed for reducing turbidity, which is... bad, apparently. Stupid game, isn't it?

Wonder if all these people claiming loss of phytoplankton due to warming ever give a thought to the past when seas were warm and turgid and life boomed?


Marine Life Survived 8X Current CO2 Levels

Throughout Earth’s history, there is evidence of large carbon dioxide releases, greenhouse conditions, ocean acidification, and major changes in marine life. About 120 million years ago (mya), during the early part of the Cretaceous period, a series of massive volcanic eruptions pumped huge amounts of carbon dioxide into Earth's atmosphere. During the Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event, atmospheric CO2 content rose to about twice today's level. Eventually, the oceans absorbed much of that CO2, which significantly increased the water's acidity. The change reduced the amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the water, making it difficult for creatures such as some kinds of plankton to form shells. But the plankton did not die out. In fact, the geological record indicates that ocean biota can adapt to CO2 concentrations as high as 2000 to 3000 ppm—five to eight times current levels.

Proxy evidence indicates that atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher during long warm intervals in the geologic past, and that these conditions did not prevent the precipitation and accumulation CaCO3 as limestone. The accumulation of alkalinity from rock weathering, brought to the ocean by rivers, kept surface waters supersaturated. But these were gradual changes that lasted for extended periods of time, not perturbations. More rapid additions of CO2 during extreme events in Earth history include the end-permian mass extinction (251 mya), the Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (OAE1a, 120 mya), and the paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56 mya).

A team of paleontologists and geochemists have investigated how the high acidity affected the ancient marine ecosystem. Elisabetta Erba, Cinzia Bottini, Helmut J. Weissert, and Christina E. Keller examined fossils from ancient ocean sediments at two drill sites. One site is a now-above-ground formation in northern Italy, while the other lies in deep water in the mid-Pacific Ocean. “The Pacific Ocean was the only big ocean at that time,” Erba says. What they found is contained in a new paper, “Calcareous Nannoplankton Response to Surface-Water Acidification Around Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a,” in the July 23, 2010, issue of Science.

Descendants of ancient calcareous nannoplankton.

In particular, Erba et al. studied the numbers and condition of fossilized specimens of calcareous nannoplankton, the microscopic ancestors of modern plankton. The creatures' shells consist mostly of CaCO3 and therefore could reveal their overall health and the state of the ocean's chemistry. What they found was a bit of a surprise, to say the least:

Reconstructed rates of originations and extinctions at the onset of PETM indicate modest effects of ocean acidification on evolutionary trends. It has also been suggested that a major nannoplankton turnover occurred during OAE1a. However, our data demonstrate that rising pCO2 and surface-ocean acidification during OAE1a triggered false extinctions (a so-called Lazarus effect) among calcareous nannoplankton. Conversely, a major origination episode starts approximately 1 My before global anoxia and persists through OAE1a and associated acidification. Increasing pCO2 triggered coccolith malformation and solicited production of r-strategist taxa, which secreted dwarf coccoliths as a strategy to overcome acidification.

In plainer terms, as ocean acidity increased the skeletons of some species became malformed, other species shrank in size, and others died out altogether. More importantly, most nannoplankton seemed to adapt to acidification. The finding of dwarfism among marine species is also an interesting discovery.

It has long been known from the fossil record that various species of land animals shrank in size during the PETM. For animals this makes thermodynamic sense—the ratio of surface area to volume is higher for small animals than for large ones. This means a small animal can shed excess heat more readily than a large animal. For the marine creatures, the size change is seen as a response to dropping oxygen and carbonate levels.

“Although the negative carbon isotopic event (CIE) at the beginning of global anoxia (~120 Ma) coincides with the drop in carbonate content, there was an increase in relative abundance of Biscutum constans, Zeugrhabdotus erectus, and Discorhabdus rotatorius, represented by dwarfed specimens,” reports the study. Species-specific size variation was observed at both sites, with the most dramtic reduction registered by B. constans, a volume/mass reduction of 50 to 60% for individual coccoliths. Specimins of Z. erectus diminished to a lesser extent, between 30 to 40%, while D. rotatorius displayed the least reduction, only between 5 to 10%. The details are shown in the figure below.

Comparitive average coccolith size.

The authors, at the end of their paper, noted some of the differences between the OAE1a and the PETM. In particular, they comment on the more rapid onset for the PETM. In their words:

A similar, albeit more pronounced, δ13C anomaly occurs ~55.8 Ma at the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and also suggests ocean acidification. However, the initial decrease in δ13C occurred over a few thousand years for the PETM and over ~30 ky for OAE1a. This discrepancy could reflect different causal mechanisms, namely methane hydrate dissociation for PETM and major volcanogenic CO2 injections for OAE1a, or condensation and hiatuses for most PETM sections.

They also note that the recovery phase is also longer for OAE1a, ~160,000 years versus ~30,000 to 80,000 years for the PETM. Consequently, the response of marine life to the PETM is harder to discern. The recovery phase is also longer for OAE1a, ~160,000 years versus ~30,000 to 80,000 years for the PETM.

Of course, in these days of climate change political correctness it is de rigueur to add a disclaimer to any scientific work which might hint that the global warming crisis is not really a crisis at all. So it is with this paper. “The effect of modern surface-water acidification on organisms with CaCO3-based skeletons or tests, such as calcareous nannoplankton, remains elusive,” state the authors, a fairly mild disclaimer. Others, commenting on the paper are not so reserved.

It is a “very important paper [that] provides state-of-the-art understanding of the effects of massive amounts of CO2 in the oceans,” said marine geologist Timothy Bralower of Pennsylvania State University. The difference today is that the rate of CO2 increase “is far faster than anything we see in the ancient geologic record,” he said, in a ScienceNow article online. “The big question is whether modern species will be able to adapt to what I expect will be much more rapid pH reduction in coming centuries.”

Even most land animals got smaller during the PETM.

The charge that the current increase in CO2 is more rapid than historical events is pure conjecture. Trying to nail down precise timing of events 56, 120 or 250 million years in the past is an inexact pursuit at best. Discerning the difference between a few hundred or several thousand years at such a temporal remove is effectively impossible. The passing of time makes the modern-is-faster statement fatuous at best. We do know that these ancient events dwarf humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. Whether human activity can create an event as dramatic as the PETM has been discussed before on this blog (see “Could Human CO2 Emissions Cause Another PETM?”). Such knee-jerk climate alarmist responses can be safely dismissed.

Scientists who study nature, particularly biological organisms, have come to believe that species change. Driven by changing environmental condition, they adapt and they evolve. It should not be surprising that in the past, nature has successfully responded to larger changes in CO2 levels than those created by humans today. Overly sensitive species died out, others had a rough time but most did what successful species always do—they adapted to the new conditions. The lesson here for humans is that continued survival means we must be willing to adapt, because nature is always changing. As the adaptation of simple marine plankton shows, nature has proven predictions of an oceanic apocalypse to be as false as the other climate catastrophes predicted by climate change alarmists.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth


Insurance scam: UK house insurance premiums to rise dramatically as climate change increases flood risk

Association of British Insurers warns some areas of Britain will become uninsurable

Climate change will increase the risk of flooding in the UK, which could lead to dramatic rises in insurance premiums for homeowners and businesses and make some areas of the country uninsurable, the Association of British Insurers has warned. (Guardian)

There is no evidence at all of any increase in severe weather events.


This stupidity, again: Climate change refugees still waiting for help

MARK COLVIN: The story of Papua New Guinea's sinking Carteret Islands has made headlines around the world.

The locals are known as the world's first climate change refugees but the publicity hasn't translated into help. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

The Carteret Islands are not being inundated due to climate change, they are sinking due to tectonic plate motion, forced under by the collision of the Australian and Pacific plates  -- this has been known for years. It is not in any way temperature or climate related.


The IPCC, Climate Change and Solar Sophistry

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. Erasmus (1466 - 1536)

Control of the science and content of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports was planned from before it was officially formed in 1988. Exposure of manipulation to achieve desired results also began early.

Benjamin Santer graduated from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), where Tom Wigley supervised his PhD. He returned to the US working at the government’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He was appointed lead author of Chapter 8, titled “Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes” of the 1995 IPCC Report. It turned out Santer had significantly altered the meaning of the Chapter from that agreed on by the other authors. As Avery and Singer noted in 2006, “Santer single-handedly reversed the ‘climate science’ of the whole IPCC report and with it the global warming political process! The ‘discernible human influence’ supposedly revealed by the IPCC has been cited thousands of times since in media around the world, and has been the ‘stopper’ in millions of debates among nonscientists.” (Tim Ball, CFP)


Sparks fly over study suggesting wildfires cut CO2

A controversial NOAA study estimating CO2 released by US wildfires says they could actually cut emissions

Call it a hot topic. A study suggesting that intentional forest blazes could significantly cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from wildfires in the Western United States has prompted a piquant scholarly quarrel. The exchange highlights the challenge forest managers may face in balancing plans to use fire to restore forest ecosystems with efforts to curb carbon emissions. (Guardian)


2009: One of the best polar bear years in decades?

Polar Bear Alley - Polar Bear Blog

[From the latest entry, dated October '09] Back in June, the Churchill River did not ‘break’, the term given when the last ice jam opens up and flows out with the tide, until June 16. For years, the port of Churchill has kept records of break-up and 2009 tied for the latest breakup in the last fifty years. A cool summer further contributed to a good, long ice season for the bears.
As for the bears, there are already two or three out in Buggyland and given the late ice season, all the bears look to be in very good shape. There is a lot of talk that this could be one of the best years for bears (health, at least... maybe numbers too) in decades.
Other exciting news from Churchill this summer includes the sighting of a mother with triplets along the coast of Hudson Bay. First reported by the summer tundra buggy tour, this is a very positive sign for Churchill’s bear population. Most bears that show up in the Churchill area can be considered as the periphery of the western Hudson Bay population, usually young, old or nutritionally challenged. Most healthy bears stay far away from Churchill until late in the season.

Wat’chee Lodge, a polar bear viewing operation focused on mothers and cubs emerging from the dens in spring, have reported triplets for the last few years as well. While triplets have been spotted moving through the Wildlife Management Area in 2006, this is the first display of a good, healthy, viable family. It will still be extremely challenging for the third cub to survive through this coming winter but this is an honest display of the health of this population. Who knows, another good ice season and maybe we’ll see two-year old triplets next year.
Bears were spotted for much of the summer near Ulukhaktok, formerly Holman, located on Victoria Island. Even here, ice was socked in much later than usual.

(Tom Nelson)


Australian warming trend adjusted UP by 40%

Ken has been a very busy man. Another soul in the dedicated army of volunteer auditors. He’s been going through the entire Australian High Quality Data Set as supplied by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). He’s been assisted by two readers from this site — Lance and Janama — and we’ll be looking to increase the team (see below).

In the State of the Climate  report, both  the BOM and CSIRO told us that “since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7 °C. The long term trend in temperature is clear… ” but as usual, what they didn’t say was that the raw data since 1910 (not just from 1960) increased only 0.6°C.

The BOM claim their adjustments are random and neutral. Yet when Ken looked at the raw data from Australia’s 100 high quality rural sites, the adjustments increased the trend in the raw data by 40% — from a 0.6°C rise over 100 years, to 0.85°C over 100 years.

In an email to Ken, Dr David Jones, Head of Climate Monitoring and Prediction, National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, made a clear claim that the adjustments had no real effect:

“On the issue of adjustments you find that these have a near zero impact on the all Australian temperature because these tend to be equally positive and negative across the network (as would be expected given they are adjustments for random station changes).”

Once again, the adjusted data shows a temperature change of 0.25°C. More » (Jo Nova)


SPPI Collection of Papers as of July 2010

A collection of papers from Science and Public Policy

Read more... (SPPI)


A Misleading News Report – “Northern Colorado Water Reserves Safe From Climate Change”

There is a misleading news article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan (h/t to Steve Geiger) that reads

Larimer County’s water supplies – and those of most of the state’s mountain counties – are at little risk of diminishing in the face of climate change because Northern Colorado could see more precipitation as the Earth warms, not less.

That conclusion was spelled out in a report issued Tuesday by California-based Tetra Tech and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which looked at climate change’s effects on water supplies across more than 1,500 counties nationwide.

Some of the most devastating effects on water supplies will be felt up and down the Great Plains, including Weld County and Denver, according to the report.

The authors of the report created a “Water Supply Sustainability Index,” which shows, county by county, the threats climate change pose to water supplies.

The report uses public water data and climate projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to show that 14 states face a high risk of having their water supplies diminish as temperatures rise and water demand exceeds availability by 2050.

Climate change might pose moderate to extreme risk to water supplies in Jackson, Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Montezuma, La Plata, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Moffat and Saguache counties in addition to those in the Eastern Plains, according to the report.

The study’s lead author, Tetra Tech principal engineer Sujoy Roy, said Tuesday that Colorado’s Eastern Plains are at high risk of seeing their water diminish by mid-century because of the region’s heavy use of groundwater, which could begin to dry up.

Groundwater use for agriculture in the Great Plains, Texas and the Southwest already exceeds water supply, according to the report.

Roy said a region’s risk of seeing its water supplies disappear with the advent of climate change depends on how much it relies on stored water during the summer. If water demand exceeds what’s falling from the sky or flowing down from the mountains, the higher the risk of diminishing water supplies.

Larimer County is expected to see more precipitation as temperatures rise, lowering the risk to the county’s water supplies, Roy said.

This article perpetuates the scientifically unsupported claim that there is skill in predicting regional climate decades into the future. Kevin Trenberth, one of the IPCC authors wrote in 2007 (Predictions of climate)

“However, the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate.”

We need regional predictive if droughts decades into the future are going to be correctly forecast, as is claimed in this news article.  However, this level of forecast skill does not exist.

Policymakers are being lulled into a false sense of confidence that we understand where water resource threats exits and where they do not. The reality is that natural climate variations have produced multi-decadal droughts in the past (e.g. see) even without human intervention into the climate system.  The adoption of a bottom-up resource-based vulnerability perspective (see) is a much more robust approach for policymakers to apply than the use of the top-down IPCC predictions. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


The Job Moratorium

Energy: A new analysis of the effects of the offshore drilling moratorium shows more to worry about than beaches and tourism. Massive job loss and economic hardship lie ahead, and we're doing it on purpose.

It's been 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon disaster cast a pall over America's energy future while endangering the environment onshore and off. Whether it was due to negligence or the inherent dangers of deep-water drilling, it pales in comparison to the self-inflicted wound of increased energy regulation and taxes and the Obama administration's moratorium.

President Obama has succeeded in turning a crisis into an economic disaster. During a conference call with journalists, Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, detailed the harmful effects of expected new energy taxes and regulation in administration proposals.

"The administration's moratorium, if continued indefinitely — or similar legislative proposals which would make the deep water unavailable or uneconomic — would cost this country 175,000 jobs every year between now and 2035, according to our latest analysis," Gerard told journalists on the call. (IBD)


Is the Government to Blame for Oil Spill?

The White House has some tough questions to answer about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in light of a new report from the Center for Public Integrity. In the critical first days after the explosion, the U.S. Coast Guard disregarded its own firefighting policy and might have caused the oil rig to sink — prompting the leak that resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

New evidence unearthed by reporters Aaron Mehta and John Solomon reveals the cash-strapped Coast Guard broke its own rules and didn’t have a firefighting expert on the scene to oversee the private boats battling the blaze. There’s an ongoing investigation to determine if the salt water sprayed on the burning oil rig caused it to sink.

“[T]he question of what caused the platform to collapse into the Gulf … remains unanswered and could prove vital to ongoing legal proceedings and congressional investigations,” the article states. “That is because the riser pipe from which the majority of BP’s oil spewed did not start leaking until after the rig sank.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Analysis: Bill Boosts Natural Gas Vehicles But Hurdles Remain

The Energy Bill released on Tuesday is a big boost for the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry, but natural gas faces hurdles to eroding oil's dominance as a transport fuel in the United States.

For one, even as U.S. natural gas production expands to fuel a growing NGV fleet, a national distribution infrastructure is not yet in place. (Reuters)


Coal an Alternative Fuel? Yes, According to Reid’s New Energy Bill

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

As many predicted, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D–NV) new energy bill contains neither a cap-and-trade program nor a renewable electricity standard (RES). But in a complete change of direction, the bill has made coal, the nemesis of the cap and trade/RES crowd, an alternative fuel. So now, to the list of politically correct alternatives such as wind and solar, we can now add coal.

In addition to the bill’s plethora of subsidies, tax credits, and other “incentives” to increase the production of electric vehicles, the bill, according to a draft summary, Section 2115 of the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act: Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Ontario’s Power Trip: Wind in your Sails

Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg
EDF Energies Nouvelles SA wind turbines operate in Lethuin, France

July 28, 2010 – 2:55 pm

By Parker Gallant

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) on July 15, 2010 released a report conducted for them by Ipsos-Reid in June. It was a relatively simple survey with only 6 questions, presumably developed in conjunction with CanWEA. In a press release issued by CanWEA, the President, Robert Hornung, was positively elated and had this to say;

“This poll clearly indicates that wind energy enjoys broad support across the province, regardless of where residents live,” said CanWEA president, Robert Hornung. “Those polled clearly believe that wind energy not only brings environmental benefits but it can also play a vital role in spurring local and regional economic development. There is much to be optimistic about wind’s future in the province, and the poll reflects the fact that Ontario citizens believe in the promise of this growing industry.”

Take a close look at the survey questions, however, and where the polling took place. It turns out Hornung is overplaying the results. While the poll indicates that almost 90% support (Q 1) the development of wind energy in the province only 44% (Q 3) are actually aware of wind developments. Based on the order of those two questions asked of the 1,391 survey respondents I would bet anyone in the business of conducting surveys would say the results are skewed and therefore biased in favour of CanWEA.

Two follow-up questions ask those informed (44%) and uninformed (56%) respondents to pick the “benefits” and “drawbacks” of wind farms and choose from a list of 30 benefits and 26 drawbacks. Even the nouns chosen for these question are skewed. The first benefit is listed as “cheap/affordable/cost savings”. No surprise that 31% picked that one. If you are uninformed shouldn’t Ipsos-Reid simply have skipped over these two questions otherwise the respondent is simply guessing. On the “drawbacks” list “unreliable” is listed 7th and the 1st is “noisy”. How would the uninformed know?

The lead up to the results of the survey by Ipsos-Reid outliness out the geographic location of the respondents and, lo and behold, 384 are from the Greater Toronto Area, where there is one wind demonstration wind turbine, a giant money-losing contraption located on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. Do GTA residents know about wind turbines, and do they care? With a setback requirement of 550 metres they will never be affected. Why didn’t Ipsos-Reid identify urban vs rural respondents? One suspects the results would have been not quite so favourable and Mr. Hornung would not have liked them.

The take away from this skewed survey is that CanWEA can wave it in front of Premier Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet ministers and declare mass support for wind. The citizens of Ontario love the province’s Green Energy Act and they love big, unreliable, invasive wind farms. (Financial Post)


Bloody idiots! Ban on new coal-fired power plants without CCS

No new coal-fired power stations can be built in the UK without including carbon capture and storage technology, the government said on Tuesday.

A consultation on an “emissions performance standard”, which would penalise power plants that operate below a certain level of efficiency, will be launched in November.

However, Charles Hendry, energy minister, said it was “already clear” that coal-fired stations without CCS technology would not be acceptable. (Financial Times)


Has any minister in history seemed more hopelessly unfit to do his job?

The penny is fast dropping that by far the most disastrous appointment made by David Cameron to his Coalition Cabinet was that of the ultra-green, Lib Dem millionaire Chris Huhne as our Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Yesterday, after Mr Huhne issued his first annual statement on Britain's energy future, it was clear that we should all be very, very concerned about the future of Britain.

As was only too predictable, the overall theme of Mr Huhne's message was that 'climate change is the greatest global challenge we face'. 

We must do everything we can and more to cut down very drastically on our 'carbon emissions', as we are now legally committed to do by the Climate Change Act - at a cost of £18 billion a year

But in the real world, the £100 billion-plus energy question that confronts us all in Britain today is how we are going to fill that massive, fast-looming gap in our electricity supplies when the antiquated power stations which currently supply us with two-fifths of the power needed to keep our economy running are forced to close. (Christopher Booker, Daily Mail)


Peter Foster: The Voltswagen — The people’s car the people pay for

  July 28, 2010 – 7:53 pm

Like the Apollo program, the Volt is massively expensive, and pointless

Ontario taxpayers should be grateful that the Chevy Volt is not due to appear in the province until next year. Put together a $10,000-per-car provincial subsidy with ultra high-cost solar electricity foisted on the public via feed-in tariffs and you have a level of economic insanity it would be hard to match. Indeed, perhaps the Volt should be renamed “The McGuinty” for the Canadian market. It would take the pressure off the memory of poor Edsel Ford, who gave his name to a tail-finned lemon.

GM announced this week that the Volt, as expected, would cost US$41,000, more than a loaded Cadillac. It will still lose money. GM’s marketing chief, Joel Ewanick, when revealing the price, said the Volt was “starting the world on a different path.” Would that be The Road to Serfdom? But let’s not go over the top. The Volt will collapse under the weight of its own pointless non-viability. GM’s future lies with new conventional fuel-powered models such as the Buick Regal, which by all accounts is a terrific car. The Volt is pure politics.

Read More » (Financial Post)


UK electric car grant scheme 'cut by 80%'

Government commits to just £43m of the original £230m promised for programme to subsidise the uptake of electric cars (Guardian)

But why subsidize them at all?


World's largest fish under threat of extinction

The survival of some of the world’s largest freshwater fish — including a giant catfish — is threatened by a series of hydro-power dams planned for the Mekong River, a leading environmental group has warned. (TDT)



The Difference between ‘True Science’ and ‘Cargo-Cult Science

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science.
July 27, 2010 - by Frank J. Tipler 

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts” is how the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman defined science in his article “What is Science?” Feynman emphasized this definition by repeating it in a stand-alone sentence in extra large typeface in his article. (Feynman’s essay is available online, but behind a subscription wall: The Physics Teacher (1969) volume 7, starting page 313.)

Immediately after his definition of science, Feynman wrote: “When someone says, ‘Science teaches such and such,’ he is using the word incorrectly. Science doesn’t teach anything; experience teaches it. If they say to you, ‘Science has shown such and such,’ you should ask, ‘How does science show it? How did the scientists find out? How? What? Where?’ It should not be ‘science has shown.’ And you have as much right as anyone else, upon hearing about the experiments (but be patient and listen to all the evidence) to judge whether a sensible conclusion has been arrived at.”

And I say, Amen. Notice that “you” is the average person. You have the right to hear the evidence, and you have the right to judge whether the evidence supports the conclusion. We now use the phrase “scientific consensus,” or “peer review,” rather than “science has shown.” By whatever name, the idea is balderdash. Feynman was absolutely correct. (PJM)


Mental health experts ask: Will anyone be normal?

LONDON - An updated edition of a mental health bible for doctors may include diagnoses for "disorders" such as toddler tantrums and binge eating, experts say, and could mean that soon no-one will be classed as normal.

Leading mental health experts gave a briefing on Tuesday to warn that a new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is being revised now for publication in 2013, could devalue the seriousness of mental illness and label almost everyone as having some kind of disorder.

Citing examples of new additions like "mild anxiety depression", "psychosis risk syndrome", and "temper dysregulation disorder", they said many people previously seen as perfectly healthy could in future be told they are ill. (Reuters)


Is obesity a mental illness? 

In the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which will be released in 2013, it appears we may all be a little bit crazy. Which of course I've known for years.

We all have incidences of treading that line between sane and not so sane.

That's normal. It's only when the "not so sane" behaviour becomes the everyday that we begin to wonder if perhaps there could be a bigger issue at hand.

If someone cannot lose weight, cannot get their head around the things they need to do to get there, or know all the right things to do but just can't somehow do it, does this mean it's a brain issue and therefore a mental illness? We accept anorexia and bulimia is, so why not chronic obesity?

Some medical practitioners are fighting to do just that; to see it as a mental illness and then treat it accordingly. (Rachel Goodchild, Stuff)


Tobacco Funds Shrink as Obesity Fight Intensifies

When the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation decided in 1991 to take on Joe Camel, it became the nation’s largest private funding source for fighting smoking. The foundation spent $700 million to help knock the cartoon character out of advertisements, finance research and advocacy for higher cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws and, ultimately, to aid in reducing the nation’s smoking rate almost by half. 

But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity. As the antiobesity financing rose to $58 million last year, a new compilation from the foundation shows, the organization’s antismoking grants fell to $4 million. 

The steep drop-off in private funds illustrates the competition under way for money as public health priorities shift. In the race for preventive health care dollars, from charities and from federal and state government sources, the tobacco warriors have become a big loser. And the nation’s battle to shed pounds has in its corner the White House, with Michelle Obama leading a new campaign against childhood obesity. Shortly after the first lady kicked off the “Let’s Move” program, the administration awarded more funds to fight obesity than tobacco through two big new money sources for preventive health. The funds, totaling $1.15 billion, came from economic stimulus and health care reform legislation. They still provided more than $200 million for tobacco-use prevention, but much more to grapple with obesity. (NYT)


Are kids' ER visits for food allergies on the rise?

NEW YORK - Children's visits to the emergency room for serious food-allergy reactions may be on the rise, if the experience of one major U.S. medical center is an indicator.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston found that the number of food-induced allergic reactions treated in their ER more than doubled over six years -- from 164 cases in 2001, to 391 in 2006.

There was an even sharper increase in the number of more serious, and sometimes life-threatening, reactions known as anaphylaxis. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include skin reactions like hives and flushed or pale skin; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; dizziness or fainting; difficulty breathing; and a sudden drop in blood pressure that can lead to shock.

In 2001, the current study found, there were 78 cases of food-induced anaphylaxis; in 2006, that number was 207.

That corresponded to a rate of 15 anaphylaxis cases for every 10,000 ER visits in 2001, and a rate of 38 per 10,000 in 2006, the researchers report in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The reasons for the increases cannot be gleaned from the data. But the findings are in line with studies pointing to a general increase in food allergies among U.S. children in recent years, first author Dr. Susan A. Rudders told Reuters Health in an email. (Reuters Health)


Florida seen at risk from Caribbean dengue epidemic

MIAMI - An epidemic of dengue fever in the Caribbean and Latin America has increased the risk of an outbreak of the sometimes deadly mosquito-borne virus in South Florida, a bioclimatologist and dengue expert said on Tuesday.

Florida's proximity to affected countries, the flow of people from there and similar tropical climate factors raised the probability of the disease afflicting the southern state after an absence of decades, Dr. Douglas Fuller told Reuters.

"I think the risk is substantial ... In terms of the basic ingredients, you've got everything that you would need for an epidemic," he said in a phone interview. (Reuters)


Scientist says hundreds may die as smog blankets Moscow

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia - A prominent scientist said hundreds of people could die as smog from peat fires blanketed a sweltering Moscow for a second day on Tuesday.

Moscow region chief Boris Gromov asked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to allocate 25 billion roubles ($827 million) to fight the fires smouldering in the forests around Moscow.

Alexei Yablokov, an internationally renowned biologist who runs Russia's Green Party, said air pollution caused by the smog's high amount of carbon dioxide [? assume they mean carbon monoxide here since you can increase ambient CO2 levels by 500% without inducing the slightest ill-effect] could kill hundreds more people than usual in the Moscow region.

"There will be at least 100 additional deaths per day this time round," Yablokov told Reuters, referring to the last such smog cloud in 2002 in which he calculated 600 people had died each week.

The Moscow government agency overseeing air pollution, Mosekonomonitoring, said the levels of carbon monoxide in the air on Tuesday shot up by 20-30 percent more than normal levels. (Reuters)


Candu can still do it

  July 27, 2010 – 9:08 pm

Postmedia News files
Chalk River’s problems result from unsustainably low prices for medical isotopes.

Don’t throw out the valuable Candu baby with the AECL privatization bathwater

By Jan Carr

Canadians have a lot riding on the impending privatization of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL). We need to wind down our ownership in a fashion that ensures we continue to benefit from AECL’s unique CANDU technology and that requires distinguishing the institutional history of the nuclear industry from its accomplishments and potential.

It is hard to imagine a more difficult company for shareholders to love than AECL. It has been dogged by a long and continuing series of commercial disappointments from cost overruns on power plants to spectacular failures in the production of medical isotopes. It has become a thorn in government’s side through its sometimes ill-timed requests for substantial funding. But much of this results from flaws in AECL’s mandate and the way it is financed.

Read More » (Financial Post)


The Big Green Lie Exposed – Mandatory Reading

Thanks to Andy Revkin, here’s the link to Walter Russell Mead‘s blog post “The Big Green Lie Exposed“, that I believe vindicates all The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE has been writing about since December 2007.

The text is incredibly jam-packed with quotable remarks, such as:

the reason that the Great Global Green Dream is melting lies in the sad truth that whatever the scientific facts of the matter, the global green movement is so blind and inept when it comes to policy and process that it has deeply damaged the causes it cares most about

(about Climategate) The greens were found innocent of inventing the science, but guilty of systematically hyping their case

excitable greens have oversold a wide variety of worst case scenarios — and underestimated the complex nature of the relationship between climate change and world politics

The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do

Many leaders of today’s environmental movement are like the anti-alcohol activists before Prohibition

The green movement’s strategic failure is also reminiscent of the Peace Movement of the 1920s

You can diagnose a disease but have no clue how to treat it. You can be an excellent climate scientist and a wretched social engineer. You can want to do good and end up furthering exactly the evils you most deplore

The real and lasting damage that the green movement sustained in the last eight months has been the revelation that it is strategically and politically incompetent

Precisely because a growing body of science points to the existence of some serious concerns about climate, we must think carefully and clearly

Alcohol abuse was a real problem in 1918, but the Prohibitionist belief that there was One Big Legislative Answer only made things worse

At best, the green movement might be compared to an alarm clock: jangling shrilly to wake up the world. That is fair enough; they have turned our attention to a problem that needs to be carefully examined and dealt with. But the first thing you do when you wake up is to turn the alarm clock off; otherwise that shrill beeping noise will distract you from the problems of the day

And so on and so forth. Whatever one thinks of AGW, “The Big Green Lie Exposed” has to be mandatory reading! (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Something else you can thank the greenie loons for: Why can’t modern washing machines rinse properly?

[Since writing this article (which has over 300 comments) I've just discovered Which? no longer give 1 or 2 star ratings for rinsing ability and the majority appear to get 3 or 4 stars. However, they are still critical of their rinsing abilities in the comments and the pros and cons.]

Which? have so far thoroughly tested 125 washing machines & washer dryers. Most manufacturers have at least one of their appliances tested and the more popular makes have had as many as 15 different models tested.

One remarkable thing stands out, and it’s something I find astounding. According to Which? they are almost all rubbish at rinsing. 


How have we ended up in this situation and does it really matter anyway?

Surely all washing machines should rinse well? It’s surely quite simple, you just use enough water to rinse them properly. It’s astounding that we have reached the situation where the majority of washing machines and washer dryers on sale in the UK are apparently poor at rinsing.

This has probably come about because people have been focussing on other aspects, which has left rinsing as a low priority. Two explanations spring to mind. Firstly, the focus on using less and less water is clearly impacting on our washing machine’s ability to rinse effectively. Whereas modern detergents can facilitate efficient and effective washing results at lower temperatures and with less water, no such product is currently allowing effective rinsing with much less water. Good rinsing needs plenty of water which is in direct opposition to the current environmental concerns and clamour to be the washing machine using the least amount of water. (White Goods Help blog)

Wonder how many kids' dermatological conditions are directly caused by greenies preventing you having sufficient water to rinse your clothes effectively?


Stanford engineers use rocket science to make wastewater treatment sustainable

Within the sludge of wastewater treatment plants is an invisible world teeming with microbes. Here, diverse species of bacteria convert solid and liquid wastes into gases, some of which contribute to global warming.

Now two Stanford University engineers are developing a new sewage treatment process that would actually increase the production of two greenhouse gases – nitrous oxide (aka, "laughing gas") and methane – and use the gases to power the treatment plant.

"Normally, we want to discourage these gases from forming," said Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. "But by encouraging the formation of nitrous oxide, we can remove harmful nitrogen from the water and simultaneously increase methane production for use as fuel."

Criddle, an expert in wastewater management, has joined forces with Brian Cantwell, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, who has spent the last five years designing rocket thrusters that run on nitrous oxide.

With support from a Woods Institute Environmental Venture Projects grant, Cantwell and Criddle are applying that rocket technology to sewage treatment, with the goal of making the process energy neutral and emissions free.

"We want to reduce the cost of wastewater treatment, increase energy generation and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions," Cantwell said.

"For too long we've thought of treatment plants as places where we remove organic matter and waste nitrogen," Criddle added. "We need to view these wastes as resources, not simply something to dispose of." (Stanford University)


The GM revolution in Britain's medical research laboratories

The importance to medical research of genetically modified (GM) mice was highlighted yesterday as official statistics showed that their use in scientific experiments has exploded over the past decade. (The Independent)



Obama vows to fight on for climate change bill

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged to fight on for a climate change bill, despite the collapse of US Senate legislation designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama, after talks with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, said a watered down energy bill soon to come before lawmakers, shorn of climate change action, was just a first step.

"That legislation is an important step in the right direction," said Obama, of a bill which focuses on the aftermath of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and developing alternative energy projects.

"But I want to emphasize it's only the first step and I intend to keep pushing for broader reform, including climate legislation." (AFP)


Gibbs suggests climate measures could be added to Senate bill

Climate measures could be added in conference to an energy bill the Senate will take up this week, according to the White House.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he wouldn’t rule out adding some climate measures to the legislation in conference, assuming a scaled-down energy bill passes the Senate. (The Hill)


Senate Republican moves to block lame-duck push for carbon cap


By Robin Bravender, E&E reporter

Link to Article

A Senate Republican introduced legislation today aimed at preventing Democrats from adding cap and trade to a House and Senate energy conference, a move anticipated by some Republicans if the Senate fails to pass a climate bill under normal procedures.

The amendment from Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) would require the support of two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes, to include cap-and-trade climate legislation in a House-Senate conference report if the Senate has not already debated and approved it with the normal 60-vote threshold.

"My legislation holds Congress accountable and ensures a fair and open debate about cap and trade instead of quietly slipping it into law," Johanns said. "It's shocking that the majority would consider circumventing the will of the public to pass cap and trade in a lame-duck session with zero debate in the Senate."

Cap-and-trade advocates are scrambling to find a way to eke out a Senate climate bill after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dashed their hopes last week by dropping plans to include any emission limits in a scaled-back energy bill. Reid is expected to announce details of the oil spill response and energy package this afternoon, his spokeswoman said.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democrats' top climate negotiator, has suggested that a lame-duck debate is possible after the November election, giving at least a glimmer of hope to many advocates of a carbon cap.

In the end, joint House-Senate conference committees will likely hammer out the final versions of whatever oil spill response or energy measures are passed in the remainder of the session. That might not take place until a lame-duck session after the November election, when much of the political pressure on lawmakers has dissipated.

Some observers have speculated that the House-passed cap-and-trade bill could be back in play during conference, or that Democratic leaders could use a conference to ratchet up the climate regulations beyond what the Senate agreed to.

"We have a lot of wiggle room in conference," a House Democratic aide told E&E last month (E&E Daily, June 28).

"The plan to do cap and trade in a lame duck is premised on senators and House members being free and liberated from the tethers of the American people," Johanns said today on the Senate floor. "That's extraordinary, and it's deeply troubling."

Johanns filed his amendment as a second-degree amendment to a provision from Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George LeMieux (R-Fla.). That amendment would add a provision to the Senate's pending small-business jobs bill encouraging banks to make loans to small businesses.



California's climate change law backer donates $5 million to fight Prop 23

Thomas Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and a big backer of Democratic candidates, will donate $5 million to a group opposing the ballot measure to roll back California's landmark climate change law.

Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC, has joined George Shultz, former U.S. secretary of the state, as co-chairman of the No on 23 committee, giving the group's leadership a bipartisan mix.

California's greenhouse gas reduction law, or AB 32, aims to cut emissions to 1990 levels statewide by 2020. 

Backed by Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. of Texas, Proposition 23 seeks to suspend AB 32 until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

With Steyer's donation, the No on 23 committee has raised more than $7 million. Proponents of a rollback collected more than $3 million. (The Sacramento Bee)


In the land down-under: Gillard’s people’s assembly ignores the people

On Friday, Gillard announced Labor’s climate change policy in the lead up to the election. She announced her intentions to create a citizens assembly to evaluate the evidence for climate change and confirmed that an interim price on carbon would not be considered by the Labor government at least until 2012.

Cartoon by The Australian's Jon Kudelka

Ironically, she announced this somewhat vacuous, indecisive plan at the University of Queensland – theoretically a place for young people to “move forward” and a place of long-term sustainable innovation. Furthermore, she made this announcement to an audience of young people. Young people, who have a stake in their government taking decisive action on climate change to protect their futures. (Sophie Trevitt, The Punch)


Muir Russell Findings No Solace for U.S. EPA

by Chip Knappenberger
July 27, 2010

While the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency would surely love to use the findings of the Independent Climate Change Email Inquiry (aka the Muir Russell report) to brush aside the many challenges mounted, in response to the Climategate email scandal, to the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger the public’s health and welfare (a finding which enables the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions), they’ll find little in the Muir Russell report to help in their defense.

Well, I should qualify that. They’ll find little scientifically to help their defense. Politics is another matter.

Since the EPA has largely based its Endangerment Finding on an appeal to authority—the primary authority being the IPCC—rather than its own investigations, the Muir Russell report plays right into the EPA’s hands when concluding (emphasis in original):

[W]e do not find that their [influential scientists from the Climate Research Unit of the U.K.’s University of East Anglia] behaviour has prejudiced the balance of advice given to policy makers. In particular, we did not find any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.

At face value, it seems as if the EPA could take this as the only proof needed to dismiss all of the post-Climategate calls for it to reconsider it pre-Climategate Endangerment Finding.

But, as with just about everything else about the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, such action would be a gross oversimplification, a side-step around the deeper complexities, and an incomplete address of the issues raised against it. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


More yucks: Climate Scientists Use PR to Promote Cuddly Image

That adorable little girl covered in mud isn’t actually a future climate scientist, but she’s paid to look like one.

Same goes for the long-lashed kid photographed abandoning his outfield duties to study some daisies. “I did play little league baseball as a kid, and I’m now doing climate research,” explains bona fide climate scientist David Inouye, “so I guess I turned out to be a good match with that photograph.” Welcome to the strange world of Science PR.

The pictures are at the centerpiece of an ad campaign rolling out in the New York Times Magazine right now, as well as other local newspapers and Washington D.C. buses. It’s the brainchild of the Union of Concerned Scientists. As UCS president Kevin Knobloch explains, the ads are a response to some bad press that scientists — in particular climate scientists — have gotten lately. (APM)


Feds sends climate change guru throughout the Americas to 'combat global climate change

There's got to be scores of these individuals; perhaps hundreds, even thousands, of hacks in various departments of the U.S. federal government, galavanting around the globe touting their fraudulent haughty-taughty notions, which in practice will amount to nothing more than tyranny. It's bad enough when well known Republican frauds promote 'climate change' and 'global warming' hysteria , but many paid proponents of this scam are largely unknown to the average American. Nevertheless, here is the 411 on one of them. He is preparing for the upcoming U.N. climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. (Martin Hill, Examiner)


Mark Landsbaum: Is it time to end climate alarmism?

Five allegedly independent investigations claim to have cleared U.S. and British climate scientists of chicanery in their global warming research. It's more likely the investigations will be among the final nails in the coffin for the global warming alarmist movement. That's a position shared not only among respected skeptics in the scientific community, but increasingly in the mainstream press and even by some global warming believers.

Sure, government funding for climate change research probably will continue for a while. And propagandists will continue to crank out new studies claiming we're cooking the planet to death. They will hold more international confabs and issue more dire proclamations, but to less and less avail.

Most likely, this was the tipping point. Global warming zealots have lost. It's only a matter of time until they realize it and move on to a new contrived catastrophe, where doubtless they'll be warmly received by a compliant press and amply rewarded with more tax-subsidized grants. It seems there are insatiable appetites and never-ending tax dollars for the proper causes. (OC Register)


Climategate, Amazongate, Bob Ward and the Murdoch empire - by Richard...

Guest post by Christopher Booker

To the colourful Daily Telegraph blogger James Delingpole, it was winner of the coveted award for the "Biggest front page non-story in history of journalism". What he was referring to was a tale published a week ago under the by-line of The Times's environment correspondent Ben Webster which led the paper, covering virtually the entire front-page and with a whole further page inside, beneath the huge headline "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate sceptics."

Everything about this story was bizarre. Its essence, based on information which as Webster told us was had been supplied by Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, was that Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, last year gave "almost £1 million" to four US think-tanks.

These hired lackeys had then shamefully gone on to describe the various official inquiries into the Climategate emails scandal as "whitewashes", apparently citing them as evidence that the dangers of global warming had been "grossly exaggerated".

The story concluded by suggesting that Exxon Mobil had clearly corrupted these four venal think tanks into giving "the oil company at least another year of freedom to reap the profits of its high-carbon strategy".

The most obvious puzzle was why this remarkably tenuous tale should have been put by The Times on its front page, presumably rating it as the most important news of the day. The evidence assembled by Mr Ward, who had apparently "been monitoring Exxon's links to sceptic groups," hardly seemed to stack up even in its own terms. (EU Referendum)


AGW makes Mexicans dreaming about wealth

Reuters and dozens of other sources promote the craziness of the day, namely a bunch of statements by a Michael Oppenheimer of New Jersey and his pals, Shuaizhang Feng and Alan B. Krueger. The paper was edited by the late Stephen Schneider a month ago.

Mexico City

He and his friends essentially claim that global warming is going to be the main reason of the Mexican illegal immigration. Between 1.4 and 6.7 million Mexicans will arrive to the U.S. by 2080 because their agriculture will get worse, and so on. Of course, this statement is completely preposterous but the media make it even worse when they exclusively quote the upper "6.7 million" figure in the title.

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


Science journalists in Africa urged to scale up reporting

African Journalists have been challenged to change the course of science in the continent, by acting as the "broker between actors" in science reporting.

Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) Dr. Kevin Urama says science journalists need to go out of their way to identify and focus on issues such as poverty which scientists and policy makers need to address.

Addressing a media workshop in Nairobi Tuesday, Dr. Urama said: "Journalists should be the pressure groups that will make us address problems facing society," he told journalists in Nairobi.

The two day workshop on effective reporting on Science, Technology and Innovation, draws journalists who specialize in science and environment from the African continent.

Development issues such as poverty eradication have gone under reported in many African media outlets, at the expense of bad news, which is perceived as selling more.

These sentiments were echoed by Dr. Edwardina Ndhine from the Kenya National Council of Science and Technology.

Dr. Ndhine, who was representing Executive Secretary of the council Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak, urged reporters to scale up efforts to promote ideas that will be translated to making life better for the most vulnerable in society.

"Science must empower the poor," she said, adding that "The continent must take science to the people through promotion of better technologies,"

She noted that Africa needs to enhance resources and that challenges of clean water, sanitation, safer food and productivity need to be brought on board, so that the problems are addressed. (KBC)

They were doing great but at this point threw in the obligatory "climate change" chestnut and ruined the whole thing.


Science Turns Authoritarian

Science is losing its credibility because it has adopted an authoritarian tone, and has let itself be co-opted by politics.

In a Wired article published at the end of May, writer Erin Biba bemoans the fact that “science” is losing its credibility with the public. The plunge in the public’s belief in catastrophic climate change is her primary example. Biba wonders whether the loss of credibility might be due to the malfeasance unearthed by the leak of emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, but comes to the conclusion that malfeasance isn’t the cause of the public’s disaffection. No, people have turned against science simply because it lacks a good public relations outfit. Biba quotes Kelly Bush, head of a major PR firm, on the point:

Bush says researchers need a campaign that inundates the public with the message of science: Assemble two groups of spokespeople, one made up of scientists and the other of celebrity ambassadors. Then deploy them to reach the public wherever they are, from online social networks to “The Today Show.” Researchers need to tell personal stories, tug at the heartstrings of people who don’t have PhD’s. And the celebrities can go on “Oprah” to describe how climate change is affecting them—and by extension, Oprah’s legions of viewers.

“They need to make people answer the questions, What’s in it for me? How does it affect my daily life? What can I do that will make a difference? Answering these questions is what’s going to start a conversation,” Bush says. “The messaging up to this point has been ‘Here are our findings. Read it and believe.’ The deniers are convincing people that the science is propaganda.”

While nobody would dispute the value of a good PR department, we doubted that bad or insufficient PR was the primary reason for the public’s declining trust in scientific pronouncements. Our theory is that science is not losing its credibility because people no longer like or believe in the idea of scientific discovery, but because science has taken on an authoritarian tone, and has let itself be co-opted by pressure groups who want the government to force people to change their behavior. (Kenneth P. Green and Hiwa Alaghebandian, American Magazine)


Ocean Acidification Doesn’t Lead To Species Die-Off, Surprising Scientists

New study published in Science says corals not threatened by acidification

Pia Heinemann reports in Die Welt today, Ocean Acidification Does Not Lead To Species Die-Off, on a new study appearing in the latest edition of Science. The study contradicts the assumption that ocean acidification leads to species die-off, surprising scientists.

Abstract in Science here 

Manmade emissions of CO2 are thought to be partly absorbed by the oceans, which in turn would acidify and pose a huge threat to calcareous organisms like corals and plankton. This is the horror story that has been widely circulating in the media for the last couple of years, and with ever-growing alarmism, at a time the dangers of global warming are turning out to be wildly exaggerated. 

Italian and Swiss scientists have found answers by looking at 120 million year old sediment deposits. The team directed by Elisabetti Erba of the University of Milan describes new findings in the latest issue of Science. 

It is not unusual for CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to surge after large volcanic eruptions. This has happened often in the past. 

They examined microscopic fossils and nannoplankton from a time period just after large volcanic eruptions 120 million years ago, when the air’s CO2 content rose to about twice today’s level. Their studies contradicted their expectations. Die Welt writes: 

Contrary to what was expected, no large-scale die-offs occurred among the organisms when acidification increased. The species simply adapted: They formed smaller shells and remained small. 

They endured the changes far better than first thought. 

Heinemann writes that the study also delivered yet another surprise: 

Apparently, the oceans acidify with a delay. After the volcanoes erupted and the surface water pH value began to sink, it took 25,000 to 30,000 years longer for the CO2 effect to reach the sea bottom. 

These new findings deal a massive blow to those hoping to exploit ocean acidification as the next disaster scenario to replace the discredited catastrophic AGW story. Expect the MSM to bury or spin the story. 

Update/Note: Keep in mind that the plankton and coral studied were from 120 million years ago, meaning the species has since survived climate extremes and changes that were off the charts when compared to today’s mild natural changes. They’ve handled much colder and much warmer conditions with widely varying ocean chemistry.

Update 2: The Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany [Read here] is planning years of research on acidification, costing millions of euros, to study a bogus non-problem. They’ve teamed up with neutral Greenpeace, and so you can be sure they’ll come up with “catastrophic” findings and demand more money for research. Whatever it takes to bilk the taxpayer out of money. (P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone)


Hurricanes, storms take holiday too

Will a hotter world lead to more intense storms?

2010 might be on track to be the warmest ever (according to GISS), but right now, we may be about to set a new record of tropical storms — in inactivity. Ryan Maue tracks the global accumulated activity and reports that by the end of July we might break the record low we set last year.

Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update

July 15: If no additional ACE occurred in July, the 24-month global ACE total would be 1095 compared to last month at 1173. The previous 30-year low was 1091 set recently in September 2009. No lower values exist during the past 30-years.

Global and Northern Hemsiphere Tropical Cyclone Activity Global and Northern Hemsiphere Tropical Cyclone Activity is near a record low

Looking at the National Hurricane Centre, it doesn’t seem like there is much activity on the way between now and the end of July.

Advisories issued for the North Atlantic, The East Pacific, The West Pacific, and the Indian Ocean are all the same:

There is no tropical storm activity for this region.

(Jo Nova)


Uh-huh... Spain Sees Temperatures Rising 3 to 6 Degrees By 2100

Spanish daytime temperatures will rise by an average of between 3 and 6 degrees Celsius by 2100, and rainfall will tumble to 15-30 percent of recent levels, according to forecasts on Tuesday by the Met Office.

The Met Office said it produced the forecasts in order to plan for the impact of climate change. (Reuters)

This from the mob who had to drop their seasonal forecasts because they can't get those anywhere close to reality?


Scientists say soot a key factor in warming

Soot from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and burning wood is a bigger cause of global warming than previously thought, and is the major cause of the rapid melting of the Arctic's sea ice, Stanford climate experts say.

The evidence of mounting pollution by carbon particles in soot has been inadequately counted in international government debates over policies to cope with the warming problem, according to Stanford's Mark Z. Jacobson, leader of the university's Atmosphere and Energy program and a professor of civil and environmental engineering.

In a report to be published Thursday in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Jacobson noted that soot particles - both black and brown carbon - come not only from burning fossil fuels in industry and transportation, but also from the immense quantities of wood and dung that are burned for heating and cooking throughout the developing world.

Those factors combined make black and brown carbon in soot an even more powerful contributor to global warming than industrial emissions of methane, which until now have been considered the second most important cause of climate change, Jacobson said.

And because soot absorbs sunlight as it falls on ice and snow and radiates back to Earth from clouds and layers of the atmosphere, it is the major reason for rapidly melting sea ice in the Arctic region, he said. (SF Chronicle)

Actually some merit in this. Soot deposition on snow and ice fields was originally considered as a means of averting the much feared looming ice age a few decades ago and there is much to be gained by replacing Asian biomass burning with decent, affordable baseload electricity. Certainly there is certainly ample coal resource to accommodate it.


Sigh... Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change


This title is part of the America's Climate Change project, the National Research Council's most comprehensive study of climate change to date.
Follow the links below for related titles from the America's Climate Choices study.

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Watch the America's Climate Choices press conference webcast.

Watch the America's Climate Choices video.


Global climate change is one of America's most significant long-term policy challenges. Human activity--especially the use of fossil fuels, industrial processes, livestock production, waste disposal, and land use change--is affecting global average temperatures, snow and ice cover, sea-level, ocean acidity, growing seasons and precipitation patterns, ecosystems, and human health. Climate-related decisions are being carried out by almost every agency of the federal government, as well as many state and local government leaders and agencies, businesses and individual citizens. Decision makers must contend with the availability and quality of information, the efficacy of proposed solutions, the unanticipated consequences resulting from decisions, the challenge of implementing chosen actions, and must consider how to sustain the action over time and respond to new information. 

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change, a volume in the America's Climate Choices series, describes and assesses different activities, products, strategies, and tools for informing decision makers about climate change and helping them plan and execute effective, integrated responses. It discusses who is making decisions (on the local, state, and national levels), who should be providing information to make decisions, and how that information should be provided. It covers all levels of decision making, including international, state, and individual decision making. While most existing research has focused on the physical aspect of climate change, Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change employs theory and case study to describe the efforts undertaken so far, and to guide the development of future decision-making resources. 

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change offers much-needed guidance to those creating public policy and assists in implementing that policy. The information presented in this book will be invaluable to the research community, especially social scientists studying climate change; practitioners of decision-making assistance, including advocacy organizations, non-profits, and government agencies; and college-level teachers and students (NAP)


New research into greenhouse effect challenges theory of man-made global warming

A former NASA contractor whose theory demonstrating that the greenhouse effect is constant and self-regulating and that increases in human CO2 emissions are not the source of global warming is fighting an uphill battle to publish his controversial work.

Developed by prominent atmospheric physicist Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi, the new theory is enormously significant because it demolishes the prevailing doctrine of anthropogenic greenhouse warming (AGW), which blames humans for pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and triggering runaway global warming that could eventually lead to catastrophic climate change.

All conventional greenhouse concepts are based on the idea that rising greenhouse gases cause an increase in atmospheric absorption, which in turn leads to atmospheric warming and higher surface temperatures. But Miskolczi’s research upends that conventional theory. (Kirk Myers, Examiner)

Actually there's nothing very radical about the concept of self-limiting GHE since greenhouse gases do not alter the atmosphere's viscosity. Autoconvection will ensure atmospheric overturning and increased GHGs increase atmospheric warming and accelerate autoconvection. We have been pointing out for years that a trivial increase in lofting will overcome increased GHE but such simple physics defies climate models, apparently.


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 30: 28 July 2010

The Increasing Vigor of Earth's Terrestrial Plants: As the air's CO2 content continues to rise, so also is the planet's terrestrial vegetation becoming ever more productive.

Subject Index Summary:
Ocean Acidification (Effects on Marine Plants: Phytoplankton, Mixtures of All Types): How do marine phytoplanktonic communities characteristic of the real world respond to increases in the CO2 concentration of the air that is in intimate contact with their watery environments?

Journal Reviews:
Characterizing the Mayan Terminal Classic Period: It was a truly trying -- and drying -- time.

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in Arid Central Asia: What was learned about the relationship between temperature and precipitation during the two periods?

Effects of Ocean Warming and Acidification on Jellyfish: Just how devastating is the combination?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on an Economically Important Seaweed: Even in seawater where photosynthetic rates of the alga are essentially saturated, elevated CO2 still boost its biomass production.

A Largely Unappreciated Effect of Elevated Atmospheric CO2 on Coastal Seawater Nitrogen Content: What is it? What is its magnitude? And how does it impact both ocean biology and global climate?

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Paper Birch (Darbah et al., 2010), Quaking Aspen (Darbah et al., 2010), Scots Pine (Alberton et al., 2010), and Tomato (Sun et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 857 individual scientists from 511 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from the European Margin of the North Atlantic. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)


Experiment to Test the Temperature Influence of Infrared Sky Radiation

As a follow-up to my controversial post on the effect of infrared “back radiation” downwelling from the colder sky to the warmer surface, the existence of which some dispute (despite the real-time availability of such data), I’ve come up with an experimental setup to see how IR radiation from the sky influences air temperature near the ground. (Yes, I know some of you think there is no such thing, but please indulge my fantasy as if it was true, ok?)

The design is pretty simple and inexpensive, and looks a little like the blackbody radiators that are used as calibration sources. The following cartoon shows the main components

The idea is to isolate a sample of air and control its environment so that it’s main source of energy gain or loss is through an opening that looks at the sky. You have probably noticed that on a clear evening, dew forms first on the tops of cars and other surfaces. This is because these surface are losing IR energy faster than the air and other surfaces are, so their temperature falls below the dewpoint temperature first.

If we can isolate that effect sufficiently from other sources and sinks of energy, we should be able to get air temperature drops within the cavity in the direction of the colder, effective sky temperature. (We use air since it is very hard to measure the temperature of a cold surface accurately, so we let the cold surface inside the cavity chill the air in contact with it).

The cavity will be lined with aluminum foil, which has very high reflectivity in the infrared, painted on the inside only with high-emissivity paint (Krylon flat white, #1502 if I can find it…apparently, black paint isn’t as good an emitter in the IR.)

The 2 thin polyethylene sheets are in the upward-looking cavity opening to trap a layer of air for thermal conductive insulation, while at the same time passing most IR radiation (something polyethylene is apparently quite good at). The thermal conductivity of the trapped air is a little better (less) than that of Styrofoam, but since convection can occur in an air cavity, I’m sure the actual rate of heat transfer will be more than that for Styrofoam.


(…assuming the experiment isn’t a complete failure because of something important I haven’t thought of…)

If you search around on the internet you will find that those who have made such broadband IR measurements of the sky (from what I can tell, usually with instruments that measure between 8 and 14 microns wavelength) report that the effective sky temperature in the infrared is usually 10 to 30 deg. C lower than the near-surface air temperature. Ten deg. C is more typical during humid conditions or cirrus cloud cover, while 30 deg. C would be during clear, low humidity conditions.

Low clouds produce a downwelling sky temperature nearly the same as the upwelling temperature. The sky temperature increases as you scan from the zenith down in elevation, due to the greater path length through the atmosphere.

As an example of the theoretically-expected difference in IR energy flows in and out of the cavity, at an emissivity of 1, a cavity at 300 K temperature should emit a broadband IR flux of 459 Watts/m2, while a downwelling apparent temperature of 290 K (10 deg. lower than the cavity) would produce 401 Watts/m2, the difference being 58 Watts per sq. meter.

In a perfect setup with a cavity emissivity of 1 and no other losses of energy under these conditions, the inside of the cavity would then cool to 10 deg. C less than the surrounding air temperature as the insulated cavity comes into radiative equilibrium with the sky. (I am currently monitoring 2 temperatures in my back yard, with the data sent to my computer by wireless. My first design failed due to large conductive energy loses, which led to the 2nd design, above).

Of course, a “perfect” experimental setup is not possible. I’ve run some numbers based upon the thermal conductivity of Styrofoam and I think I can keep the energy loses to about 20% of the signal being sought, but this is uncharted territory for me.


So, for all of you who think you know what will happen in this experiment, come on and tell the rest of us. Will the temperature of the air in the cavity stay the same? Will it cool? By how much?

I especially want to hear an answer to 2 questions:

(1) If you think the cavity will be the only source of IR radiation, and there is no downwelling IR radiation from the sky, then what will keep the air temperature inside from falling dramatically lower than the air temperature outside of the box?

(2) If you think the temperature in the cavity will not change, then what is keeping the IR radiation flowing out of the cavity toward the sky from causing a temperature fall? Wouldn’t want to violate the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, ya know.

Let the thinking begin. (Roy W. Spencer)


“The Greenhouse Effect – Part II” by Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.

Update #2 John Nielsen-Gamon has alerted us to more information on the Moon’s radiative temperature. John e-mailed

 I read your blog post on Greenhouse Part 2.  I also recently came across the Science of Doom web site; it seems to be of very high quality.  You might want to link to http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/06/03/lunar-madness-and-physics-basics/ [on] your post to direct the reader to further details on the radiative temperature of the Moon.

Update – corrected text (underlined) h/t to Gerald E. Quindry

We have received a further question on our post

“The Greenhouse Effect” by Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.

The question is summarized by the following text

Anyway my question refers to the common example of taking away the atmosphere and observing a cold surface. But as I understand it, the mean daytime surface temperature on the moon is over 100 C, with no  greenhouse effect. The mean nighttime temp drops to -150 C. http://www.solarviews.com/eng/moon.htm

This is important to note, because encouraging a popular picture in which the presence of the atmosphere only warms the surface takes all the convection and fluid dynamics out of the discussion, and that’s where all the important complexities are.

Isn’t it more the case that the atmosphere both warms and cools the surface, depending on circumstances? The IR absorption of H2O and other GHG’s warms the surface relative to what it would otherwise be, but as the lunar case shows, convection and turbulent mixing cools the surface relative to what would happen without an atmosphere. Take away the atmosphere and you take away both warming and cooling mechanisms.

We have reproduced the substance of our follow up answer below.

Predicting the surface temperature indeed involves the interaction of the atmospheric and ocean turbulent sensible and latent fluxes, long- and short- wave radiative fluxes and interfacial fluxes between the surface and the atmosphere. I have been urging for years to move away from the surface temperature to characterize global warming and cooling (and replace with ocean heat content changes in Joules) because the surface temperature is such a limited sample of the heat content changes of the climate system as well as involving these complicated feedbacks.

 On the Moon, there is, of course, no atmosphere, so its surface temperature results from the difference between the surface long wave radiative emissions, the amount of solar radiation absorbed and reflected, and the conduction of heat into and out of the surface. The effect of the atmosphere on Earth is to mute the diurnal (and seasonal) temperature range as a result of the turbulent fluxes, and other effects (such as clouds and precipitation). These atmospheric effects, for example, result in lower daytime and higher nighttime temperatures from what they otherwise would be. I presume this is the cooling and warming effects that you refer to. However, even with these effects, the surface is clearly warmer than it would be without the CO2 and water vapor IR absorption bands.

But the reasons are that the atmosphere scatters back to space some sunlight, and takes up some of the surface heating through conduction, and mixes it it by convection and turbulence. Also, the relatively rapid rotation of the earth on its axis  does not permit the daytime side to reach equilibrium before it starts nighttime cooling. As a result, daytime temperatures on earth are cooler than they would be with no atmosphere, and warmer at night than with no atmosphere.

Of course, the Moon, with no atmosphere, still  has to have basically the same effective radiating temperature as does the Earth. This should be

[sigma *Tmd**4 + sigma* Tmn**4]/2 = sigma*Te**4  where Tmd is the daytime temperature of of the Moon, Tmn is the night time temperature of the Moon, and Te is the effective radiating temperature of the Earth.

The fact that the daytime time temperature is warmer than the Earth’s temp is simply a result of the fact that the Moon is not in an equilibrium state – it warms up during the daytime and cools down at night, just as does the Earth. However the warming during day and cooling at night must balance each other or the Moon ( and the Earth) would be steadily heating up or cooling down over time.  The daytime warming occurs because the outgoing IR cannot balance the absorbed solar during the day. The nighttime cooling occurs because the outgoing IR is greater than the non-existing solar at night. The existence of a partially absorbing atmosphere does, as you stated, keep days cooler and nights warmer.

Also, the length of a day on the Moon is 29.5 earth days, almost a full Earth month. Therefore the daylight side of the Moon heats due to solar radiation, for half a month. Then when it’s night, it cools for another half month. Thus the daytime and nighttime temperatures are much more extreme. There is no greenhouse effect on the Moon, of course, and if the Moon’s day was the same 24 hours as an Earth day, its day and night temperatures would not vary  as much but its  radiative equilibrium temperature would be the same.

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


BP Oil Is Biodegrading, Easing Threat to East Coast

July 27 -- Oil from BP Plc’s record spill in the Gulf of Mexico is biodegrading quickly, probably eliminating the risk that crude will go around Florida and hit the U.S. East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Oil has been dissipating through evaporation since BP stopped the flow from its Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana on July 15, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco told reporters today on a conference call. Crude that’s dispersed into the sea is being gobbled up by bacteria, she said.

The company’s success in capping Macondo while continuing to drill a relief well to permanently plug the well eased fears that oil would get into the Loop Current, a river of warm water that joins the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. The Loop Current has shifted seasonally to a point hundreds of miles away from the BP oil slick, NOAA Oceanographer Debbie Payton said.

“If all is good for us, by the time the Loop Current comes back intruding into the Gulf, there will be no more oil,” Payton said today in a telephone interview. “It makes what was previously a very real threat to the Florida Straits null and void.” (Bloomberg)


BP Gets "Wake-Up Call" And $32 Billion In Spill Charges

BP Plc's newly named chief executive on Tuesday called the Gulf oil spill a "wake-up call" for the entire industry as the company tallied up its losses and disclosed two U.S. investigations.

Bob Dudley, who will replace gaffe-prone Tony Hayward as CEO on October 1, said safety would be among his highest priorities as he tries to refurbish the oil company's battered reputation.

Image repair may become even tougher after BP said it would offset the cost of the spill against its taxes, costing U.S. taxpayers almost $10 billion.

BP reported a second-quarter loss of $17 billion, including $32 billion in charges related to the oil spill, the largest in U.S. history. It also announced plans to sell $30 billion in assets over the next 18 months to help cover its liabilities. (Reuters)


Pohanka on Global Warming Alarmism

by Richard Morrison

July 27, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

At a time when most businesses are desperately trying to establish their “green” bona fides in a futile effort to placate the environmentalist movement, Washington, D.C.-area auto dealer and former National Automobile Dealers Association board member Geoffrey Pohanka is a breath of fresh air. His unabashed global warming realism is an inspiring reminder that some businessmen still have the wherewithal to fight back. Click on the video below to see Pohanka refutation of climate change alarmism.

Geoffrey Pohanka on the Global Warming Debate from Richard Morrison on Vimeo. (Cooler Heads)


Oil sands emissions dwarfed by coal

  July 27, 2010 – 8:14 pm

Coal produces far more greenhouse gases

By W.A. Dymond

U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson has suggested repeatedly that Canada needs to “do more” to reduce the carbon footprint from the oilsands, most recently in a Calgary speech July 19. Perhaps the ambassador should look more closely into his own mirror because, in point of fact, this would appear to be a case of “Old King coal calling the oil sands black” (or blacker). A few pertinent facts are worth noting:

According to both U.S. and Canadian government statistics, greenhouse gas emissions from the Canadian oil sands in 2007 were 37 megatons out of a total in Canada of 747 megatons, ie. 5% of the Canadian total but 0.5% of the U.S. total.

Emissions from U.S. coal-fired electricity from the same period were 1,987 megatons or 28 % of the U.S. total.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Not good. Shouldn't be restricting drilling: Congress Moves to Restrict Drilling Without Curbing Carbon

July 28 -- Congressional Democrats proposed tougher rules for offshore drilling in response to the worst oil spill in U.S. history, while spurning calls to place a price on carbon emissions.

House and Senate leaders presented legislation yesterday rewriting oil and natural-gas drilling rules more than three months after a rig leased by BP Plc exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The bills would strengthen safety and environmental standards for exploration in federal waters, give Congress direct oversight of offshore energy production, and require companies that cause spills to pay all damages.

Pleas from environmental groups and some companies that the Senate bill include limits on emissions that contribute to global warming were rejected after Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said there weren’t enough votes for the climate provisions. The House passed a cap-and-trade bill last year that would set limits on carbon dioxide linked to global warming and create a market in pollution allowances. (Bloomberg)


Justice through affordable energy for Wisconsin

Alleged threats of global warming disaster must not hobble justice and civil rights. Endangerment rules and cap-and-trade laws threaten jobs, opportunity and justice.

Click here to download the full report in PDF format

Paul Driessen recently released a report entitled Justice through Affordable Energy for Wisconsin. In this thoroughly researched report, Driessen analyzes why affordable energy is crucial to promoting justice and advancing civil rights. Driessen argues:

"Energy is the Master Resource – the foundation for everything we eat, make, ship and do. With abundant, reliable, affordable energy, almost anything is possible, and we can improve, enrich and safeguard countless lives. Without it, jobs, living standards, basic rights and modern civilization are imperiled."

Driessen also notes that laws and policies that restrict access to America’s abundant energy resources "block the door to opportunity, creating unnecessary and unacceptable obstacles to the natural, justifiable desire of poor and minority Americans to share in the American Dream. They tarnish the golden years of senior citizens, forcing too many to choose between heating and eating."

He also examines the oft-ignored risks of climate change policies and the devastating economic effects of a cap-tax-and-trade system. Driessen exposes popular renewable energy myths and reveals the realities. (CFACT)


Asian Energy and How it Affects the US

I am biased, but energy-related news items are some of the very few that really have a significant value for the world. They have an immediacy and they have an impact - positive if things go well, negative if things are left uncorrected. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)


Energy revolution could put bills up by a third

Householders face a £300-a-year rise in their gas and electricity bills and significant cuts in how much energy they use if Britain is to “keep the lights on” and meet its climate change targets, the Government has said. (TDT)

So get rid of the "climate change targets" then, dopey buggers!


Simply stupid: UK businesses face steep rise in energy bills

Government plans to secure energy supplies and cut carbon emissions means higher energy prices and bills for businesses (Guardian)


Climate Change Policies Threaten The Future Of The Energy Intensive Sector

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 08:14 Jeremy Nicholson, EIUG

The combined impact of the Government's climate change policies is imposing significant costs on the UK's energy intensive industries, and without urgent review could see some companies leaving the UK for good, warns a report published today. 

Steel making, ceramics, paper, cement and lime manufacture, aluminium, basic inorganic chemicals and other industries currently employ some 225,000 workers, producing products essential to the UK's low carbon economy, from steel and light weight composites for wind turbines and electric cars, to glass, ceramics and advanced insulating materials for low-energy housing. 

The Cumulative Impact of Climate Change Policies on UK Energy Intensive Industries is published by the Energy-Intensive Users Group (EIUG) and the TUC and says that the forecast increase in total energy bills, taking electricity, gas and emissions reduction schemes together, could be as high as 141 per cent by 2020. 

The report says that these cost increases present a major challenge to the viability of a number of named companies across different energy-intensive manufacturers in the UK - including ceramics, chemicals, steel, aluminium and paper.

Commenting on the report TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Employers and unions in these manufacturing industries are determined to make sure these companies have a future in the UK's low carbon economy. A just transition to a greener economy is vital for these industries and the jobs of the workers they employ, and they make a significant contribution to the UK economy." (GWPF)


Tata Steel May Exit U.K. as Climate Protection Rules Boost Cost of Power

Companies including Tata Steel Ltd. and GrowHow U.K. Ltd. may leave the U.K. as climate-protection policies boost electricity and natural-gas costs.

Factories will pay 18 percent to 141 percent more for gas, electricity and carbon-reduction programs by 2020, adding about 7 million pounds ($11 million) to the bill for a typical large energy consumer, the London-based Energy-Intensive Users Group and Britain’s Trades Union Congress said in a report on the impact of climate policy released today.

“The combined impact of the government’s climate change policies is imposing significant costs on the U.K.’s energy- intensive industries, and without urgent review could see some companies leaving the U.K. for good,” according to the report. (Bloomberg)



Rule By Elites Has Been Tried — And Failed

Many of the wonderful-sounding ideas that have been tried as government policies have failed disastrously. Because so few people bother to study history, often the same ideas and policies have been tried again, either in another country or in the same country at a later time — and with the same disastrous results.

One of the ideas that has proved to be almost impervious to evidence is the idea that wise and far-sighted people need to take control and plan economic and social policies so there will be a rational and just order, rather than chaos resulting from things being allowed to take their own course.

It sounds so logical and plausible that demanding hard evidence would seem almost like nit-picking.

In one form or another, this idea goes back at least as far as the French Revolution in the 18th century. As J.A. Schumpeter later wrote of that era, "general well-being ought to have been the consequence," but "instead we find misery, shame and, at the end of it all, a stream of blood."

The same could be said of the Bolshevik Revolution and other revolutions of the 20th century.

The idea that the wise and knowledgeable few need to take control of the less wise and less knowledgeable many has taken milder forms — and repeatedly with bad results as well. (Thomas Sowell, IBD)


JournoGate: From Listserv To Liberty

So a now-disbanded group of liberal journalists, who communed in a private e-mail forum known as JournoList, conducted conversations on how to steer the 2008 election toward an Obama-Biden victory. Should anyone be surprised by the naked partisanship?

The instances revealed last week by the Daily Caller Web site were certainly egregious. First came the revelation that some of the Journos sought to distract attention away from Democrat candidate Barack Obama's longtime connection to racist clergyman Jeremiah Wright by arbitrarily accusing a prominent conservative, any prominent conservative, of racism. That was outrageous enough.

Then came the plot, largely successful, to depict the engagingly competent governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, who happened to be Republican presidential candidate John McCain's choice for a running mate, as a soap-opera bimbo. The narrative would be about McCain's cynically sexist choice. The narrative's creators were themselves devolving into something sickly sexist. (K.E. Grubbs Jr., IBD)


On The Way: Job-Killing Tax Hikes

Fiscal Policy: Timothy Geithner thinks tax hikes will help the economy dig its way out of the hole. Can we really afford two more years of this kind of thinking?

Appearing Sunday on ABC News' "This Week," the secretary of the treasury said he had no problem with letting tax cuts expire for wealthy Americans. "It's responsible to let the tax cuts expire that just go to 2% to 3% of Americans, the highest-earning Americans."

Responsible? Quite the contrary. Indeed, letting taxes rise on the most productive Americans is the most irresponsible thing our government could be doing right now. By dooming us to a permanently lower rate of economic growth, it will kill literally millions of future jobs and trillions of dollars in future GDP.

The top 5% who will be targeted for tax hikes by the Obama administration at year-end are the nation's premier small business creators and entrepreneurs. The tax hike against the "rich" is in fact a tax hike on small businesses. The dirty secret is that small businesses usually don't pay taxes, unlike corporations. The owners do. (IBD)


Anti-vaccine group a threat

When their four-week-old baby daughter Dana died from whooping cough Toni and David McCaffery sought love and healing to ease their grief.

Instead, they say they were subjected to a campaign of harassment and abuse at the hands of anti-vaccination campaigners, a group who were yesterday labelled a serious threat to the public's health and safety.

The Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning against the Australian Vaccination Network after it refused to display a disclaimer on its website to inform readers its information should not be taken as medical advice.

Earlier this month the commission investigated the network, run out of Bangalow on the north coast by Meryl Dorey, and found its website presented incorrect and misleading information that was solely anti-vaccination and quoted selectively from research suggesting that vaccination may be dangerous. (SMH)

Let's not equivocate, anti vaccine campaigners are dangerous cranks.

Protection for the very young, the old and the immunocompromised depends on herd immunity, that is that sufficient of the surrounding community are immunized such that waves of infection cannot be sustained and contagion does not spread.

Freeloaders not willing to contribute to herd immunity should be expelled from society for the simple reason they weaken its defenses and endanger everyone. Anyone wishing to enjoy the considerable benefits of society must also accept the trivial risks of catastrophic loss.

Your child may indeed be one of the tiny few who suffer adverse reaction to vaccination but freeloading by requiring everyone else risk their children so that yours are protected by herd immunity is not an option.

Don't want your kid risked by vaccination? I understand Somalia has no vaccine program, try there.


Special report: Targeting teens for gastric bands

CHICAGO - After one patient died and others suffered serious complications following Lap-Band surgery, Dr. Neelu Pal had seen enough. A petite surgical resident now aged 40, she began quietly calling patients about to undergo the weight-loss procedure at New York University's Medical Center, telling them she feared for their safety.

Pal had previously raised her concerns with hospital officials, complaining - to no avail - about the lack of care given after surgery and incomplete or inaccurate medical forms that were taken prior to surgery.

She was fired weeks after hospital authorities learned she had contacted patients in January 2006. She has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit - the case is pending - and enrolled in law school. Pal, who came to the United States from India a little over a decade ago to practice medicine, says she has been blackballed from her chosen profession.

The NYU bariatric surgery practice where she worked is widely considered one of the world's most experienced. But in an interview with Reuters, Pal described the facility as a hectic Lap-Band factory. (Reuters)


Food Police

On my TV show on New Threats to Freedom, I thought I was joking when I used the term “Food Police,” but here they are, caught on tape.

Food faddists who buy raw food and unpasteurized milk are fools. There’s no good evidence that the food is healthier, and they risk their families’ health. The risk is real but small. If buyers of unpasteurized milk get sick, word will get out, and those sellers will be punished. Whole Foods already dropped these products because selling them would have raised their liability costs. (Stossel)

A bit ambivalent about this one. If it was only the dickheads who made their own choices that were at risk then laissez-faire is OK but that is not really the case with raw milk and dairy products. The situation here is that misguided bloody idiots feed it to babies and this with immature or compromised immune systems and we get trouble in the wider community, infection loci and transmission media for tuberculosis, brucellosis and other goodies like listeria, staph, salmonella, strep and E. coli.

We happily tolerate health department raids of rodent- and roach-infested food preparation areas, we expect those who traffic in rotten meat and other foodstuffs to be hunted out and I'm afraid I view raw dairy exactly the same way. If you are stupid on a farm then there's not a lot we can do about it but at least we can prevent you on-selling product which is far more likely than not to be pathogenic.


Excessive Intake of Omega 6 and Deficiencies in Omega 3 Induce Obesity Down the Generations

(July 26, 2010) — Chronic excess of linoleic acid (omega 6), coupled with a deficiency in alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3), can increase obesity down the generations. This has been demonstrated for the first time by Gérard Ailhaud (Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis) working in collaboration with three CNRS laboratories and one INRA laboratory. The researchers exposed several generations of male and female adult and young mice to a "Western-like" diet of this type, and then assessed the consequences of such a lipid environment in the human diet. (ScienceDaily)


Low-risk prostate cancer treated aggressively

CHICAGO - Many men with low-risk prostate cancer get aggressive treatment, increasing the risk of serious side effects, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They said more than 40 percent of men who fell below the current standard for getting a biopsy had their prostates removed surgically, and a third had radiation therapy.

They argue that current efforts to lower the threshold of what is considered an abnormal prostate cancer screening test would add significantly to the number of men who are overtreated for cancers that might never harm them. (Reuters)


Lice shouldn't keep kids at home: report

NEW YORK - Kids shouldn't be forced to miss school because they have head lice, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The report also says that pediatricians should be more involved in the management of lice because parents might not always know the best treatment - or if treatment is really necessary.

Head lice affects up to 12 million kids in the United States every year, according to federal health officials, and as much as $1 billion is spent annually on treatment. While head lice do not spread infection, their itch-inducing effects are well known.

Adult lice are about the size of sesame seeds, but often hard to spot because they can move around the head quickly. Easier to spot are nits -- small, empty egg casings that look like they could be dandruff but are stuck on to the root of the hair.

The report, the first update to the Academy's head lice guidelines since 2002, emphasizes that "no-nit" policies -- which keep kids with lice at home as long as they have any evidence of an infestation -- don't benefit these kids or their classmates and "should be abandoned."

"It makes no medical sense because the nits ... they're really stuck on the kid's hair," Dr. Barbara Frankowski, co-author of the report and a pediatrics professor at the University of Vermont, told Reuters Health. "I think it just sort of increases the hysteria and it makes kids miss school unnecessarily," she added. (Reuters Health)


Free Lunches and Foodfights: Fannie and Freddie Say ‘No’ to Greens

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not known for overly cautious mortgage financing. To the contrary, their open wallets helped fuel the credit crisis of 2008, and drove the two into federal receivership. To date, taxpayers have paid some $145 billion to keep them afloat, with no end in sight.

Thus, its rather surprising to see the two in court for being too stingy. But that’s exactly where they are, having been sued earlier this month by California for refusing to finance properties in the federal government’s “Property Assessed Clean Energy,” or PACE, program.  And politicians who control them are lining up to force them to open up their wallets again.   

This Obama-backed program, funded by Washington and administered by state and local governments, provides up-front financing for homeowners to make improvements in their home to increase energy efficiency. In return, the property owner pays back the loan over time through a voluntary increase in his or her property taxes.

In effect, the PACE loans become secured debt, with priority over all other lenders. It didn’t take long for Fannie and Freddie to see — correctly — that this put their own stakes at risk. The two have long required that there be no creditor with priority over them in properties they finance. And, with the two $145 billion in hock, now was not the time to bend the rules.  In May, they said they would not finance mortgages for properties with PACE debt.   This has put the whole PACE program in doubt.

Thus the California lawsuit, filed by Jerry Brown, which claims that Fannie and Freddie don’t understand the program. At the same time, legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to force the two to finance PACE-encumbered property.

Fannie and Freddie should get praise, not subpoenas,  for this decision. Defenders of PACE seem to see it as a classic free lunch:  all meal and no tab. Unlikely as it seems, it took these two firms — once hosts of their own free lunches — to say ‘no’ to this meal.

The question now is whether they will — or will be allowed to — stand firm. As government-run enterprises, the two are hardly in a position to ignore politics. And its been clear for some time that Fannie and Freddie are viewed as tools of administration policy.   A real food fight may be on the way.

Heritage Foundation Young Leaders Program member Stefanie Back contributed to the preparation of this piece. (The Foundry)


Software glitch undermines green houses

THE efficiency of Australian homes built to cut greenhouse emissions is in question due to errors in software that performs the calculations.

The errors, which are known to the CSIRO and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, make it likely that builders, designers and those looking to build a house are making wrong decisions, a leading scientist in energy efficiency told The Australian.

The software tool designed by the CSIRO produces consistently false results and distorts the energy ratings of homes. This pattern over several years must be costing the building industry and home owners dearly, according to Terry Williamson, who discovered the errors and alerted the CSIRO this month.

Associate Professor Williamson said the waste would be "a debacle to rival the Green Loan scheme", another botched energy-efficiency initiative, if the impact of the errors were shown to be as significant as he suspected.

The news came as Julia Gillard announced tax breaks for business to improve the energy efficiency of their commercial buildings. (Hedley Thomas, The Australian)


Growing Shortages of Water Threaten China’s Development

With 20 percent of the world’s population but just 7 percent of its available freshwater, China faces serious water shortages as its economy booms and urbanization increases. The government is planning massive water diversion projects, but environmentalists say conservation — especially in the wasteful agricultural sector — is the key. (Christina Larson, e360)



Cap-And-Trade On Ice

Energy Policy: Senate Democrats have shelved job-killing cap-and-trade legislation, at least for now. Neither the political nor the Earth's climate suggests it's a good time to try to fool Mother Nature or the American people.

After a Thursday meeting with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apparently dropped plans to pursue cap-and-trade before the August recess. He doesn't have the votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, and saving the earth from a phantom threat stands way below jobs on Americans' wish list. But watch out after November. (IBD)


Climate change plan collapses in Senate

There is plenty of blame to share for the political demise of climate change legislation in Washington. Timid Democrats, obstinate Republicans, a risk-averse White House and a sour public outlook that green groups couldn't counter. Each played a role.

Following a health care fight, a $1 trillion stimulus package and new financial regulations, there was neither the will nor patience for another major showdown. The doomed plan was built on the much-mocked cap and trade approach that set limits on carbon emissions (think mainly coal-fired power plants) and allowed polluters to buy and sell credits to stay within the caps. 

The House approved a significant plan last year and gave way to the Senate, which softened the plan and then gave up. "We know we don't have the votes," said the Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid of Nevada, who called off the fight. (SF Chronicle)


Kerry's lonely push on climate change

He fell just short of winning the White House in 2004. Four years later, he was rumored to be a leading contender to be secretary of state, until President-elect Barack Obama stunned everyone by tapping his former rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

But even as Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) announced last week that he had failed in his latest political endeavor, pushing through a bill to combat climate change, he predicted eventual success, invoking a Massachusetts colleague and presidential contender. 

"I just want to say to all of you on a personal level that, you know, I watched Ted Kennedy over 26 years fight to get tough things passed," Kerry said at a news conference Thursday. "And in 1970, he began that effort to pass health-care reform. We just got it this year. This is not going to take that long. This is not going to take close to that long." 

Rather than take up a bill seeking to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, a long-held Democratic goal and campaign priority of Obama's, Democrats will try to pass legislation over the next few weeks that would raise liability caps for companies such as BP after oil spills. The measure would also offer some incentives for Americans to buy more-energy-efficient products for their homes. 

The retrenchment comes after months of internal debate among Democrats, much of it led by Kerry. Last summer, the House pushed through a bill based on the principle of "cap and trade"; it set up emissions limits for companies that produce greenhouse gases, along with permits for emissions they could trade with one another. (WaPo)


Back to the future... Toxic fish could help Obama hit 2020 climate goal

WASHINGTON - A proposed rule on mercury, a pollutant bad for fish and the people who eat too many of them, could help the Obama administration get near its short-term climate goal - even if Congress fails this year or next to pass a bill tackling greenhouse gases directly.

Senate Democrats crafting an energy bill have abandoned until September, and probably through the rest of the year, debate on climate measures like carbon caps on power plants and mandates for utilities to produce more power from renewable sources like wind and solar.

But while many people concerned about climate control have been focusing on the Senate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under its Administrator Lisa Jackson, has been quietly preparing to crack down on coal, the most carbon-intensive fuel, like never before. (Reuters)

The idiotic mercury scare campaign has always been an attack on coal and affordable energy, it never had another purpose.


Reliable Information And Better Communication Needed To Guide U.S. Response To Climate Change

WASHINGTON — A comprehensive national response to climate change should be informed by reliable data coordinated through climate services and a greenhouse gas monitoring and management system to provide timely information tailored to decision makers at all levels, says a report by the National Research Council. The report recommends several mechanisms for improving communication about climate science and responses and calls for a systematic framework for making and evaluating decisions about how to effectively manage the risks posed by climate change. (NAS)

Assume, for a moment, that enhanced greenhouse will alter Earth's climate and the net balance will be bad. There are two choices of action:

You could try mitigation but by any realistic analysis that ship sailed decades ago. China and India will double their coal use over the next 20 years and global annual consumption is expected to rise from the current 6.7billion tons to 10billion at that time. Nor will Indonesia and Brazil leave their people in undeveloped poverty and rightly so. Regardless of Western actions atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will continue to rise throughout this century because people have no choice but to use carbon-dense fuels as the only realistic means of powering their development.

Alternatively you can go with adaptation and a no-regrets policy. This means maximizing reliable, affordable baseload power and generating wealth to underwrite expansion and hardening of infrastructure to cope with any adverse events experienced. This is what will be done because politicians can not hope to be elected on a platform of falling living standards and energy rationing.

Stop fussing about climate mitigation, it is not going to happen. Get on with preparing for anything which might happen and that means more baseload generating capacity and more infrastructure development.


BASIC meeting ends without consensus on climate change

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 26 -- A meeting of the BASIC group, formed by Brazil, South Africa, India and China, ended on Monday without consensus on a unified plan to deal with the global climate change.

The group, which met in Rio over the weekend, tried to reach a common ground on the maximum limit of carbon emissions for developing countries, to be presented to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, which will take place in Cancun, Mexico, in November.

As they failed to reach a common ground, the four countries decided to hold another meeting in Beijing in October. According to Brazilian Environment Minister Izabela Teixeira, the countries expect to achieve a convergent position at the Beijing meeting so they can work together in Cancun.

In Beijing, the BASIC countries will discuss the impacts of the carbon emission reduction on the economic development of developing countries.

Teixeira stressed that the Rio meeting is the first talks attended by technical personnel from the BASIC countries.

The minister also highlighted the transparency of the conversations and the presentation of concrete figures on each countries' situation. (Xinhua)


Philip Stott: Global Warming: the Death of a Grand Narrative

Grand narratives - those overarching, dominant systems of socio-political thought so beloved of post-modernists - come and go. Some, such as major religions, can persist, through shape-shifting, for millennia; others last for centuries, while most survive for mere decades.

The death of a grand narrative is often protracted and largely unnoticed, until, one day, its metalanguage, its corpus of words of magic, its ‘points de capiton’, to use the phrase proposed by the Freudian psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan (1901 – 1981), which for so long have kept people sub-consciously in its thrall, eventually lose all of their power and meaning, and prove no longer relevant to the lives of the majority. Such is the fate of mainstream Christianity in Britain today. For other grand narratives, by contrast, the collapse may be unexpectedly swift and dramatic, as with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The work of the ‘mauerspechte’ can thus take centuries, but it may also be accomplished within days or months.

Such is the current fate of global warming, the grand narrative that human greed and profligacy are changing the world’s climate apocalyptically, a sin that can only be appeased through public confession and self-sacrifice to the Goddess, Gaia. Since the farcical conclusion of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference last December, it has been fascinating, as an independent academic, to witness the classical collapse of this grand narrative, as if social and philosophical theories are being played out before our gaze. From Australia to the US, both the public and politicians are rowing back from the dangerous weir of trying to constrain economic growth in the name of achieving a utopian, low-carbon economy. The pursuit of carbon footprints is proving a ‘yomp’ too far.

Of course, the metalanguage of global warming continues to be employed by certain politicians, including the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, by some of the media, including parts of the BBC, and by green activists, but one can already sense the power of its ‘points de capiton’ draining away daily. ‘Sustainability’ is becoming an increasingly unsustainable concept. Indeed, newspapers like The Times, which rather belatedly jumped onto the global warming bandwagon, have had to resort to reheating old stories of fossil-fuel funding and other wearied tropes, even putting these bizarrely on the front page in a pathetic bid to revive flagging interest. More characteristically, however, there are now an increasing number of days when none of global warming’s words of power even feature in the press or over the airwaves, and, when they do, they are often employed mechanically, without thought, conviction, or meaning.

Meanwhile, as ever, protean capitalism remains piously pragmatic, employing the old language where it can glean money thereby, as with wind farms and food miles, while already adjusting to whatever might come next. Slowly, but inexorably, a new set of metalanguages is arising, relating to food security, energy security, human genetic choices, but above all to adaptation and to flexibility in the face of normal change. (GWPF)


The Green exodus from the Big Scare

Video available on the CFACT site.

Another Green soul declares enough is enough. It’s a question of conscience.

Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt is a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa (as green as they come), and has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement. He runs a radio show, and speaks with many activists and NGO’s around the world. He claims that the “activists in the developing world, who need to directly defend their own neighborhoods, they understand that this global warming thing is an invention.

Climate Depot has released a video of Dr. Rancourt: Man-made global warming is nothing more than a “corrupt social phenomenon.”It is as much psychological and social phenomenon as anything else” .

“I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized,” Rancourt said.

“Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass,” he stated.

Rancourt is scathing of universities (and rightly so):

“They are all virtually all service intellectuals. They will not truly critique, in a way that could threaten the power interests that keep them in their jobs. The tenure track is just a process to make docile and obedient intellectuals that will then train other intellectuals,” Rancourt said.

“You have this army of university scientists and they have to pretend like they are doing important research without ever criticizing the powerful interests in a real way. So what do they look for, they look for elusive sanitized things like acid rain, global warming,” he added. This entire process “helps to neutralize any kind of dissent,” according to Rancourt. More »

(Jo Nova)


Muir Russell Climategate Findings: Superficial, Uncompelling

by Chip Knappenberger
July 26, 2010

Reactions to the findings of the last of the investigations into the “meaning” of the contents of the Climategate emails—the so-called Muir Russell report—are still trickling in. And truly, there have been few surprises.

The Muir Russell panel—hired by the University of East Anglia (UEA)—concluded (some add, predictably) that the scientists from for the Climate Research Unit (CRU, which is part of the UEA) had not really done anything wrong aside from not being particularly cooperative with folks that they didn’t like.

The CRU scientists and their close colleagues who were caught up in the Climategate affair claim vindication (see RealClimate), alarmists love it (see ClimateProgress, Newsweek), those in the middle were a bit displeased (see The Atlantic, New Scientist) or wishy-washy (see DotEarth), and those feel that the Climategate emails revealed glaring problems with how climate change research is being conducted and brought to the public were crying “whitewash” (see Wall Street Journal, Watts Up with That).

It makes me wonder why Muir Russell bothered in the first place.

I find my reaction somewhere between the last two categories, which I guess would make me wishy-whitewashy. I don’t think Climategate revealed any great fractures in the general concept that human greenhouse gas emissions are leading to a warmer world, but it most definitely did confirm what I felt had been the case all along—that the Climategaters were not playing fair. And not playing fair has a lot more consequences than the Muir Russell panel cared to admit—this is where the “whitewash” comes in for me. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Pat Sajak solves manmade global warming

I’m sure that many will dismiss this because, well, ‘he’s a game show host”. But, most people don’t know this, but Pat was the TV weatherman for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles before being recruited by Merv Griffin for “Wheel of Fortune”. He also served in Vietnam, working in the Armed Forces Radio Network. So, he knows something not only about weather and climate, broadcasting, and human nature when money is involved as well.

Maybe he can teach these guys something?

MIT’s “wheel of climate” – image courtesy Donna Coveney/MIT

This excerpt from Pat Sajak’s essay on Ricochet.com yesterday, h/t to Planet Gore

Manmade global warming, like so many other social and economic issues, has become hopelessly politicized. Each side has dug in its heels and has accused the other of acting irresponsibly and dishonestly. For the believers, the other side has become the equivalent of Holocaust deniers; and for the doubters, the other side has become a cult intent on manipulating mankind to remake the world in some sort of natural Utopian image.

The divide has become so great, it seems virtually impossible to bridge the gap. However, I’m not writing for Ricochet merely to outline problems; I’m here to offer real solutions. And I’m not just blowing carbon dioxide.

Continue reading (WUWT)


Junior's still anti-carbon, he just thinks it should be achieved by stealth: Personal Insecurity and Climate Politics

Last week I suggested that Julia Gillard, Australia's Prime Minister, was asking for trouble by promising that carbon pricing would transform society:

When will politicians learn that climate policies are a political loser if they require that people "transform the way we live and the way we work"? The vast majority of people simply do not want their lives transformed. Promising that government will transform your life is one way to ensure a rough political road for any policy -- climate change, health care, economic, whatever.
Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations presents a similar argument with respect to "green jobs":
Basically, cap-and-trade introduces uncertainty at an individual level (though it does the opposite for actual investors); in the current economic climate, that scares people into thinking that they will lose their jobs. . . Anything that the public is unfamiliar with adds to uncertainty – and that is precisely what people don’t want. Second, green jobs may poll well across a wide spectrum of voters, but that doesn’t mean that selling regulation or taxation with a jobs message will work.
To succeed, policies focused on decarbonizing the global economy must not be seen as adding to personal insecurities, better yet, they should add to personal security. This should be a major lesson taken from the failure of US climate legislation. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

What he fails to realize is that it is the goal of "decarbonzing" itself that is just plain wrong. It has no upside for any but green puritans and people haters.


Converging weather patterns caused last winter's huge snows

A warming world can still see severe storms

The memory of last winter's blizzards may be fading in this summer's searing heat, but scientists studying them have detected a perfect storm of converging weather patterns that had little relation to climate change. The extraordinarily cold, snowy weather that hit parts of the U.S. East Coast and Europe was the result of a collision of two periodic weather patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, a new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds. (The Earth Institute at Columbia University)

Nice to see this admission: "Snowy winters will happen regardless of climate change," said Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Lamont-Doherty and lead author of the study. "A negative North Atlantic Oscillation this particular winter made the air colder over the eastern U.S., causing more precipitation to fall as snow. El Niño brought even more precipitation—which also fell as snow."


Could 2011 be the Year Without Summer?

It happened in 1816 and is bound to happen again. 

In 1816 the northern hemisphere suffered through the year without summer. During the previous winter the Mt Tambora volcano erupted. Thousands froze to death due to the bitter cold the atmospheric ash clouds created.

Frost killed most of the early crops as late as May that year in North America. Frost and snow killed even crops more in June. Riots, arson, and looting flared up in Europe as common food stores became scarce. Lake and river ice were recorded in Pennsylvania in July and August. 1816 also was a year of historic low solar activity as measured by 1816 era telescopes counting sunspots.

Do we have anything like this to fear in 2011? All the stars, including our own, are aligning for a repeat performance by Mother Nature. Consider: (Tom Rowan, American Thinker)


Three Papers On The Role Of Surface Landscape Albedo On Radiative Forcing

There are three interesting papers on the role of the land surface in human caused climate change (h/t to Anthony Watts’s post Cooler white roofs – no complaints there).  In this case, the focus is on urban albedo.

The importance of this paper is that if such a significant effect on radiative forcing can be achieved by altering the urban albedo, a much larger radiative effect also occurs with other land use/land cover change! (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Climate Concerns May Soon be a Thing of the Past as Scientists Work on Splitting CO2

A team of scientists at George Washington University and Howard University have devised a theoretical means of splitting CO2, turning the demon gas into either solid carbon or into carbon monoxide, CO. The CO could be used to generate hydrocarbon fuels with the aid of hydrogen -- a by-product of their theoretical process "STEP" (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo). ( Al Fin)

That's lovely but CO2 doesn't really have anything to do with worries about climate.


Offshore wind needs £10bn to avoid missing green targets

Britain's offshore wind ambitions will face a £10bn funding gap within five years, energy experts will warn today, and the Government's legally-binding 2020 green targets will not be met unless the deficit can be closed.

This comes a day after Energy Minister Chris Huhne revealed plans for a huge expansion of the UK's wind turbines, saying wind power would be an "important part" of meeting the country's energy demands in the future. (The Independent)


This talk of wind farms is so much hot air

The Lib Dems' championing of alternative energy will leave us all in the dark, says Clive Aslet. (TDT)


Nordic Nuclear Revival

In news that signals a sea-change in European nuclear energy policy, Finland's parliament has voted to build two additional nuclear reactors to augment the four they already operate. When this expansion is complete, nuclear power will provide half of Finland's electricity. Following in Finland's footsteps, their Nordic neighbor Sweden has announced that it will also build new reactors. The intention being to replace the reactors at their 10 existing nuclear power plants when the old ones are shut down. This reverses a 1980 referendum that called for them to be phased out entirely. Sweden and Finland have concluded that greenhouse gases can only be cut and energy security guaranteed with continued or greater reliance on atomic power. read more (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)



Investors: Fear the Process That Gave Us ObamaCare, Not Efforts to Repeal It

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

Ezra Klein writes:

So long as the political system is working reasonably well, we can get out from even quite a lot of debt. But the more it breaks down — the more the market sees things like the deficit commission rejected by its Republican sponsors in Congress, the more it hears threats to repeal the deficit reduction in health-care reform, the more it seems likely that Democrats will become just as unreasonably obstructionist when they become the minority — the more it has reason to worry.

I doubt that investors worry more when they hear threats to repeal ObamaCare or its Medicare cuts, which few took seriously in the first place. Given that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan chief actuary of the Medicare program, and even the International Monetary Fund have all expressed skepticism that those cuts will take effect, I expect investors have already discounted claims that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit.

More generally, the problem is not that the political system is breaking down.  That system is working pretty much the same way it always has and always will: it promotes irresponsibility.  Republicans and Democrats are merely responding to the incentives created by the system in which they operate.  (If they didn’t respond to those incentives, the political system would throw them out and replace them with people who do.)  If investors don’t already understand that, the sooner the better.

This is why responsible people want to take responsibility for our health care, etc., out of the hands of politicians. (Cato at liberty)


JournoLism's Bias

JournoGate: For those who think the growing JournoList scandal is much ado about nothing, think again. It's about secrecy and power among the left-wing media — and leads all the way into the White House.

One of the defenses put forward by those taking part in the JournoList — the secretive online discussion forum for liberal journalists and "experts" — is that it was really just a place to talk and discuss things without a lot of argument from those who don't share their left-leaning views.

But JournoList, formerly run by Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein, was much more than that. It was an attempt to secretly influence public debate in one partisan direction — toward the Democrats — and to bias the news toward both the liberal political agenda and the election of Barack Obama.

In essence, all these left-leaning journalists, an estimated 400 in all, used the JournoList site to refine their messages for maximum effect. It was an exercise in mass propaganda, getting everyone to sing from the same ideological hymnal — which explains the tedious sameness of the mainstream media's 2008 election coverage.

In short, they were fraudulently selling you political opinion and propaganda disguised as fair-minded "news." (IBD)


Wasn't it supposed to be "First Do No Harm"?

What would you think about a medical practice officially sanctioned by the American College Of Surgeons that supplants—for no reason other than greed—a non-surgical procedure that cures the condition 82% of the time?

And, what if this very surgery is actually the leading cause of the condition recurring again and again?

Welcome, friends, to the sad and convoluted world of Small Bowel Obstruction (SBO). Surprisingly, SBO accounts for 20% of all acute surgical admissions in the United States. Or, maybe I should have said "Not surprisingly," given that this very surgery begets more of the same surgery.

Nice work if you can get it, as long as you're not the patient. Read all about it in my latest HND article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Frustration grows as AIDS science, politics clash

VIENNA - An international AIDS conference has exposed a gulf between scientists and politicians on how to tackle the deadly HIV pandemic.

Despite promises from governments around the world to pursue evidence-based policies, AIDS experts are frustrated at a refusal to adapt to new ways of looking at HIV and the people most at risk of contracting it.

It is a stance that displays discrimination and criminal negligence, says Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society, who has led a drive at the conference to get politicians to wake up to the evidence.

"Yes we are treating five million people today, but there are 10 million people who need treatment, otherwise they will get sick and die. Not treating them amounts to criminal negligence," he told Reuters. (Reuters)


Legislature passes bill targeting childhood obesity

Junk food sales curbed in schools

A bill to restrict the sale of high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sodium snacks in schools has hit Governor Deval Patrick’s desk and could be law within 10 days.

The legislation, meant to limit childhood obesity, cleared its final procedural votes yesterday.

Under the bill, schools would be encouraged to sell nonfried fruit and vegetables, whole grain products, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, noncarbonated water, and juice with no additives. (State House News Service)


Ad Rules Stall, Keeping Cereal a Cartoon Staple

Lucky Charms. Froot Loops. Cocoa Pebbles. A ConAgra frozen dinner with corn dog and fries. McDonald’s Happy Meals. 

These foods might make a nutritionist cringe, but all of them have been identified by food companies as healthy choices they can advertise to children under a three-year-old initiative by the food industry to fight childhood obesity. 

Now a hard-nosed effort by the federal government to forge tougher advertising standards that favor more healthful products has become stalled amid industry opposition and deep divisions among regulators. 

A report to Congress from several federal agencies — expected to include strict nutritional definitions for the sorts of foods that could be advertised to children — is overdue, and officials say it could be months before it is ready. Some advocates fear the delay could result in the measure being stripped of its toughest provisions. (NYT)


Ready in minutes … but micro meals are obesity timebomb

They were the kitchen saviours that freed up time for busy working mothers and delivered adventurous dishes from the microwave within minutes.

Yet the popularity of the humble ready meal is contributing to a health timebomb.

Only around one in three meals is now cooked from scratch, with pre-prepared convenience foods and takeaways increasingly favoured.

The statistics, and the knock-on health implications for growing diabetes, heart disease and childhood obesity, could take at least a generation to change, according to one campaigner, who called for a wholesale “restructure of society” to combat the problem. (The Herald)


Obese kids' feet found to be flatter and fatter

NEW YORK - It's known that obese children tend to have "flatter" feet than their normal-weight peers, but it has been unclear whether that reflects a potential problem in the foot's bone structure or simply extra fat padding. A new study suggests that it's both.

In general, people with "flat feet" have a lowered arch at the inside of the foot, such that if they wet their feet and stood on a flat surface, they would leave a complete footprint.

All babies and toddlers have flat feet, with the arch developing during childhood; obese children are more likely than their thinner peers to retain a flat foot -- as measured by footprint in studies -- and it has been assumed that this is because their extra weight creates a "fallen" arch.

But the other possibility is that heavier children simply have more fat padding the soles of their feet. (Reuters Health)


Trust doctor in child obesity intervention warning

A leading Belfast paediatrician has echoed calls for child protection services to intervene in the most serious cases of child obesity. 

Dr Daphne Primrose, consultant paediatrician with Belfast Trust child protection team, said that parents who fail to act face intervention. 

She said that where obesity caused mobility problems or emotional difficulties, parents needed to work with the authorities. (BBC)


Regulation That Kills Jobs

In his latest weekly radio address, President Obama talked about jobs. “Too many Americans whose livelihoods have fallen prey to the worst recession in our lifetimes – a recession that cost our economy 8 million jobs – still wonder how they’ll make ends meet,” he said. Then Obama called for special measures to create more employment.

If the president means what he says, he may want to take a second look at the recent behavior of his own Environmental Protection Agency. (AgWeb)


UK pulls funding for green advisors, criticised

LONDON, July 22 - Britain's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government said on Thursday it would cut funding to green advisory bodies, a move sharply criticised by green campaigners and members of parliament.

Caroline Spelman, minister at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, announced withdrawal of funding for the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the body was tasked with providing advice to government departments on green issues.

She also announced the abolition of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

"Defra has around 90 arm's-length bodies, many of which were set up at a time when our understanding of and engagement with environmental issues was less mainstream," she said.

"Most of the things that these bodies do is now part of what the government does as a matter of course. Others are now no longer necessary." (Reuters)

In truth, none were ever "necessary" or even desirable.


Making Transit More Cost-Effective

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has asked for public comment on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s proposal to eliminate a rule that limits federal funding of particularly wasteful rail transit projects. The Cato Institute has submitted comments arguing that, instead of eliminating the rule, the FTA should strengthen it, but also give transit agencies more flexibility in defining the goals of new projects. (Cato at liberty)


Agencies Plan to Reduce Canada Geese Population in New York State by Two-Thirds

Officials plan to reduce the number of Canada geese in New York State by two-thirds, eventually trimming the population to 85,000 from 250,000, according to a report prepared by several city, state and federal agencies.

The reduction is part of a larger plan that also calls for the near halving of the Canada geese population in 17 Atlantic states, to 650,000 from 1.1 million. The New York Times obtained a copy of the report.

In New York City, the report says, the current goose population of 20,000 to 25,000 is “five times the amount that most people would find socially acceptable,” suggesting the number would be reduced to about 4,000.

A high-level official of the United States Department of Agriculture who is familiar with the proposal called it a “one-of-a-kind plan.”

“New York is leading the way,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. Plans for other areas, he said, “do not include all the scientific background.” (NYT)


Bushmen of the Kalahari are denied water

Botswana's High Court has ruled that the Bushmen must not be provided with water, says Christopher Booker 

More disturbing news of the Botswanan government's ruthless persecution of the Bushmen, whom it has been trying since 1996 to expel from their ancestral homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. In 2006 the Botswana High Court ruled that the Bushmen had a constitutional right to remain in the reserve, set up for that purpose by the British in 1961. The court also ruled that the Bushmen had the right to a water supply, cut off by the Botswanan authorities in 2002, without which, in one of the driest places on earth, they cannot survive. 

Last week Survival International reported that, in complete contradiction of its earlier judgment, the court has now ruled that the water supply must not be reconnected – and that the Bushmen are prohibited from digging for water elsewhere. It is even illegal for several hundred Bushmen who have returned to the reserve to be brought water from outside. 

Meanwhile a new tourist lodge inside the reserve is amply supplied with water (enough for guests to cool off in a swimming pool), on condition that Bushmen have no access to it. Not the least shameful aspect of this shocking affair is that, ever since 1996, Botswana's policy has been fully supported, 
in our name, by successive British governments. (Christopher Booker, TDT)



Climate bill blame game begins

Eighteen months ago, Barack Obama took office pledging to deal with a “planet in peril.”

His party held big majorities in Congress, and the House answered by passing a tough cap-and-trade bill. A massive climate conference in Copenhagen, with Obama at the center of the action, focused the world on the need to address global warming.

Then came the nation’s worst-ever environmental disaster, an oil spill in the Gulf that put momentum behind environmentalists and scarred the image of big, polluting industries.

Add in a summer of record-high temperatures, and it would seem the stars had been aligned like never before for climate legislation.

But by Thursday, the White House’s biggest energy and environmental initiative sat in tatters, relegated to an unknown election-year abyss after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he didn’t yet have 60 votes and would instead move to the lowest hanging energy fruit.

The blame game has already begun. (Politico)



Take credit for a job well done: The Right and the Climate

Climate change legislation has been dying in the Senate for months now, but Harry Reid’s decision to finally admit as much — in the midst of an endless East Coast heat wave, no less — has supporters of cap-and-trade casting about for somebody to blame. They’ve blamed the Obama administration, for prioritizing health care reform over an energy bill. They’ve blamed the American people, for being too concerned with economic issues to grapple with longer-term threats. And they’ve blamed figures like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, erstwhile supporters of cap-and-trade who have steadily backpedaled away from it. 

But most of all, they’ve blamed conservatives — for pressuring Republican lawmakers to abandon legislation they once supported, and for closing ranks against any attempt to tax and regulate our way to a lower-carbon economy. 

Cap-and-trade’s backers are correct to point the finger rightward. If their bill is dead, it was the American conservative movement that ultimately killed it. Climate legislation wasn’t like health care, with Democrats voting “yes” in lockstep. There was no way to get a bill through without some support from conservative lawmakers. And in the global warming debate, there’s a seemingly unbridgeable gulf between the conservative movement and the environmentalist cause. (Ross Douthat, NYT)


Action on carbon is down the drain

The Democratic leadership in the US Senate has suspended efforts to pass a climate change bill. It abandoned not only its planned comprehensive cap-and-trade measure, similar to one already passed by the House of Representatives, but also a more modest bill aimed at electric utilities. The Senate will most likely pass an energy bill of some sort, but this will barely even pretend to make progress on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

This surrender concludes a story that began with the Kyoto protocol in 1997 and reached its climax last December at the Copenhagen climate change conference. At that long-anticipated gathering, the world’s governments expected to replace the Kyoto system, which had made no perceptible dent in the problem, with a new and more effective regime. They left with nothing.

No matter, smiled Barack Obama and other leaders through clenched teeth: this would not stop the US and its partners moving forward with plans of their own. Oh, really? The whole enterprise, from top to bottom, has now collapsed. Some will celebrate – they think climate change was a scam to begin with – but that is a far bigger mistake. The cap-and-trade approach, especially as shaped by Congress, left a lot to be desired, but a strong scientific consensus points to the need for speedy action. (Clive Crook, Financial Times)

Bull spit! Crook thinks speedy action is required but views things quite wrongly. There will be no international carbon market or constraint for some very practical reasons:

The West does not control global industry, energy use or carbon emissions;

The IEA has just reported China and India will double their already prodigious coal consumption by 2030 and increase global annual consumption from 6.7billion to 10billion tons;

China, India, Brazil and Indonesia will not keep their people in poverty by neglecting development (nor should they) and their only achievable means of powering that development is through coal-fired electricity generation;

No amount of Western austerity or any local action can make any appreciable difference in atmospheric CO2 levels;

Regardless of whether enhanced greenhouse will or will not cause detrimental change the correct response is to maximize availability of reliable, affordable power so the populace can defend themselves against temperature extremes and to maximize wealth generation so we can afford to develop and harden infrastructure against any adverse events.

Carbon constraint has never been a viable option despite any greenie dreams to the contrary and a no-regrets, full-on development path is the way to protect people against any possible negative effects.

Adaptation can work, mitigation can not.

Remember too that life on Earth booms with more CO2 and returning previously lost CO2 to the atmosphere is the best thing people have ever done for nature, albeit accidentally.


Liberal activists say good riddance to Kerry-Lieberman climate legislation

Liberal and environmental activists say that Democrats will not suffer in November because of their failure to pass Senate climate change legislation.

Charles Chamberlain, political director of Democracy for America, an advocacy group founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, said liberal voters are happy that a climate bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was shelved.

“The reality is that the base didn’t have a lot at stake in the climate bill,” said Chamberlain. (The Hill)


They'll keep coming: Time to Bury Cap and Trade and Plan Anew

The latest death of cap and trade demands a fundamentally new clean energy strategy designed to overcome political obstacles to carbon pricing and simultaneously achieve the primary objective upon which our climate future hinges: making clean energy cheap. (Breakthrough Institute)


A Carbon “Price” means a Carbon “Tax”

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for an end to deceptive advertising regarding Global Warming Policies.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that those calling for a “Price on Carbon” should speak the truth and call it a “Tax on the Production of Carbon Dioxide”.

“Similarly the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) had nothing to do with pollution but everything to do with imposing taxes and rationing on economic activity.” (CSC)


Australia PM Again Delays Emissions Trading

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard reaffirmed on Friday a delay in introducing a price for carbon pollution, angering environmentalists, scientists and business ahead of her bid to secure re-election.

The delay, until 2012 at least, is certain to test the ruling Labor Party's ties with the small Greens party ahead of the August 21 contest. The Greens are set to be kingmakers in the next parliament, controlling the balance of power in the Senate upper house. (Reuters)

I wonder if Reuters really doesn't know that the misnamed Australia Institute is a misanthropic greenie front? Hard to imagine that is the case so they have included quotes from representatives of the few dozen die-hard green nitwits as representing Australian voters generally...

The true situation is that former leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, was supporting the watermelons and preparing to help sign Australia up for economic suicide. This caused a grassroots revolt and massive e-mail/fax/telephone demand that the Opposition change course immediately, led to the change of Opposition Leaders to Tony "Climate change is crap" Abbott, a crash in support for Kevin "Climate is the great moral imperative of our time" Rudd and subsequent surgical removal as Prime Minister by the Labor Party, who have now adopted the Opposition Coalition's position of no action on climate until and unless the rest of the world is really that stupid and goes first.

The bottom line is that, apart from window dressing and the odd voter sop, "action on climate change" is a political non-starter in Australia.


A Green Retreat

Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner.

Just three years ago the politics of global warming was enjoying its golden moment. The release in 2006 of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, had riveted global audiences with its predictions of New York and Miami under 20 feet of water. Within 12 months, leading politicians with real power were on board. Germany’s Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor” by her country’s press, arranged a Greenland photo op with a melting iceberg and promised to cut Europe’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called climate change a scourge equal to fascism, offered 60 percent by 2050. In December 2007, the world got its very first green leader. Harnessing the issue of climate change, Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia, ready to take on what he called “the biggest political, economic, and moral challenge of our times.” Now, almost everywhere, green politics has fallen from its lofty heights. (Newsweek)


You can't be allowed a choice: Only Bureaucrats Can Solve Global Warming

Five years ago, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham joined a handful of senators traveling to the Yukon territory to view firsthand the effects of climate change. Witnessing melting ice caps and permafrost, and Inuit communities struggling to cope with a transforming environment, Graham was “moved.” “Climate change is different when you come here, because you see the faces of people experiencing it,” he said. In the following years, he asserted that “climate change is real” and promoted a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate.

Today, Graham is sprinting in the other direction. In April, he abandoned his climate bill when Democrats decided to focus on immigration reform first. He remained opposed even when they ultimately agreed to take it up. These days, he is refusing to acknowledge that carbon-dioxide emissions cause warmer temperatures. “I think they’ve been alarmist and the science is in question,” he says. Graham no longer sounds especially moved by the plight of the Inuit, who may be facing a threat to their way of life but are not facing the threat of a right-wing primary challenge.

The canary in the coal mine is a classic metaphor for the science of climate change. For the politics of climate change, Graham is the canary. Once the sole Senate Republican supporting cap-and-trade, he’s keeled over in his cage, his limp corpse a sign that Congress can’t handle this issue. There’s only one solution at hand: Let the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) impose regulations to stop climate change. (The New Republic)


Senate Energy Debate is Still all About Cap-and-Trade

A headline on Thursday screamed: “Democrats pull plug on climate bill.” Don’t believe it. It’s a diversionary tactic.

The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leadership, seeing their window for shoving the country to the hard left closing quickly, are intent on making one last major push for cap-and-trade. It starts with their “spill-response bill” or “energy bill,” but it’s really about cap-and-trade.

The irony is that the political genius of cap-and-trade was supposed to be that it hides a tax hike from the American people. 

The concept was developed largely as a response to the political price suffered by Democrats for their advocacy of outright energy taxes. As Al Gore explained: “I worked as vice-president to enact a carbon tax. Clinton indulged me against the advice of his economic team. That contributed to our losing Congress two years later to Newt Gingrich.”

Enter cap-and-trade: the code-worded way to impose a massive energy tax and pretend it's not a tax. The political “innovation” of cap-and-trade is that instead of levying a tax directly, it puts a cap on overall greenhouse gas emissions, and establishes a market for companies to buy and sell the permits. 

So it’s a tax with the added uncertainty of the tax rate being set at auction, making it a tax with an unknown rate. The Congressional Budget Office scored the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill as an $846 billion tax hike. They also admitted the costs will be passed onto consumers in higher prices. (Phil Kerpen, FoxNews.com)


Oh... We’re Gonna Be Sorry

When I first heard on Thursday that Senate Democrats were abandoning the effort to pass an energy/climate bill that would begin to cap greenhouse gases that cause global warming and promote renewable energy that could diminish our addiction to oil, I remembered something that Joe Romm, the climateprogress.org blogger, once said: The best thing about improvements in health care is that all the climate-change deniers are now going to live long enough to see how wrong they were.

Alas, so are the rest of us. I could blame Republicans for the fact that not one G.O.P. senator indicated a willingness to vote for a bill that would put the slightest price on carbon. I could blame the Democratic senators who were also waffling. I could blame President Obama for his disappearing act on energy and spending more time reading the polls than changing the polls. I could blame the Chamber of Commerce and the fossil-fuel lobby for spending bags of money to subvert this bill. But the truth is, the public, confused and stressed by the last two years, never got mobilized to press for this legislation. We will regret it. (Thomas L. Friedman, NYT)


Anatomy of a Botched Ambush: ABC Fails to Score Global Warming Point on Inhofe

Network's senior congressional correspondent tries to conflate weather with climate, which alarmists cried foul over during this year's winter weather. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)


Governor: Freezing AB32 'would be devastating'

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sat down to sign AB32, the state's climate change law, California ensured its reputation as a green legislation pioneer by putting caps on greenhouse gases.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says political candidates and forces in his own party who argue for the suspension of the state's climate change law are "trying to pull the wool over people's eyes" and have "the intention of eliminating" the landmark climate change bill he signed in 2006.

"There is no suspension," the governor said in an interview with The Chronicle last week, adding that the state's economy is "like a ship - and when you approach the iceberg, you cannot just move the ship." 

Likewise, the state cannot "from one year to the next, change policy and stop the creation of jobs," he said. "We have to be consistent and stay in place. You have to be flexible with your regulations, and you've got to move forward." (SF Chronicle)


Climate law adds jobs to state payroll

The state's landmark global warming law has yet to create the promised bonanza of green jobs, but it has boosted payrolls in another sector of the economy: state government.

At a time of budget cuts and state worker furloughs, the state agency primarily responsible for regulating global warming has bulked up its staff as it prepares to enforce AB 32, the climate change law signed in 2006 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Since 2007, the California Air Resources Board has added more than 150 employees, an increase of 12.5 percent. The additions include dozens of scientists, engineers, technicians and other air pollution experts. (Sacramento Bee)


Taxpayers Sue Gov. Gregoire to Invalidate Climate Change Executive Order

OLYMPIA—Today a group of six taxpayers filed a lawsuit to invalidate an executive order issued by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

“We believe Gov. Gregoire’s climate change executive order is an unconstitutional order,” said Michael Reitz, director of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation’s Constitutional Law Center, who represents the taxpayers in this case. “Gov. Gregoire violated the doctrine of separation of powers by snatching a failed bill out of the legislative process and issuing it in the form of an executive order. If the governor wants to pass laws, she’s in the wrong branch of government.” (Freedom Foundation)


Desperate days for the warmists

Warmists may be winning the big grants, but they're not winning the argument, says Christopher Booker

Ever more risibly desperate become the efforts of the believers in global warming to hold the line for their religion, after the battering it was given last winter by all those scandals surrounding the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

One familiar technique they use is to attribute to global warming almost any unusual weather event anywhere in the world. Last week, for instance, it was reported that Russia has recently been experiencing its hottest temperatures and longest drought for 130 years. The head of the Russian branch of WWF, the environmental pressure group, was inevitably quick to cite this as evidence of climate change, claiming that in future "such climate abnormalities will only become more frequent". He didn't explain what might have caused the similar hot weather 130 years ago.

Meanwhile, notably little attention has been paid to the disastrous chill which has been sweeping South America thanks to an inrush of air from the Antarctic, killing hundreds in the continent's coldest winter for years. (Christopher Booker, TDT)


Mrs. Madoff Exonerates Michael Mann

Pennsylvania State University recently released a report summarizing its final “investigation” into whether one of its employees had committed scientific misconduct. The report exonerated Dr. Michael Mann of all charges, although he did receive a tap on the wrist – for sharing unpublished manuscripts with third parties without first getting the authors’ permission!

The result was hardly unexpected. Most experts who question climate disaster claims had assumed Penn State would produce a whitewash. PSU stood to lose significantly in reputation and dollars if it found that Dr. Mann had cheated on research and engaged in other conduct unbecoming of a university professor. What was surprising is the reason it gave for its “not guilty” finding. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)


Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann hides atop the climate change ivory tower

Shortly after climate scientist Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann got word that a panel of his Penn State colleagues had cleared him of misconduct in the so-called “climategate” scandal, Prof. Mann was quoted in the British media as saying he believed that his little graph had gained undue attention.

The “hockey stick” graph, which purports to show a sudden uptick in global temperatures during the industrial age, should not have become a “central icon of the climate change debate”, Mann told the BBC. And yet it did, thanks to its appearance in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” as well as in the U.N. report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — both of which employ it to advance the theory of anthropogenic [man-made] global warming.

With the pressure of Penn State’s internal ethics investigation removed, it seemed like a good time to ask Mann what he meant by the remark. My attempt to give him an opportunity to explain his comments, however, wound up reinforcing the public perception that climate scientists, like Mann, don’t see their tax-funded grants, or public university employment, as making them accountable to the public. It paints a picture of an ivory tower academic slinging mud on the little people down below, even as the tower sinks into the mire. (Scott Ott, The Daily Caller)


The Tree Ring Circus

The Hockey Stick Illusion is the shocking story of a graph called the Hockey Stick. It is also a textbook of tree ring analysis, a code-breaking adventure, an intriguing detective story, an exposé of a scientific and political travesty, and the tale of a herculean struggle between a self-funded sceptic and a publicly funded hydra, all presented in the measured style of an analytical treatise. The hero of the story is Steve McIntyre, honourably assisted by fellow sceptics, especially by Ross McKitrick. The villain is Michael Mann, dishonourably assisted by global warming alarmists, especially by his “Hockey Team”. The bare bones of the Hockey Stick story are as follows. (John Dawson, Quadrant)


Zorita on Smerdon

Eduardo Zorita has a must-read post up at Klimazwiebel, discussing a new paper by Smerdon et al. Michael Mann fans will be amused to read of geographical problems uncovered in some of Mann's papers, which will instantly bring to mind favourite episodes from the Hockey Stick story, like the Rain in Maine (falls mainly in the Seine) and the documentary records of East African climate from the medieval period (Mann et al 2008). Here's a sample:

In one case, when interpolating the climate model data onto a different grid, the data were rotated around the Earth 180 degrees, so that model data that should be located on the Greenwich Meridian were erroneously placed at 180 degrees longitude; in another case the data in the Western Hemisphere were spatially smoothed, while the data in the Eastern Hemisphere were not.


As Eduardo points out the implications are rather interesting, since Smerdon's findings imply that Mann's stress-testing must have been too weak to actually demonstrate what they purported to do. Fascinating stuff. (Bishop Hill)


Settled science: Can everyplace really be warming much faster than everyplace else?

(Tom Nelson)


Cooler Heads Digest 23 July 2010

by William Yeatman
23 July 2010 @ 5:38 pm


Don Blankenship, Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Company, gave a great talk at the National Press Club this week on energy realities versus global warming fantasy as well as some other topics.  It was broadcast on C-Span and can be viewed online.

Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter is building support for legislation to withdraw New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose introduced A3147, a bill to repeal the Global Warming Response Act of 2007. To learn more, including how you can help, click here.

In the News

Reasons To Worry
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 23 July 2010

Gathering No Moss, Just Loss
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 23…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Dr. John Christy: “no-significant-trend” in S. Sierra snowfall since 1916

While there’s always lots of worry in California and Nevada over water supplies driven by the Sierra snowpack, and wailing in the MSM over what global warming will do to the snowpack, there doesn’t seem to be any trend, up or down.

John Christy has provided me with his latest paper, just published in E&E. I’m been authorized by him to present it here. In this case, no news is good news.

John R. Christy
Justin J. Hnilo
Earth System Science Center
University of Alabama in Huntsville

A time series (1916–2009) of annual snowfall totals for Huntington Lake (HL, elev. 2141 m) in the southern Sierra Nevada of California is reconstructed. A reconstruction is (a) necessary because HL data after 1972 are mostly missing and (b) possible because nearby stations reveal high correlations with HL, two above 0.90. The results show mean annual snowfall in HL is 624 cm with an insignificant trend of +0.5 cm (+0.08%) ±13.1 cm decade−1. Similar positive but insignificant trends for spring snowfall were also calculated. Annual stream flow and precipitation trends for the region again were insignificantly positive for the same period. Snow-water-equivalent comparisons, measured on 1 Apr since 1930 at 26 sites and since 1950 at 45, show similar small, mostly positive, and insignificant trends. These results combined with published temperature time series, which also reveal no significant trends, form a consistent picture of no remarkable long-term changes in the snowfall of this area and elevation of the southern Sierra Nevada of California since the early 20th century.

Continue reading (WUWT)


Not So Much Trouble in Paradise: Are Coral Islands Really Doomed?

The Maldives have become a symbol of the dangers of global warming, amid fears the low-lying nation could disappear as a result of rising sea levels. But one team of scientists believes the truth is more complicated. The Maldives coral islands, they postulate, may be growing with the rising waters.

For many scientists, there are only two types of material: living and dead. "It makes thinking nice and easy," says Paul Kench, a geologist with the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Islands, for example, are generally assigned to the sphere of the inanimate. Kench, however, wants to convince the scientific world that the opposite is true. That's why he is currently spending much of his time swimming around with flippers in the emerald-green waters of the Indian Ocean. (Der Spiegel)


Sea Level Shenanigans

The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projected that global sea level will rise by up to 60 cm by 2100 due to global warming. The cause of this rise is twofold: expansion of ocean waters as they warm and additional water from glaciers melting. Despite nearly stable sea levels over the past 3,000 years, a number of low-lying and island nations have seized on the imminent flood as a reason to demand reparations from developed nations. In reality, most of the areas in the world that are suffering from inundation are threatened because of human actions, but not global warming. Damming and rerouting of rivers combined with over-pumping of ground water has led to subsidence in many areas—in other words, the seas are not rising, the land is sinking.

As reported in a review article in Science, authored by Robert J. Nicholls and Anny Cazenav, global sea levels have risen throughout the 20th century but key uncertainties remain. Mean sea level has remained nearly stable since the end of the last deglaciation. The rate of sea level rise over much of the last 6,000 years has been an almost-imperceptible 1.4 millimeters per year (about 6 inches per century). Based on tide gauge measurements, sea level has risen by an average of 1.7 ± 0.3 mm/year since 1950. Since the early 1990s, sea level rise (SLR) has been measured by high-precision altimeter satellites. Between 1993 and 2009, the mean rate of SLR was reported as 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/year. Naturally, to climate change alarmists, this suggests that SLR is accelerating because of warming climatic conditions. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Willis publishes his thermostat hypothesis paper

I’m sure WUWT readers will recall this excellent guest post at WUWT just over one year ago:

The Thermostat Hypothesis


Now published in E&E Volume 21, Number 4 / August 2010

The thunderstorm thermostat hypothesis: How clouds and thunderstorms control the Earth’s temperature


Willis Eschenbach


Continue reading (WUWT)


Sadly, we don't appear to have been terribly successful showing people the error of their ways as they tried to convince us atmospheric infrared emissions could not result in a net warmer temperature at Earth's surface. It seems they have been trying to promote this misconception rather widely.

We are grateful both Ben Herman, in conjunction with Roger Pielke Sr., and Roy W. Spencer have independently produced items on this topic and both are reproduced below.

As poorly named as "greenhouse effect" may be, it is real. The only dispute involved in claims of catastrophic enhanced greenhouse is the extent to which increasing levels of the essential trace gas carbon dioxide can and will warm the Earth. Advocates like to believe marvelous magical multipliers will cause significant warming while the world apparently ignores such claims.

“The Greenhouse Effect” by Ben Herman and Roger Pielke Sr.

Post By Ben Herman and Roger A. Pielke Sr.

During the past several months there have been various, unpublished studies circulating around the blogosphere and elsewhere claiming that the “greenhouse effect” cannot warm the Earth’s atmosphere. We would like to briefly explain the arguments that have been put forth and why they are incorrect.  Two of the primary arguments that have been used are

  1. By virtue of the second law of  Thermodynamics, heat cannot be transferred from a colder to a warmer body, and
  2. Since solar energy is the basic source of all energy on Earth, if we do not change the amount of solar energy absorbed, we cannot change the effective radiating temperature of the Earth. 

Both of the above statements are certainly true, but as we will show, the so-called  “greenhouse theory” does not violate either of these two statements. (we use quotation marks around the  words “greenhouse theory” to indicate that while this terminology has been generally adopted to explain the predicted warming with the addition of absorbing gases into the atmosphere, the actual process is quite a bit different from how a greenhouse heats).

With regards to the violation of the second law, what actually happens when absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere is that the cooling is slowed down. Equilibrium with the incoming absorbed sunlight is maintained by the emission of infrared radiation to space. When absorbing gases are added to the atmosphere, more of emitted radiation from the ground is absorbed by the atmosphere. This results in increased downward radiation toward the surface, so that the rate of escape of IR radiation to space is decreased, i.e., the rate of infrared cooling is decreased. This results in warming of the lower atmosphere and thus the second law is not violated. Thus, the warming is a result of decreased cooling rates. 

Going to the second statement above, it is true that in equilibrium, if the amount of solar energy absorbed is not changed, then the amount of IR energy escaping out of the top of the atmosphere also cannot change.  Therefore the effective radiating temperature of the atmosphere cannot change. But, the effective radiating temperature of the atmosphere is different from the vertical profile of temperature in the atmosphere. The effective radiating  temperature is that T that will give the proper value of upward IR radiation at the top of the atmosphere  such that it equals the solar radiation absorbed by the Earth-atmosphere system.

In other words, it is the temperature such that 4 pi x Sigma T4 equals pi Re2 Fso, where Re is the Earth’s radius, and Fso is the solar constant. Now, when we add more CO2, the absorption per unit distance increases, and this warms the atmosphere.  But the increased absorption also means that less radiation from lower, warmer levels of the atmosphere can escape to space. Thus, more of the escaping IR radiation originates from higher, cooler levels of the atmosphere. Thus, the same effective radiating temperature can exist, but the atmospheric column has warmed.

 These arguments, of course, do not take into account feedbacks which will  kick in as soon as a warming (or cooling) begins.

 The bottom line here is that when you add IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere, you slow down the loss of energy from the ground and the ground must warm up. The rest of the processes, including convection, conduction, feedbacks, etc. are too complicated to discuss here and are not completely understood anyway.  But the radiational forcing due to the addition of greenhouse gases must result in a warming contribution to the atmosphere. By itself, this will not result in a change of the effective radiation temperature of the atmosphere, but it will result in changes in the vertical profile of temperature.

The so-called “greenhouse effect” is real. The question is how much will this effect be, and this is not a simple question. There are also questions being raised as to the very sign of some of the larger feedbacks  to add to the confusion.  Our purpose here was to merely point out that the addition of absorbing gases into the atmosphere must result in warming, contrary to some research currently circulating that says to the contrary.

For those that might still question this conclusion, consider taking away the atmosphere from the Earth, but change nothing else,  i.e., keep the solar albedo the same (the lack of clouds would of course change this), and calculate the equilibrium temperature of the Earth’s surface. If you’ve done your arithmetic correctly, you should have come up with something like 255 K. But with the atmosphere, it is about 288 K, 33 degrees warmer. This is the greenhouse effect of  the atmosphere. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Yes, Virginia, Cooler Objects Can Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still

Probably as the result of my recent post explaining in simple terms my “skepticism” about global warming being mostly caused by carbon dioxide emissions, I’m getting a lot of e-mail traffic from some nice folks who are trying to convince me that the physics of the so-called Greenhouse Effect are not physically possible.

More specifically, that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is not physically capable of causing warming.

These arguments usually involve claims that “back radiation” can not flow from the cooler upper layers of the atmosphere to the warmer lower layers. This back radiation is a critical component of the theoretical explanation for the Greenhouse Effect.

Sometimes the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or Kirchoff’s Law of Thermal Radiation, are invoked in these arguments against back radiation and the greenhouse effect.

One of the more common statements is, “How can a cooler atmospheric layer possibly heat a warmer atmospheric layer below it?” The person asking the question obviously thinks the hypothetical case represented by their question is so ridiculous that no one could disagree with them.


In fact, this is happening all around us, all the time. The reason why we might be confused by the apparent incongruity of the statement is that we don’t spend enough time thinking about why the temperature of something is what it is.

How Cooler Objects Make Warmer Objects Even Hotter

One way to demonstrate the concept is with the following thought experiment, which I will model roughly after the Earth suspended in the cold of outer space. Even my oldest daughter, a realtor who has an aversion to things scientific, got the right answer when I used this example on her.

Imagine a heated plate in a cooled vacuum chamber, as in the first illustration, below. These chambers are used to test instruments and satellites that will be flown in space. Let’s heat the plate continuously with electricity. The plate can lose energy only through infrared (heat) radiation emitted toward the colder walls of the chamber, since there is no air in the vacuum chamber to conduct the heat away from the plate. (Similarly, there is no air in outer space to conduct heat away from the Earth in the face of solar heating.)

The plate will eventually reach a constant temperature (let’s say 150 deg. F.) where the rate of energy gain by the plate from electricity equals the rate of energy loss by infrared radiation to the cooled chamber walls.

Now, let’s put a second plate next to the first plate. The second plate will begin to warm in response to the infrared energy being emitted by the heated plate. Eventually the second plate will also reach a state of equilibrium, where its average temperature (let’s say 100 deg. F) stays constant with time. This is shown in the next illustration:

But what will happen to the temperature of the heated plate in the process? It will end up even hotter than it was before the cooler plate was placed next to it. This is because the second plate reduced the rate at which the first plate was losing energy.

(If you are unconvinced of this, then imagine that the second plate completely surrounds the heated plate. Will the heated plate remain at 150 deg., and not warm at all?)

Since the temperature of an object is a function of both energy gain AND energy loss, the temperature of the plate (or anything else) can be raised in 2 basic ways: (1) increase the rate of energy gain, or (2) decrease the rate of energy loss. The temperature of everything is determined by energy flows in and out, and one needs to know both to determine whether the temperature will go up or down. This is a consequence of the 1st Law of Thermodynamics involving conservation of energy.

Note that the above example involving 2 plates, one hotter than the other, is apparently where the greenhouse effect deniers (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) would claim the “physically impossible” has occurred: The presence of a colder object has caused a warmer object to become even hotter. Again, the reason the heated plate became even hotter is that the second plate has, in effect, “insulated” the first plate from its cold surroundings, keeping it warmer than if the second plate was not there.

The only way I know of to explain this is that it isn’t just the heated plate that is emitting IR energy, but also the second plate….as well as the cold walls of the vacuum chamber. The following illustration zooms in on the plates from our previous illustration:

What happens is that the second plate is heated by IR radiation being emitted by the first plate, raising its temperature. The second plate, in turn, cannot cool to the temperature of the vacuum chamber walls (0 deg. F) because it is not in direct contact with the refrigerant being used…it can only lose IR at a rate which increases with temperature, so it achieves some intermediate temperature.

Meanwhile, the cooler plate is emitting more radiation toward the hot plate than the cold walls of the vacuum chamber would have emitted. This changes the energy budget of the hot plate: despite a constant flow of energy into the plate from the electric heater, it has now lost some of its ability to cool through IR radiation. Its temperature then rises until it, once again, is emitting IR radiation at the same rate as it is receiving energy from its surroundings (and the electric heater).

As we will see, below, in the case of the Earth being heated by the sun, the vacuum chamber “wall” (outer space) is close to absolute zero in temperature. Putting anything between that (essentially infinite) heat sink and the Earth’s surface will cause the surface to warm.

Examples are All Around Us

Examples of objects with lower temperatures causing objects with higher temperatures to become even higher still are all around us.

For instance, in terms of these most basic heating and cooling concepts (energy gain and energy loss), the same thing happens when you put a blanket over yourself when it is cold. The blanket stays cooler than your skin, but it nevertheless makes your skin warmer than if the cooler blanket was not there. Even though the direction of flow of heat never changes (it is always from warmer to cooler objects), a cooler object can still make a warm object even hotter.

It doesn’t matter what the mechanisms of energy transfer are….if the presence of a cooler object keeps a warmer object from losing energy as rapidly as before, the warm object will become even hotter.

But if you insist on another real-world example involving infrared radiation, rather than heat conduction, let’s use clouds at night. Almost everyone has experienced the fact that cloudy nights tend to be warmer than clear nights.

The most dramatic effect I’ve seen of this is in the winter, on a cold clear night with snow cover. The temperature will drop rapidly. But if a cloud layer moves in, the temperature will either stop dropping, or even warm dramatically.

This warming occurs because the cloud radiates much more IR energy downward than does a clear, dry atmosphere. This changes the energy budget of the surface dramatically, often causing warming — even though the cloud is usually at a lower temperature than the ground is. Even high altitude cirrus clouds at a temperature well below than of the surface, can cause warming.

So, once again, we see that the presence of a colder object can cause a warmer object to become warmer still.

Extending the Concept to the Atmosphere

As mentioned above, in the case of the cold depths of outer space surrounding the Earth’s solar-heated surface, ANY infrared absorber that gets between the Earth’s surface and space will cause the surface to warm.

This radiative insulating function occurs in the atmosphere because of the presence of greenhouse gases, that is, gases that absorb and emit significant amounts of infrared energy…(mostly water vapor, CO2, and methane). Clouds also contribute to the Greenhouse Effect.

Kirchoff’s Law of thermal radiation says (roughly), that a good infrared absorber is an equally good infrared emitter. So, each layer of the atmosphere is continuously absorbing IR, as well as emitting it. This is what makes the Greenhouse Effect so much more difficult to understand conceptually than solar heating of the Earth. While the sun is a single source, and most of the energy absorbed by the Earth is at a single level (the surface of the ground), in the case of infrared energy, every layer becomes both as source of energy and an absorber of energy.

It also helps that our eyes are much more sensitive to solar radiation than they (or even our skin) are to infrared radiation. It’s more difficult to conceptualize that which you can’t see.

Our intuition begins to fail us when presented with this complexity. The following illustration shows some of these energy flows: just the IR being emitted upward and downward by different atmospheric layers. If I included arrows representing the IR energy being absorbed by those layers, too, it would become hopelessly indecipherable.

As a result of the atmosphere’s ability to radiatively insulate the Earth’s surface from losing infrared energy directly to the “cold” depths of outer space, the surface warms to a higher average temperature than it would have if the atmosphere was not there. The no-atmosphere, global average surface temperature has been theoretically calculated to be around 0 deg. F.

This, then, constitutes the basic mechanism of the Greenhouse Effect. Greenhouse gases represent a “radiative blanket” that keeps the Earth’s surface warmer than it would otherwise be without those gases present.

In fact, research published in the 1960s showed that, if the current atmosphere suddenly became still – with no wind, evaporation, and convective overturning transporting excess energy from the surface to the upper atmosphere – the average surface temperature of the Earth would warm dramatically, from 0 deg. F with no greenhouse gases, to about 140 deg. F. That the real world temperature is much lower, around 59 deg. F, is due to the cooling effects of weather transporting heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere through convective air currents.

Weather as we know it would not even exist without the greenhouse effect continuously destabilizing the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere. Vertical air currents associated with weather act to stabilize the atmospheric temperature profile, but it is the greenhouse effect that keeps the process going by warming the lower atmosphere, and cooling the upper atmosphere, to the point where convection must occur.

What About Kirchoff’s Law?
One of the statements of Kirchoff’s Law is:

At thermal equilibrium, the emissivity of a body (or surface) equals its absorptivity.

Many well-meaning people think that one of the consequences of Kirchoffs Law of radiation is that an individual layer of the atmosphere that absorbs infrared energy at a certain rate must also emit energy at the same rate. This is NOT true.

The rate of emission becoming the same as the rate of absorption occurs in the very special case where (1) the temperature has reached thermal equilibrium, and (2) that equilibrium is the result of only those two radiative flows, in and out of the object.

Interestingly, this condition of a layer emitting the same amount of IR as it is absorbing is virtually never met anywhere in the atmosphere. This is because of the vertical, convective flows which are also transporting energy between layers.

In the global average, air below about 5,000 feet in altitude is absorbing more infrared energy than it emits, while air above that altitude (up to the top of the troposphere, the 80% of the atmosphere where weather occurs) is losing infrared energy faster than it is gained.

The reason why these two regions stay at roughly a constant temperature, despite very different rates of infrared loss and gain, is convective heat transport by weather: air heated by sunlight absorbed at the Earth’s surface has its excess energy transported to the upper troposphere, where a lack of water vapor (Earth’s main greenhouse gas) allows that energy to escape more rapidly to space.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Can Energy “Flow Uphill”?
In the case of radiation, the answer to that question is, “yes”. While heat conduction by an object always flows from hotter to colder, in the case of thermal radiation a cooler object does not check what the temperature of its surroundings is before sending out infrared energy. It sends it out anyway, no matter whether its surroundings are cooler or hotter.

Yes, thermal conduction involves energy flow in only one direction. But radiation flow involves energy flow in both directions.

Of course, in the context of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, both radiation and conduction processes are the same in the sense at the NET flow of energy is always “downhill”, from warmer temperatures to cooler temperatures.

But, if ANY flow of energy “uphill” is totally repulsive to you, maybe you can just think of the flow of IR energy being in only one direction, but with it’s magnitude being related to the relative temperature difference between the two objects. The result will still be the same: The presence of a cooler object can STILL cause a warmer object to become even hotter.

Anyway, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Until someone convinces me otherwise.

So, let the flaming begin! No, really, have fun…but if you want your comments to remain available for others to read, please keep it civil. (Roy W. Spencer)


Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming

In addition to the carbon cycle-climate interactions that have been a major focus of modeling work in recent years, other biogeochemistry feedbacks could be at least equally important for future climate change. The authors of the Nature Geoscience article argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models. (University of Helsinki)


The Settled Climate Science is Unsettled – Again

In conversations with a physicist involved in studying the effect of nuclear explosions on the upper atmosphere I was amazed to learn he did not know the tropopause was at different altitudes between the poles and the equator. This is so fundamental that it is impossible to imagine him finding out anything meaningful about radiation distribution in the atmosphere. Some have a better understanding of the structure of the atmosphere, but it is still inadequate to draw any conclusions about what is happening to temperatures, gases, energy distributions or anything else fundamental to understanding climate change. It is also inadequate as the basis for building computer models used to predict future climate. (Tim Ball, CFP)


Regulatory Failure by the Numbers

by Robert L. Bradley, Jr. and Richard W. Fulmer
July 24, 2010

Between the current financial mess and the debate over carbon dioxide emissions controls, there is a lot of talk about regulation these days.  We are told, for example, that the recession would have been prevented if proper regulations had been in place. While it is true that (by definition) the “right” regulations would have prevented bad and ensured good, it is also true that had an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent dictator been in charge, the recession would have been avoided as well. The problem, of course, is that God, being otherwise occupied, didn’t run for President during the last election.

Enacting the right regulations is somewhat simpler than electing an omni-everything being to run the world, but not much.  As evidence, consider the fact that it was a lot of the wrong regulations that got us into this mess in the first place.  Also consider the oft heard argument that financial regulators needed to “get out ahead of the innovators.” Clearly, a job for the omniscient. There is, after all, a reason why the Wright Brother’s flight at Kitty Hawk preceded the establishment of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Any time government regulators try to do much more than lay out the basic rules of the game, unintended consequences and moral hazards rear their ugly heads. The following list of pitfalls, adapted from our book Energy: The Master Resource, is offered as a caution to regulatory enthusiasts. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Poll: Voters in key states overwhelmingly oppose new oil, natural gas taxes

Washington, July 21 – Voters in 10 key states oppose higher taxes on America’s oil and natural gas industry by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a new poll released today. Both the administration and some members of Congress have recently proposed billions of dollars in new taxes on the industry. (API)


The World's Ever-Increasing Hunger for Coal

Coal-fired power stations are a major producer of the greenhouse gas CO2, but there is no alternative to the fuel in the near future. Energy companies are hoping that carbon capture and storage technologies may be the answer, but many local residents don't want CO2 stored under their backyards.

When Rolf Martin Schmitz, a manager with the German energy giant RWE, drove to the North Sea resort island of Sylt last summer, he immediately noticed the signs. Along the side of roads throughout the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, he was greeted by images of skulls. Residents had installed the billboards to protest against underground storage sites for carbon dioxide that may be built in the region.

Citizens fear dangerous leaks of the gas, which can be hazardous at high concentrations, and other health risks. Schmitz, on the other hand, is worried about the future of his company.


Coal is currently experiencing a phenomenal comeback everywhere. Demand has grown considerably, making coal the second-most important energy source worldwide, after oil. Billions of people depend on coal for their electricity supply.

Experts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris estimate that demand for coal will increase in the next two decades by more than for any other energy source except wind and solar power, from the current level of about 6.7 billion tons per year to almost 10 billion tons in 2030. China and India are mainly responsible for the coal boom, with the two countries already accounting for more than half of global demand. According to the IEA, they will have more than doubled their coal consumption by 2030. Coal provides them with electricity, and electricity is the elixir for progress and prosperity. In China, a new coal power plant is placed into service about once a week.

Coal drives machines, illuminates apartments and houses, heats stoves and moves high-speed trains. The raw material that made industrialization possible in the 19th century remains an essential element of modern life in the 21st century.

Politicians around the world, especially in Germany, can enthuse as much as they want about the potential benefits of renewable energy sources, but when the German government unveils its new energy strategy in the coming months, it too will include coal as part of the energy mix. The dirty truth is that the future of the world's energy supply is black. Given the alternatives, what else can it be?

Plentiful and Cheap

Many people feel that nuclear power is too dangerous. Crude oil is getting more and more difficult and expensive to produce. Natural gas creates a dependency on temperamental suppliers. And solar, wind and water are not sufficiently developed yet to provide a large share of the energy supply. Which leaves tried-and-tested coal.

No other fossil fuel is available in such large quantities; current coal reserves will last for generations. No fossil fuel is as comparatively cheap. It costs only about 5 euro cents (around 6 US cents) to generate a kilowatt-hour of electricity from coal, compared with about 40 cents for solar power. And no fossil fuel is as widely distributed. Every continent has adequate reserves and, unlike oil, most of those reserves are found in regions which are relatively stable in geopolitical terms, such as North America, Europe and Australia. (Spiegel)


E.P.A. Considers Risks of Gas Extraction

CANONSBURG, Pa. — The streams of people came to the public meeting here armed with stories of yellowed and foul-smelling well water, deformed livestock, poisoned fish and itchy skin. One resident invoked the 1968 zombie thriller “Night of the Living Dead,” which, as it happens, was filmed just an hour away from this southwestern corner of Pennsylvania.

The culprit, these people argued, was hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas that involves blasting underground rock with a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals.

Gas companies countered that the horror stories described in Pennsylvania and at other meetings held recently in Texas and Colorado are either fictions or not the companies’ fault. More regulation, the industry warned, would kill jobs and stifle production of gas, which the companies consider a clean-burning fuel the nation desperately needs.

Just as the Gulf of Mexico is the battleground for the future of offshore oil drilling, Pennsylvania is at the center of the battle over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which promises to open up huge swaths of land for natural gas extraction, but whose environmental risks are still uncertain. Natural gas accounts for roughly a quarter of all energy used in the United States, and that fraction is expected to grow as the nation weans itself from dirtier sources like coal and oil.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been on a listening tour, soliciting advice from all sides on how to shape a forthcoming $1.9 million study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on groundwater. (NYT)


Wind Power Addiction?

“After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.” -- President Obama, June 15

“We only have 2 percent of the oil reserves in the world, and we consume 25 percent of the world's oil on a daily basis. That is non-sustainable.” – Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on “Meet the Press,” June 20

Well, it looks as if everyone got the talking points memo. The message here seems to be: If our fraction of the world’s consumption exceeds our fraction of the world’s resource, we need to consume less of that resource and move on to something else.

Before we parse the logic, let’s look at our use of another resource -- wind. The United States has slightly more than 7 percent of the world’s total wind-power resources. Meanwhile, we consume over 20 percent of the world’s total wind-power production.

To President Obama, this would seem to signal our “addiction” to wind. To Markey, this must seem “non-sustainable.” (David Kreutzer, Townhall)


Renewable energy: Not all it’s cracked up to be?

A recent bit of news from Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) suggests that James Lovelock, the scientist behind the Gaia theory of Earth and its life systems, might have a point when he criticises most renewable energy sources as inefficient at best and foolish at worst.


If hydroelectric power sources are threatened by climate change, wind energy’s greatest shortcoming is its great variability, Lovelock warns in his latest book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia:

“Used sensibly, in locations where the fickle nature of wind is no drawback, it is a valuable local resource, but Europe’s massive use of wind as a supplement to baseload electricity will probably be remembered as one of the great follies of the twenty-first century … ,” he writes.

Lovelock argues the only clean energy sources that make sense for society are nuclear and solar thermal energy. All the rest aren’t viable without heavy injections of government subsidies and green cheerleading, he says. (Greenbang)


The march of progress

If I stood up, in all seriousness, and said that the moon was made of green cheese, my readers – I hope – might look a little bit askance at me, and conclude, as many already have, that I have finally lost it.

Yet, when we get ministers making assertions of the same order of impossibility, it now seems that the role of the media is diligently to record such exudations, affording inane jabbering more respect and credibility than it could possibly deserve.

Such was the case in June last year when Labour minister Lord Hunt got up on his hind feet (an impressive achievement for him), to pour out a stream of drivel, only to have the media uncritically to record his nonsense, as if it had any more value than the stuff you scrape off the sole of your shoe.

Yet, just over a year later, we have The Sunday Telegraph at it again – different minister, same drivel.

This time, it is that slime Huhne, a detestable example of a human being if ever there was one, a man who can actually state that offshore wind turbines are "incredibly competitive" in producing electricity, and have a newspaper print it, without the equivalent of a snort of derision.

The story is actually on the front page, but if you had journalists and editors worthy of their name (and pay), their front-page headline would be: "Minister claims offshore wind 'incredibly competitive'", with a list of worthies saying it isn't, the thrust of the story being that any energy minister who came out with such tosh is not fit for office.

And that really is the story. In such a vital issue as the national electricity supply, we really do have an energy minister who is not fit for office, backed by a man masquerading as prime minister whose only qualification is that he is similarly unfit.

Yet, far from a newspaper actually saying so, we get this unmitigated tripe regurgitated from the mouth of Huhne: "We have a tremendous natural resource in the Dogger Bank, which is an enormous shallow area of the North Sea, the same size as Wales ... It's relatively cheap to put wind turbines in that shallow area. It's beautifully windy so it does actually produce a lot of electricity – that is a really important natural resource for us."

This really, really is garbage, and we've said so many times. Offshore is hideously expensive and, while the North Sea may be shallow, the winter storms there are amongst the most vicious and cruel on the planet ... in part because of the shallowness of the water.

That alone makes for huge expense, and raises enormous questions about maintenance and durability, none of which have been addressed, much less answered. Yet, to base your energy policy on wind machines in these waters – in preference to nuclear, as Huhne is doing – is madness. No, it is beyond madness. It is insane, and it is about time the media started saying it, loud and clear.

But what do we get from The Sunday Drivel? Er ... an editorial telling us that "nuclear power must not be the poor relation", and offering the view that "the exploitation of renewable sources such as wind, wave and solar power is undoubtedly sensible."

For "sensible" read "suicidal", and you are close. But in those two words, you also see the progression of the media from what it once was to what it has become. That is the march of progress. The only difference now between newspapers and ministers is that you can burn newspapers to keep warm.

And this must be part of the reason why, these days, the media has nothing to say to us. These days I look at the newspapers more with amazement than interest, marvelling at how they are able to fill so much space with material of such little consequence. But, as a source of information, increasingly one is forced to look elsewhere. (EU Referendum)


Obama’s Solar Energy Fantasy

Taxpayer money is being used to create a chimera to satisfy the vanity of a powerful Green demagogue longing to appear visionary. (PJM)



ObamaCare Still Unpopular, Especially among Voters

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

As of mid-July, it appears the American public still opposes ObamaCare, with the opposition strongest among those most likely to vote.

Judging by the latest data at the poll-aggregating site Pollster.com, a solid plurality of adults continues to oppose ObamaCare (46.8 vs. 40.1 percent):

The trendlines don’t look so good for supporters of the law.  (The public isn’t so hot about President Obama’s handling of health care, either.) Yet the above graph includes (polls that include) adults who are neither registered nor likely to vote.

If you want to know how public opinion about ObamaCare will influence the November elections, you’ll want to look at polls of likely voters. Those suggest a majority opposes the law (51.3 vs 42.9 percent):

It’s hard to know what to make of the trendlines, since the last poll of likely voters was in April and Pollster.com’s trend estimates can be skewed if the most recent poll is aberrant.

Polls of registered voters (which include both likely and unlikely registered voters) again show that a majority opposes ObamaCare (50.7 vs. 42.7 percent). Compared to the graph of likely-voter-only polls, the “oppose” trendline appears flatter, while the “support” line appears to have the same slope:

Yet the “support” trend-estimate among registered voters started from a lower base, so that the July point estimate (42.7 percent) is roughly the same as that for likely voters in April (42.9 percent).  And the most recent spread between opponents and supporters is roughly the same in the two graphs (8.4 vs. 8.0 percentage points).

Combining polls of likely voters and registered voters produces a higher ratio of likely-to-unlikely voters than looking at just registered voters.  It also shows that a majority oppose ObamaCare (50.7 vs. 41.2 percent), with a persistent gap of about 9 percentage points:

(NB: The figures I cite in this post are the figures that appeared on these graphs on July 17.  Since these graphs are embedded from Pollster.com, the figures in the graphs will change as as Pollster.com adds new polling data to their graphs.) (Cato at liberty)


JournoGate Continued: Pouncing On Palin

Media Bias: Ever wonder why 2008 VP candidate Sarah Palin was so ridiculed before much was known about her? Turns out liberal journalists engaged in a coordinated smear campaign to aid the Democratic ticket.

When we talked with Alaska's then-governor in the summer of 2008 about plans to develop her state's energy resources, she came across like most other Alaskans we've met — frank, down-to-earth, colloquial, but more than technocratically knowledgeable about the energy field.

The issue then for Gov. Palin was how to balance the development of Alaska's bountiful resources with its near-pristine environment. She also wrestled with how to create a healthy business climate in a state with a history of political corruption involving oil companies.

We detected a sense of duty as Palin spoke of bringing natural gas to the Lower 48, and we were impressed with the way she spoke authoritatively about Alaska's polar bear population and compassionately about the well-being of native Alaskans. We also interviewed longtime nonpolitical Alaskan bureaucrats who raved about working with the governor and praised her executive ability.

Sound like the Sarah Palin you read about when she was chosen as John McCain's running mate that fall? Hardly. (IBD)


A Weekend’s Worth of Hayek Interviews

Posted by David Boaz

The estimable Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala has just posted 15 hours of interviews with F. A. Hayek, conducted in 1978, four years after he won the Nobel Prize for Economics.

You know the interviewee is important when the interviewers include James M. Buchanan, Robert Bork, Armen Alchian, Axel Leijonhufvud, and Leo Rosten. Along with the streaming video, there’s a complete transcript posted. What an amazing resource! We are indebted to Armen Alchian, Bob Chitester, the Earhart Foundation, the Pacific Academy of Advanced Studies, and now Francisco Marroquin for making these interviews available.

A few years later Cato Policy Report published two exclusive interviews with Hayek, in print form. Find them here and here. (Cato at liberty)


Good cholesterol may mean little for statin users

CHICAGO - People with high levels of the so-called good cholesterol HDL tend to have fewer heart attacks but HDL may offer little protective benefit in people who take statins to lower harmful LDL cholesterol, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

An analysis of a large study of healthy people who took AstraZeneca's statin drug Crestor to prevent heart attacks found having high HDL was not a good predictor of heart attack risk.

"HDL is a very powerful predictor of future risk" of heart disease, said Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, whose study appears in the journal Lancet.

But "once we get LDL into these very low ranges with very potent statins, HDL no longer predicts future risk of heart disease," he said in a telephone interview.

The findings raise questions about drugs in development to raise HDL to prevent heart attacks, he said. (Reuters)


Obesity' linked' to womb cancer

The number of women suffering womb cancer is at its highest for more than 30 years - with obesity playing a key role, figures have shown.

Rates per 100,000 women have shot up, from 13 per 100,000 in 1975 to more than 19 per 100,000 more than 30 years later.

More than 7,530 women develop the disease every year in the UK, up from 4,813 in 1993. (UKPA)


Omega imbalance can make obesity 'inheritable': study

PARIS — Overeating combined with the wrong mix of fats in one's diet can cause obesity to be carried over from one generation to the next, researchers in France reported Friday.

Omega-6 and omega-3, both polyunsaturated fatty acids, are each critical to good health.

But too much of the first and not enough of the second can lead to overweight offspring, the scientists showed in experiments with mice designed to mirror recent shifts in human diet.

Over the last four decades, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in a typical Western diet has shifted from a healthy five-to-one to 15-to-one in much of Europe, and up to 40-to-one in the United States.

In the breast milk of American women, the average ratio has gone from six-to-one to 18-to-one. (AFP)


German MP: overweight people must pay more on health

BERLIN - A conservative member of Germany's parliament wants overweight people to pay more for healthcare insurance, arguing that their unhealthy lifestyle is putting too much of a strain on hospitals.

Marco Wanderwitz, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told Bild newspaper on Thursday it was not fair for those leading healthier lives to have to pay for those who raised healthcare costs by being overweight.

"It's legitimate to ask the question if the immense costs that are caused by the excessive consumption of food should continue to be paid for by everyone else," Wanderwitz said, referring to an estimated nine million overweight Germans.

"I think that it would be sensible if those who deliberately lead unhealthy lives would be held financially accountable for that," he added. (Reuters)


Study links more time spent sitting to higher risk of death

Risk found to be independent of physical activity level

A new study from American Cancer Society researchers finds it's not just how much physical activity you get, but how much time you spend sitting that can affect your risk of death. Researchers say time spent sitting was independently associated with total mortality, regardless of physical activity level. They conclude that public health messages should promote both being physically active and reducing time spent sitting. The study appears early online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. (American Cancer Society)


Disrupted sleep patterns could add to risk of obesity, diabetes

Disrupted sleep patterns seem to contribute to the risk of obesity and diabetes, according to numerous studies. Researchers have theorized that disrupted circadian rhythms throw off various hormonal processes in the body that contribute to disease. (LA Times)


Still trying with this nonsense: Key Compound of Ozone Destruction Detected

KIT Scientists Disprove Doubts in Ozone Hole Chemistry

For the first time, KIT scientists have successfully measured in the ozone layer the chlorine compound ClOOCl which plays an important role in stratospheric ozone depletion. The doubts in the established models of polar ozone chemistry expressed by American researchers based on laboratory measurements are disproved by these new atmospheric observations. The established role played by chlorine compounds in atmospheric ozone chemistry is in fact confirmed by KIT’s atmospheric measurements. (Press Release)

What a pity no one has the vaguest reason to care.


Dispatch: ACSH Fills in ACS Data Gaps

The American Cancer Society (ACS), in collaboration with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute, is targeting 19 chemicals and shift work for additional epidemiological research in the hopes of clarifying their potential to cause cancer. 

When questioned about why common and thoroughly-investigated substances such as atrazine and lead wound up on the list, Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society and lead author of the report, cited two reasons: studies that could make a definitive link to cancer are missing and some of the potential agents or causes are very common. 

ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan counters these claims. “Atrazine, the most widely used herbicide, has been studied to excess. Even the EPA is on record admitting that it is a well-understood and well-studied pesticide. This report is a waste of time and money, and I’m still bewildered as to why ACS would focus on something so nonproductive?” (ACSH)


Ban on atrazine would stagger agriculture, experts say

Critics of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing re-review of the commonly used pesticide atrazine and pending lawsuits against its makers say the potential ramifications could be staggering if the pesticide was ever banned.

"The effects on agriculture and the economy would be enormous," said Ted Frank, an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a public policy research group. 

"A huge chunk of the country's grain production is reliant on atrazine to maximize yields," he said. (The Record)



Climate Bill, R.I.P.

Instead of taking the fight to big polluters, President Obama has put global warming on the back burner

This article is from RS 1110, on newsstands July 23, 2010. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via All Access, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here for the archives. Not a member? Click here to learn more about All Access.

A comprehensive energy and climate bill – the centerpiece of President Obama's environmental agenda – is officially dead. Take it from the president's own climate czar, Carol Browner. "What is abundantly clear," she told Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview on July 8th, "is that an economy-wide program, which the president has talked about for years now, is not doable in the Senate." (Rolling Stone)


Reid to Senate Dems: Climate change bill will wait until autumn

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring a limited package of oil spill response and energy measures to the floor next week, delaying action until at least this fall on a broader proposal that would impose greenhouse gas limits on power plants, senior Senate Democratic aides said.

Aides insisted Reid’s decision is a nod to the packed floor schedule the Senate faces before it leaves in two weeks for the August recess, and that he has not abandoned plans to try and bring up a broader climate and energy plan later in the year. (The Hill)


If climate change didn’t exist, Obama would've had to invent it 

It’s an unofficial “clean energy week” for Barack Obama’s administration. The U.S. President and several of his team members are fanning out across the country, visiting clean-energy project sites. And the White House has tabled a major report to convince the public that the billions of federal dollars invested in clean-energy start-ups will pay big economic and job dividends down the road.

This may prove to be a hard sell. This isn’t Mr. Obama’s fault, but it shouldn’t be ascribed merely to the influence of Tea Party venom. Even the administration concedes that these industries won’t create jobs in large numbers before 2015. And the jobless from this recession are already running out of unemployment benefits. (Clifford Orwin, Globe and Mail)


Dems divided on energy bill

Senate Democrats are increasingly divided over whether to move forward on any energy and climate bill in the coming weeks. 

On one side are those who say it’s too late to move even a modest energy measure, and are urging colleagues to abandon their efforts and bring up a small package of offshore drilling reforms next week before heading home. 

On the other are ardent liberals, who are mounting a last-ditch campaign to push through an ambitious climate bill with a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. (Politico)


Hurray, more propaganda... U.S. agency to look at climate change

WASHINGTON, July 22 -- The Obama administration's planned national climate service will equip decision-makers with hard facts about long-term environmental changes instead of long-term research, the service's provisional director said.

"There's a purpose to what we're trying to do and it's driven by the needs of society to live effectively in the environment we have, both the natural environment and the built environment," Thomas R. Karl, who is director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, said Wednesday.

Much of the service's initial work will have to do with shifting from performing purely research activities, which take place in time frames of years, to providing information to legislators, agencies and companies in time for them to act. (UPI)


While cap and trade dies, NASA GISS gets a congressional amendment

Amendment to NASA Bill Seeks to Ensure Climate Data Integrity after Climategate

Washington, D.C. –The House Science and Technology Committee today required NASA to provide more details on how much of its temperature record overlaps with data collected from the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU), the research body at the center of the ongoing Climategate scandal.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sponsor of the amendment to NASA authorization legislation (HR 5781), said the measure is needed to ensure the integrity of the agency’s temperature data following the scandal.

“Climategate revealed a pattern of suppression, manipulation and obstruction that pushed climate science towards predetermined outcomes in order to promote hysteria and, in my opinion, justify a heavy-handed regulatory response,” said Sensenbrenner, ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. (WUWT)


EDITORIAL: Global warming's unscientific attitude

Peddlers of phony scare stories are afraid to release data

What separates a scientific claim from mere opinion is its ability to be tested by experiment. No true scientist objects to having his theories verified; the charlatan is the one with something to hide. Not surprisingly, purveyors of global warming have proved anything but open. (Washington Times)


This is a good way to get countries to pull out of Kyoto: UN in fresh bid to salvage international deal on climate change

Campaigners welcome plans to amend the way Kyoto protocol resolutions are passed

A young girl reaches out to touch a globe that formed part of an exhibition in Copenhagen during last year's summit. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Climate change campaigners yesterday welcomed UN plans to amend the way changes to the Kyoto protocol are made in an effort to salvage negotiations on a new international deal.

Under the plans, countries could be forced to accept decisions made by a majority of members. Currently, no resolution can be passed by the group without full agreement.

The UN's suggestion shows its acceptance that, after two years of deadlock, there is little chance the body will reach a global deal to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle global warming in November in Cancun, Mexico – the next time world leaders will meet to hammer out a follow-up to the Kyoto protocol. (The Guardian)


Gillard seeks new climate consensus

JULIA Gillard is to create a Citizens Assembly to forge a national consensus on action on climate change and a commission of experts to help inform its deliberations.

The Prime Minister will also today recommit Labor to carbon trading, but pledge that it will be introduced only when "the Australian economy is ready and when the Australian people are ready". (The Australian)


New policy, same old delay on carbon price scheme

Julia Gillard has put the pretty wrapping paper of conviction and consensus around Kevin Rudd's emissions trading backdown. But inside it's the same poll-driven backdown. (SMH)


A mistake

In any debate it is a major strategic blunder to fall into an error of which you might justly accuse your interlocutor. Once you start justifying the unjustifiable you are on that slippery slope that leads to perdition. So it was with the climate alarmists when they began to clutch at every straw that might support their case, a path which culminated in our now notorious list. The same danger exists for their opponents, the climate sceptics.

When Gerlich and Tscheuschner's paper on Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics appeared, your bending author, in response to a number of requests, offered a comment . This opinion was less than sanguine and was made in the hope that the affair would experience a quiet death after a short life. Now the paper has emerged twice in the last couple of days. The first reference occurred within the relative privacy of our Forum, which is perhaps of little moment, but the second, within a couple of days, was in a list of the worst AGW papers.

Perhaps the original view put forward in that opinion was a trifle understated, so here is a more forthright one – the paper is a load of old hogwash. Although it appears superficially to provide support for the sceptical case, jumping onto this particular bandwagon would be a disservice to the cause of science. (Number Watch)


'The Inquiry Reports Are Lousy' - An Interview with Steve McIntyre

Alex Reichmuth, Die Weltwoche, 22 July 2010: In November 2009, just days before the big climate summit in Copenhagen, thousands of internal e-mails from leading climate researchers at the University of East Anglia were made public. In the e-mails, the researchers at the university's Climatic Research Unit discussed how to manipulate data series. They discussed with colleagues from other research centres how to sideline critics of mainstream climate science. And they requested each other to delete scientific data in order to protect the scientific information from the clutches of their critics. The affair - soon referred to as "Climategate" - was explosive because the IPCC, in its reports, had again and again relied substantially on the research conducted at CRU - for example, in reconstructing the climate of the last thousand years with the help of so-called proxy data, such as tree rings or ice cores. In addition, CRU researchers also play a leading role in determining the global temperatures today.

The e-mail scandal forced CRU chief Phil Jones to temporarily relinquish his post. The university commissioned several supposedly independent inquiries in order to clarify the affair. The reports of these inquiries are now available and they largely exonerate the CRU researchers. In early July, the inquiry panel under Muir Russell stated that there could be no doubt about the 'rigour and honesty' of the CRU scientists. The panel found no indications that the researchers had manipulated data. One could at most accuse them of not being transparent enough with their research methods and not to be sufficiently open to criticism.

Two other inquiries - one conducted by the University of East Anglia with support from the Royal Society and one by the Science and Technology Select Committee of the British Parliament - had previously come to similar conclusions. In the published internal e-mails the name of the Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre appears very often. The retired mining expert has repeatedly revealed statistical fallacies by climate scientists and has thus become one of their sharpest critics. Researchers at the University of East Anglia do not like McIntyre. In their e-mails, they often discuss how to prevent him from getting access to more scientific data. Die Weltwoche met up with Stephen McIntyre for an interview in London. ( Alex Reichmuth, Die Weltwoche via GWPF)


Eye-roller: Green view: The geography of geoengineering

IN DISCUSSIONS of climate change it is an article of faith that there are no winners, only losers. This is in part an expression of bien-pensant solidarity, but it is also realistic. It recognises the degree to which current human arrangements—farming practices, positioning of cities, etc—are adapted to current climatic conditions, and that shifts in those conditions will impose transition costs even if not in absolute terms dreadful. It also acknowledges the world’s ever greater level of interdependency. If the local effects of climate change in Syldavia, say, are pleasing to the residents, those benefits can still be offset by a loss in trade with the much worse affected Ruritania, or through conflict over water resources with now-parched Borduria, or by influxes of refugees from Vulgaria, and so on.

Underlying all this is a concern about uncertainty. There are various places where small shifts in climate might seem locally desirable. But uncertainties in both climate science—how strongly, and with what geographic pattern of effects, does the earth respond to increased greenhouse gases?—and political economy—what levels of greenhouse gas will the earth be subjected to?—make it impossible to guarantee the small shifts that people in those places might like. They might well instead end up with larger changes they liked much less. Better to assume that everyone is a loser, because thanks to the uncertainties it is undoubtedly the case that everyone could be.

In discussing geoengineering schemes, though, talk of winners and losers is rife. Increasingly, the question asked about any scheme to alter the climate in a way that acts to counter greenhouse warming—by scattering sulphates in the stratosphere to cut down incoming sunlight, for example—has been "whose hand will be on the thermostat?" The assumption has been that while geoengineering schemes might help some people and places they will harm others, and that this will lead to inequity and conflict. ( The Economist)

Ooh! Everything'll be bad!

What no one wants to mention is that even if catastrophic global warming represents a real threat -- and at this stage that is only true in the virtual worlds of far-from-perfect models -- a no-regrets policy of providing the most available, reliable and affordable electricity so the population can use all the defensive heating/cooling required is the best policy.

Unfortunately no politician appears to have the courage to point out that the Western world does not control global industry, energy use or carbon dioxide emissions, we are along for the ride for the foreseeable future.

Time to stop handwringing and realize the world will be using carbon-dense fuels for at least the next 50 years, just get on with it. The probability is high we'll have been through another ice age scare before then anyway.


Enlisting Endangered Species As a Tool to Combat Warming

Environmentalists in the U.S. are increasingly trying to use the Endangered Species Act to ease the impact of global warming on numerous animals and plants, including the American pika. The goal is not only to protect the habitat of at-risk species but also to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. (Todd Woody, e360)


Oh boy... Groundbreaking Sandia study ties climate uncertainties to economies of US states

California, Pacific Northwest and Colorado achieve positive net impacts; other states languish

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A climate-change study at Sandia National Laboratories that models the near-term effects of declining rainfall in each of the 48 U.S. continental states makes clear the economic toll that could occur unless an appropriate amount of initial investment — a kind of upfront insurance payment — is made to forestall much larger economic problems down the road.

Why tie climate change to economics?

“Absent any idea of costs, the need to address climate change seems remote and has a diluted sense of urgency,” study lead George Backus said.

The Sandia study uses probability techniques familiar to insurance companies. Tables place dollar estimates on the effects of climate change in the absence of mitigation or other policy initiatives over the 2010-2050 time period. (Press Release)

The problem, of which they somehow omitted mention, is that we can not predict climate 10 years into the future and in fact the UK Met Office has had to quit seasonal forecasts because they are so bad at it (but their huge capacity computers make a hash of it very quickly ;-)).


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, July 22, 2010

Hippie heads exploded when uber-skeptic Marc Morano was given an award, if global warming doesn’t get you the super marmots will, and the most important thing ever caused by global warming, revealed. (Daily Bayonet)


Mammoth Confusion

According to a recent paper, human actions may have caused Earth's climate to warm much earlier than previously expected. In an article to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, and widely reported in the media, around 15,000 years ago, early hunters were a major factor in driving mammoths to extinction. Supposedly, this die-off had the side effect of heating up the planet. This is an interesting conjecture, since a letter just published in Nature Geocience reaches the opposite conclusion regarding climate and the mammoths' decline. This mammoth confusion illustrates the uncertain and even contradictory evidence that abounds in climate science.

In a new study, “Biophysical feedbacks between the Pleistocene mega-fauna extinction and climate: The first human-induced global warming?,” Chris Doughty, Adam Wolf, and Chris Field—all from the Carnegie Institution for Science—present an hypothesis explaining how neolithic hunters triggered global warming thousands of years before the invention of agriculture. You might recognize Field as the co-chair of the IPCC working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Here he participates in what The Economist called “some serious boffinry.”

Supposedly, the demise of leaf-chomping woolly mammoths at the hands of Homo sapiens contributed to the spread of dwarf birch trees in and around the Arctic. This proliferation of previously suppressed birch trees darkened the largely barren, reflective landscape and accelerated temperature rise across the polar north. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Public Transit: A Classic Example of Government in Action

Posted by Randal O'Toole

Since 1970, the number of workers needed to operate America’s public transit systems has increased by 180 percent while the inflation-adjusted cost of operating buses, light rail, and heavy rail (the only modes whose costs are known back to 1970) increased by 195 percent. Yet ridership on those modes increased by only 32 percent.

Each transit worker produced 53,115 transit trips in 1970, but only 26,314 trips by all modes in 2008. The real cost per rider grew by 124 percent, while subsidies (fares minus operating costs) grew by more than 8 times. Though capital cost data prior to 1992 are sketchy, capital costs also grew tremendously, almost certainly by more than operating costs. By any measure, then, transit productivity has declined more than 50 percent. “It’s uncommon to find such a rapid productivity decline in any industry,” noted the late University of California economist Charles Lave. (Cato at liberty)


And Your Point Is?

Posted by Randal O'Toole

Matthew Yglesias is somehow offended by my recent post about the huge decline in the productivity of our socialized transit industry since 1970. He never addresses or even acknowledges any of the arguments made in my article. Instead, his problem is that the article “fails to acknowledge any government role in promoting the usage of private automobiles.” Since my article was about transit, not automobiles, I don’t see why I need to acknowledge government’s role in driving any more than I should acknowledge government’s role in our failed education system or any other government failing. (Cato at liberty)


North Sea Oil’s New Boom

I’ve been hearing dark mutterings about the imminent ‘end of North Sea oil’ all my life, with the dramatic impact that would have for the UK economy. North Sea oil was a diminishing resource that would be “gone by the end of the century” experts constantly assured back in the 1970s. [Read More] (Peter C Glover, Energy Tribune)


The World's Ever-Increasing Hunger for Coal

Coal-fired power stations are a major producer of the greenhouse gas CO2, but there is no alternative to the fuel in the near future. Energy companies are hoping that carbon capture and storage technologies may be the answer, but many local residents don't want CO2 stored under their backyards.

When Rolf Martin Schmitz, a manager with the German energy giant RWE, drove to the North Sea resort island of Sylt last summer, he immediately noticed the signs. Along the side of roads throughout the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, he was greeted by images of skulls. Residents had installed the billboards to protest against underground storage sites for carbon dioxide that may be built in the region.

Citizens fear dangerous leaks of the gas, which can be hazardous at high concentrations, and other health risks. Schmitz, on the other hand, is worried about the future of his company. (Spiegel)


Northwest Windpower: Problems Aplenty

by Eric Lowe
July 22, 2010

Sharp increases in windpower output on the Pacific Northwest electricity grid has lead to a number of problems. This has fallen into the lap of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Pacific Northwest federal power marketing authority that must integrate the large influx of wind energy into the electricity grid.

In 1998, the BPA’s wind generation was roughly 25 megawatts (MW). Today, it totals 2,780 MW and, with the Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standards passed in 2007, over 6,000 MW of wind power is expected to be on-line by 2013. Often overlooked are the impacts of increasing wind generation on the reliability and affordability of electricity that might very well outweigh any of the environmental benefits that are proclaimed to exist.

The negative aspects of wind are quite apparent. Obviously, wind is unpredictable and inconsistent, creating a significant problem for BPA and electric utilities. To prevent brownouts or overloads on the grid, BPA has to schedule energy production in advance and the ability to predict when and how hard the wind will blow is extremely limited (usually a two or three day window) and is often inaccurate.

Because wind power is so unpredictable, every MW must be backed up by an equal amount from reliable, reserve energy sources to replace the energy lost when the wind dies down. This means BPA must have a “balancing” reserve equal to or greater than the wind power capacity utilized at any given time. In the Pacific Northwest the backup source has traditionally been federally owned hydroelectric dams, which are shut on and off to respond to fluctuations in wind energy. [Read more →] (MasterResource)



Rethinking Socialized Medicine In Canada

As Washington prepares to implement the White House's health care reforms, no one is talking much about Regina, Saskatchewan, these days. Maybe that's not surprising: With so much work falling on state governments, the news cycle focuses on Albany, Indianapolis and Sacramento, not some small city in the middle of the Canadian prairie.

But while Americans may not know Regina, Canadians know it well. Regina (ridge-EYE'-nuh) is the birthplace of Canada's socialized health care system. It was there that Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas first proposed a government-run health care system back in the 1950s. And it was there that, in 1962, the government bill passed in the province's Legislative Assembly.

That was then. Today, Regina's health care model is becoming more market-friendly. The dramatic changes occurring there — the very first city in North America to experience government-run health care — and throughout Canada are worth contemplating as the U.S. prepares an unprecedented expansion of the federal government into private health care. (IBD)


'Deplorable and reprehensible' UN boss savaged by outgoing aide

Wagons were being hastily circled around Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, last night as top aides absorbed the shock of one of their own blasting him for allegedly thwarting attempts to combat corruption in the world body and leading it into a "process of decay" and "irrelevance".

The damaging and highly personal charges were made by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who until last week served as the UN undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), which is meant to keep the fight against internal fraud and corruption alive. They appeared in an end-of-assignment report to Mr Ban.

Mrs Ahlenius, who spent five years running the OIOS office, accused Mr Ban of attempting to undercut her own authority, notably by seeking to set up a competing investigations unit in his own office and by standing in the way of appointments she wanted to make. And she more broadly questioned his leadership qualities. (The Independent)

There was still someone who thought the UN was worth something? Go figure...


Crony Capitalism

The President is busy creating jobs.  In the current Weekly Standard , Andrew B. Wilson points out that President Obama proudly promised:

“ ..to spend as much as $2 billion to support creation of 1,585 ‘permanent’ jobs by two solar energy companies. That comes to a potential cost of over $1.25 million per job.”

That doesn’t strike me as a great deal for taxpayers. (Stossel)


William Watson: Free market winning fans

  July 21, 2010 – 6:32 pm

Despite anti-market views in the media, polls show an eye-opening level of support for free markets around the world

How do you feel about the following statement? “Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.”

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably agree, maybe even agree strongly. If you’re at the CBC (and if so, what are you doing reading this blog?) you probably have serious reservations.

The Pew Research Center in Washington keeps track of how people around the world have been responding to this question over the last few years. The results of their research might not be what you’d expect.

Read More » (Financial Post)


The Smoking Gun For Media Bias

Journo-Gate: For decades, moderates and conservatives have been derided and ridiculed for complaining about the mainstream media's pervasive liberal bias. As it turns out, however, their worst fears were true. (IBD)


No link seen between coffee, prostate cancer risk

NEW YORK - Men who enjoy their morning cup of coffee can drink a little easier. A new research review finds that java lovers appear no more likely to develop prostate cancer than other men.

In an analysis of a dozen studies on coffee intake and prostate cancer risk, researchers found no strong evidence linking the beverage to either an increased or decreased risk of the disease.

The findings, published in the medical journal BJU International, add to the conflicting body of research on coffee and cancer risk. (Reuters Health)


Overweight want to eat more at a meal, but don't

NEW YORK - Overweight people may respond more to a piping hot pizza, but they don't necessarily eat more of it in a single sitting, according to a new study. (Reuters Health)



A scientific breakthrough might assist in the fight against mosquitoes. New research carried out at the University of Haifa in collaboration with researchers from other universities has chemically identified, for the first time, compounds released by mosquitoes’ natural aquatic predators that function as warning signals for egg laying mosquitoes. Introducing these natural chemicals into mosquito breeding sites will cause the mosquitoes to sense risk of predation to their progeny and avoid laying their eggs there. These findings will soon be published in the prestigious journal Ecology Letters. (University of Haifa)


Fiends of the Earth seek trade protectionism: UK-imported animal feed blamed for rainforest destruction

Friends of the Earth report says South American soy crops used to feed British livestock could be replaced with homegrown alternatives

Animal feed imported from South America for the UK's meat and dairy industry is causing the destruction of tropical rainforests and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, a new study reveals.

Friends of the Earth said half the soy imported to the UK to feed livestock could be replaced – with home-grown alternatives such as oil seed rape, sunflower seeds or beans, and grazing on grass and clover – at a lower environmental cost. (Press Association)



Will the Party of No Foil the Half-Baked Greenhouse Machiavellis?

by Marlo Lewis
21 July 2010 @ 7:04 pm

Many have already written the obituary for the Kerry-Lieberman bill and other cap-and-trade legislation in the current Congress. In today’s Politico, however, columnist Darren Samuelsohn quotes Sen. John Kerry’s denial of that assessment: ”No, it’s not dead because we’re going to have a lame duck session and we have weeks ahead of us.”

Re-read the first part of Kerry’s explanation. Kerry is saying that even if the Democratic leadership does not hold a vote on cap-and-trade before the November elections, fearing the wrath of the electorate, the greenhouse gang might still enact cap-and-trade after the elections, when voters could no longer hold them accountable.

How exactly would cap-and-traders pull it off? Samuelsohn summarizes the strategy as explained by an unnamed spokesman for a “major advocacy group”:

But one source from a major advocacy group said Wednesday that another option is…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Hmm... it's after November you have to worry about: Climate bill on the ropes

The Senate climate bill has been at death’s door several times over the past year. But with the days before the August recess quickly slipping away, the case may truly be terminal now. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has wanted to introduce a sweeping energy and climate bill by next week, and Reid even told POLITICO on Monday night that the package was almost ready to go. 

But by Tuesday afternoon, Reid was noncommittal about when a bill would come or what it would contain. 

“We’re going to make a decision in the near future,” Reid said, describing plans for a Democratic caucus on the issue Thursday. “We’re really not at a point where I can determine what I think is the best for the caucus and the country at this stage.” (Darren Samuelsohn, Politico)


“Lame Duck” Shouldn’t Equal “Last Chance”

Ducks in front of the Capitol

There have been several press accounts lately outlining Democratic plans to hold off on taking difficult votes before November, and then to have a robust “lame duck” session in November and December, where they can get the rest of their liberal agenda and pork passed.

I couldn’t think of a worse idea for America.

Not only are cap and trade, card check, and ratification of the START being thrown around as possibly getting legislative action during the lame duck , there will also be a need to wrap up the appropriations process, the process that determines $3.6 trillion worth of federal spending every year.

A better idea for America, and Americans’ pocketbooks, is instead to look at the 2006/2007 transition as a model.  By the time the 2006 elections rolled around, only two appropriations bills (those funding the departments of Homeland Security and Defense) had become law, and the rest of the federal government was being funded through a continuing resolution (CR), which maintains the level of spending of the previous year. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Climate superstition should trump strategic requirements... Researchers: EPA should recognize environmental impact of protecting foreign oil

Military's greenhouse gas emissions are relevant to US fuel policies, University of Nebraska authors say

U.S. military operations to protect oil imports coming from the Middle East are creating larger amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than once thought, new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows.

Regulators do not currently attribute these emissions to U.S. gasoline use – but they should, the authors say. (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)


Oh... Senate Panel Backs More Electric Cars, Solar

Millions of electric-powered vehicles that would slash America's dependence on foreign oil and cut its carbon emissions would be put on the road under legislation approved by a Senate committee on Wednesday.

The legislation, passed 19-4 in favor, was one of several bills cleared by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that might be folded into a broader energy and climate bill Democrats are struggling to bring to the Senate floor.

A new bill that addresses climate change and renewable energy is a key priority for the Obama administration but time is running short on the congressional calendar with a scheduled August recess and congressional elections looming in November. (Reuters)


Kyoto CO2 trade may end if no climate deal-UN study

LONDON July 21 - The Kyoto Protocol's clean development mechanism (CDM) may end from 2013 unless the world can agree and put into force a new round of carbon emissions targets before then, a U.N. paper has said.

The CDM enabled a $20.6 billion trade in carbon emissions rights between rich and poor countries in 2009, to help developed countries meet their carbon emissions caps under Kyoto from 2008-2012.

The world has so far failed to agree a new round of commitments, in faltering U.N. talks.

Countries which are party to the Kyoto Protocol asked the U.N. climate change secretariat in June to report back on legal options to avoid a political vacuum, or gap, at the end of 2012.

"A gap would frustrate the purpose of the CDM and argue against its continuation," if fulfilment of the purpose of the CDM was considered mandatory to help countries meet their carbon caps, the paper said.

"Under this interpretation, no new CDM project activities could be validated or registered, emission reductions or removals that occurred after the first commitment period could not be verified, and corresponding CERs could not be issued."

The full paper can be found here - here (Reuters)


UN lists Kyoto 'plan B' options if climate talks fail

Existing carbon caps may be extended to 2013, and number of countries needed for deal may be lowered

The UN is considering reducing the number of countries involved in faltering international climate talks in an effort to push through a deal.

In a document published yesterday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) outlined the idea among back-up plans if stalled talks fail to produce a successor to the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012.

Countries which are party to the Kyoto protocol in June asked the UN climate secretariat to report on legal options to avoid a political vacuum or gap. Legal remedies to avoiding a gap focus on tweaks to the treaty, such as cutting the number of countries required to approve any new targets or extending the existing caps to 2013 or 2014, the UN document said. (The Guardian)


Excellent! Kevin Rudd in line for climate change adviser position with United Nations

KEVIN Rudd is in line for a plum job as a United Nations climate change adviser.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is considering a dedicated role for the dumped former prime minister as a top-level adviser, according to a diplomatic source with direct knowledge of the plan.

The Courier-Mail learned of Mr Rudd's career prospects in New York on the same day he belatedly entered the campaign to retain his safe Brisbane seat. Mr Rudd, through his office, did not guarantee he would serve a full term as the member for Griffith, saying only: "If elected, Mr Rudd intends to serve a full term.''

The former Labor leader, who met with Mr Ban last week in New York, could be made a special envoy or an ambassador reporting directly to the Secretary-General. ( The Courier-Mail)

Big noting nothing, Kevin Rudd, former "friend of the chair" at the Copenhagen festival of hot air, (who was excluded from what deal making actually did occur there and dumped by his own party as Prime Minister of Australia because he was just such an electoral liability) is ideal for such a nonsense job. He prances around the world breaching confidences and upsetting most everybody. We can't imagine a better candidate for "climate advisor". Climate realists everywhere should support his nomination.



Source:  Journal Bioscience, vol. 60, 552-553

REVIEW OF HEATSTROKE: NATURE IN AN AGE OF GLOBAL WARMING by Anthony D. Barnosky, 2009 (Washington, DC: Island Press) 269pp.

By Daniel B. Botkin

[Dr. Botkin in not associated with SPPI.]

In the late 1960s I began studying possible ecological effects of global warming, and  first published a paper about these possibilities in 1973.  Thus, I have watched with surprise, and sometimes dismay, the sudden development of scientific and public concern over this issue.  When I first began to explore the mechanisms by which a trace gas such as CO2 could influence our planet’s climate, getting into the then abstruse topics of atmospheric physical chemistry and energy exchange, there were just a few scientists — mainly climatologists, meteorologists, and ecologists —  who even knew about the possibility, and even fewer who were doing scientific research on it.

It was a time when not many were aware that life of any kind could affect the environment at a planetary level, but several of us were exploring those possibilities.  I was fortunate to be one of the first to help NASA begin using satellite remote sensing to study a planetary perspective on life.  I also worked with scientists at IBM to develop one of the first computer models that could be used to forecast possible effects of climate change on any kind of ecological system.  It seemed at that time, through the 1970s into the early 1980s,  an uphill battle to even get a large number of scientists to believe in such possibilities, let alone the public. Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


World doomed! Poor most at risk: Climate change threatens poverty fight, report warns

Climate change threatens to undo years of work to tackle poverty in developing countries, a report warned today.

The study by Forum for the Future and supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) said strong, urgent action was needed in poor countries to address the impacts of climate change alongside efforts to boost economic development.

The report said international aid should not be blind to climate change, ignore measures which help poor countries adapt to its effects, or continue to promote high-carbon development. (The Independent)


America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution

Written by Angelo M. Codevilla

Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment's parts.

If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can "write" your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was "inadvertent," and you can count on the Law School's dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that "closes" the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded. By contrast, for example, learned papers and distinguished careers in climatology at MIT (Richard Lindzen) or UVA (S. Fred Singer) are not enough for their questions about "global warming" to be taken seriously. For our ruling class, identity always trumps.

Read more... (SPPI)


Probably not what they had in mind: CLIMATEGATE at UN: Maurice and his Dirty Dozen

After Climategate and Glaciergate the UN (Mr. Ban Ki-Moon) and IPCC (R.Pachauri) have selected, who should investigate them. I wonder who Al Capone would have appointed to investigate him, if he had the chance, and what the results would have been? Probably similar.

Ban and Rajendra chose the InterAcademy Council and the InterAcademy Council established a 12 member investigation panel. The investigating panel is an interesting bunch of fellas. We have already heard rumours about some of them. This is probably the first attempt to assess them all.

The list looks like they all met at some stinking rich UN reception with plenty of caviar and expensive vintage wine. All of them are CEOs or top managers. The nobility. I did not know, that being an independent and unbiased investigator requires one to be a VIP top manager? (Think About It, European blogging competition)


Warmer climate entails increased release of carbon dioxide by inland lakes

Much organically bound carbon is deposited on inland lake bottoms. A portion remains in the sediment, sometimes for thousands of years, while the rest is largely broken down to carbon dioxide and methane, which are released into the atmosphere. Swedish researchers have shown that carbon retention by sediment is highly temperature-sensitive and that a warmer climate would result in increased carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. The study is published in the current issue of the journal Nature. (Uppsala University)

OK, we're pretty much all agreed that a warmer world releases more CO2 to atmosphere, as indicated by ice cores and paleo proxies (handy that, since it helps feed the booming biosphere in times of warmth). What's their point?


West Virginia - The State Global Warming Forgot

Written by Edward R. Long and Jennifer M. Cohen

A survey of the West Virginia temperature record reveals that temperature anomalies were stable or fell from 1905 to 2009.  Raw data from a set of meteorological stations show cooling at the rate of ?0.6±0.2 ºC/century, while United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) Version 2 adjusted records for the same station set yield no change, 0.0±0.2 ºC/century.  For the 1998-2009 interval the average temperature anomalies of the station set declined at rates of ~6.8±3.6 ºC/century and ~4.8±3.6 ºC/century, respectively for the raw and USHCN Version 2 adjusted data.

Read more... (SPPI)


Damselflies in distress forced back to UK by climate change

Damselflies don't sound like they'd do anything as dramatic as invading anywhere, and the dainty damselfly sounds like it would do so least of all. But that's what's happening in southern England, as several species of these delicate, smaller relatives of the dragonflies cross over from the continent and start establishing populations here.

The dainty damselfly, a flying matchstick of bright blue and black, is the latest of a number of new arrivals from Europe which are thought to have been brought to Britain by rising temperatures caused by climate change.

It is actually a returner, rather than a completely new species, as it bred in at least one site in Essex until the population was wiped out in the great floods of the winter of 1953. There was no further sighting for 57 years until four adults were observed and photographed recently in north Kent by two recorders for the British Dragonfly Society, Gill and John Brooks. (The Independent)

They were endemic until the 1950s and now they have returned because of... climate change. Right.


Interesting take: British seas: More fish, cleaner and greater biodiversity, says Defra

'Significant improvements' in UK's seas, but litter, pollution, climate change and greater acidity are cause for concern

Thousands of holidaymakers heading to British beaches this summer will be cheered by a major government report into the state of the UK's seas. Coastal waters are getting cleaner, fish stocks are improving and species diversity in estuaries is increasing, according to the most authoritative examination ever carried out of UK seas.

But while the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs study boasts of "significant improvements" since the last such report in 2005, it also paints a picture of an environment being rapidly affected by a warming world. Seas around the British Isles are higher, warmer and more acid, it says, and coastal litter levels are at a record high. (The Guardian)

Seas are: warmer; more acidic and... more full of life ;-)


Progressive Enhancement of Global Temperature Trends

Written by Joseph D’Aleo

Recently we shared a story in the Wall Street Pit how NASA has gradually reduced the warm middle 20th century blip and created a more continuous warming. You can see in this 1976 National Geographic graph, a rather significant warm period starting in the 1920s and peaking during the dust bowl era in the United States in the 1930s and only slowly declining heading into the 1950s. It showed more significant cooling in the 1960s and 1970s. The story questioned where to from there.

Read more...  (SPPI)


Oops! Way off message... Climate change causes larger, more plentiful marmots, study shows

Finding by University of Kansas researchers is likely to have implications for many creatures that hibernate

LAWRENCE — This week, one of the world's foremost scientific journals will publish results of a decades-long research project founded at the University of Kansas showing that mountain rodents called marmots are growing larger, healthier and more plentiful in response to climate change. (University of Kansas)


Extreme extrapolation: Wacky weather could squeeze Florida's citrus season

Citrus growers, beware. Florida winters are getting more extreme, causing plants to flower later and potentially shrinking the growing seasons for some of the state's most vital crops.

If a recent trend continues, more frequent freezes and larger temperature swings between winter and spring, followed by hotter summers, could threaten oranges and other crops, according to a team of University of Central Florida researchers. (University of Central Florida)


First half 2010 hottest ever, but is it climate change?

The first six months of 2010 brought a string of warmest-ever global temperatures, but connecting these dots to long-term climate change patterns remains frustratingly difficult, experts say.

Not only was last month the hottest June ever recorded, it was the fourth consecutive month in which the standing high mark was topped, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Indeed, 2010 has already surpassed 1998 for the most record-breaking months in a calendar year. (AFP)


Sun not CO2 the culprit by Dr David Ivory, University teacher, Scientist and senior United Nations staff member

David Ivory argues the variation in energy received from the sun has a much greater effect on global temperature balance than the effect of greenhouse gases. (Climate Realists)


Supercomputer reproduces a cyclone's birth, may boost forecasting

As a teen in his native Taiwan, Bo-wen Shen observed helplessly as typhoon after typhoon pummeled the small island country. Without advanced forecasting systems, the storms left a trail of human loss and property destruction in their wake. Determined to find ways to stem the devastation, Shen chose a career studying tropical weather and atmospheric science.

Now a NASA-funded research scientist at the University of Maryland-College Park, Shen has employed NASA's Pleiades supercomputer and atmospheric data to simulate tropical cyclone Nargis, which devastated Myanmar in 2008. The result is the first model to replicate the formation of the tropical cyclone five days in advance. (NASA/GSFC)


Example Of Media Overstatement

There are quite a few examples of overstatements and errors in media reports on climate science (and in the associated research paper). Today, I present one example that appears in a UCAR press release

Indian Ocean sea level rise threatens coastal areas

‘The key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, an enormous, bathtub-shaped area spanning a region of the tropical oceans from the east coast of Africa to the International Date Line in the Pacific. The warm pool has heated by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, or 0.5 degrees Celsius, in the past 50 years, primarily because of human-generated emissions in greenhouses gases.”

The attribution of the positive temperature anomalies “primarily because of human-generated emissions in greenhouses gases” ignores  research that documents in the peer reviewed literature a much more complicated role of human and natural climate forcings and feedbacks in affecting all aspects of the climate system (e.g. see and see).  

The current sea surface temperature anomalies are presented below. The attribution of the Indo-Pacific warm pool to human-generated emissions in greenhouse gases without commenting on the reasons for the cooler than average anomalies (e.g. see the developing La Nina and the cool south Atlantic Ocean) illustrates how this UCAR study has selectively chosen data that fits their preconceived assumptions of climate.

From http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html [see also a larger view of the globe at http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2010/anomnight.7.15.2010.gif] (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


One Person’s Oil Addict is Another’s Intelligent Consumer

by Michael Lynch
July 21, 2010

In the last few weeks, rhetoric about America’s oil addiction has resurfaced, years after being pushed by former President George W. Bush.  It is meant to explain the inability of Americans to become energy independent or at least to significantly reduce consumption.  The implication is that consumers are either foolish or brainwashed, and that the government is a slave to the oil industry’s lobby. 

I submit that this claim reveals an ideological bias, as well as a degree of energy illiteracy.  

Such illiteracy is not new and is often battled by economists.  For example, when I was at MIT, one class was taught by an engineer who believed that oil was underpriced because it cost less than mineral water.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that this is a common misconception:  the prices of the two are completely unrelated.  

Now there is a new litmus test for energy illiteracy, namely the claim that America is ‘addicted to oil.’ Those stating this are either being less than honest (politicians and special interests) or have failed to comprehend either addiction or economics.  For example, why say Americans are addicted to oil, but not food, housing and clothing?  Or cement or steel?  It is easy to compare the traditional types of addiction with the reliance on these substances to see where oil falls on the spectrum.

What is ‘Addiction’? 

Addictive substances typically cause changes in brain behavior, create a sense of euphoria but also reduce productive activity, making citizens less capable and/or less interested in being productive.  They serve primarily to stimulate pleasure and often distort mental processes, creating biochemical dependencies to the point where those consuming the substances sacrifice their careers, livelihoods, families and everything they hold dear to acquire it on a continual basis.  While there are many functioning addicts, there are also huge numbers whose lives have been ruined by their addictions.  (Just watch “Behind the Music” on VH1.) [Read more →] (MasterResource)


China's Energy and GDP Data

Last week China announced a surprising revision to its official data with the effect of making the achievement of its aggressive energy intensity targets within reach. According to the FT:

It’s amazing what a bit of creative accounting can do. As recently as last week, China looked set to miss its energy intensity targets for the end of this year by a wide mark.

But now, after revisions from the National Bureau of Statistics, the country is within reach of its targeted 20% reduction in energy intensity from 2005 levels. Beijing has long called for energy intensity—a measure of power consumption per unit of GDP—to be a global benchmark for environmental regulation.

Before the revisions China had only lowered energy intensity by around 12% from 2005 levels. The new numbers, posted online on Thursday, show increased efficiency gains in every year from 2006 to 2009, lowering current energy intensity to around 16% of 2005 levels. These figures were calculated “according to the results of the second economic census,” the statistics bureau said in the online statement.

The news will be welcome relief to China’s leaders, who have called for officials to use an “iron hand” to reach environmental targets. This year has been especially problematic, with energy intensity going up in the first quarter instead of down.

“The debate is whether they are going to fudge the numbers to meet the marker by the end of this year,” a Western diplomat told the Financial Times last month, before the revisions.

China also has taken issue with claims this week that its energy usage has surpassed that of the United States:

China on Tuesday dismissed claims that it was the world’s largest energy consumer, calling the latest estimates from the International Energy Agency “not very credible”.

The energy watchdog disclosed on Monday that China had overtaken the US in energy consumption, according to preliminary estimates. The news – and China’s quick reaction – underlines the sensitivities that surround China’s thirst for energy, particularly as the government struggles to meet ambitious efficiency targets by the year’s end.

Zhou Xian, head of the general office of the Nat­­ional Energy Administration, dismissed the numbers. “When the IEA came to China to publish its energy outlook a couple of days ago, they also overestimated China’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions,” he said. “We think that is because of a lack of knowledge about China, especially about China’s latest developments of energy conservation and renewable energy.”

If a policy goal is expressed in terms of a reduction in the ratio of energy consumption to GDP, then there will be incentives to show growth in energy consumption as low as possible and growth in GDP as high as possible. Such incentives don't make China's data automatically wrong, but they should be examined from an independent perspective. So far at least, independent data suggests a different interpretation of energy intensity decline than China is suggesting. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


China Makes Western CO2 “control” Pointless

July 20, 2010 by E.M.Smith

Coal Consumption in China Coal Consumption in China

China is the worlds largest energy consumer

In recent news we had that China has surpassed the USA as the worlds largest energy consumer. It’s now the “Big Boy” on the block. All the proposed CO2 “control” treaties to date have given a ‘free pass’ to the poor underdeveloped world on the theory that they needed special favors to ‘catch up’ to the evil west that had suppressed them. Well, folks, China is now the “Big Boy” on the block. Not some little backwater nobody striving to get their first light bulbs and flush toilettes. If you want to “control” CO2 emissions, you absolutely must include China. And that is just not going to happen. (Chiefio)


More adventures in wonderland: First Clean Energy Ministerial Builds Global Low Carbon Future

WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2010 - Ministers from 24 governments took part in the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington Monday and Tuesday, launching 11 new initiatives to accelerate the global transition to clean energy.
The event concluded with the announcement that these programs will avoid the need to build more than 500 mid-sized fossil fueled power plants worldwide over the next 20 years.

The initiatives will cut energy waste; help deploy smart grid, electric vehicle, and carbon capture technologies; support renewable energy markets; expand access to clean energy resources and jobs; and support women pursuing careers in clean energy. (ENS)


David Prosser: Who will pay the bill for closing Britain's £200bn energy gap?

Outlook Neil Woodford, the star fund manager at Invesco Perpetual, is not one of the City's more outspoken figures, so when he does stick his head above the parapet, it's worth taking notice. And yesterday, Mr Woodford did more than that: you might say he climbed on top of the parapet and waved his hands about in a concerted bid to attract attention.

A public letter from Mr Woodford to Lord Mogg, the chairman of the energy watchdog Ofgem, was lengthy and made a number of serious points. In essence, however, it boiled down to a threat: change the way you regulate the industry or investors such as Invesco won't contribute to the cost of upgrading the UK's energy production facilities over the next decade.

The Invesco warning shot is not an isolated incident – it reflects a frustration that many leading figures in the energy industry have been expressing privately for some time now. Ofgem has come in for a great deal of criticism in recent years for its failure to protect consumers – in particular to get gas and electricity bills down – and that has prompted a change in the way it behaves. Those it regulates, meanwhile, have grown more and more upset about their perception that Ofgem has become increasingly consumerist.

Still, let's forget about the rights and wrongs of the past and concentrate on the decade ahead of us. One fact is broadly agreed upon by all parties: in order to meet its climate change obligations and to ensure the lights do not go out, Britain has to spend somewhere in the region of £200bn on new energy production facilities before 2020: on traditional coal and gas-fired power plants, on nuclear and on renewables.

The question is where the money is going to come from. It will not be the public sector – even if we were not headed into a period of extended austerity, the Government would want the privately-owned energy industry to bear the lion's share of the cost of upgrading its infrastructure. Nor will it be the energy companies – they simply do not have this sort of cash on their balance sheets. (The Independent)


Britain's Nuclear Renaissance in Doubt under New Government

Britain's previous government had visions of a nuclear renaissance for the country. But the new energy minister in London is an atomic energy opponent and utility companies, including two based in Germany, fear he may derail their plans. (Spiegel)



White House Admits Obamacare’s Individual Mandate is a Tax

Throughout his presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised the American people: “If you’re a family that’s making $250,000 a year or less, you will see no increase in your taxes.” After he became President, Barack Obama reiterated that pledge, promising the American people in his September 9th health care press conference: “The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes.” But Obamacare does contain tax hikes. Tons of them. From taxes on tanning beds to taxes on employment and investments, Obamacare is a certified job-killing machine.

None of these taxes touches the lives of every American as closely as the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. For the first time in American history, Obamacare forces all Americans to purchase a product or face sanction from the Internal Revenue Service. This is clearly a tax, as pointed out by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during a September 20th interview with the President himself. In an exchange that can only be described as “Clintonesque” Stephanopoulos pressed President Obama to admit his individual mandate was a tax. But President Obama refused to acknowledge reality and denied it. Stephanopoulos was forced to read the definition of “tax” straight from Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. But even then Obama refused to come clean: “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. … Nobody considers that a tax increase.” Well nobody but President Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Continue reading... (The Foundry)



If you lavish manure upon your soil you will enrich it and encourage your crops to grow, but you will also cause weeds to grow, which will suffocate your crops. Therefore you must be active with your hoe, cutting them off at the roots so that your crops may flourish. Likewise if you throw money at a public enterprise you will also enable it to grow, but you will also cause a growth of managers, which will stifle the growth you desire. So it has been in the UK and will be in the USA .

The UK National Health Service was not originally a socialist creation. It was supported by all parties in the war time coalition following the acceptance of the Beveridge report in 1942. Churchill spoke in favour, but counselled caution over speed of implementation on the grounds of cost. In the end the provision was implemented by the post-war Labour government and in the hands of an extreme socialist (Bevan). It was a top-down state-controlled organisation and part of the Welfare State, not the localised affair envisaged by Beveridge. The cost was enormous at a time when the country was flat broke. The consequent debts crippled that nation for years and the generation who were children at that time spent their whole lives repaying them. Subsequent governments (such as that of Thatcher) exacerbated its problems by adding layers of administration. The New Labour Government of Blair and Brown simply threw money at it, taking little interest in how it was spent. Thus, although professional staff increased, modestly, the managerial staff grew by leaps and bounds. They had a symbiotic relationship with the also expanding Government bureaucracy and its obsessions with targets and tables, each justifying the growth of the other. The administration became an out-of-control monster that did great harm to the effectiveness of the service. Cameron made a considerable mistake in ring-fencing the service from the nationwide cuts that became inevitable after the New Labour spending and borrowing spree.

Likewise the BBC had money thrown at it by remorseless increases in the poll tax by which it was funded. As with the NHS this resulted in a huge expansion of management, not only in numbers but in scale of salaries, to which the cliché “obscene” seems to be appropriate. Again, this was accompanied by a precipitous decline in quality of programming. It ceased to exploit its unique advantage of being able to provide programmes uninterrupted by advertising and instead chose to compete with its commercial rivals on the downward path to catering for the basest of public taste.

It is in the nature of managers that they seek to expand their empires, while guarding their backs and justifying their existence. One generation of professionals appoints clerks to disburden themselves of administrative chores and the next generation finds itself reporting to those clerks as their managers. These grant themselves huge rewards in salaries and pensions and are grossly parasitic on the groaning taxpayers.

As we wrote in these pages over two years ago, before the disaster actually struck “If the wealth creating part of any enterprise shrinks continuously, while the wealth dissipating part grows relentlessly, there can be only one eventual outcome.”

If only the new political class were up to dealing with the situation. (Number Watch)


Green diet push angers experts

AUSTRALIA'S top health standards body has been accused of subverting food science to fit a green agenda.

It did this by suggesting caps on meat and fish intake on environmental grounds -- even though pregnant women risk nutritional deficiencies as a result.

The National Health and Medical Research Council, in redrawing Australia's official dietary guidelines, has triggered a storm of protest from expert bodies, which warn that no good evidence has been provided to back its approach.

Two of Australia's top health science organisations, the CSIRO and the National Heart Foundation, also warn there is insufficient evidence for limiting red meat intake to 455g a week, or fish to just one weekly serving.

The protests were triggered by the NHMRC's draft report on its new "Food Modelling System", which was circulated for comment earlier this year.

The report was an attempt to translate previous recommended dietary intakes of various micronutrients and food groups into suggested healthy eating patterns that the general public could readily understand.

But in a submission responding to the draft, sent to the NHMRC in May, the CSIRO noted the "term 'environmentally sustainable' appears . . . throughout the document as an argument for some of the limitations on some foods, notably meat, fish and dairy".

"It is unclear from this document as to how such conclusions were derived and . . . why nutritional desirability for optimal health has been compromised as a consequence," the CSIRO said.

"This is a particular area of concern regarding recommendations to limit fish consumption to below the recommendations by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Heart Foundation and other health bodies." (The Australian)


WHO Still Monitoring H1N1 Pandemic: Spokesman

The World Health Organization's emergency committee will not meet this week to review data on the H1N1 swine flu pandemic nor will it declare for now an end to the pandemic, a WHO spokesman said. (Reuters)


Hmm... Houseproud women 'more at risk from breast cancer'

WOMEN who regularly use cleaning products may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who say they use them sparingly, according to a new study.

Scientists have found significant links between the disease and exposure to common household products such as air fresheners and mould removers.

General use of cleaners doubled the risk of breast cancer in women who used them the most, experts found.

Among the different kinds of products, air fresheners and mould and mildew removers had the strongest association.

In contrast, mothballs, pesticides and insect repellents had little impact on breast cancer risk. (Scotsman)

Rang a bunch of 60-80yo women and asked about lifetime exposure... What does "recollection bias" mean?


Green cleaning: There's the scrub

Can cleaning products ever be good for the environment? Not according to the man behind the biggest green brand – but some are more eco than others (Sophie Morris, Independent)


Changing the Engine of the Global Economy: The Next UN Strategy

Written by Dennis Ambler

Recent remarks by President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner, promote the idea that the US can no longer be the primary driver of world economic growth and that other world economies must grow in preference to the US, to achieve “global economic growth”.

Read more... (SPPI)


BP Fools the “Socially Responsible” Investors (‘Green’ Enron did too)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
July 20, 2010

“The BP incident highlights big differences in how socially responsible funds prioritize various causes. Some of these managers considered BP’s stance on climate change a strong positive. ‘BP was the first to break the logjam on climate change policy’ and had been a leader on alternative energy, says Mark Regier, director of stewardship investing for MMA Praxis.”

- Quoted in Eleanor Laise, “Oops: ‘Socially Responsible’ Funds Hold Big Stakes of BP,” Wall Street Journal, July 17–18, 2010.

The greenwashing strategy of BP and Enron has been the subject of three recent posts at MasterResource:

They Loved BP and Enron: Climate Alarmism as the Great Environmental Distraction (Part I: Worldwatch Institute quotations)

BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’: Climate Alarmism as the Great Environmental Distraction (Part II: Why the ‘greenwashing’?)

Harvard Business Review Article: BP as Environmental Role Model (Part III on global warming as the great environmental distraction)

Don’t believe that “Beyond Petroleum” BP fooled the politically correct after Enron and even all the way up to the Deepwater  Horizon explosion/Gulf spill of May 2010? Then consider the Wall Street Journal’s “Oops: ‘Socially Responsible’ Funds Hold Big Stakes of BP” (reprinted below as Appendix A). [Read more →] (MasterResource)



EIA Says Climate Bill Cuts GDP $452 Billion By 2035

July 16 -- Proposed Senate legislation to limit greenhouse gases from power plants, refineries and factories would cut U.S. gross domestic product by $452 billion, or 0.2 percent, between 2013 and 2035, the Energy Information Administration said today.

A cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases “increases the cost of using energy, which cuts real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services,” the agency said in a report on legislation released May 12 by Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman.

The legislation, which aims to cut the greenhouse gases scientists have linked to global warming 17 percent from the 2005 level by 2020, would cost the average household $206 a year, the EIA said in the report. (Bloomberg)


N.J. activists protest against 'cap-and-trade' law aimed at fighting global warming

MORRIS TOWNSHIP — A group of conservative activists rallied in Morris Township today for repeal of New Jersey’s "cap-and-trade" law that aims to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.

The activists argue the law does nothing to combat global warming — if, they say, global warming even exists — and is merely a new tax that will kill businesses and jobs. Supporters of cap-and-trade, however, disagree. (Star-Ledger)


7,500 UK Firms Face Fines Under CO2 Scheme: WSP

Some 7,500 British firms are expected to miss a September 30 deadline to register for the UK's new energy efficiency scheme, meaning they face fines of at least 5,000 pounds each ($7,644), an environmental consultancy said on Tuesday.

The mandatory Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRCEES), which began on April 1, forces businesses like banks, hotels, hospitals and schools to register with the Environment Agency and monitor energy usage.

According to the government, the scheme will help cut annually by 2020 UK greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million tonnes and corporate energy bills by 1 billion pounds.

But around 40 percent of the 20,000 companies affected are unaware of their obligations and will therefore miss the registration deadline, said WSP Environment & Energy, a division of WSP Group. (Reuters)


German Industry Profits May Be Reduced By UpTo 90% By CO2 Emissions Costs

Germany’s energy intensive industries may have their profits cut by as much as 87 percent by 2020 due to the costs of carbon emissions certificates, the Financial Times Deutschland said, citing a report from Goetzpartners Corporate Finance Ltd.

Carbon emissions may cost German companies more than 5 billion euros if the law and emissions levels stay unchanged, according to the report’s conservative estimates, the newspaper said. (GWPF)


What's a little more climate fraud? Climate change chief clueless on euro loan 

MANILA, Philippines – Climate Change Commission vice chairman Heherson Alvarez said he was unaware of the disbursement of the 150-million euro (roughly P10.5-billion) French loan that was originally intended to enhance the Philippines’ capability to deal with climate change but was used instead to plug the yawning budget deficit.

Alvarez, a former senator, said he never received any information about the loan and he only learned of its existence on June 23 in a meeting with officials of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which facilitated the loan.

Alvarez was reacting to a report by The STAR on the Arroyo administration’s using up the entire AFD loan during the election season from February to May for plugging the budget deficit. (The Philippine Star)


New Methodology Improves Winter Climate Forecasting

It’s hot out right now, but new research from North Carolina State University will help us know what to expect when the weather turns cold. Researchers have developed a new methodology that improves the accuracy of winter precipitation and temperature forecasts. The tool should be valuable for government and utility officials, since it provides key information for use in predicting energy consumption and water availability. (NCSU)

We won't be narky and point out most anything would be an improvement on past woeful performance and simply say this is promising. So far prediction has not exactly been a strong suit.


Longwinded way of say "cold kills": Temperature constancy appears key to tropical biodiversity

New paper answers longstanding scientific question about cause of tropics' stunning biodiversity

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 20, 2010 -- The tropics owe their stunning biodiversity to consistent year-round temperatures, not higher temperatures or more sunlight, according to a novel survey of insect diversity at different latitudes and at different points in the planet's history.

The finding, presented this week in the journal Paleobiology by researchers from Harvard University, Simon Fraser University, and Brandon University, may finally answer a question that has dogged scientists for centuries.

It also suggests, intriguingly, that the world is likely far less diverse today than it was tens of millions of years ago, when the entire Earth had consistent year-round temperatures, much like the modern tropics.

"The latitudinal diversity gradient has been recognized for 150 years as one of the most general observations in nature, and has produced more explanatory hypotheses than nearly any other observation," says co-author Brian D. Farrell, professor of biology at Harvard. "We show that when most of today's organisms were diversifying, up through the Eocene, the world lacked pronounced seasonality, more like today's tropics, even in areas where the temperature was low."

"It appears it's not the heat of the tropics that promotes diversity; it's the newer seasons of the temperate zone that depress diversity." (Harvard University)

The bottom line? A warmer world is more life friendly and promotes biodiversity (global warming panic merchants won't like that ;-))


Oh dear... Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millenia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe. Emissions reductions decisions made today matter in determining impacts experienced not just over the next few decades, but in the coming centuries and millennia.

According to Climate Stabilization Targets; Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millenia, important policy decisions can be informed by recent advances in climate science that quantify the relationships between increases in carbon dioxide and global warming, related climate changes, and resulting impacts, such as changes in streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, extreme hot summers, and sea level rise. One way to inform these choices is to consider the projected climate changes and impacts that would occur if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were stabilized at a particular concentration level. The book quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from the scientific literature. Although it does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and impacts.

Climate Stabilization Targets emphasizes the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization. It is a useful resource for scientists, educators and policy makers, among others. (NAP)


What Is A First Order Human Climate Forcing?

The phrase “first order climate forcing” has been used in our papers and in my posts. I want to make sure this terminology is clearly defined; thus the reason for this post.

I offer this definition

A first-order human climate forcing is one that results in alterations in the climate system which have significant effects on societally and environmentally important resources. These alterations would include changes, as examples, in drought, flood and hurricane patterns.

Using this definition, added CO2 is clearly a first order climate forcing as the alteration in the atmospheric and ocean concentration of CO2 is a biogeochemical change which results in alterations of the physiology of plants and other organisms. It also is a positive radiative forcing as the 2007 IPCC reports.

However, in contrast to the narrow perspective presented in the 2007 IPCC report, there is a diverse set of other first order climate forcings. The 2007 IPCC view seems to be that only changes in the global annual radiative forcing matters in terms of multi-decadal climate forcing, and this is their implicit definition of a first order climate forcing. This is the dominant (i.e. first order climate forcing) in their view.

However, this is a flawed incomplete perspective as we have written on in our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

In that paper the hypothesis

Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first- order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades

is the only view that is supported by the peer reviewed literature. These other climate forcings alter atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005], and, moreover, as with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are  on multidecadal time scales and longer.

The post

Feedback On My Invitation On The Three Hypotheses Regarding Climate Forcings

presents insightful comments on how this hypothesis can be fine tuned. However, a clear message is that, in addition to added CO2, deliberate and inadvertent land use/land cover change, and a diverse range of influences from aerosols are also first order climate forcings. The next IPCC assessment must include this broader view in their assessment of climate science. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 29: 21 July 2010

The Global Warming-Hurricane Connection: A Far-From-Settled Science: It's a fact that ever more people are gradually beginning to realize.

Subject Index Summary:
Ocean Acidification (The Phenomenon): Is the basic premise of the newest biospheric "scare story" as solid as climate alarmists make it out to be?

Journal Reviews:
Ocean Mass Trends (and Sea Level Estimates) from GRACE: Not yet ready for prime time?

A Holocene History of Floodplain Occupation on the Upper Reaches of the Zapadnaya Dvina and Volga Rivers: What does it reveal about the region's temperature history?

The West Nile and Saint Louis Encephalitis Viruses: Would the maladies they cause be greater or lesser problems if the world began to warm again?

Aspen and Birch Trees Exposed to Significant Heat Stress: Would a modest increase in the air's CO2 content provide them any relief?

Spring Leaf Flush in Aspen Trees: How is it affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment?

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Fructan-accumulating Plant (Oliveira et al., 2010), Quaking Aspen (Kets et al., 2010), Rice (Fan et al., 2010), and Tomato (Sun et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 857 individual scientists from 510 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Royal Basin, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)


State of Alaska culprit in 1989 spill

If DEC chief had heeded Exxon, harm to environment would have been minor less
Exxon Corp. wanted to burn freshly spilled oil from the 1989 tanker spill in Prince William Sound, but a slow response by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation blew the opportunity to destroy almost all the oil and save thousands of birds and animals and 1,300 miles of pristine shoreline.

“We wanted to burn it, and use dispersant around the edges,” said a long-time, reliable Petroleum News source who was working for Exxon in Alaska at the time and has only recently agreed to go on the record.

But in order to burn the oil Exxon needed an open burn permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, or ADEC. (GoO)

Since posting this item has been significantly altered by GoO


China Dismisses IEA Label As World's Top Energy User

China on Tuesday disputed that it had surpassed the United States last year to become the world's largest energy user, and defended its efforts in boosting cleaner energy sources.

The International Energy Agency estimates China last year consumed 2.265 billion tonnes of oil equivalent of energy from sources including coal, oil, natural gas, hydro and nuclear power, 4.4 percent more than the United States.

But Zhou Xian, spokesperson for China's National Energy Administration, said on Tuesday that the IEA's estimate of China's energy consumption was too high, although he declined to give an alternative estimate. (Reuters)


Oil Drillers, Users Say World Needs Deepwater Wells

Energy chiefs defended deepwater oil as crucial to meeting future demand, saying on Tuesday that a prolonged U.S. drilling ban in response to the giant Gulf of Mexico spill could stoke costs and threaten security of supply.

Setting aside the technical difficulties, the United States had embraced deepwater oil as a secure domestic source until BP's disastrous spill began in April and prompted Washington to impose a six-month ban.

Drilling deep under the ocean surface can provide alternative supplies to those pumped by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is liable to withhold exports to boost prices.

"Shutting down or scaling back deepwater development in the Gulf would constrain supplies. It would also be a step backward for energy security," Jay Pryor, global vice president business development at Chevron, said in a speech to an industry conference in London.

"Policy-makers, while rightfully focused on the tragedy, should analyze it in context as an isolated and likely preventable event. They should keep in mind that overall the industry has a good safety record and a good record for environmental protection." (Reuters)


Coal Companies Sue EPA Over Mine Permit Delays

The National Mining Association, which represents most major U.S. coal mining companies, on Tuesday filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it was unlawfully obstructing permits for coal mining operations in Central Appalachia.

EPA's delaying of mountaintop mining permits has jeopardized thousands of jobs and supply of a fuel vital to meeting national electric power needs, said the lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. (Reuters)


Industries use airwaves to attack low-carbon fuel mandate

A broad coalition of oil, trucking, airline, manufacturing and other companies Tuesday will roll out a two-week advertising campaign accusing senators of hurting consumers and jobs if they lower the greenhouse gas content of fuels.

“Our families are struggling, but unfortunately it’s business as usual in Washington,” according to a 60-second radio ad sponsored by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) running in four Midwestern states. 
The “latest bright idea” from Congress is a low-carbon fuel standard, according to the ad. Auto companies and the autoworkers union are pushing such a standard. 
CEA's radio campaign cites unnamed studies that claim a standard would cost consumers up to $2,000 annually and increase gas prices at the pump by up to 170 percent. (E2 Wire)


Green Energy Lobby Threatens To Pull The Plug On Green Projects

One of the energy industry’s biggest shareholders has threatened to block all new investments in British renewables unless the Government increases the returns available to investors and gives greater certainty over its future policy.

Neil Woodford, the head of investment at Invesco Perpetual — which holds more than £4.5 billion of shares in energy companies including National Grid, Centrica, United Utilities, SSE, Drax and International Power — fired a warning shot at coalition plans for a green energy revolution.

He accused officials of a fundamental lack of understanding of the challenges facing the sector. (Robin Pagnament, The Times)



Rationers rationed: UK health watchdog NICE faces 20 pct budget cut

LONDON - Britain's health cost watchdog NICE, the body responsible for recommending which drugs should be used on the state health service, is preparing for a 20 percent cut in its budget, its chief executive said on Monday.

Andrew Dillon said the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) was targeting significant savings in the face of a clampdown on public spending by the country's new coalition government. (Reuters)


Whooping cough vaccine not linked to seizures

NEW YORK - There is little need to worry about serious side effects if your toddler is getting vaccinated against whooping cough, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

"Our findings provide reassuring evidence that the vaccine is not associated with acute seizure events and is safe for routine immunization in early childhood," they write in the journal Pediatrics. (Reuters Health)


Kids' high cholesterol may drop naturally

NEW YORK - Very high cholesterol levels in kids may decline over time even without intervention, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found.

The findings add to an ongoing debate over the importance of high cholesterol in children, and whether cholesterol-lowering drugs are appropriate when changes in diet and physical activity don't cut it. (Reuters Health)


Fears for road safety as lights switched off on motorway

Motorway lights are being switched off at midnight across the country, raising safety concerns.
The Highways Agency announced that an eight-mile stretch of the M6 in Lancashire would be the seventh site in England where the lights are turned off between midnight and 5am. The quango, which is responsible for more than 4,000 miles of motorway and trunk road, said the move will save money and carbon emissions and even stop light pollution.
Already one in five councils are turning off street lamps during the early hours to save money and more lights are expected to be switched off on quiet stretches of road in future.
But road safety campaigners warned that accidents are more common on unlit stretches of road. (TDT)


Fight Elephants With Peppers, U.N. Tells Farmers

Farmers whose crops are raided by wild animals like elephants should try driving them away with pepper spray, using guard donkeys or booby trapping food with snakes, the U.N. said on Monday.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) unveiled in a statement on its website a "toolkit" it suggests should be taught or handed out to farmers, particularly in Africa, to stop them killing wildlife.


The report does however note there are risks attached: hippos and elephants are extremely aggressive and can charge, so a gun might be a sensible back-up option. (Reuters)


Horton Plains Slender Loris pictured for first time

One of the world’s rarest primates driven to the brink of extinction by Britain's taste for tea has been photographed for the first time, scientists said.
The Horton Plains slender loris has been so elusive for more than 60 years scientists believed the wide-eyed mammal had become extinct.

It had only been seen four times since 1937 but was fleetingly spotted in 2002 by researchers who identified it by the reflection of a light shone in its eyes.
Experts believe the prime reason for its rarity was due to the loss of its natural forest habitat largely destroyed by the drive to create tea plantations. (TDT)


Disease wiping out amphibians before they can be identified

The frog-killing disease which is sweeping parts of the world is now wiping out amphibian species before they have even been described, new research has shown.

Dramatic declines in amphibian populations in the Americas and Australia have been known since the late 1980s, exemplified by the disappearance of the famous golden toad of the cloud forests of Costa Rica, which has not been seen since 1989. At first the declines were a mystery, but 10 years ago it was realised that many of the disappearing frog, toad and salamander populations were being killed off by a fungal disease called chytridiomycosis. It was thought that global warming might be helping the disease to establish itself. (The Independent)


IPBES about governance, not science

The recent news that the UN was creating an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) created a bit of a stir. It was obviously (and openly) modeled on the IPCC, an organization which has its share of problems. This new 'IPCC for biodiversity' panel has already been viewed with serious skepticism, especially among those who challenge the validity of the IPCC's unique brand of 'science'. However, new ideas aren't invalid simply because they resemble old ones, so I decided to look a little further into the subject. I found that the new IPBES is not an attempt to further the science of biodiversity, it exists to help create a new and 'more effective' version of International Environmental Governance (IEG). I will explain IEG later, but first I want to show you how I reached this conclusion. I started out with this question:

Why is the IPBES necessary? (Climate Quotes)



Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): A Cap-Tax-Spend Model to NOT Follow

by Lisa Linowes
July 19, 2010

“Bottom line, the program has raised electricity prices, created a slush fund for each of the member states, and has had virtually no impact on emissions or on global climate change.”

Against a backdrop of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration stepped up its campaign to pass national climate change legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV announced last week that he plans to bring a comprehensive energy and climate bill to the Senate floor by the end of the July. The bill, still to be written, is expected to include a cap on carbon emissions produced by the nation’s electricity providers.

But before the U.S. embraces such a program, Congress — and the public — would be wise to examine the early performance of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first mandatory greenhouse gas cap and trade system.

Bottom line, the program has raised electricity prices, created a slush fund for each of the member states, and has had virtually no impact on emissions or on global climate change.


The federal government has been debating national climate legislation since 1992. Over one-hundred heads of state attended the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where it was assumed that man-made global warming was a problem and deserved public-policy action.

The Kyoto Conference followed in 1997.  The conference resulted in the proposed Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (“GHG”) through either a cap-and-trade or a carbon tax programs in developed nations, and through carbon emission subsidies for underdeveloped nations.

The Protocol established the concepts of Joint Implementation (“JI“) and Clean Development Mechanism (“CDM”) as means to fund GHG reductions in the developing world. With Kyoto, “carbon finance” was born.

Major compromises in Kyoto included setting 1990 as the baseline to get Eastern European buy-in and exempting the underdeveloped world. The 1997 Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which passed the U.S. Senate by 95-0 ensured the U.S. would not sign onto Kyoto. It was the sense of the Senate, as cited in the resolution, that the protocol would “result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.”

RGGI in Action

Ten years later, in 2008, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) was launched. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself

If the planet determines Canada should freeze again, the best response would be to sell your Canadian real estate

Stanford University physicist Robert Laughlin says governments – and people generally – should proceed with more humility in dealing with climate change. The Earth, he says, is very old and has suffered grievously: volcanic explosions, floods, meteor impacts, mountain formation “and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict.” Yet, the Earth is still here. “It’s a survivor.”

Writing in the summer issue of the magazine The American Scholar, Prof. Laughlin offers a profoundly different perspective on climate change. “Common sense tells us that damaging a thing as old as [Earth] is somewhat easier to imagine than it is to accomplish – like invading Russia.” For planet Earth, he says, the crisis of climate change, if crisis it be, will be a walk in the park.

Relax, Prof. Laughlin advises. Let it be. “The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we gaze into the future,” he says, “not because it’s unimportant but because it’s beyond our power to control.” Whatever humans throw at it, in other words, Earth will fix things in its own time and its own way. (Globe and Mail)


Without candour, we can't trust climate science

IS CLIMATEGATE finally over? It ought to be, with the publication of the third UK report into the emails leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Incredibly, none looked at the quality of the science itself.

The MPs' inquiry - rushed out before the UK general election on 6 May - ducked the science because the university said it was setting up an "independent scientific assessment panel" chaired by geologist Ron Oxburgh.

After publishing his five-page epistle, Oxburgh declared "the science was not the subject of our study". Finally, last week came former civil servant Muir Russell's 150-page report. Like the others, he lambasted the CRU for its secrecy but upheld its integrity - despite declaring his study "was not about... the content or quality of [CRU's] scientific work" (see "Scientists respond to Muir Russell report").

Though the case for action to cut greenhouse gases remains strong, this omission matters. How can we know whether CRU researchers were properly exercising their judgment? Without dipping his toes into the science, how could Russell tell whether they were misusing their power as peer reviewers to reject papers critical of their own research, or keep sceptical research out of reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? (New Scientist)


More on Oxburgh's eleven

When my FoI request to Imperial led to the disclosure of the Hand and Hoskins emails, there were many redactions of names, which I found rather frustrating. From the language of many of the emails, it appeared that many of the names were of senior people and should thus have been disclosed. I queried this with Imperial who have now disclosed almost all of the relevant detail.

One interesting snippet has emerged from this. When the original emails were released I reported on an inquiry made to Lord Oxburgh by Oliver Morton of the Economist about how Oxburgh's Eleven papers were chosen. When he replied, Oxburgh said in essence that he didn't know.

What I received was a list from the university which I understand was chosen by the Royal Society The contact with the RS was I believe through [name redacted] but I don't know who he consulted. [Name redacted], when I asked him, agreed that the original sample was fair.

Well, now we know who the redactions were. The contact through with the Royal Society was through Martin Rees - we knew that already. The other redaction, the other person consulted about whether the sample of papers was reasonable, was...Phil Jones.

Now, whichever way you look at it, this is a funny question to put to the accused if one's objective is a fair trial. I mean, what could Jones say? "You've picked all my bad papers"? And of course Jones must have known that the sample was not representative. (Bishop Hill)


An oily, underhand demand for censorship

Calling for ExxonMobil to stop funding climate-sceptic groups is really a demand that these groups be silenced.

‘Oil giant gave £1million to fund climate sceptics’, declares a headline in The Times (London) today. Predictably, many greens are demanding an end to this funding. Yet however much they try to dress up their demand as a radical, anti-oil stance, in truth they are really calling for the censorious blocking of alternative viewpoints and an end to the debate about climate change. (Rob Lyons, spiked)


In the propaganda stakes: When Climate Change Becomes a Health Issue, Are People More Likely To Listen?

New study suggests re-framing the issue helps people better understand and relate to climate problem

FAIRFAX, Va.—Framing climate change as a public health problem seems to make the issue more relevant, significant and understandable to members of the public—even some who don’t generally believe climate change is happening, according to preliminary research by George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication (4C).

The center recently conducted an exploratory study in the United States of people’s reactions to a public health-framed short essay on climate change. They found that on the whole, people who read the essay reacted positively to the information. (GMU)


Revkin on the Hockey Stick

Andy Revkin is interviewed on America's NPR on the subject of the aftermath of Climategate. A transcript can be seen here. During the course of the interview, a member of the public asks AR about the Hockey Stick.

The original paper was riddled with caveats, all these could, would, might, to be sure, kind of phrases. And it - but then it quickly got spun, including by the IPCC in 2001. In the illustration they derived from it, they removed the gray bands that showed you the error, the possible up and down error. And as you go farther back in time, the range of possible error in these estimates is much, much higher. So that was where the problem was. The National Academy of Sciences did a study that assessed this. And largely, there were some problems that they raised with the way it had been done. But since then also, the main thrust of that work has been repeatedly replicated by other groups of scientists.

So the idea that we're in a period of unusual warming in the last 50 years has not been erased. The - what's been returned is - for the original paper - the sense that it's important to be sure you talk about the things we don't know, even when you talk about what's been learned in climate science. And if you don't do that, then you can be accused of, kind of, oversimplifying things.

All very strange. Can Andy really be unaware that Mann was a lead author on the paleoclimate chapter of the Third Assessment Report? Does he also not know that the "repeated replications" mostly rely on the same faulty data as the Hockey Stick itself? And I can't say I was aware that the IPCC had removed the error bars from the graph either (perhaps he means in the spaghetti graphs?). (Bishop Hill)

Andy's quite wrong, this is the hockey stick graphic as published in IPCC TAR (2001):


Global Model Confirms: Cool Roofs Can Offset Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Mitigate Global Warming

Can light-colored rooftops and roads really curb carbon emissions and combat global climate change? The idea has been around for years, but now, a new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that is the first to use a global model to study the question has found that implementing cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can not only help cities stay cooler, they can also cool the world, with the potential of canceling the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

Because white roofs reflect far more of the sun’s heat than black ones, buildings with white roofs will stay cooler. If the building is air conditioned, less air conditioning will be required, thus saving energy. Even if there is no air conditioning, the heat absorbed by a black roof both heats the space below, making the space less comfortable, and is also carried into the city air by wind—raising the ambient temperature in what is known as the urban heat island effect. Additionally, there’s a third, less familiar way in which a black roof heats the world: it radiates energy directly into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed by the nearest clouds and ends up trapped by the greenhouse effect, contributing to global warming. (LBNL)


Can Climate Feedbacks be Diagnosed from Satellite Data? Comments on the Murphy & Forster (2010) Critique of Spencer & Braswell (2008)

There is a new paper in press at the Journal of Climate that we were made aware of only a few days ago (July 14, 2010). It specifically addresses our (Spencer & Braswell, 2008, hereafter SB08) claim that previous satellite-based diagnoses of feedback have substantial low biases, due to natural variations in cloud cover of the Earth.

This is an important issue. If SB08 are correct, then the climate system could be substantially more resistant to forcings – such as increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations — than the IPCC “consensus” claims it is. This would mean that manmade global warming could be much weaker than currently projected. This is an issue that Dick Lindzen (MIT) has been working on, too.

But if the new paper (MF10) is correct, then current satellite estimates of feedbacks – despite being noisy – still bracket the true feedbacks operating in the climate system…at least on the relatively short (~10 years) time scales of the satellite datasets. Forster and Gregory (2006) present some of these feedback estimates, based upon older ERBE satellite data.

As we will see, and as is usually the case, some of the MF10 criticism of SB08 is deserved, and some is not.

First, a Comment on Peer Review at the Journal of Climate

It is unfortunate that the authors and/or an editor at Journal of Climate decided that MF10 would be published without asking me or Danny Braswell to be reviewers.

Their paper is quite brief, and is obviously in the class of a “Comments on…” paper, yet it will appear as a full “Article”. But a “Comments on…” classification would then have required the Journal of Climate to give us a chance to review MF10 and to respond. So, it appears that one or more people wanted to avoid any inconvenient truths.

Thus, since it will be at least a year before a response study by us could be published – and J. Climate seems to be trying to avoid us – I must now respond here, to help avoid some of the endless questions I will have to endure once MF10 is in print.

On the positive side, though, MF10 have forced us to go back and reexamine the methodology and conclusions in SB08. As a result, we are now well on the way to new results which will better optimize the matching of satellite-observed climate variability to the simple climate model, including a range of feedback estimates consistent with the satellite data. It is now apparent to us that we did not do a good enough job of that in SB08.

I want to emphasize, though, that our most recent paper now in press at JGR (Spencer & Braswell, 2010: “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing”, hereafter SB10), should be referenced by anyone interested in the latest published evidence supporting our claims. It does not have the main shortcomings I will address below.

But for those who want to get some idea of how we view the specific MF10 criticisms of SB08, I present the following. Keep in mind this is after only three days of analysis. (Roy W. Spencer)


Emissions tax on individual planes 'would damage UK'

Government plans to replace Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane tax would be “ineffective and damage competitiveness”, business leaders warned today. (Evening Standard)


Moratorium Follies

Posted on Jul. 16, 2010

Moratorium Follies

Ed. note: This piece first appeared on Energy Outlook, Geoffrey Styles’ blog.

This week Secretary of Interior Salazar reissued the administration's deepwater drilling moratorium, with a few new twists and a notional six month limit. This happened in spite of loud protests from the states most affected by the spill, some of their representatives in Washington, and even some skepticism from the heads of the President's own drilling commission. The old ban is still in court, and the new one probably will be soon, but this is really all moot, because whether the Salazar moratorium is technically in force or not, the legal battle over it has created a moratorium limbo that few companies would be willing to test, given the costs involved. One irony of all this is that in addition to the obvious indirect winners in OPEC, there's at least one direct winner in this hemisphere: Brazil, which will be quite happy to export to us their deepwater oil that we're inadvertently helping them to develop quicker and cheaper. (Energy Tribune)


U.S. Issues First Shallow-Water Drilling Permit

The U.S. Interior Department issued its first shallow-water drilling permit since offshore exploration companies were required to meet two sets of new safety regulations in response to the BP oil spill, a department official said on Monday.

Apache Corp, which is seeking to purchase billions of dollars in BP assets, was approved to drill in Gulf of Mexico waters that are less than 500 feet deep.

Companies have not been allowed to get new shallow water drilling permits until they abide by new government safety requirements. Apache was the first to meet them all, the department said.

The U.S. Interior Department issued its new offshore drilling moratorium for deepwater drilling last week that will last until November 30.

The moratorium is being challenged by the industry in the courts. The ban and safety requirements for shallow-water drilling are also being criticized for costing jobs and creating more economic hardship for Louisiana. (Reuters)


Oil Sands Producers Must Cut Emissions: U.S. Envoy

Oil sands producers must do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. ambassador to Canada said on Monday, as the two countries move to harmonize rules on carbon dioxide cuts. (Reuters)

Why? What have they got against green plants and the massive food web those plants support? Carbon dioxide is a biospheric asset, a resource and should be valued, cherished even.


Angola: An emerging oil power without the baggage

Angola is an unmitigated success story when compared to their neighbors in Nigeria and other dysfunctional African oil producers such as Sudan and the perennially, maddeningly weird, Libya. It is also an example on how the turbulent post-colonial past, so evident practically everywhere in Africa, can be overcome and give place to a far calmer and far more productive future. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)


A Free Market Energy Vision

by Robert Bradley Jr.
July 16, 2010

Energy is the master resource. Without it, other resources could neither be produced nor consumed. Even energy requires energy: There would not be usable oil, gas, or coal without the energy to manufacture and power the requisite tools and machinery. Nor would there be wind turbines or solar panels, which are monuments to embedded fossil-fuel energy.

And just how important are fossil fuels relative to so-called renewable energies? Oil, gas, or coal generates the electricity needed to fill in for intermittent wind and solar power to ensure moment-to-moment reliability. So renewable energy, ironically, is dependent on nonrenewable energy short of prohibitively expensive battery technology assuring the flow of electricity.

As a component of all products and services, energy needs to be affordable, convenient, and reliable. To this end, public policy should respect consumer preference and allow energy producers to meet the demands of the marketplace. This requires a respect for private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law to facilitate the global exchange of energy and its innumerable subcomponents. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Climate change 'taxes' pushing up energy bills

HOUSEHOLD energy prices may have stopped their climb upwards but behind the scenes something else has been going on which is pushing our power bills higher. And it looks set to get far worse.

Households are paying £84 a year in "hidden taxes" on their energy bills to help meet the cost of combating climate change. But mounting pressure could see these taxes more than double to £176 a year within the next decade.  (Ann Robinson, Scotsman)



BRITAIN faces years of blackouts and soaring electricity bills because of the drive toward green power, a leading energy expert warned last night.

A growing obsession with global warming and “renewable” sources threatens the stability of our supply.

Derek Birkett, a former Grid Control Engineer who has a lifetime’s experience in electricity supply throughout Britain, warned that the cost of the crisis could match that of the recent banking collapse. 

And he claimed that renewable energy expectations were now nothing more than “dangerous illusions” which would hit consumers hard in the pocket. (Daily Express)


Some sense penetrating at last: PM slammed for investment U-turn

Cameron reneges on eco jobs pledge. Uses cash for 'ethical' bank instead

DAVID Cameron is to slash spending on green technology but pour hundreds of millions of pounds into charities, voluntary groups and churches, the News of the World can reveal.

The Prime Minister's first pledge after taking over as Conservative Party leader was to slash greenhouse gasses and promote eco-friendly energy.

But he has shelved a £1 billion fund to invest in new British companies using green technology.

The money was supposed to be used by a Green Investment Bank which would plough cash into firms building offshore wind and wave farms, green power stations and other ambitious projects. It would have come from the sale of assets such as the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Port of Dover. (News of the World)


Sunset for Subsidies.

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for an end to the massive subsidies distorting all energy markets in the name of global warming.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that if Julia Gillard was honest in her support for a sustainable Australia, she should start dismantling the five unsustainable industries created by climate subsidies.

Forbes explained:

“Today’s buzz word is “sustainable”.

“A sustainable industry cannot rely on government subsidies, market mandates or special deals.

“Warmists and subsidy entrepreneurs have created five unsustainable industries in gullible and guilt stricken western economies – carbon sequestration, ethanol, solar/wind power, carbon forestry and the climate change industry

“Carbon geo-sequestration is the idea that we can alter global temperature by burying the carbon dioxide produced by industry. It is totally without merit yet consumes billions of dollars from taxpayers and shareholders.

“The production of ethanol motor fuel from food producing land may be sustainable in some special circumstances, but has been bloated into obesity by subsidies and mandates. It has also cut food production. It should be cut loose to stand or fall in the open market.

“The next unsustainable industry created with bipartisan support is solar/wind power. These energy sources are useful in certain circumstances but generation of network electricity is not one of them. They should be weaned off the subsidy teat.

“Carbon credits and re-growth clearing bans are creating another parasitic industry – the growth of carbon forests. These are also destroying food production and will de-populate country towns but provide zero long term effect on carbon dioxide levels.

“Finally, climate change regulation, research and summiteering has become a mega-dollar, multi-national industry fed almost entirely on tax payer funds.

“Instead of government nannies lecturing us on which cars, light bulbs and appliances to buy, they should relieve tax payers and consumers of the dead weight of all five subsidy-sucking industries.

“All over the world, governments are waking up to the enormous cost and questionable benefits from all the climate subsidies. Australia need not repeat their costly mistakes.

“The sun is setting on the subsidy society.”

Viv Forbes
Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition

Rosevale, Qld, Australia
Phone 07 5464 0533
Email: Info@carbon-sense.com
For a brief report on “Sunset for Subsidies” see: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/sunset-for-subsidies.pdf


Lights out

On 14 July the Energy Research Institute of the University of Melbourne hosted a seminar on “The Future of Renewable Energy in Australia”. The centrepiece was a report by Matthew Wright (Director, Beyond Zero Emissions) who presented a ten year roadmap for 100% renewable energy from stationary sources. Other speakers were John Daley (CEO Grattan Institute), Keith Lovegrove (Solar Thermal Group Leader, ANU), and Lane Crockett (General Manager, Pacific Hydro).  

I was among the 1,400 who descended on Melbourne University to listen to the four speakers who were discussing how to get to zero or near zero carbon emissions. 

For the other 1399, the meeting was a revivalist session. We were told that we would have this totally sustainable power already had not WW1 led to the suspension of work on parabolic troughs in Cairo and we would again have had it had not George Bush under the influence of Big Coal, Big Oil and Big God knows what scuppered research in the US.  

The fantasies of the group included their technological forecasting that with solar thermal at the size of Hazelwood, prices for solar (the route to baseload power) would be comparable to the costs of wind and on the way to becoming comparable with coal. Oh and don’t you know, it is better for employment since, notwithstanding a spend of $370 billion, it would employ twice as many people as presently are employed in these dinosauristic, cancer causing, pollution belching monstrosities in the Valley? Not for these people any old fashioned notions that higher productivity from conserving on labour usage means higher income levels. Spain, the New Jerusalem, was showing the way – no querying whether this might just have contributed to it becoming the second sickest man in Europe nor any awareness of research showing each job created in wind farms meant 2.2 jobs lost elsewhere 

Nor was there any thought about how the economy might cope with a doubling of the cost of energy, just the usual glib data (a mere $8 per week for the average family). (Alan Moran, Quadrant)



Government Wants Your Individual Obesity Rating By 2014

All Americans, by 2014 will be required to have an individual obesity rating electronically recorded. It has been determined that under the new health stimulus law passed by President Barack Obama recently, that all Americans, by 2014, will be required to have electronic health records which will include their height, weight and body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a formula that calculates ones body measurements, including height and weight, in order to come up with an individual obesity rating. Calculation of BMI is the preferred method of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for measuring obesity and coming up with an obesity rating, which is the measure of a person’s body fat percentage.

Regina Benjamin, the U.S. Surgeon Genera stated that according to the CDC, “BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.” (Huliq)


Food killing more of us than tobacco

OBESITY is set to overtake smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness in Australia, and experts are calling on government authorities to take the same tough stand on the weight crisis as it did on tobacco.

After years of sharp decline, deaths from cardiovascular disease have increased, health advocates saying excess weight might be to blame. (SMH)


Fear for kids after colouring cancer link

AUSTRALIAN food authorities may ban artificial food colours from breakfast cereals and confectionery items following new scientific evidence that shows it may pose a cancer risk, as well as causing hyperactivity and allergic reactions in children.

The new research conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the US recommended the common colours be banned.

"These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behaviour problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson, co-author of the report, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks. (Sunday Telegraph)


Two-step vaccine may offer 'universal' flu jab

WASHINGTON - A two-step flu vaccine using DNA to "prime" the immune system and then a traditional seasonal influenza vaccine may be able to protect against all strains of the virus -- providing a long-sought "universal" flu vaccine, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

The team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is already testing the new vaccine in people and says the results of tests in mice, ferrets and monkeys suggest the industry may finally be able to dump the cumbersome process of making fresh flu vaccines every year.

"This is the first step, conceptually, towards a good shot at a universal vaccine," NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a telephone interview. (Reuters)


Europeans Cast Critical Eye on Homeopathy

Without any scientific proof of their effectiveness, homeopathic remedies are highly disputed in Europe. With budgets strained, politicians are questioning whether the alternative treatments should be covered by state insurance systems. (Spiegel)


Americans turn cold shoulder to sunscreen: poll

NEW YORK - Even as summer temperatures soar, Americans are turning a cold shoulder to sunscreen, according to a poll released on Friday.

Only one-fifth of Americans wear sunscreen before going outside most days during the summer and just under one-third apply it even a few days during the season, according to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. (Reuters Life!)


A Food Czar? Really?

Limited Government: You may laugh about the White House assistant chef being appointed "Senior Policy Adviser." You'll stop laughing when you realize that those in power really do want to tell you what to eat.

You just can't cook these things up. The 29-year-old Chicago chef that the Obama family for years paid to be their private cook, Sam Kass, was quietly promoted last month from his job as assistant chef at the White House residence and "food initiative coordinator" to the position of "senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives."

The long-suffering American people don't get to know if an increase in salary is involved, because Kass is on the residence staff rather than the West Wing's.

But we should know how much the taxpayers are paying this "bald, intense young man" who, according to the New York Times, is "part chef and part policy wonk" and is "reinventing the role of official gastronome in the Executive Mansion."

He plays golf with the president at Martha's Vineyard, attends the administration's child-health briefings, and quizzes senior White House staff about policy.

"Do we have a toxicologist who specializes in colony collapse disorder?" Kass once asked in an e-mail to the Agriculture Department, according to the New York Times story.

Add the fact that Kass isn't even a formally trained chef and you really start to wonder what's going on here.

The law lets the president appoint anyone he wants as "senior policy adviser." But if he wants to be the first president to employ a cook/food czar, he should make that plain to the public — and publish the man's taxpayer-funded salary, as is the case with other White House policy advisers.

Of course, it all begs the question: Why on earth do the American people need a government-paid "food initiative coordinator"? This administration has been attempting to elevate nutrition to the level of a civil rights issue. (IBD)


Hmm... Mad cow almost eradicated from UK

MAD cow disease is on the verge of being eradicated in Europe, the EU's executive arm said as it proposed an end to the systematic killing of entire herds when a sick cow is discovered.

"The European Union has made great progress in its battle against BSE and we are finally on the brink of eradicating the disease within the Union,'' said European Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli. (AFP)

... so much for the bazillions of hidden "victims" of the "epidemic".


UN trying another fundraising scam: New UN body to put value on planet, show cost of damage

The world relies on a range of services nature provides -- water filtration by forests, pollination by bees and a supply of wild plant genes for new food crops or medicines.

If nature charged for these, how much would it cost? (Reuters)


Screw cap wine blamed for loss of forest in new campaign to revive traditional cork

The fashion for screw cap wines among the middle classes is destroying forests and could lead to the extinction of one of world's rarest wildcats, ecologists claim. (TDT)


Misguided Environmentalists Are Destroying Biodiversity

The Soviet Union's demise helped usher in manmade catastrophic global warming as the new "central organizing principle of civilization." Now, global warming is giving way to a growing recognition that: climate change is primarily natural, cyclical and moderate; China, India and other countries will not sacrifice CO2-generating economic growth to prevent speculative climate crises; and carbon taxes strangle competitiveness, destroy jobs and send families into fuel poverty.

Thus, while not recanting predictions of disastrous climate change, environmental activists and the United Nations are already launching a new campaign. The real threat to the planet, they now assert, is the impact of modern energy technologies and civilization on biodiversity. The case for saving species, they insist, is even "more powerful" than the need to address climate change. (Paul Driessen, Post Chronicle)


No Butz About It

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How a long-ago Secretary of Agriculture became the demon of industrial food critics; and how those critics get the last half-century of agricultural history wrong.

First Lady Michelle Obama has refused to plant corn in her famous White House organic garden. That's a direct result of the attack on corn and modern agriculture, led by local and sustainable food advocates, small farm groups, food writers, and the producers of film documentaries. The only kind of corn that would be grown in any garden, organic or not, is sweet corn, and sweet corn is the only thing that makes July survivable in hot Midwestern summers, but never mind. The organic garden is a political exercise, and corn is in bad odor with environmentalists, the New York Times, and Michael Pollan.

According to the narrative, we farmers plant far too much corn; in particular, too much of the kind of corn livestock eat. And we do this even though corn is really cheap.

What’s more, corn has become an industrial product like polypropylene or stainless steel; it's no longer really food for any creature, great or small. Corn sweetener receives more bad press than methamphetamine, so the Obamas will eat no fresh sweet corn dripping with butter and sprinkled with salt. (President Obama can seem peevish at times; I'd prescribe sweet corn, twice a day, for the week or so that corn from the garden is at its peak.) (The American)


Scientist leading GM crop test defends links to US biotech giant Monsanto

Research professor Jonathan Jones says his verdict on a potato trial in Norfolk will not be influenced by his past commercial ties to Monsanto (The Observer)



Gulf Oil Spill 'Crisis' May Revive Growth-Killing Cap-And-Trade Bill

As White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel expressed in the midst of the financial crisis, this administration follows the rule "Never allow a crisis to go to waste." And following President Obama's Oval Office address, it is apparent that many in Washington are doing their best not to let the oil spill crisis in the Gulf "go to waste."

Prior to the Gulf disaster, the American Power Act (the Senate version of cap-and- trade) seemed all but dead.  This is as it should be. But with the Senate back from the July 4 recess, either the American Power Act will be explicitly taken up or another clean energy bill will be proffered to which the key provisions of the American Power Act will be attached.

The problem is that there is no real link between cap-and-trade regulations and the crisis in the Gulf.  As President Obama himself admitted in a speech at Andrews Air Force Base in March of this year:

"The bottom line is this: Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy (emphasis added)."

Therefore, even if cap-and-trade legislation were passed, we will still need to drill for oil and natural gas.  Furthermore, cap- and-trade regulations do not fix the problems that led to the Gulf crisis in the first place, so we will still need to fix these problems.

All that would change if cap-and-trade legislation were passed is that President Obama and Congress would have chosen the worst possible time to impose job-killing legislation on the economy. (Arthur Laffer, Wayne Winegarden And Colin Hanna, IBD)


US climate bill falls short of Obama's Copenhagen promise

Senate wants cap and trade scheme to tackle rising emissions rather than green new deal

A scaled-back climate change bill being considered by Senate Democrats would achieve far less than President Barack Obama promised at the UN global warming summit in Copenhagen last year – but even this may be too much for Congress.

With little time left in a short, crowded legislative schedule this year, Senate Democratic leaders are weighing a final attempt to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Instead of the kind of economy-wide scheme the House of Representatives approved last year, senators are trying to rally support for a narrower plan that would set pollution caps only on the electric power sector – covering about one-third of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. It would do so by allowing an ever-dwindling number of carbon pollution permits to be traded.

By signing onto the Copenhagen accord last December, the United States accepted the goal of cutting 2005 domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020 compared to 2005. (The Guardian)


Climate Change Scepticism Could Soon Be a Criminal Offence

People who are sceptical of climate change could soon be facing criminal charges in the European Court of Justice, British National Party leader and MEP Nick Griffin MEP has said.

Speaking in an exclusive Radio Red, White and Blue interview on this week’s “Eurofile” report, Mr Griffin told interviewer John Walker about a recent sitting of the European Parliament’s  subcommittee dealing with the matter, which had passed a ruling which in effect placed legal sanction against anyone who dared question the origin, cause or effect of “climate change.”

Mr Griffin revealed how he could not get a straight answer out of the committee while it was in session, but that afterwards it was admitted to him that that intention of the rule was to criminalise dissension on the topic of “climate change.” (BNP News)


Australia: Abbott says he'll never set a price on carbon

TONY Abbott has vowed any government he leads would never introduce a carbon price

The Opposition Leader has hardened the Coalition position, preparing a campaign strategy to target Labor on the basis that it would drive up electricity prices.

He said that, even if the international community agreed on a carbon price, a government led by him would not necessarily back it. "I do not support the government going out there and making consumers pay a price on carbon," Mr Abbott said.

Even if there was an international consensus position on a carbon price, a Coalition government would not necessarily fall into line, he said. (The Australian)


US Government Halts Funds For Climate Unit

The American government has suspended its funding of the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit (CRU), citing the scientific doubts raised by last November’s leak of hundreds of stolen emails.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) was one of the unit’s main sources of funding for its work assembling a database of global temperatures.

It has supported the CRU financially since 1990 and gives the unit about £131,000 a year on a rolling three-year contract.

This should have been renewed automatically in April, but the department has suspended all payments since May pending a scientific peer review of the unit’s work.

The leaked emails caused a global furore. They appeared to suggest that CRU scientists were using “tricks” to strengthen the case for man-made climate change and suppressing dissent.

A spokesman for the DoE said: “The renewal application was placed on hold pending the conclusion of the inquiry into scientific misconduct by Sir Alastair Muir Russell.”

Muir Russell published his report earlier this month. It said that the rigour and honesty of the CRU scientists were not in doubt but criticised them for “a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness”.

The DoE peer review panel will now sift through the report and decide if American taxpayers should continue to fund the unit.

A spokesman for the university said: “We are still waiting to hear if the latest bid for funding to the US Department of Energy has been successful and would not comment or speculate in the meantime.”

The Sunday Times, 18 July 2010 (Via GWPF)


Britons urged to count trees to fight climate change

A British museum is urging the public to record trees in parks, streets and gardens as part of a three-year survey to uncover how climate change is affecting the environment.

London's Natural History Museum is enlisting the public's help to locate, identify and count trees to find out which species is growing where and how climate change impacts the tree population. Scientists know a lot about trees in rural areas but relatively little is known about urban areas, the survey's website says.

The website, www.nhm.ac.uk/trees, gives guidance on how to collect information and identify species. (Reuters)

Presumably numeracy is some advantage...


Carbon capture? Not in my yard

In May I was flown to Pittsburgh, birthplace of America's coal industry, to attend the annual conference of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.

A mistake all round, probably.

I'd written a few columns critical of the idea that, instead of the world reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, we might bury them underground. Perhaps the GCCSI thought I would come round to its way of thinking. I thought its preparedness to engage with a critic was admirable. We signed the agreements - I could write whatever I liked - and off I went. (SMH)

Paddy Manning is a green flake but he's right in one respect, CCS is never a good idea.


Talk about misreading a situation: Britain trails China in dash to low-carbon economy, warns Tim Yeo

Conservative says Beijing may be 'playing the bad guy' to grab green profits 20 years ahead

Britain and other western countries are in danger of being left behind by China which is investing "furiously" in low carbon technology, aiming to profit from tough climate change targets in the next 20 years, a leading Tory warns today.

Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Commons energy and climate change select committee, says China may deliberately be acting the "bad guy" to divert attention from preparations for a low carbon economy.

China faced international criticism last year for scuppering the Copenhagen climate change talks after Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, declined to attend the negotiations. Mark Lynas, a witness to the negotiations, accused the Chinese of wrecking the talks by insisting on an "awful" deal so western leaders would be blamed.

In a new book on climate change – Green Gold: The Case for Raising our Game on Climate Change – Yeo says the west needs to be careful about depicting China as the world's bête noir. China insisted at Copenhagen that an 80% cut in greenhouse gases emissions by 2050 should be taken out of the agreement.

Yeo says in an interview it is a great mistake to assume China is "completely off the page" on climate change. "They are using this period furiously, while their economy is growing, to invest in low-carbon technology. They are rolling out a high-speed rail network in very short order, so that will cut the demand for domestic flights in China; they are investing quite heavily in renewable energy; they have got quite demanding vehicle standards; they have a quite impressive tree planting programme." (The Guardian)

You dill, Yeo! The tree planting is an attempt to address their devastating dust storms from countryside denuded by people desperate for cooking and heating fuels (no worries, wood and grass are biofuels ;-) ), the highspeed rail network and severe mileage standards on vehicles are purely logistical necessities, China is having a lot of trouble sourcing sufficient fuels to meet the boom in private vehicle ownership and use. The renewable energy is more about milking carbon credits and Western ecochondria than anything else and a lot of windfarms are not even connected to the grid with mills "sunbathing" as the locals call them.


The Global Warming Guessing Game

Environment: A federal agency is reporting that the world has just had its warmest June on record and the agency's climate chief is blaming man for the increasing heat. And he would know ... wouldn't he?

No, he wouldn't. He's just guessing, the same way that all the global warming alarmists are speculating.

We confess that they have some numbers to lean on. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June 2010 was the warmest on record at 61.1 degrees, which is 1.22 degrees above the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees."

Meanwhile, "The global June land surface temperature was 1.93 degrees above the 20th century average of 55.9 degrees — the warmest on record."

Jay Lawrimore, head of climate analysis at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, is confident the rising temperatures are "part of an overall trend." Global temperatures, he says, "have been rising for the last 100-plus years. Much of the increase is due to increases in greenhouse gases."

But neither Lawrimore nor anyone else can say with 100% certainty that man's greenhouse gas emissions are causing the world to warm. It's simply not possible to make that statement. There are too many strong variables outside of human impact that affect climate.

The world has been cooler and warmer than it is today, and in both cases man couldn't possibly have had any impact.

Yet the political left and the many scientists who are a part of it assume — or claim — that this time, unlike every other warming trend that has scorched Earth, man is the cause.

It's worth asking why they would take this position. (IBD)


Lawrence Solomon: The Globe and Mail’s overheated rhetoric

  July 17, 2010 – 4:20 pm

The planet is experiencing “a summer of swelter,” states a front-page story in today’s Globe and Mail that provides us with anecdotes of the upshot, such as “more than 1000 Russians have drowned in the last month trying to escape record temperatures.” The Globe then speculates that one cause of the worldwide heat wave could be “the ever-shrinking size of the world’s ice caps.”

First, the Russians. The Globe might have told us that they drown in droves every year, disproportionately in the summer months, and the Globe might also have told us why. “The majority of those drowned were drunk,” explains Vadim Seryogin, a department head at Russia’s Emergencies Ministry. Last year, when 3000 Russian drowned, one analysis of drowned Russian males found that 94% had been drunk.

Perhaps the heat caused Russians to drink more – the data is not yet in – but most don’t need heat to drive them to drink. According to a study last year published in the British journal, the Lancet, alcohol was responsible for the deaths of about three quarters of all Russian men, and half of all Russian women, aged 15-54.

Next, those “ever-shrinking” ice caps, of which this planet has two. The ice cap in the southern hemisphere, in the Antarctic, has been growing steadily since the 1970s, especially so this summer. The ice cap in the northern hemisphere, in contrast, did shrink temporarily over the last few months, after having expanded temporarily earlier in the year, and it is now expanding again. On balance, Planet Earth now has slightly more ice than usual, according to the most recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It shows the Arctic to have 1.379 million fewer million square kilometres of ice while the Antarctic has 1.404 more.

“Ice reflects sun and when you melt it, the Earth absorbs more heat, which causes further melt back, which causes more warming,” Danny Harvey, a climate researcher at University of Toronto, told The Globe. “So when you lose ice, it means we’re in big trouble.”

So, when we gain ice, as the Earth is now doing, does it mean we are we safe and sound? The Globe didn’t ask, and Harvey didn’t answer.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Poor deceived blighters: Africa looks to vast forests for carbon credit

Ivory Coast - They inhabit a polluted part of Ivory Coast's main city with few jobs and a swelling population, but residents of Abidjan's slums have a rare respite: a stretch of pristine rainforest.

From their wooden shacks and unpainted concrete houses by motorways on the edge of Banco National Park, the millions who live in north Abidjan need no lesson on its worth.


Logging bans don't directly address forest loss from other threats such as agriculture, but officials are hoping that a potential money spinner - carbon offsets - will. (Reuters)


Climate Science: The Movie

by Case Smit

July 18, 2010

An appeal from Case Smit:

When John Smeed and I brought Lord Monckton to Australia earlier this year, we found that the overwhelming majority of the audiences was definitely of the older generation. Where were the next generation of leaders and problem solvers? Where were the under 40’s? Most of us, but particularly that generation, have been exposed to inconvenient (un)truths, errors and exaggerations from Governments and most of the media, leading to a belief that mankind is guilty of starting a global warming trend that will have catastrophic consequences. 

A suggestion was made during the Monckton Tour that a movie be made, aimed specifically at young people, to give them the real facts. This suggestion has been widely supported and has grown to a proposal to make a series of short movies that could be made into one documentary covering the science, economics and the morality of the “global warming” hypothesis. The bulk of the Australian filming is planned for Lord Monckton’s next visit to Australia in September/October 2010. Some more information about the movie is given in the dedicated web site: climatesciencerevealed.com  

The North American Directors for this proposed movie are Susan Kucera and Gawain Bantle of Cinepartners. The budget amounts to about $300,000, which is very low for the quality of product we have planned given it must contain only incontrovertible facts and be professional enough to have credibility yet sassy enough to outdo “An Inconvenient Truth” in its appeal to youth. Joanne Nova, an experienced science communicator, will be the principal script writer and the anchor person. The documentary will feature Lord Monckton, Prof. Ian Plimer, Prof. Peter Ridd, numerous other Australian and overseas experts as well as some teenagers and older “young” people. We will use animated graphics and humour to keep young viewers interested. 

The intention is to distribute this movie to schools and to make it available on the internet. We may not be able to get mass distribution, but we expect to get it shown at film festivals and selected cinemas. 

We can put on a powerful display of all the images and information that hasn’t been featured in the media – it’s all the front-page news-busting headlines that no one has told our youth. 

John Smeed and I are not in a position to underwrite this venture, so we are seeking donations from all like-minded individuals and organisations to provide the necessary funding. To join the team which is fighting back and to help us raise the $300,000 required, there is a “donate” button on page “The Plan” on our web site. Given the expected wide distribution of this appeal, an average donation of $250 should get us to the target, but obviously we would need quite a few donations much greater than that; naturally any donation will be welcome. 

Thank you,
Case Smit,
Queensland 4566, Australia



HWGA: Coral reefs suffer mass bleaching

Coral reefs are suffering widespread damage in what is set to be one of the worst years ever for the delicate and beautiful habitats. (TDT)

Funny how they don't mention the biggest cause of coral bleaching -- not enough tropical storms and cyclones :) It's true though, too-calm conditions yields water stratification and the upper meter or two gets warm enough to stress corals.


Rahmstorf still trying to minimize solar effect: On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth

The current exceptionally long minimum of solar activity has led to the suggestion that the Sun might experience a new grand minimum in the next decades, a prolonged period of low activity similar to the Maunder minimum in the late 17th century. The Maunder minimum is connected to the Little Ice Age, a time of markedly lower temperatures, in particular in the Northern hemisphere. Here we use a coupled climate model to explore the effect of a 21st-century grand minimum on future global temperatures, finding a moderate temperature offset of no more than −0.3°C in the year 2100 relative to a scenario with solar activity similar to recent decades. This temperature decrease is much smaller than the warming expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century. (GRL)


My Global Warming Skepticism, for Dummies

I receive many e-mails, and a recurring complaint is that many of my posts are too technical to understand. This morning’s installment arrived with the subject line, “Please Talk to Us”, and suggested I provide short, concise, easily understood summaries and explanations “for dummies”.

So, here’s a list of basic climate change questions, and brief answers based upon what I know today. I might update them as I receive suggestions and comments. I will also be adding links to other sources, and some visual aids, as appropriate.

Deja vu tells me I might have done this once before, but I’m too lazy to go back and see. So, I’ll start over from scratch. (Insert smiley)

It is important to understand at the outset that those of us who are skeptical of mankind’s influence on climate have a wide variety of views on the subject, and we can’t all be right. In fact, in this business, it is really easy to be wrong. It seems like everyone has a theory of what causes climate change. But it only takes one of us to be right for the IPCC’s anthropogenic global warming (AGW) house of cards to collapse.

As I like to say, taking measurements of the climate system is much easier than figuring out what those measurements mean in terms of cause and effect. Generally speaking, it’s not the warming that is in dispute…it’s the cause of the warming.

If you disagree with my views on something, please don’t flame me. Chances are, I’ve already heard your point of view; very seldom am I provided with new evidence I haven’t already taken into account.

1) Are Global Temperatures Rising Now? There is no way to know, because natural year-to-year variability in global temperature is so large, with warming and cooling occurring all the time. What we can say is that surface and lower atmospheric temperature have risen in the last 30 to 50 years, with most of that warming in the Northern Hemisphere. Also, the magnitude of recent warming is somewhat uncertain, due to problems in making long-term temperature measurements with thermometers without those measurements being corrupted by a variety of non-climate effects. But there is no way to know if temperatures are continuing to rise now…we only see warming (or cooling) in the rearview mirror, when we look back in time.

2) Why Do Some Scientists Say It’s Cooling, while Others Say that Warming is Even Accelerating?
Since there is so much year-to-year (and even decade-to-decade) variability in global average temperatures, whether it has warmed or cooled depends upon how far back you look in time. For instance, over the last 100 years, there was an overall warming which was stronger toward the end of the 20th Century. This is why some say “warming is accelerating”. But if we look at a shorter, more recent period of time, say since the record warm year of 1998, one could say that it has cooled in the last 10-12 years. But, as I mentioned above, neither of these can tell us anything about whether warming is happening “now”, or will happen in the future.

3) Haven’t Global Temperatures Risen Before? Yes. In the longer term, say hundreds to thousands of years, there is considerable indirect, proxy evidence (not from thermometers) of both warming and cooling. Since humankind can’t be responsible for these early events, this is evidence that nature can cause warming and cooling. If that is the case, it then opens up the possibility that some (or most) of the warming in the last 50 years has been natural, too. While many geologists like to point to much larger temperature changes are believed to have occurred over millions of years, I am unconvinced that this tells us anything of use for understanding how humans might influence climate on time scales of 10 to 100 years.

4) But Didn’t the “Hockey Stick” Show Recent Warming to be Unprecedented? The “hockey Stick” reconstructions of temperature variations over the last 1 to 2 thousand years have been a huge source of controversy. The hockey stick was previously used by the IPCC as a veritable poster child for anthropogenic warming, since it seemed to indicate there have been no substantial temperature changes over the last 1,000 to 2,000 years until humans got involved in the 20th Century. The various versions of the hockey stick were based upon limited amounts of temperature proxy evidence — primarily tree rings — and involved questionable statistical methods. In contrast, I think the bulk of the proxy evidence supports the view that it was at least as warm during the Medieval Warm Period, around 1000 AD. The very fact that recent tree ring data erroneously suggests cooling in the last 50 years, when in fact there has been warming, should be a warning flag about using tree ring data for figuring out how warm it was 1,000 years ago. But without actual thermometer data, we will never know for sure.

5) Isn’t the Melting of Arctic Sea Ice Evidence of Warming? Warming, yes…manmade warming, no. Arctic sea ice naturally melts back every summer, but that meltback was observed to reach a peak in 2007. But we have relatively accurate, satellite-based measurements of Arctic (and Antarctic) sea ice only since 1979. It is entirely possible that late summer Arctic Sea ice cover was just as low in the 1920s or 1930s, a period when Arctic thermometer data suggests it was just as warm. Unfortunately, there is no way to know, because we did not have satellites back then. Interestingly, Antarctic sea ice has been growing nearly as fast as Arctic ice has been melting over the last 30+ years.

6) What about rising sea levels? I must confess, I don’t pay much attention to the sea level issue. I will say that, to the extent that warming occurs, sea levels can be expected to also rise to some extent. The rise is partly due to thermal expansion of the water, and partly due to melting or shedding of land-locked ice (the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glaciers). But this says nothing about whether or not humans are the cause of that warming. Since there is evidence that glacier retreat and sea level rise started well before humans can be blamed, causation is — once again — a major source of uncertainty.

7) Is Increasing CO2 Even Capable of Causing Warming? There are some very intelligent people out there who claim that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere can’t cause warming anyway. They claim things like, “the atmospheric CO2 absorption bands are already saturated”, or something else very technical. [And for those more technically-minded persons, yes, I agree that the effective radiating temperature of the Earth in the infrared is determined by how much sunlight is absorbed by the Earth. But that doesn't mean the lower atmosphere cannot warm from adding more greenhouse gases, because at the same time they also cool the upper atmosphere]. While it is true that most of the CO2-caused warming in the atmosphere was there before humans ever started burning coal and driving SUVs, this is all taken into account by computerized climate models that predict global warming. Adding more “should” cause warming, with the magnitude of that warming being the real question. But I’m still open to the possibility that a major error has been made on this fundamental point. Stranger things have happened in science before.

8 ) Is Atmospheric CO2 Increasing? Yes, and most strongly in the last 50 years…which is why “most” climate researchers think the CO2 rise is the cause of the warming. Our site measurements of CO2 increase from around the world are possibly the most accurate long-term, climate-related, measurements in existence.

9) Are Humans Responsible for the CO2 Rise? While there are short-term (year-to-year) fluctuations in the atmospheric CO2 concentration due to natural causes, especially El Nino and La Nina, I currently believe that most of the long-term increase is probably due to our use of fossil fuels. But from what I can tell, the supposed “proof” of humans being the source of increasing CO2 — a change in the atmospheric concentration of the carbon isotope C13 — would also be consistent with a natural, biological source. The current atmospheric CO2 level is about 390 parts per million by volume, up from a pre-industrial level estimated to be around 270 ppm…maybe less. CO2 levels can be much higher in cities, and in buildings with people in them.

10) But Aren’t Natural CO2 Emissions About 20 Times the Human Emissions? Yes, but nature is believed to absorb CO2 at about the same rate it is produced. You can think of the reservoir of atmospheric CO2 as being like a giant container of water, with nature pumping in a steady stream into the bottom of the container (atmosphere) in some places, sucking out about the same amount in other places, and then humans causing a steady drip-drip-drip into the container. Significantly, about 50% of what we produce is sucked out of the atmosphere by nature, mostly through photosynthesis. Nature loves the stuff. CO2 is the elixir of life on Earth. Imagine the howls of protest there would be if we were destroying atmospheric CO2, rather than creating more of it.

11) Is Rising CO2 the Cause of Recent Warming? While this is theoretically possible, I think it is more likely that the warming is mostly natural. At the very least, we have no way of determining what proportion is natural versus human-caused.

12) Why Do Most Scientists Believe CO2 is Responsible for the Warming? Because (as they have told me) they can’t think of anything else that might have caused it. Significantly, it’s not that there is evidence nature can’t be the cause, but a lack of sufficiently accurate measurements to determine if nature is the cause. This is a hugely important distinction, and one the public and policymakers have been misled on by the IPCC.

13) If Not Humans, What could Have Caused Recent Warming? This is one of my areas of research. I believe that natural changes in the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the Earth — due to natural changes in cloud cover — are responsible for most of the warming. Whether that is the specific mechanism or not, I advance the minority view that the climate system can change all by itself. Climate change does not require an “external” source of forcing, such as a change in the sun.

14) So, What Could Cause Natural Cloud Changes? I think small, long-term changes in atmospheric and oceanic flow patterns can cause ~1% changes in how much sunlight is let in by clouds to warm the Earth. This is all that is required to cause global warming or cooling. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficiently accurate cloud measurements to determine whether this is the primary cause of warming in the last 30 to 50 years.

15) How Significant is the Climategate Release of E-Mails? While Climategate does not, by itself, invalidate the IPCC’s case that global warming has happened, or that humans are the primary cause of that warming, it DOES illustrate something I emphasized in my first book, “Climate Confusion”: climate researchers are human, and prone to bias.

16) Why Would Bias in Climate Research be Important? I thought Scientists Just Follow the Data Where It Leads Them When researchers approach a problem, their pre-conceived notions often guide them. It’s not that the IPCC’s claim that humans cause global warming is somehow untenable or impossible, it’s that political and financial pressures have resulted in the IPCC almost totally ignoring alternative explanations for that warming.

17) How Important Is “Scientific Consensus” in Climate Research? In the case of global warming, it is nearly worthless. The climate system is so complex that the vast majority of climate scientists — usually experts in variety of specialized fields — assume there are more knowledgeable scientists, and they are just supporting the opinions of their colleagues. And among that small group of most knowledgeable experts, there is a considerable element of groupthink, herd mentality, peer pressure, political pressure, support of certain energy policies, and desire to Save the Earth — whether it needs to be saved or not.

18) How Important are Computerized Climate Models? I consider climate models as being our best way of exploring cause and effect in the climate system. It is really easy to be wrong in this business, and unless you can demonstrate causation with numbers in equations, you are stuck with scientists trying to persuade one another by waving their hands. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that climate models will ever produce a useful prediction of the future. Nevertheless, we must use them, and we learn a lot from them. My biggest concern is that models have been used almost exclusively for supporting the claim that humans cause global warming, rather than for exploring alternative hypotheses — e.g. natural climate variations — as possible causes of that warming.

19) What Do I Predict for Global Temperature Changes in the Future? I tend to shy away from long-term predictions, because there are still so many uncertainties. When pressed, though, I tend to say that I think cooling in our future is just as real a possibility as warming. Of course, a third possibility is relatively steady temperatures, without significant long-term warming or cooling. Keep in mind that, while you will find out tomorrow whether your favorite weather forecaster is right or wrong, no one will remember 50 years from now a scientist today wrongly predicting we will all die from heat stroke by 2060.

Concluding Remarks

Climate researchers do not know nearly as much about the causes of climate change as they profess. We have a pretty good understanding of how the climate system works on average…but the reasons for small, long-term changes in climate system are still extremely uncertain.

The total amount of CO2 humans have added to the atmosphere in the last 100 years has upset the radiative energy budget of the Earth by only 1%. How the climate system responds to that small “poke” is very uncertain. The IPCC says there will be strong warming, with cloud changes making the warming worse. I claim there will be weak warming, with cloud changes acting to reduce the influence of that 1% change. The difference between these two outcomes is whether cloud feedbacks are positive (the IPCC view), or negative (the view I and a minority of others have).

So far, neither side has been able to prove their case. That uncertainty even exists on this core issue is not appreciated by many scientists!

Again I will emphasize, some very smart people who consider themselves skeptics will disagree with some of my views stated above, particularly when it involves explanations for what has caused warming, and what has caused atmospheric CO2 to increase.

Unlike the global marching army of climate researchers the IPCC has enlisted, we do not walk in lockstep. We are willing to admit, “we don’t really know”, rather than mislead people with phrases like, “the warming we see is consistent with an increase in CO2″, and then have the public think that means, “we have determined, through our extensive research into all the possibilities, that the warming cannot be due to anything but CO2″.

Skeptics advancing alternative explanations (hypotheses) for climate variability represent the way the researcher community used to operate, before politics, policy outcomes, and billions of dollars got involved. (Roy W. Spencer)


New Paper “Two Opposing Effects Of Absorbing Aerosols On Global-Mean Precipitation” By Ming Et Al 2010

There is a new paper

Ming, Y., V. Ramaswamy, and G. Persad (2010), Two opposing effects of absorbing aerosols on global-mean precipitation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L13701, doi:10.1029/2010GL042895

which further documents the complexity and diversity of human climate forcings.  While it still, unfortunately, focuses on a global average (in this case precipitation), it does add to the understanding of the role of aerosols in climate.

The abstract reads

“Absorbing aerosols affect global-mean precipitation primarily in two ways. They give rise to stronger shortwave atmospheric heating, which acts to suppress precipitation. Depending on the top-of-the-atmosphere radiative flux change, they can also warm up the surface with a tendency to increase precipitation. Here, we present a theoretical framework that takes into account both effects, and apply it to analyze the hydrological responses to increased black carbon burden simulated with a general circulation model. It is found that the damping effect of atmospheric heating can outweigh the enhancing effect of surface warming, resulting in a net decrease in precipitation. The implications for moist convection and general circulation are discussed.”

There are some interesting findings in this paper. These include

Although some particular aspects of the issue (e.g., reduced surface solar flux, atmospheric heating, stabilization of the troposphere and reduced precipitation) have been discussed, often in the context of the surface energy budget and on the regional scale, still missing is a theoretical framework in which one is able to quantify all the processes essential for determining the change in global‐mean precipitation, and thus to devise an a priori measure of the ability of a particular climate perturbation to alter precipitation, analogous to what radiative forcing is for surface temperature. Such a measure would be highly desirable for purposes like model intercomparison and attribution of observed and model‐simulated changes in precipitation.

This study approaches the issue from the angle of energy balance constraint on the hydrological cycle. We argue that despite the large uncertainty in the current physical understanding and model representation of the radiative and/or microphysical effects of aerosols on individual precipitation events [Khain, 2009, and references therein], the global‐mean precipitation has to vary under such a constraint. This would generate valuable insights into the robustness of model simulations. The same methodology has been utilized successfully to study decadal‐scale hydrological response to greenhouse gases [Allen and Ingram, 2002; Held and Soden, 2006].


“We propose a concept of hydrological forcing (HF), which would provide a means to quantify the ability of a climate perturbation to modify global‐mean precipitation without performing expensive coupled model simulations.”

The proposal for new metrics on hydrologic forcing was introduced in

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp

where we wrote

“Despite all these advantages, the traditional global mean TOA radiative forcing concept has some important limitations, which have come increasingly to light over the past decade. The concept is inadequate for some forcing agents, such as absorbing aerosols and land-use changes, that may have regional climate impacts much greater than would be predicted from TOA radiative forcing. Also, it diagnoses only one measure of climate change—global mean surface temperature response—while offering little information on regional climate change or precipitation.”

We have proposed specific hydrologic metrics in our presentation

Pielke, R.A. Sr., and T.N. Chase, 2003: A Proposed New Metric for Quantifying the Climatic Effects of Human-Caused Alterations to the Global Water Cycle. Presented at the Symposium on Observing and Understanding the Variability of Water in Weather and Climate, 83rd AMS Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA, February 9-13, 2003.

As research papers such as Ming et al continue to appear, the realization that the human influence on the climate system is significant beyond CO2, as we discussed in Pielke et al 2009, will become better realized. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New Paper “Ten-year Climatology Of Summertime Diurnal Rainfall Rate Over The Conterminous U.S” By Matsui Et Al 2010

We have a new paper published. It is

Matsui, T., D. Mocko, M.-I. Lee, W.-K. Tao, M. J. Suarez, and R. A. Pielke Sr. (2010),Ten-year climatology of summertime diurnal rainfall rate over the conterminous U.S., Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L13807, doi:10.1029/2010GL044139

The abstract reads

“Diurnal cycles of summertime rainfall rates are examined over the conterminous United States, using radar-gauge assimilated hourly rainfall data. As in earlier studies, rainfall diurnal composites show a well-defined region of rainfall propagation over the Great Plains and an afternoon maximum area over the south and eastern portion of the United States. Using Hovmöller diagrams, zonal phase speeds of diurnal composite rainfall are estimated in three different small domains, and are evaluated with background meteorological conditions. These rainfall propagation speeds are better linked to the convective available potential energy than to the boundary-layer dryness.”

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Beyond Politics?

Energy: Oil firms have been lumped into one big, bad group by the U.S. drilling moratorium. But they're not all alike. BP's green politics played a big role in the Gulf spill. That's what should be repudiated, not drilling.

Collectivism is alive and well in the White House, which seeks to spread the price of its deepwater drilling moratorium across the oil industry and the Gulf's economy.

As if the April 20 BP oil spill weren't bad enough for the people of the Gulf, they now face a jobless future no matter what the environmental and safety record of their local companies.

This insanity was directly caused by the company with the loudest claims to environmental sensitivity — BP, whose Beyond Petroleum slogan sounded as if it didn't even believe in its product, oil.

And, apparently, it didn't.

No. 1, BP's been a big-foot lobbyist on Capitol Hill, spending $15.9 million to influence legislation — and not in the interest of producing oil. According to the American Thinker, BP played a key role in writing the economy-killing Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill that President Obama wants to ram through Congress.

"BP is a strong White House and Democratic ally on the cap-and-tax issue," wrote Brad O'Leary.

It also went green in the campaign sense, doling out cash to leftist candidates who opposed oil drilling. (IBD)


Oilmen dig deep in iceberg valley

They call it “Iceberg Alley”, which doesn’t take much imagination and Geoffrey Lean sailed down it three years ago.
It runs from Baffin Bay – where fractured flotillas are constantly calved from western Greenland’s giant glaciers – down along their route to Newfoundland. I sailed down part of it three years ago and it is a dramatically beautiful, if dangerous, place.

Over the past 200 years, some 560 collisions have been recorded there between ships and bergs (though the Titanic went down further south). In 1982 a storm, raising waves up to 65 feet high , sank a giant drilling ship, the Ocean Ranger, killing 84 people.
So it’s not the sort of spot, you would think, to go looking for oil following BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Think again. This month, a British company started on the first of four planned exploration wells in these wild waters. Both the United States and Canada have temporarily stopped issuing permits for drilling in the Arctic, but Greenland is allowing the Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy to forge ahead. (The Independent)

Well if people don't want them drilling in these regions they should stop obstructing more hospitable sites, unconventional oils and coal to liquid projects then, shouldn't they?


UCG plants may face environmental inquiries

Carbon Energy Ltd says it will cooperate with any requests for an environmental study at its Queensland plant, amid concerns about technology that converts coal into synthetic gas.

Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) has indicated it may seek an environmental evaluation of Carbon's Bloodwood Creek underground coal gasification (UCG) trial plant.

The plant is near Dalby, west of Brisbane.

UCG is a technology that burns coal underground and uses heat, high pressures and water to create synthetic gas. (AAP)


Green Prince of Darkness

There were a myriad of factors that contributed to the demise of the British Motor Industry in the mid seventies.  The storied brands of Jaguar, Bentley, Aston Martin and MG of the automotive and Triumph, BSA and Norton of motorcycle industry all suffered under onerous labor union contracts and government ownership and controls.  All of these brands also suffered with defective electrical components produced by the Joseph Lucas Company. 

Quality control issues were so bad that a popular bumper sticker for those marquees read “All of the parts that fall off of this car are of the highest quality British craftsmanship”.
While purist can indulge a certain level of hardship with mechanical devices, they have little patience for the electrical gremlins that did not affect other manufacturers.  For this reason, Joseph Lucas was nicknamed “The Prince of Darkness”.

Today we have a new Green Prince poised to plunge the western world into a self imposed darkness.  This Prince first creates the fiction that carbon causes climate change, then adds the fable that green energy exists which can dispel this nonexistent problem.  The entire range of ‘green solutions’ are all nonsensical.  We’ll limit this discussion to just solar cells and batteries. (Joseph A Olson, CFP)


UK shelves green investment plan

Plans to use money from the sale of government assets to provide the riskiest of equity investment in green energy projects such as offshore wind and carbon capture have been shelved by the government.

The move comes amid signs of tension between Vince Cable at the business department and George Osborne at the Treasury over the scale of the coalition government’s planned green investment bank and its precise role.

In Labour’s last Budget, Alistair Darling, then chancellor, announced cash from the sale of the Channel tunnel rail link and other disposals of government assets planned over the next 18 months would provide early-stage equity investment in green energy projects.

Some £1bn ($1.5bn) of sales proceeds were to be used as “the riskiest of risk capital” to help attract a matching £1bn from the private sector by removing some of the biggest risks from green energy projects. The aim was to kick-start the further tens of billions of pounds of investment needed from the private sector.

But, according to Andy Rose, head of the Treasury’s infrastructure finance unit, that is now “the policy of a previous government”. (Financial Times)


Analysis: Australia energy law faces green certificate overhang

HONG KONG/SYDNEY - A massive pool of renewable energy certificates will limit the impact of Australia's new energy laws until 2014, even as the rules inject a welcome dose of long-term certainty into the market.

Continued weakness in the cost of the certificates, used as a partial subsidy for clean but expensive power, may slow investment in clean energy that the industry hopes could reach A$20 billion by 2020.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) flooded the market last year after a supply spurt generated by small solar household installations, squeezing prices of what is a crucial component of wind developers' profit. (Reuters)


Windfarms only giving half power

SCOTLAND'S wind farms have produced only around half the amount of power they were expected to this year, Scotland on Sunday has learned.

The government blamed the low generation levels on unusually calm weather, but critics said the figures showed the danger of becoming too dependent on renewable energy.

Turbines are expected to operate at an average output of about 30 per cent of their maximum installed capacity.

But the average output over five months this year was 17 per cent – just over half the expected average.

There have been long spells when virtually no electricity has been produced by any of the country's wind farms. (Scotsman)



Dear Health Care Journos, There’s Nothing Free about ObamaCare

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

The Obama administration announced yesterday its plans for implementing ObamaCare’s mandate that consumers purchase first-dollar coverage for preventive services.  The press release reads (emphasis added):

Administration Announces Regulations Requiring New Health Insurance Plans to Provide Free Preventive Care

Of course the administration would emphasize that consumers will pay nothing for these services at the moment of service, and elide the fact that this mandate will increase their health insurance premiums. The administration’s use of the word “free” is what we call spin.

What’s surprising–and more than a little disappointing–is that journalists and headline writers at major media organizations would repeat the administration’s spin, as if the government really is giving away free stuff:

  • New York Times: “Health Plans Must Provide Some Tests at No Cost…free coverage…free screenings…free preventive services…”
  • Los Angeles Times: “Healthcare law offers preventive care at no cost”
  • Politico: “New rules: Free preventive care…free under new federal guidelines.”
  • Reuters: “Healthcare overhaul mandates free preventive care…no extra cost to consumers…Medicare patients will have access to free prevention services…”
  • Wall Street Journal: “White House Unveils Free Preventative Services…services that will be free to consumers…free preventive care…free preventive care…”

Each use of “free” and “no cost” in these excerpts is false, even within its original context.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost.  No government can change that.  Mandating that insurers cover certain services does not magically make them free.  Consumers still pay, just in the form of higher health insurance premiums and lower wages.

The Wall Street Journal (in paragraph six), The New York Times (paragraph seven), Reuters (paragraph 16), and the Los Angeles Times (paragraph 19 or so) do mention that consumers will pay for this mandate in the form of higher premiums–but that doesn’t make the untrue stuff true.  It just makes the article internally inconsistent.  Moreover, the Los Angeles Times incorrectly suggests that the higher premiums would be offset by lower out-of-pocket spending.  (The change in premiums will be larger due to moral hazard and administrative costs.)  And Reuters mentions higher premiums only vaguely, and as if insurers would bear that cost.  Each article also repeats the administration’s spin that spending more on preventive care would reduce health care costs, without mentioning that the Congressional Budget Office and other health care researchers dispute that claim.

Journalists need to be very careful with terms like “free” and “no cost.” (Cato at liberty)


Your Health Insurance, Designed by Lobbyists

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

Christopher Weaver of Kaiser Health News has an excellent article in today’s Washington Post on the various government agencies that will now be deciding what health insurance coverage you must purchase, and how many of those decisions will ultimately fall to lobbyists and politicians:

For years, an obscure federal task force sifted through medical literature on colonoscopies, prostate-cancer screening and fluoride treatments, ferreting out the best evidence for doctors to use in caring for their patients. But now its recommendations have financial implications, raising the stakes for patients, doctors and others in the health-care industry.

Under the new health-care overhaul law, health insurers will be required to pay fully for services that get an A or B recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force…[which] puts the group in the cross hairs of lobbyists and disease advocates eager to see their top priorities — routine screening for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes or HIV, for example — become covered services.

And it’s not just the USPSTF that will be deciding what coverage you must purchase:

[P]lans must also cover a set of standard vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as screening practices for children that have been developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration in conjunction the American Academy of Pediatrics. Health plans will also be required to cover additional preventative care for women recommended under new guidelines that the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to issue by August 2011.

The chairman of the USPSTF says the task force will try “to stay true to the methods and the evidence… the science needs to come first.”  A noble sentiment, but as my colleague Peter Van Doren likes to say, “When politics and science conflict, politics wins.”  Witness how industry lobbyists have killed or neutered every single government agency that has ever dared to produce useful comparative-effectiveness research.  (You’re next, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute!)

When government agencies are making non-scientific value judgments–e.g., are these studies reliable enough to merit an A or B recommendation? what should be the thresholds for an A or B recommendation? will the benefits of mandating this coverage outweigh the costs?–politics does even better.  Witness Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) overruling a USPSTF recommendation when she “inserted an amendment in the [new] health-care law to explicitly cover regular mammograms for women between 40 and 50. ”

Speaking of value judgments, the one flaw in Weaver’s article is that it inadvertently conveys a value judgment as if it were fact.  He writes that the mandate to purchase coverage for preventive services is “good news for patients” and that 88 million Americans “will benefit.”  Whether the mandate is good news for patients depends on whether patients value the added coverage more than the additional premiums they must pay.  (The administration estimates that premiums for affected consumers will rise an average of 1.5 percent.  One insurer puts the average cost at 3-4 percent of premiums.  Naturally, some consumers will face above-average costs.)  Whether the benefits outweigh the costs is ultimately a subjective determination. (The best way to find out, as it happens, is to let consumers make the decision themselves.) (Cato at liberty)


Created by genetic engineering, a mosquito that can't catch malaria

A novel weapon in the battle against malaria has been developed by scientists: the malaria-proof mosquito.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have created a genetically modified insect that is incapable of transmitting the disease to humans.

The advance could lead to the release of modified mosquitoes into malarial regions of the world to prevent the transmission of one of the world's biggest killers. (The Independent)


How Regulation Kills Medical Innovation

Economist and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has cited several reasons — including higher productivity, businesses' cost-cutting and a trend toward lower wages — that in the current "tepid" recovery "many people will lack the money needed to buy all the goods and services the economy can produce."

But he fails to mention another factor that will limit growth and job creation: Obama administration regulatory policies and day-to-day decision-making that are laying waste to the scientific and technological engines needed to fuel a robust recovery.

The granddaddy of them all is the EPA's decision to regulate CO2, which humans exhale with every breath and plants use as substrate for photosynthesis, as a "pollutant." The resulting regulations will affect companies' willingness to make new investments, profitability and very survival. (Henry I Miller, IBD)


US officials seek limits on livestock antibiotics

WASHINGTON, July 14 - Proposals to ban the use of antibiotics as a livestock growth promotant could drive up farmers costs without improving public health, skeptical lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Legislation to ban the decades-old practice is unlikely to pass this year, said sponsor Louise Slaughter, but her plan is to move further next year. The Food and Drug Administration recommended on June 28 that antibiotics be used only to prevent or treat livestock disease. (Reuters)


Parents of obese children may be guilty of neglect

Child health experts say 'parental failure' over diet and exercise becomes a child protection issue

Parents who fail to help an obese child eat and exercise properly, ignoring all advice and guidance, could be guilty of neglect, child health experts say today.

Dr Russell Viner and colleagues from the UCL Institute of Child Health in London say that the weight of a child by itself is not a reason for child protection staff to get involved.

But in an article on what they accept is a potentially contentious issue, published online today by the British Medical Journal, they suggest that it may be appropriate to consider the child protection register if the parents consistently fail to change the family's lifestyle and will not engage with outside help.

"Parental failure to provide their children with adequate treatment for a chronic illness (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc) is a well accepted reason for a child protection registration for neglect," they write. (The Guardian)


House bill would make school lunches healthier

WASHINGTON — House Democrats are moving forward on first lady Michelle Obama's vision for healthier school lunches, propelling legislation that calls for tougher standards governing food in school and more meals for hungry children.

A bill approved by the House Education and Labor Committee Thursday would allow the Agriculture Department to create new standards for all food in schools, including vending machine items. The legislation would spend about $8 billion more over 10 years on nutrition programs. (AP)


Obesity prevention needs change in living environment: experts

STOCKHOLM, July 15 -- Obesity prevention and treatment need the change of living environment, concluded experts at the end of the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm on Thursday.

"Reducing sedentary behavior at home and work, building active communities and involve active transport interventions are helpful to reduce obesity," said Boyd Swinburn, an expert in community intervention in Australia.

"To change the food environment by requiring the companies label on soft drinks or fast food so that people are well informed is another way of helping reduce obesity," said Philip James, president of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. (Xinhua)


Vatican masts blamed for causing cancer in children

Radio masts operated by the Vatican's radio station are causing cancer in children, a medical expert has told a Rome court – resulting in six officials of the station being investigated for manslaughter.

The claims of Professor Andrea Micheli, from Milan's National Tumor Institute, focus on 19 child deaths from leukaemia or lymphoma between 1980 and 2003 in the Cesano area, north of Rome; Vatican Radio operates masts nearby in Santa Maria di Galeria.

Micheli, a professor of cancer epidemiology, says in his 300-page report: "The study suggests there was an important, coherent and significant link between residential exposure to the Vatican Radio structures and an excess risk of death from leukaemia and lymphoma in the children."

He said the raised cancer risk occurred in children under 14 who lived less than 7.5 miles from the masts. He also found evidence of a link between the radiation and adult cancers – but only among those who lived much closer to the antennae.

His investigation was ordered by the court five years ago after concerns were raised about an increased incidence of cancer in the area. As a result of Prof Micheli's evidence, six officials of Vatican Radio have been placed under investigation for manslaughter, by investigating magistrate Stefano Pesci.

The Vatican was quick to point out yesterday that the Italian Navy also operated radio masts in the area.

La Repubblica reported, however, that the leaked court report singled out the Vatican Radio masts as the likely cause, quoting it as saying: "It is due to exposure to the antennae of Vatican Radio and not that of the navy."

Father Federico Lombardi, the director general of Vatican Radio, said it had followed all regulations in setting up the masts.

He also expressed concern that the report was leaked ahead of its official publication,

Vatican Radio, which was set up in 1931, broadcasts to 61 countries in 47 languages. (The Independent)


Farm, food service jobs tied to heart disease risk

NEW YORK - Americans in certain lines of work, including transportation, food service and farming, may have a relatively high rate of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, a new study finds.

At the other end of the spectrum, researchers found, health professionals, scientists and artists are among those with the lowest rates of so-called metabolic syndrome. (Reuters Health)

So, in other words physical workers are at increased risk? Wonder how that ties in with "exercise for health"?


Living near traffic pollution tied to heart deaths

NEW YORK - Middle-aged and older adults who live near high-traffic roads may have a heightened risk of dying from heart disease -- but the odds seem to go down if they move to a less-traveled neighborhood, a new study finds.

The findings do not prove that traffic pollution is the reason for the excess heart disease deaths, researchers say. But they do add to evidence tying vehicle-produced pollutants to the risk of dying from heart problems.

In May, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report stating that recent studies have "substantially strengthened" the evidence that air pollution from traffic, industry and power generation is a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and deaths from cardiovascular causes. (Reuters Health)


Hmm... U.S. groups target 20 possible causes of cancer

WASHINGTON, July 15 - The American Cancer Society and three federal agencies named 19 chemicals and shift work on Thursday as potential causes of cancer that deserve more investigation.

The group published a report with the backing of international experts who said the 20 potential causes they identified had fairly good evidence that they may be a danger and deserved more follow-up. (Reuters)

Looks like they forgot sunshine and lollipops ... DHMO didn't even make the list and everyone knows how dangerous monoxides are.


The hyper-hypocrites

Gore, Blair and the Prince of Wales are the modern equivalent of the mediaeval Bishops who would go on a progress, flaunting their wealth and possessions, while preaching to hoi polloi the virtues of modest living and sacrifice to the true religion.

To a man, such people are completely ignorant of the basis of the global warming hypothesis, the errors of which arise originally from a misunderstanding of the quantum physics of the interaction between matter and radiation, compounded by a huge raft of other errors of logic and measurement.

Prinny, however, while matching the others in gross excess of consumption, has a much wider range when it comes to junk science. Homeopathy, Organic Farming and Climate Change are all part of his extensive faith-based portfolio of junk science, while evidence is not exactly his strong suit.

For those of us who are Royalists at heart and admirers of Her Gracious Majesty, the abuse of his position within the constitutional monarchy is a gross affront. His vocabulary is that of the inveterate scaremonger – environmental collapse; Russian Roulette; so-called climate sceptics apparently able to intimidate; make no mistake the sceptics have no wider love of Nature and her crucial role etc. All this came out in his address to business leaders at St James’s Palace, duly celebrated by the impressionable Louise Gray. It is a farrago of insults to those who adhere to science and its methods. Who are these sceptics who are not lovers of nature? Has anyone ever met one?

Such routine abuse has become standard for the proponents of the new religion. For it to come from the Heir to the Throne, speaking from the imposing location of a Royal Palace is unconscionable. (Number Watch)



The Obama-Pelosi Lame Duck Strategy

Union 'card-check,' cap and trade, and so much more.

Democratic House members are so worried about the fall elections they're leaving Washington on July 30, a full week earlier than normal—and they won't return until mid-September. Members gulped when National Journal's Charlie Cook, the Beltway's leading political handicapper, predicted last month "the House is gone," meaning a GOP takeover. He thinks Democrats will hold the Senate, but with a significantly reduced majority.

The rush to recess gives Democrats little time to pass any major laws. That's why there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don't want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation. (John Fund, WSJ)


Senate Climate Bill Falls Short Of Copenhagen Aim

A scaled-back climate change bill Senate Democrats are considering would achieve far less than President Barack Obama promised at a U.N. global warming conference last year -- but even this may be too much for Congress.

With little time left in a short, crowded legislative schedule this year, Senate Democratic leaders are weighing a final attempt to begin reducing carbon dioxide emissions. (Reuters)


Eye-roller: Bad science: Global-warming deniers are a liability to the conservative cause

Have you heard about the “growing number” of eminent scientists who reject the theory that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing the earth’s temperature? It’s one of those factoids that, for years, has been casually dropped into the opening paragraphs of conservative manifestos against climate-change treaties and legislation. A web site maintained by the office of a U.S. Senator has for years instructed us that a “growing number of scientists” are becoming climate-change “skeptics.” This year, the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation gave a speech praising the “growing number of distinguished scientists [who are] challenging the conventional wisdom with alternative theories and peer reviewed research.” In this newspaper, a columnist recently described the “growing skepticism about the theory of man-made climate change.” Surely, the conventional wisdom is on the cusp of being overthrown entirely: Another colleague proclaimed that we are approaching “the church of global warming’s Galileo moment.” (Jonathan Kay, National Post)


Wails: Prince Charles attacks climate change sceptics

15 Jul 2010: Prince of Wales accuses those who question whether human activity is causing global warming of 'peddling pseudo science' and blocking action (The Guardian)


Very wishful thinking and outright nonsense: Science Matters: Science delivers repeated blows to deluded deniers

It must be difficult, if not downright embarrassing, to be a climate change denier these days. After all, the scientists they’ve attacked have been exonerated, London’s Sunday Times newspaper ran a retraction and apology for an article deniers were using to discredit climate change science, and more and more denier "experts" are being exposed as shills for industry or just disingenuous clowns. (Naomi Oreskes’s excellent book Merchants of Doubt offers insight into how the deniers operate.) Meanwhile, evidence that fossil fuel emissions contribute to dangerous climate change just keeps building. (David Suzuki with Faisal Moola, David Suzuki Foundation)


A Climate Absolution?

More like a 160-page evasion of the real issues that confront global-warming science.

The latest study purporting to absolve the scientists involved in November's Climategate scandal was published last week. On predictable cue, the news was followed by a letter from our admirers at the United Nations Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council urging us to "set the record straight" on "these bogus scandals." Having devoted considerable space to Climategate, we're happy to explain why we can't do that. (WSJ)


Lorne Gunter: Don’t forget Climategate just yet

Last week, the third of three allegedly independent inquiries into last fall’s Climategate scandal at Britain’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) was concluded. Like the other two, it found troubling behaviour by the scientists at the CRU or by the University of East Anglia, of which the CRU is a part — most notably attempts to hide data from critics and from government investigators. Yet in the end, all three conclude no real wrongdoing occurred and that the basic premise of mainstream climate science — that our climate is changing for the worse and human activity is at least partly to blame — remains undamaged by the scandal.

Whew! Thank goodness for that. (Lorne Gunter, National Post)


'Climategate' debate: less meltdown, more well-mannered argument

15 Jul 2010: Damian Carrington: Polemical and partisan characterises the climate debate online - but at last night's Guardian debate there was courteousness and a distinct warmth in the air (The Guardian)


The Guardian's 'climategate' debate in full

Audio (98min 06sec), 15 Jul 2010: The entire recording of the Guardian's 'climategate' debate, presented by George Monbiot


Questions from the Select Committee Concerning My Recent Testimony

Written by Christopher Monckton

On Friday, you sent me a list of questions from the Select Committee. Here are the answers. I have taken the liberty of conflating questions 8 and 12. I shall do my best to supply any additional information on request.

Read more...  (SPPI)


Abraham surrenders to Monckton. Uni of St Thomas endorses untruths.

John Abraham, University of St Thomas.

What do you do when someone speaks against your faith, sounds authoritative, well informed, and backs everything up with lots of evidence? If you’re sane, you change your mind.

If you are John P. Abraham, a lecturer in fluid mechanics at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, you write to a few select scientists distorting what your opponent said, and then collect the infuriated responses. Abraham went on to assemble a list of things Christopher Monckton didn’t say,  complained about things he didn’t cite (even if he did and it’s printed on his slides), pretended he couldn’t find sources (but didn’t take ten minutes to ask), and created a litany of communication pollution in an effort to denigrate Monckton’s character.

The untruths and fabrications have come back to bite him.

We’ve seen these tactics before. Tim Lambert (aka Deltoid) did a similar thing when he ambushed Monckton with quotes from Pinker that he arranged with emails he still hasn’t revealed. And when it comes to attacking things, graphs and arguments that weren’t made,  John Cook of SkepticalScience did the same with his attempt to rebut the Skeptics Handbook. What matters to the religious is not the details, but the keywords. They hope that if they use confident bluster to mention the same hot topics in general, and find mistakes in reasoning that someone else said (and it may be someone imaginary), it will win the PR war. The attack-dogs get their dog food, the daily-bread of misinformation, and it keeps those pesky skeptics busy pointing out error after error, tying them up for days.

Monckton replied on June 10th with a 84-page letter and 466 questions, in a polite list of mistakes, errors, and misquotes pointing out how embarrassing it was for a learned center of higher education to be seen in the same domain-name as such a malign, uninformed and dishonest production. He gave Abraham and the university a month to apologize, remove the embarrassing video, and pay $110k to a Haitian charity. Calling Monckton’s reply “detailed” and “comprehensive” is an understatement. It’s exhaustive, enumerating, eviscerating. More » (Jo Nova)


IPCC to Scientists: Shut Up!


The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on July 5th warned the scientists in its camp to avoid talking to the press. The warning came just before the Muir Russell report into the Climategate Email scandal stated that IPCC scientists needed to enter “a new world of openness” because their bunker mentality was harming the cause of science.

The July 5th letter, written by IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri to hundreds of scientists preparing the IPCC’s next mammoth report, expected to be published in 2013, stressed the importance of managing the media through the IPCC’s PR department:

“I would also like to emphasize that enhanced media interest in the work of the IPCC would probably subject you to queries about your work and the IPCC. My sincere advice would be that you keep a distance from the media and should any questions be asked about the Working Group with which you are associated, please direct such media questions to the Co-chairs of your Working Group and for any questions regarding the IPCC to the secretariat of the IPCC.”

The scientists may have trouble reconciling Pachauri’s instructions with those from Muir Russell, who stated that “Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct.”

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Global Warming Theory: False in Parts, False in Totality

There are so many variables ignored, underreported or simply not understood in climate science and especially in the computer models that purport to simulate global climate, that they destroy any pretence we know or understand weather and climate. But don’t take my word for it. Consider the comments from proponents of anthropogenic global warming including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Tim Ball, CFP)


The Big Green Lie Exposed

As the reports from Dutch and British watchdog panels came in last week, greens hailed what they see as a vindication of the East Anglia Climate Research Unit and the partial rehabilitation of the IPCC, but they are wrong.  As usual, the greens (and many of their critics) are missing the point.

The Big Green Lie is falling apart.  And it’s not about Climategate and Glaciergate.  It’s not about the science.  It’s not even about public confidence in the integrity of the green movement — although this confidence is unlikely to regain the levels of 2009.  Humpty Dumpty has fallen from the walls, and all the establishment commissions and investigations in Europe cannot glue him together again. (The American Interest)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, July 15 2010

Hippie Dave gets mad at skeptics again, the IPCC gags scientists for their own good and Ontarians are rising up against a new eco-fee stealth tax. (Daily Bayonet)


News Release : Global Warming Slows Coral Growth in Red Sea

In a pioneering use of computed tomography (CT) scans, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have discovered that carbon dioxide (CO2)-induced global warming is in the process of killing off a major coral species in the Red Sea. As summer sea surface temperatures have remained about 1.5 degrees Celsius above ambient over the last 10 years, growth of the coral, Diploastrea heliopora, has declined by 30% and “could cease growing altogether by 2070” or sooner, they report in the July 16 issue of the journal Science. (WHOI)

Hmm... these poor stressed critters are not troubled by the increasing volume of shipping traffic or anything but by warming, CO2-induced warming at that. Someone's assumptions appear ideologically flavored, methinks.


Earth’s thermosphere collapses – film at 11

Well, not quite that bad, but if I was still on TV, that would probably be the tease during prime time. It appears that solar influences are mostly at work here.

By Dr.  Dr. Tony Phillips NASA

NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet’s atmosphere. High above Earth’s surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called “the thermosphere” recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.

“This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,” says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19th issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). “It’s a Space Age record.”

The collapse happened during the deep solar minimum of 2008-2009—a fact which comes as little surprise to researchers. The thermosphere always cools and contracts when solar activity is low. In this case, however, the magnitude of the collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.

“Something is going on that we do not understand,” says Emmert. Continue reading (WUWT)


Tiny marine microbes exert influence on global climate

Observations show that microorganisms display a behavior characteristic of larger animals

New research indicates that the interactions of microscopic organisms around a particular organic material may alter the chemical properties of the ocean--influencing global climate by affecting cloud formation in the atmosphere.

Justin Seymour, a research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, is the lead author of a paper reporting the results, published in this week's issue of the journal Science.

The paper describes how a relative of the chemical that seabirds and seals use to locate prey, dimethylsulfide (DMS), may serve a similar purpose at the microbial scale, helping marine microorganisms find food and cycle chemicals that are important to climate.

"These scientists have used impressive technology to study interactions between organisms and their chemical environment at the scales they actually take place," said David Garrison, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s biological oceanography program, which funded the research. (National Science Foundation)


New Paper “Impact Of Atmosphere And Sub-Surface Ocean Data On Decadal Climate” By Dunstone And Smith 2010

A.T.J. de Laat (Jos) has alerted us to a new paper

Dunstone, N. J., and D. M. Smith (2010), Impact of atmosphere and sub-surface ocean data on decadal climate prediction, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L02709, doi:10.1029/2009GL041609.

The abstract reads

“We present a set of idealised model experiments that investigate the impact of assimilating different amounts of ocean and atmosphere data on decadal climate prediction skill. Assimilating monthly average sub‐surface temperature
and salinity data successfully initialises the meridional overturning circulation and produces skillful predictions of global ocean heat content. However, when sea surface temperature data is assimilated alone the predictions have much less skill, particularly in the extra‐tropics. The upper 2000m temperature and salinity observations currently provided by the Argo array of floats are therefore potentially well suited to initialising decadal climate predictions. We note however that we do not attempt to simulate the actual distribution of Argo floats. Assimilating data beneath 2000m always reduces the RMSE, with the most significant improvements in the Southern Ocean. Furthermore, assimilating six hourly atmospheric observations significantly improves the forecast skill within the first year, but has little impact thereafter.”

Excerpts from the paper are

“Decadal climate prediction aims to predict natural internal variability in addition to the response of the climate system to anthropogenic forcing. In order to achieve this it is necessary to start from the current state of the climate system.”

“At all forecast lead times, assimilating SST alone has significantly lower skill than the experiments that assimilated sub‐surface temperature and salinity. In particular the SST experiments appear to introduce systematic errors in the North Atlantic with the result that they never achieved skill significantly above that of a persistence forecast. We find a similar situation initially in the Southern Ocean, although performance is better in the Pacific Ocean.”

There are two conclusions from this study that have direct relevance to the IPCC multi-year global climate predictions. First, climate is an initial value problem as I wrote on in the paper

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746.

Secondly, the climate models drift from reality unless real world data is continually assimilated (i.e. inserted) into the model equations. The multi-decadal global climate models have no such real world constraint. There is no way to determine how far they drift from reality, but this study (although with a single idealized model) suggests that they deviate significantly with respect to what the real world will actually be decades from now. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Energy crisis? We’ve been here before

Around 400 years ago, Britain faced another problem of dwindling energy resources: ‘peak wood’.
Through the production of cheap energy, the British Isles had seen swathes of its natural environment blighted and was running short of easily accessible carbon-rich fuel. In response, the state attempted to constrain resource-use through law, and energy-efficiency measures were actively encouraged. Progressives advocated a way forward by gearing up the production and exploitation of a potent new energy-dense fuel. However, some environmental thinkers viewed the impending transition to the new low-carbon technology as quite simply an affront to nature. This was a very real national energy crisis. It took place some 400 years ago.

The lessons of the Elizabethan energy crisis (which peaked between 1570 and 1630) are relevant today as we contemplate the prospect of ‘peak oil’, ‘peak gas’, ‘peak uranium’ or whatever other bottleneck peak-energy catastrophists can muster. The most important lesson of all is that the Elizabethan energy crisis was overcome, paving the way for the Industrial Revolution to deliver a more enlightened and prosperous society than many Elizabethans could possibly have imagined.

The energy crisis which struck the British Isles was ‘peak wood’. The idea of peak wood may seem absurd from our vantage point in human history, but be assured it was taken seriously by the Elizabethans. Indeed, peak wood is no more absurd than the observation that wars were once fought over salt when it was an important preservative, instrumental in international trade, rather than the mere table condiment it is now. Technologies such as electrification or refrigeration can dramatically change our view of the value of resources that we now regard as mundane.

Wood was a hugely important resource for the Elizabethans in construction and domestic heating and as the source of charcoal for iron smelting. Of particular importance was the availability of high-quality oak for naval construction yards to ensure maritime supremacy. Indeed, resource conservation laws forbidding the felling of trees made exemption for forests within a few miles off the coast due to their strategic naval importance. Aside from a shortage of fuel for heat and material for homes and warships, the felling of trees laid waste to wide areas of the countryside. It is reported that in the hinterlands of population centres barely a single tree could be found standing. Due to its poor energy density, wood requires vast areas of forest to be felled for energy production and demonstrates the strong relationship between the environment and energy production from diffuse sources.

This relationship can be seen again today in the recent expansion of wind farms to exploit diffuse renewable energy. The growth of wind farms appears to go against a 400-year trend of increasing energy density and a continuous decoupling of energy production from the environment. Such wind farms could become a blight on our landscape if we go too far, just as the felling of trees ravaged the countryside in the past. (Colin McInnes, spiked)


Energy Needs Left High And Dry

Energy Policy: As the job-killing deepwater drilling ban continues offshore, our interior secretary defends an onshore ban imposed in Utah. If we could drill in places like that, maybe oil wouldn't be gushing a mile under the Gulf of Mexico.

The 64-million-gallon question in the Gulf oil spill is why we were drilling 5,000 feet down in the first place. The administration line, as expressed by the president in his recent Oval Office speech, is that oil resources on land and just offshore are running out. The falsity of that claim can be seen in the battle over 77 oil leases in Utah.

On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar defended his decision to block those leases, which were auctioned off in the waning days of the Bush administration. Last year, Salazar also stopped plans to lease oil shale rights in five Western states estimated to hold between 1 trillion and 2 trillion (with a 't') barrels of recoverable oil. (IBD)


The Crone is still against energy supplies: Whittling Away the Petroleum Reserve

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced last week that he will open 1.8 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in northern Alaska to oil and gas leasing. He pledged to protect habitat for migratory birds and caribou near Teshekpuk Lake, an ecologically sensitive area inside the 1.8 million acre tract — welcome news. Even better news would be a pledge by the secretary to go slow on any future development in the reserve. (NYT)


More anti-energy nonsense: U.S. Green Groups Attack Alberta Tourism Industry

Environmentalists are taking aim at Alberta's C$5.6 billion ($5.4 billion) tourism industry in the latest battle over the impact of developing the Canadian province's oil sands.

Alberta is the largest supplier of crude oil to the United States and the environmentalists say their "Rethink Alberta" campaign is in response to pro oil-sands lobbying and advertising in the United States by the Alberta government and the province's oil industry.

The campaign, led by San Francisco-based Corporate Ethics International, features billboards in four U.S. cities urging Americans to exclude Alberta from their travel plans, saying it is "one of the world's dirtiest destinations".

"The government of Alberta and Canada are paying lobbyists, working with oil companies, running full-page ads down here, to block legislation like low-carbon fuel standard legislation that would help us make the transition (from fossil fuels)," Corporate Ethics International Executive Director Michael Marx said.

"And they are also down here lobbying for infrastructure, new pipelines, refineries, which would keep us addicted to high-carbon oil for another 50 years." (Reuters)


Johann Hari: Now Cameron jilts the environment

He is opening the oceans off the Shetland Islands to deep-sea drilling, and promising Big Oil tax breaks to drill, baby, drill

Back when David Cameron was first trying to rebrand the Conservative Party, he touched down on the melting Arctic tundra to be photographed looking pensive and hugging huskies. He promised to lead "the greenest government ever". "Vote blue, go green," his posters said. Some of us were sceptical, because the only time he had ever publicly discussed global warming before was in a statement where he mocked wind farms as "giant bird blenders". Now, two years later, he was building one on his house.

But I hoped I was wrong. Preventing the biosphere from unraveling shouldn't be a left/right issue: rising sea levels and super-charged hurricanes will displace lefties and Tories just the same. So what happened? (The Independent)

Oil exploration: good. Employing Browne with an "e": not so much.


Italy Proposes Regulated Market For Physical Oil

Italy is drafting a proposal for a regulated European bourse for physical oil trade in order to cut speculation, the country's energy regulator chairman, Alessandro Ortis, said in his annual speech on Thursday.

"We are putting together a specific proposal with the help of experts in the sector," Ortis said, adding it should help to restrict volatility and favor long-term investment.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some consumer nations have long expressed concern about the role of speculators in energy markets, which some experts say exaggerate price swings beyond what fundamentals justify.

Ortis said the idea was for a European platform for selected players to trade physical barrels with products and contracts standardized and regulated. The contracts would be long term with physical delivery in Europe, he added. (Reuters)


Scalped! Why An Expansion Of The Ethanol Scam May Ruin Your Lawnmower (and Your Weedwhacker, and Your Snowmobile, and Your Boat…)

An increase in the amount of ethanol in your gasoline won’t hurt your lawnmower…if it’s a push-reel. Otherwise be prepared for big repair bills. [Read More] (Harry Wertheimer Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)


Demonstrating a desperate lack of investment in useful power generating capacity: More Than Half New Power In U.S., EU Is Green: Study

More than half of all new electricity capacity added in the United States and Europe last year was from renewable power such as wind and solar, a body backed by the International Energy Agency and the UN reported.

Last year was also a record year for the amount of new green power added to the grid, partly a result of shifting deployment and manufacture to emerging economies including Brazil, India and China, from flagging developed countries. (Reuters)


The Smartest Grid In The Room: California Scheming Goes Awry

by Tom Tanton
July 15, 2010

Any reader lucky enough to have a new iPhone4 knows that sometimes technology just doesn’t work out the way sellers claim. Other times they do, but not in the way that consumers want or expect.

Such is the case with a major component of the so-called “smart grid”– the smart meter. There is growing agreement among federal and state policymakers, business leaders, and other key stakeholders, that a Smart Grid is not only needed but well within reach.

But it is not. Think of the Smart Grid as the 4G network for electricity. Smart meters, are a prime example of an unnecessary and expensive change that will provide little in the way of consumer benefit. They do, of course, provide utilities and energy marketers and government with a host of new tools, which is why they’re being sold in the policy arena. That plus the fact that makers just want the consumer to pay for something that isn’t (yet) cost effective explains the extracurricular (political) push. Add to all this the government’s insistence–encouraged by intermittent renewable developers lobbying efforts and billions in “stimulus” funding–and the momentum is hard to overcome.

The energy utilities want the meters to send price signals that change as generation costs change. By charging you more during high-usage “peak” times (e.g. hot days) they hope to persuade you to shift your usage to “off-peak” evenings and weekends, as many consumers now do with long-distance phone calls, when generation costs are lower. Of course, after a few days the inconvenience of getting off the couch every hour to read the new signal and turn on or off appliances, may lead people to the conclusion that the savings are not worth the effort. It might be smarter, and more effective to install additional generation capacity that can actually perform on those hot days.  [Read more →] (MasterResource)


California Geothermal Comes Up Dry

One of the more attractive forms of green renewable energy is geothermal—harnessing the natural heat of Earth's interior to provide warmth and electricity. Unfortunately, geothermal is really only viable in limited areas around the globe, due to crust thickness and strata type. One of those fortunate places is the American Southwest, the eastern part of California and the states of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. The sixteen geothermal plants already present in California's the Imperial Valley are among the first signs of what California hopes will become a renewable-energy boom. But without water these plants cannot generate any power, and their water comes from far away—from the already stressed Colorado river.

As reported in The Energy Gap, geothermal energy supplies more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) to 24 countries worldwide, producing enough reliable electricity to meet the needs of 60 million people. The Republic of the Philippines generates 23% of its electricity from geothermal energy and is the world’s second biggest producer behind the US. Geothermal energy can preserve the environment in developing countries while providing stable power for homes, industry and national energy independence. It has helped developing countries such as Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Philippines.

In other countries, the prospects of geothermal energy exploitation are varied. Australia has discovered that its vast interior overlays a huge hot rock deposit, which could supply green energy in the future. In Africa, some experts think the Rift Valley, which stretches from the northern end of the Red Sea down to Mozambique, is ideal for generating geothermal power. The United Nations Environment Programme, headquartered in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, thinks the geothermal potential of the Rift Valley is 14,000 MW, yet to date only 200 MW actually is captured. Geothermal power enthusiasts say it could provide 10-25% of the region’s energy by 2030. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)



Aerial spraying for West Nile to begin in south Sacramento

Mosquito and vector control officials will begin aerial spraying Tuesday and Wednesday in south Sacramento to prevent West Nile virus, officials said today.

The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District announced the aerial treatment for adult mosquitoes that may carry the potentially fatal West Nile virus. The spraying will occur between 8 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Sacramento Bee)


Antibiotics could help control malaria: study

LONDON - People at high risk of malaria may benefit from taking a cocktail of antibiotics as a preventative step, according to the results of a study in mice.

Scientists from Britain, Germany and Kenya said the drugs could prompt healthy people to develop a natural immunity to malaria parasites, providing protection against future malaria infections.

The researchers said that a natural immunisation technique like this could only be used in specific settings, where malaria seasons are high risk but relatively short, and where those in danger could be sure to take the protective medicines before being infected.

"The best application for this would be in areas where there is highly seasonal malaria transmission like in the savannah areas of Mali and Burkina Faso, where the malaria transmission only occurs for a short period but is extremely intense," said Steffen Borrmann, from the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kilifi, who worked on the study. (Reuters)


Three waterborne diseases cost US $539 mln a year

WASHINGTON - Three diseases spread by drinking or inhaling contaminated water cost the U.S. healthcare system as much as $539 million a year in hospital expenses, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The three diseases - Legionnaires' disease, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis - are caused by three very different microbes but what they have in common is they are spread by water, researchers told the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

"These cost data highlight that water-related diseases pose not only a physical burden to the thousands of people sickened by them each year, but also a substantial burden in health care costs, including direct government payments through Medicare and Medicaid," Michael Beach of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who worked on the study, said in a statement.

No one has put together good data on what all waterborne diseases cost the U.S. healthcare system. (Reuters)


Experts warn against being happy too early about child obesity stabilization in developed world

STOCKHOLM, July 14 -- A study from European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) showed that child obesity in developed world is stabilizing and even decreasing in France, but experts warned against being happy too early for that at the ongoing 11th International Congress of Obesity in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Marie Francoise Rolland-Cachera from ECOG presented that developed countries including the U.S., Britain, France, and Greece had experienced a constant increase of child obesity between 1970 and 2000 at a rate ranging from 12 percent in northern Europe to 38 percent in Southern Europe.

"But from 2000 to 2006, America, Britain, France and Greece as well as many other countries all saw stabilization of child obesity due to various efforts made by governments and societies," said Rolland-Cachera.

"The trend is that high income family child obesity stabilizes earlier than low income family child obesity, but later they all stabilized," she said. (Xinhua)


Rapid weight loss best way to slim down: studies

STOCKHOLM — Losing a lot of weight at once is the best way to permanently slim down, studies presented at Stockholm's International Congress on Obesity showed, going against accepted wisdom even among doctors.

Katrina Purcell of the University of Melbourne in Australia, presented a study in which she compared a rapid diet to lose around 1.5 kilos (three pounds) a week over 12 weeks, to a gradual 36-week diet to lose 0.5 kilos per week.

"Surprisingly, and against current beliefs, this study shows rapid weight loss appears to be superior to gradual weight loss in achieving target weight," she said of the study conducted on subjects weighing around 100 kilos. (AFP)


More about the Calorie Police

Posted by Jason Kuznicki

It’s nice to get quoted in the Los Angeles Times, even if the author obviously didn’t understand what I was getting at. I’ll try to clear up the confusion here.

Karen Caplan writes:

Does Kuznicki (or anyone else) really think that the goal of a healthy diet is simply to minimize the total number of calories consumed? (Perhaps these are the same folks who swear by Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet.)

A 12-ounce serving of whole milk contains 12 grams of protein, along with 45% of the calcium and 36% of the vitamin D you need each day. The same amount of soy milk also has 12 grams of protein and 14% of the daily recommended intake of iron.

Care to guess how many vitamins and minerals are in a can of Coke?

I certainly don’t think that a healthy diet means only reducing one’s calorie intake. I do, however, believe that the stated goal of the policy was not to improve overall health, but to reduce obesity. And for that, which one do you pick?

a) consume fewer calories


b) get more calcium and vitamin D.

Does anyone seriously suggest that (b) is the right choice? Is this what passes for nutritional advice at the Los Angeles Times? Eat whatever you want, and as long as you take your vitamins, you won’t get fat?

The policy we’re talking about was not intended to make sure that people get all their vitamins and minerals. It was intended to curb obesity. And for that purpose it will do essentially nothing, as I noted, I still think correctly, in the original post. (Cato at liberty)


Support, not supplements, helps weight loss

Joining a support group that promotes simple messages – such as walking more, eating fruit and veg, and avoiding junk food – can help women avoid gaining weight, new research says. Researchers have also identified a weight-loss strategy that seems doomed to failure: relying on over-the-counter weight-loss supplements. These products work no better than dummy placebo pills, researchers say. (BMJ Group)


World's Mangroves Retreating At Alarming Rate: Study

The world's mangroves are being destroyed up to four times faster than other forests, costing millions of dollars in losses in areas such as fisheries and storm protection, a report said Wednesday.

The study commissioned by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and The Nature Conservancy said a fifth of mangroves had been lost since 1980 and that they continued to be destroyed at a rate of around 0.7 percent a year by activities such as coastal construction and shrimp farming.

The 'World Mangrove Atlas' report noted that mangrove forests provide huge economic services, acting as nurseries for sea fish, storing carbon and providing robust defenses against floods and cyclones at a time of rising sea levels.

The trees and shrubs, which grow in saline coastal habitats, also provide excellent rot-resistant wood. (Reuters)



Dems revive global warming legislation

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring a comprehensive energy and climate bill to the Senate floor by the end of the month that will include a cap on carbon emissions produced by the nation's utilities. (The Examiner)


Hold Your Nose: I Smell Cap-And-Trade

We're receiving word that the next three weeks -- prior to Congress' summer recess -- represents the Democrats' best chance at getting a climate change bill passed this year. Senate leaders are working overtime on this contentious issue to try to cobble together a piece of legislation that will muster the votes.

The House passed its own version of this legislation last summer in the form of a 1,201-page bill, complete with a 300-page addendum, entitled the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, a.k.a. "cap-and-trade."

At the time, House Republican Leader John Boehner described the bill by stating, "People need to know what's in this pile of s-it."

Following the bill's quick passage, I took a cue from Mr. Boehner and, holding my nose, dissected key portions of the document, which I then shared with readers of American Thinker prior to incorporating it all into my book, Climategate. 

Some of the stinkier elements of the bill include the "Monthly Energy Refund," which I refer to as "The Monthly Bribe." According to this scheme, for those with a gross income that "does not exceed 150 percent of the poverty line ... a direct deposit" of an undisclosed amount of money will be sent "into the eligible household's designated bank account[.]" Seems to me this payoff proves the authors of the bill are anticipating a huge cost of living increase due to the multitude of taxes and fees on all things energy. The Democrats are treating Americans like cheap whores.

Then there's the "Low Income Community Energy Efficiency Program," whereby grants will be issued "to increase the flow of capital and benefits to low income communities, minority-owned and woman-owned businesses and entrepreneurs[.]" Sounds like more spreading the wealth around to me. (Brian Sussman, American Thinker)


Circumventing Cap and Trade with an Another Bad Energy Bill

In the midst of a crisis in the Gulf, some Senators are making a final push to pass energy and climate legislation this year. Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joe Lieberman (I–CT) are introducing a scaled-back version of their original cap-and-trade bill but still want to maintain a carbon cap. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) wants to bring an energy bill up for debate the week of July 26 that addresses the oil spill response and a greenhouse gas reduction plan for utilities only. A draft leaked from Senator Jeff Bingaman (D–NM) would go after utilities and aim to “cut emissions from the electric utility industry by 17 percent in 2020 and 43 percent by 2030.”

When asked if the bill would contain a cap-and-trade program, Senator Reid responded, “I don’t use that. Those words are not in my vocabulary. We’re going to work on pollution.” But this is not about pollution. Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring component of the air and is also the ubiquitous and unavoidable result of fossil fuel production and other naturally occurring events. Any bill drafted by Congress that aims to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions translates into rising energy prices for energy consumers, lost jobs, and a slower economy.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Ads Backed by Fossil-Fuel Interests Argue 'CO2 Is Green'

A group with ties to the fossil fuel industry launched a new ad campaign today pushing the idea that carbon dioxide isn't an environmental pollutant. ( Greenwire)

Um... actually that's not just an idea, it's a fact. Green plants require atmospheric CO2 (which is why commercial greenhouses spend real money generating it) and higher life forms have food webs based on... green plants. Only misanthropic greenies could consider something that underpins so much life on Earth a "pollutant".


Penn State’s integrity crisis

Penn State University just exonerated Professor Michael Mann for wrongdoing related to Climategate. While that good news for Mann is no surprise, it came at a dear cost to Penn State – its integrity.

Soon after Climategate broke last November, Penn State convened an internal committee to investigate Mann, the primary author of the now-infamous and discredited “hockey stick” global warming graph.

Hopes for a bona fide investigation were dashed when the preliminary results were released in February. To the joy of climate alarmists, Penn State announced via press release that Mann was cleared of three of the four allegations against him (regarding falsification/suppression of data, deletion of e-mails/data and misuse of confidential information).  But if one looks past the release and reads the committee’s report, it becomes obvious the fix was in. (Steve Milloy, Daily Caller)


Legal brief filed in Mann UVA emails case

Late yesterday the State Attorney General of Virginia posted this legal brief which had been filed with the courts, and also served to the University of Virginia (UVA).

This legal brief document is about discovery, not about a lawsuit. It is a prelude, and it is possible that no lawsuit may be filed if there is insufficient evidence to back up speculations that have been raised over the Climategate affair.

The current issue is over UVA refusing releasing emails from Dr. Michael Mann related to his work on the MBH98 and MBH99 papers, which later generated the famous “hockey stick” graph used by the IPCC:


Via the Charlottesville Daily Progress (thankfully unrelated to Climate Progress) Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli wrote this in the brief:

“ … It is clear that there is ample reason to believe that Mann may have committed a violation of FATA while he was at the university,” the filing says. “There is no debate that the university is in possession of documents relevant to determining if such a violation did occur. Accordingly, and for the reasons that follow, the court should deny the university’s petition.”

UVA has been stonewalling, and the State Attorney General has made it clear that their line of defense has limited traction and a very limited shelf life, setting deadlines. Here are a couple of excerpts from the document. FATA is the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. A link to the legal document follows.

Continue reading (WUWT)


The ranks are splitting, tossing incantations as they go

We always knew Climategate would the test the cohesion of the “team”. The reputations of good greens, good journalists, and decent politicians (there are a few) are on the line. They have to draw a line somewhere, and six months later, a few more cracks in the wall are showing.

Even people who think we need action against CO2 are not convinced by the whitewashes. And for many of them, it’s not the ClimateGate emails themselves which pushed them over the edge, but the blatantly surreal nature of the so-called inquiries which don’t ask the basic questions or invite the key people.

Of course, in order to attack any part of the great facade, it’s important to recite the incantation against bullies. Phrases about how the science is still settled (even though the scientists themselves might cheat) are like a pass-code that allow commentators to say something pointed against the tribal witchdoctors without getting too many nasty spells cast on them by the disciples. By using the incantation they mollify the bullies would would hurl abuse.

“Flawed scientists”

The Economist suggests there’s still a carbon-related-crisis, but that if we ditch Pachauri it will all be ok. Their essential incantation is right up in the subheader: ” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change needs reform. The case for climate action does not.”

Then having mentioned … “ClimateGate” they have to throw in another meaningless recitation: “Neither report does anything to weaken the case for acting to limit carbon emissions.” Well no. The reports wouldn’t say that would they? The reports were not supposed to audit and redo the entire IPCC declarations in a weekend, and they didn’t ever ask that question: Does Carbon cause Catastrophic Warming? It’s more communication pollution as journalists, possibly unconsciously, cave in to the social pressure to reaffirm their attendance at the church. More » (Jo Nova)


New Peer Reviewed Paper on Climate Science and the Culture of Withholding Information

Accessing environmental information relating to climate change: a case study under UK freedom of information legislation’, by JOHN ABBOT and JENNIFER MAROHASY, Environmental Law and Management, ISSUE 1 VOLUME 22 [2010]


The United Kingdom’s Freedom ofInformation Act (FoIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) are intended to provide a mechanism whereby information held by public authorities can be accessed by the public. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recently considered the disclosure of information from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia and concluded that emails revealed scientists encouraged colleagues to resist disclosure and delete emails, apparently to prevent disclosure through FoI requests. The case study presented here focuses on requests under FoI legislation to obtain climate information from the Met Office, particularly relating to assessments of global warming and causal relationships with greenhouse gas emissions. Evidence suggests both the CRU and the Met Office are part of a culture where institutional climate scientists are antagonistic towards disclosure of information. This has serious implications for both the effective operation of FoI legislation and the openness and transparency of climate change assessments. (CRN)


Still trying to promote the "climategate was nothing, see, climate science is solid" line: Climate-change sceptics should be given a fair hearing

THE GREAT majority of climate scientists say that the world is warming, human activities are contributing strongly to this warming and catastrophic environmental consequences will ensue unless we bring this warming under control. But, public opinion polls reveal that the number of people who are sceptical about climate change is rising significantly. Obviously, the mechanism for persuading the public has failed, but, to judge from the recent RTÉ film The Burning Question , screened on June 29th, this lesson has not been learned.

Recent public opinion polls are clear. For example, a BBC poll conducted in February found that 25 per cent of those polled don’t believe global warming is happening (up from 15 per cent in November 2009). Thirty-eight per cent of people believe climate change is real but is not proven to be largely man-made (up from 31 per cent in November 2009). Only 25 per cent believe that climate change is happening and is largely man-made (down from 41 per cent in November, 2009). (William Reville, Irish Times)


UEA's delayed response to climate emails caused by shock, says professor

Former head of research unit responds to criticism by arguing for necessity of assessing excerpts by independent reviews

The former head of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, which was at the centre of a media and scientific storm over leaked emails, said their response to the incident was delayed by "shock" at the leak and at the content of the communications, a Guardian debate heard last night. (The Guardian)


Report From Climategate Guardian Debate with Monbiot, McIntyre, Pearce, Watson, Keenan and some uea guy

As posted by Latimer Alder in my previous post:

Just back from the Climategate debate run by the Guardian tonight. We’re assured that the Guardian website will have a full video of the whole proceeding sometime tomorrow. So just some very sketchy impressions.

Steve obviously read the remarks from last night’s meeting and insisted on speaking from a lectern. This was a good move as it gave him more ‘authority’. And he was (mostly) crisper…making his points more directly. The others spoke while seated.

George Monbiot chaired the meeting and I think he did a fair job of it. He tried hard to be unbiased, and only once or twice strayed into partisan territory. And he managed to keep the speeches and questions mostly to time and to the point

Fred Pearce took a longer perspective than the others. He spoke well and described Climategate as a tragedy rather than a conspiracy…the tragedy being that the CRU guys had adopted siege mentality. Climategate has certainly widened his perspective.

Trevor Davies representing UEA/CRU was appallingly bad. He mouthed platitudes by the shedload, but was unfamiliar with the details of any of the subjects likely to be raised. And was several times embarrassed by doing so. Apart from the fact that he had a sharp suit. I can find nothing positive to say about him. Struck me as a devious smooth cove.

Bob Watson opening remark was that he hadn’t read the e-mails in question. This was a bad mistake – many in the audience were very familiar with them, and not happy to be lectured by somebody who wasn’t. IPCC was imperfect but the best that could be devised 95% of scientists agree…it is now just a risk management exercise. Errors corrected quickly…As good as having Ravendra, but no need for the extra slot at Heathrow for him to land his jet. Very much the Scientific Establishment figure.

Keenan was interested in research fraud and the lack of accountability in science as a whole. He accused Jones of committing fraud, even after being given a chance to withdraw the remark. Davies tried to defend Jones but had no details. Keenan showed a more street-savvy business approach than any of the other participants. I’d like to have heard him at greater length.

Overall conclusion: there was no conclusion. Everybody agreed that openness and transparency were good, that debate should be with all parties and that uncertainties should be made more clear.

But my own view is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This one still has legs and will run and run. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Next Stop, Pyongyang (The New York Times vs. FOI)

to Letters IHT
date Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Dear Editors,

Is climate change a threat large enough to make you undermine the very foundations of your trade? That’s the most important question upon observing your cavalier attitude to Freedom of Information (FOI) in the editorial titled “A Climate Change Corrective” (printed on the IHT on 14 Jul 2010), regarding the alledgedly “manufactured controversy” also known as Climategate.

Forget science, and forget politics for a moment: Climategate, as established by every official British investigation about it, has shown a deliberate, concerted attempt at circumventing the letter and the spirit of the local FOI Act. In more than one circumstance, the Information Commissioner’s Office has found that FOI requests were not dealt “as they should have been under the legislation“. Lord Oxburgh’s and Sir Muir Russell’s reports say as much too, just like the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s.

A wide range of commentators of all scientific and political stances have remarked this, and the general consensus is that from now on science itself will have to change its practice, becoming more transparent and open especially to knowledgeable members of the public. We are talking FOI, after all, an extension to the freedom of speech, a right that people including journalists, and The New York Times, have successfully fought for during the past half-century.

It’s only because of the statute of limitations that there has been no prosecution in the UK regarding the attacks on FOI revealed by Climategate. And what do you have to say about that instead? Absolutely nothing, apart from an absurdly understated remark about “a timid reluctance to share data“.

And so you have sacrificed the right to FOI in an attempt to get “firm action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases“. Good for you. And good for Governments the world over: they will surely rejoice upon hearing that the most influential and authoritative global and US newspaper does not care about FOI. Why, all they have to do is claim “a timid reluctance” to open up their files: and all you will be able to print, will be regurgitated propaganda and half-truths.

I have heard the hamburgers are good, in Pyongyang.

maurizio morabito
journalist and blogger, “The Unbearable Nakedness of Climate Change”


Jay's carbon capture bill not the answer, expert says

July 15--CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new bill being promoted by Sen. Jay Rockefeller would boost federal efforts to deploy greenhouse gas controls on coal-fired power plants, but an expert says the measure won't work unless it's part of a larger package to address climate change. 

Rockefeller, D-W.Va., joined with Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, this week to introduce the Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act of 2010, a measure they had issued in draft form in March. 

Voinovich said the bill would provide $20 billion over the next 10 years for large-scale carbon dioxide capture projects and create loan guarantee programs, tax incentives and other government assistant for utilities to add emissions controls to their plants. 

Rockefeller's office later said that the bill's tax credit provisions are expected to be worth "roughly $200 billion in the coming decades." ( Ken Ward Jr., The Charleston Gazette)

Coal is certainly an appropriate fuel but carbon constraint is just plain stupid. Life on Earth thrives on carbon and, as Wilbur Wright is reported to have said to his brother on that fateful day at Kitty Hawk: "Let 'er rip, Orville!"


Ministers Urge EU To Toughen Emissions Targets

The European Union must raise its emissions targets if it is to compete with the likes of China, Japan or the United States in the race for green technology, ministers from the bloc's most powerful nations said. (Reuters)

Is it actually worth competing for?


Scam collapsing: Layoffs, Lost Business as World Cools to Carbon Permit Brokers

London. Once high-flying carbon emissions permit brokers have been grounded by the recession and dwindling client volumes, with layoffs and business lost to exchanges clouding the horizon of a once sunny future. 

The London-based desk at CantorCO2e, one of the many players in the now overcrowded European emissions trading space, was the latest casualty as the company laid off its last three carbon brokers in Britain earlier this month. 

This follows cut and closures at other emissions brokers including industry veterans Carbon Capital Markets, which shut its trading desk in April. (Reuters)


Finally got one thing right and ignored climate hysteria: [Australian PM] Gillard speech cops green flak 

GREEN groups keenly awaiting Julia Gillard's climate change policy are disappointed she mostly ignored the topic in a major agenda-setting speech today. 

The Prime Minister is believed to be sitting on her climate policy after cabinet met on Tuesday, signing off on a list of measures to tackle the problem and build industry and community consensus for a workable carbon trading scheme.

But her address to the National Press Club today said only that the upcoming election campaign would have “strong elements of `clean' and `green' but above all else it will be very lean”.

Ms Gillard used the platform to outline her economic agenda and pledged the government would offset new spending measures to preserve the return to surplus in 2013.

Climate Institute chief John Connor said the address was surprising because of its single and brief passing reference to the issue.

“It was surprising that apart from a commitment for a `clean' and `green' campaign that there was no reference to the important task of shifting from a pollution-dependent economy to a low-pollution economy,” he said.

“And we will be watching very closely to see what emerges from those cabinet discussions because we are in bizarre situation where neither of the major parties have credible policies.”

Greenpeace also moved swiftly to condemn the address, arguing any talk of “moving forward” was devoid of substance without a climate policy.

“Talk of moving forward rings hollow as Julia Gillard fails to mention climate change in her first major address at the National Press Club,” spokeswoman Trish Harrup said.

“This extraordinary situation raises the disturbing prospect that she has no idea how or why she needs to shift the economy from a pollution-dependent footing to a resilient clean economy.” (Joe Kelly, The Australian)

Then again, even a broken clock is right twice a day...


Alarmist politicians draw circles on Google Earth

According to the leading press agencies, this is one of the most important climatic stories of the day. :-)

The Guardian, UKPA, Reuters, and the rest provide us with the information that some politicians who are in the panic mode over global warming have decided that the five greenwashes haven't convinced anyone that the IPCC-affiliated scientists are essentially honest researchers.

Only the scientists and science fans who are already genuinely concerned - the likes of Phil Plait, Sharon Begley, the Real Climate Hockey Team (one of them is on the picture [left]), and Sean Carroll (no particular reason, really) - continue to believe that there has never been any ClimateGate or AmazonGate and that all the stories about the scandals were filmed on a desert in Nevada. But they believed the same thing before the ClimateGate as well so their opinions don't prove any progress in the edification.

Instead, as Reuters emphasizes, British global warming minister Greg Barker (yes, AGW is now on par with defense or foreign affairs!) has said that the fearmongers should be "more realistic and less preachy". I am afraid that his heretical suggestion won't work because if they were "more realistic and less preachy", they would no longer be fearmongers. ;-) Mr Barker has barked up the wrong tree: he should have made his point when the U.K. was selecting its representatives in the IPCC and similar institutions.

Click the picture to zoom in.

Finally, all of these folks have figured out what the right solution is. How can they make everyone believe that the fearmongering is a rational approach to the real world once again? How can they make everyone cry that the wolf is hiding in their bedrooms? The solution is as simple as ingenious solutions often tend to be. Would you be able to invent such a remarkable solution?

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


Piling on the scares: Climate Change report sets out impact on British seas

The UK's seas are experiencing warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, changes in fish stocks and declines in breeding seabirds as a result of climate change, a report showed today. (TDT)


GreenLeft media pumping out climate rubbish

With its new Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard – Australia is due for an election soon and the pro-labor media is cranking up the effort.

A few recent articles on climate to set the tone.

“Study shows outback soaking up CO2″ Quoting the unbiased Pew Environment group – the article is a mish-mash of misleading statistics and pro IPCC views. I tried to get a comment in with a link to the CSIRO paper that showed our landmass absorbs all our emissions but that was censored out. Not fit to be seen. Read some comments and soak up the ignorance. What's happening to our education system. I had a post on this subject in 2009.

“Carbon courage: there’s no need for a consensus” Ben Eltham is a true believer as are most of the commenters.

Last Monday my local paper the Canberra Times published this breathless gush – “Climate change last hurdle before setting election date”. It reads as though Saint Julia just has to dot the “I’s” and cross the “T’s” on her latest iteration climate masterwork and presumably – problem solved. Facts are that GreenLabor could smash our economy back to the Stone Age – and there would not be an iota of detectable effect on climate – except – urban heat islands would decrease in magnitude.

There are a few cases – will add more as I note them. (Warwick Hughes)


HWGA: Hudson Bay polar bears 'could soon be extinct'

Polar bears in the Hudson Bay area of Canada are likely to die out in the next three decades, possibly sooner, as global warming melts more Arctic ice and thus reduces their hunting opportunities, according to Canadian biologists.

The animals in western Hudson Bay, one of 19 discrete sub-populations of the species around the Arctic, are losing fat and body mass as their time on the floating sea ice gets shorter and shorter, according to the researchers from the University of Alberta.

The sea ice is where the bears hunt ringed and bearded seals, their main prey, and they have to build up enough fat in the winter, when the ice is at its greatest, to get through the summer, when the ice retreats from the shoreline and the bears can find no food. (The Independent)


Abraham climbs down

Guest post by The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley


Once again I have much to thank Anthony Watts and his millions of readers for. My inbox has been full of kind messages from people who have now had the chance to dip into my point-by-point evisceration of Associate Professor Abraham’s lengthy, unprovoked, and widely-circulated personal attack on me.

Latest news – sent to me by two readers of Anthony’s outstanding blog – is that Abraham, inferentially on orders from the Trustees of his university acting on advice from their lawyers, has (without telling me) re-recorded his entire 83-minute talk to take out the very many direct accusations of “misrepresentation”, “complete fabrication”, “sleight of hand” etc. etc. that he had hurled at me in the original version of his talk. For instance, he now seems to have appreciated his unwisdom in having accused me of having “misrepresented” the work of scientists I had not even cited in the first place.

Continue reading (WUWT)


We tend not to make statements

The Toronto Sun has picked up on the "Amazongate" story with journalist Brian Lilley reporting the response of the WWF, which says "it cannot be held responsible for how the UN climate change group used its data."

Privately, Brian tells me that the WWF was extremely reluctant to make any statement at all. He says that it "essentially tried to tell me that this is all too complex for my pretty little head", then declaring (on the record): "We tend not to make statements in contexts where there seems to be limited interest in a balanced appraisal of an issue."

How different that is from last January when Keith Allott, the WWF's climate change campaigner was affirming his pride on the "accuracy" of his organisation's reports.

He pledged to carry out an "internal investigation" into how its Global Review of Forest Fires came to miss out a reference to what it claimed was the source of its material, Fire in the Amazon, a 1999 overview of Amazon fire issues from the respected Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM – Amazon Environmental Research Institute). "We have a team of people looking at this internationally," Allott said.

In an official statement on 31 January, the WWF then noted that some commentators had concluded that potential climate impacts on the Amazon "are overstated and unsupported." It thus declared, "WWF refutes this conclusion and stands by the credibility of its report."

Then on 7 February, its UK chief executive, David Nussbaum, told The Sunday Times that the WWF report was "fully supported by peer-reviewed literature". Author Andy Rowell claimed that the key figure in the report "had been backed up by peer-reviewed research both before and after our publication."

This was backed by another statement from WWF on 10 February, announcing the outcome of its inquiry promised at the end of January. The reference (Fire in the Amazon), it said, "was drawn from an authoritative source, was factually correct and is supported by the peer-reviewed literature."

Last week, though, UK head of media Benjamin Ward was only prepared to argue that Fire in the Amazon was "quite appropriate" for use in their report, A global overview of forest fires., while admitting the source was a Brazilian advocacy group website. Asked whether it was peer reviewed, he could only say stiffly, "We have never claimed it was peer-reviewed."

Just a day earlier, though, the WWF was signatory to a duplicitous statement in a press release urging news outlets that reported on the original "Climategate" controversy to set the record straight.

These outlets were urged to highlight recent developments "that completely disprove" much of the evidence that supported the alleged "Climategate" scandal with the same forcefulness and frequency that they reported the original charges.

Citing The Sunday Times article alleging that the IPCC had issued an unsubstantiated report claiming 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest was endangered due to changing rainfall patterns, it happily lifted chunks of text from the retraction, even though by then it knew the retraction to make false assertions:

... the IPCC's Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence. In the case of the WWF [World Wildlife Fund] report, the figure had, in error, not been referenced, but was based on research by the respected Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) which did relate to the impact of climate change.
"Failure to publicly correct the record undermines the very heart of journalism - to report the truth," declared the WWF.

Now, when given the opportunity to set the record straight, all it can manage, is: "We tend not to make statements in contexts where there seems to be limited interest in a balanced appraisal of an issue." How interesting. (EU Referendum)


Cooling Caused Wars And Drought In China

As Chinese policymakers grapple with an expected increase in extreme weather due to global warming, a study has found that periods of cooling between AD 10 to 1900 also caused a wave of disasters, war and upheaval.

Droughts and locust plagues caused by cooler spells probably triggered internal wars, the authors said.

In a modern day parallel, China, the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for heating up the planet, has taken steps to curb emissions growth fearing growing social unrest from environmental degradation.

Zhibin Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his team used historical records and paleoclimatic reconstructions covering nearly 2,000 years.

They found that the frequency of wars, droughts and floods, price of rice, locust plagues and temperatures in China were positively associated within time bands of around 160 and 320 years.

The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. (Reuters)

Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900 (Proc.Roy.Soc.B)


“Is Climate Really Predictable on 10-50 Year Time Scales?” by William R. Cotton

Bill Cotton , a Professor at the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (and a colleague of mine) has given a lecture

Cotton, W.R., 2010: Is Climate Really Predictable on 10-50 Year Time Scales?  International Symposium on Prediction, San Diego, CA, July 2010.

The entire set of slides is worth viewing. Selected conclusions that he reports are

i) It is often claimed that climate is predictable because it is a boundary value problem (that is, only changes in external forcing is needed).
ii) But, we noted that deep ocean variability occurs on time scales of 100’s of years
iii) Thus initialization of deep ocean circulations is needed for forecasts on decadal time scales.
iv) This means that decadal climate prediction is both an initial value problem and boundary value problem


Considering the stochastic external forcing parameters (eg. volcanoes), uncertainties of solar variability forcing, and the tendency for strong model biases on time scales of 2-5 years let alone 10 to 50 years, I see no evidence that climate is predictable on these time-scales nor will it be for decades to come (a forecast!).

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Steam process could remove CO2 to regenerate amine capture materials

Because they can remove carbon dioxide from the flue gases of coal-burning facilities such as power plants, solid materials containing amines are being extensively studied as part of potential CO2 sequestration programs designed to reduce the impact of the greenhouse gas.

But although these adsorbent materials do a good job of trapping the carbon dioxide, commonly-used techniques for separating the CO2 from the amine materials – thereby regenerating them for re-use – seem unlikely to be suitable for high-volume industrial applications. (Georgia Institute of Technology Research News)

But the question is why do it in the first place?


Louisiana Losing Patience With BP, Government on Oil Spill Claims

BATON ROUGE, LA — BP has yet to make a single payment from the highly publicized $20 billion claims fund negotiated by President Obama last month at the White House. The fund, which Obama hailed as a breakthrough, is supposed to provide $5 billion by the end of the year to those impacted by the oil spill.

The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Louisiana, reports that while BP has paid $162.7 million in claims since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, that money is not part of the Victim Compensation Fund, managed by Obama’s former pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.

Patience is wearing thin in Louisiana, which faces the dual economic impact of Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium and devastating toll on fishermen from the oil-infested waters.

Feinberg doesn’t expect to start fulfilling the June 16 pledge until next month at the earliest. With $5 billion earmarked for 2010, that means he would be doling out more than $30 million per day through the end of the year.

Continue reading... (the Foundry)


Live From the Gulf: How Much Will President Obama’s Drilling Moratorium Cost? (VIDEO)

The team Heritage sent to the Gulf has been reporting on what they found during their tour of the Gulf states. Last Thursday, one member of the delegation, Distinguished Fellow Ernest Istook, interviewed Loren Scott, professor emeritus at Louisiana State University on President Obama’s oil drilling moratorium.

Professor Scott has garnered some attention recently for his research in to the economic cost of the President’s blanket ban. His projections were featured prominently in a Christian Science Monitor story about the ban:

But how much could the moratorium really affect local economies if reinstated? A lot, say analysts.

Although wells already producing oil are not affected by the moratorium, 33 rigs in the process of exploratory deep-water drilling are now sitting idle. They employ some 8,000 people. With average weekly oil-rig wages of $1,804, the potential for lost income is about $57.7 million per month.

That’s just the direct impact, says Loren Scott, a professor emeritus at Louisiana State University who also owns a financial consulting firm.

“At a minimum, 32,000 jobs could be lost,” he said, taking into account layoffs at industries supported by the rigs’ employees like movie theaters and restaurants.

That figure is a conservative estimate, adds Professor Scott, since it’s based on his research of Louisiana’s onshore drills. Offshore platforms cost tens of millions more a year to maintain, meaning that more funds going towards support industries would be lost.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The Automobile’s Forgotten Secret

In it lies the real key to the electric car’s success or failure.

The heart of the automobile (and of automobility) is its potential.

The automobile’s potential is its greatest secret—an open secret and yet, it often seems, a forgotten one. The big SUV in my garage may occasionally make a 10-mile trip to Walmart or 2-mile run to the volunteer fire station when the siren sounds. But it has the potential—the size, the power, the range—to take me, my friends, and our bicycles over the mountain to a distant bike trail, or 1,100 miles with a load of furniture and books to my son’s house in Florida.

A century ago, the gasoline-powered automobile revolutionized personal mobility. It did it so profoundly and swiftly as to make it a routine aspect of our daily lives. Wide-ranging mobility is so normal that many people, particularly in the anti-car crowd, have forgotten its importance. On whatever day you may happen to read this, Americans will travel 11 billion miles in their cars, going to work or to lunch with friends, shopping, visiting the doctor or dentist, picking up materials for a home project, transporting kids to soccer or a pet to the vet—compacting into a few hours tasks which, had they even been contemplated before the automobile, would have taken carefully planned days or weeks. ( Ralph Kinney Bennett, The American)


Finally doing something useful: Rich countries to pay energy giants to build new coal-fired power plants

UN's Clean Development Mechanism to use European carbon offset credits to subsidise 20 'efficient' coal plants in India and China

The UN is set to channel billions of pounds of public money from rich countries to giant energy companies to build 20 heavily polluting coal-fired power plants on the basis that they will emit less carbon dioxide than older ones.

Data seen by the Guardian shows that 12 companies have applied to the UN for hundreds of millions of emission reduction credits to subsidise "efficient" coal-fired power stations in China and India. Many of the plants would be paid for with carbon offsets bought by British and European companies in lieu of cutting their own emissions.

If, as expected, the power company applications are approved by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), they will earn around £3.5bn at current carbon market prices. This would make the UN body set up to promote clean energy and reduce global climate emissions one of the world's largest provider of funds for new coal burning. (The Guardian)


Dear Virginia: Beware of a Windpower Racket in Your State

by Glenn Schleede
July 14, 2010

[Editor note: This was sent as a July 12, 2010, letter from Mr. Schleede to Virginia's Governor Robert McDonnell and  Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling]

SUBJECT: Federal and State Tax Breaks and Subsidies for Wind Energy


Both of you have made statements indicating that you favor greater use of wind energy in Virginia and you have used our tax dollars[i] to promote wind energy. However, if you consider objectively the true costs and benefits of electricity from wind, you will conclude that greater use of wind energy is NOT in the best interests of Virginia’s taxpayers or electric customers.

Recently, I have sent you several emails demonstrating that:

· Electricity from wind is very high in true cost and very low in true value.

· The wind industry and other wind energy advocates greatly overstate its benefits and understate its adverse environmental, economic, energy, scenic, and property value impacts.

· Claims of job and economic benefits from “wind farms” are greatly exaggerated.

· “Wind farms” are being built primarily for lucrative tax benefits and subsidies for their owners – not because of their environmental or energy benefits.

This email elaborates on the last point, above, because it is apparent that many in the public, media, and government do not yet understand:

· The extent and cost of existing federal and state tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy.

· The cost of tax breaks and subsidies are a part of the full, true cost of electricity from wind.

· When all the true costs are counted, the cost of electricity from wind far exceeds the cost of electricity from existing generating plants powered by traditional energy sources.

· Wind energy is unlikely to ever become a commercially viable way to generate electricity except for users who are beyond the reach of electric distribution lines or those few people who are willing to either (i) install expensive battery storage systems, or (ii) have electricity only when the wind blows.

· Tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy are:

· Transferring wealth – millions of dollars annually — from ordinary taxpayers and electric customers to “wind farm” owners and their financiers.

· Distorting capital investment decisions, with billions of dollars being spent on “wind farms” that produce very little electricity — which electricity is low in value because it is intermittent, volatile, unreliable and most likely to be produced when least needed.[ii]

· Adding to federal and state budget deficits.


When initially proposed, the rationale for providing tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy was to help a relatively new technology for producing electricity compete with established electric generating technologies until advances in technology would permit wind to compete without subsidies.

However, the tax breaks and subsidies for wind energy have grown and grown. The massive tax breaks and subsidies now available and the wind industry’s well-financed lobbying efforts to preserve, expand, and extend them makes clear that there is no longer any serious expectation that electricity from wind will become commercially viable without massive subsidies or that significant advances in wind technology are likely to ever permit wind to become a competitive source of electricity. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Whatever It Takes: Obama Sidesteps Law to Halt Domestic Energy Production. Twice.

The administration has shown no deference to the rule of law while trying to close Yucca Mountain and halt deepwater drilling.

It is disturbing, to say the least, how little deference the president and the administration give to the strictures of the Constitution and existing law. Whatever suits Obama’s partisan political interests takes precedence, regardless of the cost to us. However, it is heartening that judges are increasingly unwilling to let this rampage continue.

The most recent example involves the planned nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Almost everyone acknowledges that nuclear power is clean and safe, even though there has been a decades-long campaign against it by ill-informed advocacy groups. The remaining concern about nuclear energy in this country, for some decades, has been how to dispose of the spent fuel created in the electrical generation process. In Europe, they have largely dealt with this problem by reprocessing that fuel and reusing it to create more energy. In this country, that option was discarded years ago in favor of long-term geological storage. Decades of expensive studies zeroed in on Yucca Mountain as the best site for such storage.

Presently, the nuclear waste generated by energy and weapons production is being stored in vulnerable storage facilities throughout the country, waiting for transfer to Yucca Mountain. The cost of that facility has been borne largely by electricity consumers paying into a nuclear-waste fund — already, $10 billion has been spent on developing Yucca. (Clarice Feldman, PJM)


Bechtel and B&W Team Up On Modular Reactors

Today’s announcement that engineering and construction giant Bechtel will join forces with Babcock & Wilcox to build modular nuclear reactors is a big deal. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)



More infection control problems at the VA--not to mention a cover-up

My latest HND piece examines the current round of infection control breaches at certain Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

The glitches at the St. Louis VA are getting the attention at the moment, along with an announcement that 79 possible victims from breaches last year at a Miami facility were somehow not notified to come in for testing. But there is a bigger story that is being pretty effectively covered-up.

A series of much worse infection control breaches occurred at facilities in Mayagüez and San Juan, PR, only in these cases, the possible victims were never even notified. As identified by infection control expert Dr. Lawrence Muscarella, and originally reported by fearless Puerto Rican journo Jannette Rios...

These infection-control breaches are numerous and include the following:

  • Failure to disinfect transvaginal ultrasound transducers after each use
  • Improper cleaning of flexible laryngoscopes after each use
  • Failure to leak-test flexible endoscopes
  • The routine use of a damaged and misbranded flexible endoscope

Note that each of these breaches has been linked either directly to patient injury or, at the very least, poses an increased risk of transmission of such infectious agents as HIV and the hepatitis B and C viruses. More than that, there is the possibility of tuberculosis and even cervical and anogenital cancers.

Readers may not be aware that the VA medical system represents the purest example in the entire world of a government-controlled health care monopoly. The entire system was literally built from the ground up by the government. In European countries with completely socialized medicine, the infrastructure and most physical facilities were originally operated by others.

With the VA, however, even the original 54 facilities were part of the Public Health Service.

These massive infection control failures are a disgrace, and dishonor our brave warfighters. Worse, though, is that these debacles only portend the future for all of us under government-controlled health care.

Maybe that's why they are being covered up. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


New Yorkers can't flee city's bed bugs – even in the Hamptons

It used to be the exploding population of rats in New York City that gave everyone the creeps, but today it's a different urban infestation that is gripping the imaginations – not to say sucking the blood – of its residents. The city does sleep occasionally, which is when the bed bugs come out to play – lots and lots of them.

Not so long ago, bed bugs barely registered on the radars of the pest control specialists in Manhattan. Across America, in fact, the squishy critters had all but disappeared thanks to the pesticide DDT. But since that chemical cocktail was banned the bugs have been making a spectacular comeback. (The Independent)


UK study shows healthy people hit hard by H1N1 flu

LONDON - More than half of people who died from swine flu or were admitted to hospital with it during the first wave of the H1N1 pandemic in Britain were previously healthy people with no underlying risks, a study has found.

The research findings support many health authorities' policies to prioritise pregnant women, children under the age of 5 and those with long term respiratory problems such as asthma for vaccination against the H1N1 virus known as swine flu.

But they also suggest that everyone with asthma might benefit from vaccination, not just those with severe disease, researchers from the University of Nottingham said.

"Our findings support the use of H1N1 pandemic vaccine in pregnant women, children aged under five years and those with chronic lung disease as a priority, including patients with asthma, regardless of severity," Professor J Nguyen-Van-Tam and colleagues wrote. (Reuters)


Eating for two could condemn new mothers to life of obesity

Age-old advice encouraging expectant mothers to eat for two during pregnancy could condemn women to a life of obesity and illness, a new study has found. 

Researchers have discovered that too much weight gained during the gestation of a baby more than quadruples the risk of women being overweight decades later. 

That in turn could lead to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other problems associated with being overweight. (TDT)


Speechless: Audit cites wide fund abuse by NOAA cops

Tens of millions in fines levied against U.S. commercial fishermen held in an unrecorded account were used by the fisheries law enforcement division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to fuel extravagant purchases and foreign travel, according to a forensic audit for a U.S. inspector general made public Thursday.

Among the discoveries by the accounting firm KPMG, brought in by Department of Commerce's IG's office, was that NOAA police own more vehicles "by a substantial margin" than they have officers — 202 vehicles for 172 officers.

The audit also found multiple purchases on the same day from the same vendor, six-figure overseas' convention spending and the purchase of 22 vessels — including a $300,000 "undercover" vessel described by the manufacturer as "luxurious," with a "beautifully appointed cabin." All of those purchases bypassed internal review, the audit found. (Gloucester Times)


The misanthropy of the would-be energy rationers becomes ever more blatant: PopOffsets

PopOffsets is unique - the first project in the world that, simply and transparently, enables individuals and organizations to offset their carbon footprint by funding the unmet need for family planning and the removal of the many barriers to women who want smaller families.

Our project recognizes the intrinsic links between increasing CO2 emissions, climate change and the world’s ever-growing population.

Research is indicating that investing in family planning is a cost-effective and permanent way of reducing CO2 emissions and climate change, compared with other technological fixes - and has many other environmental benefits, and no downsides. (from the people-haters, a.k.a. "optimum population trust")

Have no illusions, activists' assault on energy range from truly absurd claims about mercury through to the global warming nonsense but they all have one purpose -- to suppress human well-being. Your very existence, let alone [gasp!] ... consumption, harms Mommy Gaia, don'cha know? We have yet to find an "environmental scare" that has serious foundation, they are all designed to inhibit humanity through assaults in industry, chemistry, agriculture and particularly, abundant affordable energy:

Giving society cheap, abundant energy ... would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun. - Paul Ehrlich, ``An Ecologist's Perspective on Nuclear Power'', May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report

If you ask me, it'd be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won't give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other. - Amory Lovins in The Mother Earth - Plowboy Interview, Nov/Dec 1977, p. 22

and so on...


Much as I think Pearce is a green nitwit at least he is waking up about population panic: On World Population Day, take note: population isn’t the problem

A green myth is on the march. It wants to blame the world's overbreeding poor people for the planet's peril. It stinks. And on World Population Day, I encourage fellow environmentalists not to be seduced.

Some greens think all efforts to save the world are doomed unless we "do something" about continuing population growth. But this is nonsense. Worse, it is dangerous nonsense. 

For a start, the population bomb that I remember being scared by 40 years ago as a schoolkid is being defused fast. Back then, most women round the world had five or six children. Today's women have just half as many as their mothers -- an average of 2.6. Not just in the rich world, but almost everywhere. 

This is getting close to the long-term replacement level, which, allowing for girls who don't make it to adulthood, is around 2.3. Women are cutting their family sizes not because governments tell them to, but for their own good and the good of their families -- and if it helps the planet too, then so much the better. 

This is a stunning change in just one generation. Why don't we hear more about it? Because it doesn't fit the doomsday agenda.

Half the world now has fewer than the "replacement level" of children. That includes Europe, North America, and the Caribbean, most of the Far East from Japan to Thailand, and much of the Middle East from Algeria to Iran. 

Yes, Iran. Women in Tehran today have fewer children than their sisters in New York -- and a quarter as many as their mothers had. The mullahs may not like it, but those guys don't count for much in the bedroom.

And China. There, the communist government decides how many children couples can have. The one-child policy is brutal and repulsive. But the odd thing is that it may not make much difference any more. Chinese women round the world have gone the same way without compulsion. When Britain finally handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, it had the lowest fertility in the world -- below one child per woman. Britain wasn't running a covert one-child policy. That was as many children as the women in Hong Kong wanted.

What is going on? Family-planning experts used to say that women only started having fewer children when they got educated or escaped poverty -- like us. But tell that to the women of Bangladesh. ( Fred Pearce, Grist)

Robert Walker, of human haters inc., disagrees with Fred's rationality.

Now, if Fred would just back up and look at why alleged environmental problems are made up by his confederates he'd note that all these are supposedly driven by too many people and too much human activity and all have the same magical "cure" -- fewer people, allowed to have less and to do less.


U.S. DOT: “Crash Data Suggest Driver Error in Toyota Accidents”

Posted by Walter Olson

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that at the time of the crashes, throttles were wide open and the brakes were not engaged, people familiar with the findings said.

The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.

Maybe it’s rude to say “I told you so,” but yes: I told you so, as did others including Ted Frank, Megan McArdle, Michael Fumento, and Ronald Bailey.

To be sure, investigators agreed that one high-profile California crash, in which a family of four was killed in a loaner Lexus, was caused by floor mat “entrapment” of the accelerator pedal, a freakishly rare (and avoidable) event. But that does little to vindicate the trial-lawyer-allied “safety advocates” we heard from this spring, many of whom consistently downplayed floor mat theories because they were useless in explaining the great majority of the cases lawyers wanted to sue over.

Can we now look forward to the stream of apologetic stories from major news organizations that bought into theories about mysterious electronic defects in the cars? Or will the media add another chapter to its long record of gullibility on these matters? (Cato at liberty)


Destroying biodiversity

The greatest threat to species is not modern technology -- but environmentalists

The Soviet Union’s demise helped usher in manmade catastrophic global warming as the new “central organizing principle of civilization.” Now, global warming is giving way to a growing recognition that: climate change is primarily natural, cyclical and moderate; China, India and other countries will not sacrifice CO2-generating economic growth to prevent speculative climate crises; and carbon taxes strangle competitiveness, destroy jobs and send families into fuel poverty.

Thus, while not recanting predictions of disastrous climate change, environmental activists and the United Nations are already launching a new campaign. The real threat to the planet, they now assert, is the impact of modern energy technologies and civilization on biodiversity. The case for saving species, they insist, is even “more powerful” than the need to address climate change.

They seek to preserve biodiversity by controlling people’s energy use, economic activities and population – through new regulations and taxes under the auspices of the United Nations and global treaties. These efforts, they claim, will generate benefits “worth $4-5 trillion per year” (based on questionable studies and computer models that underscore the intrinsic value of species and biodiversity).

To accept these claims, one would have to ignore the sordid history of Climategate and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – and believe a larger, more powerful United Nations will somehow ensure honesty, transparency, and accountability for misfeasance, misrepresentation, intimidation, and adverse impacts on people and economic growth. One would also have to ignore a growing body of evidence that: 

The greatest threats to the world’s species are misguided environmental and anti-technology policies. (Paul Driessen, Mich News)


Column - Why save an animal just begging for extinction?

imageI DON’T want to sound blasphemous, but do we really care if the golden sun moth becomes extinct?

Shouldn’t we just harden up about this whole “endangered” racket?

Maybe we’d actually be better off without this damn bug - this orange bellied parrot of the insect world - that’s now crippling developments from Sydney to Melbourne.

Oh, and spare me your huffing about biodiversity, sustainability and my children’s children’s children.

You see, I’ve seen the dodo.

In a cupboard in a monastery on a hill above Prague, he was, and looking rather startled. So would you, if you’d just learned you were to be stuffed and mounted as the last of your kind.

To be frank, I wasn’t impressed. It was as ugly as sin, with the body of a turkey, the neck of a duck and the head of a vulture.

Here was indisputable proof that the universe was not created by an all-knowing God. Whatever made the dodo got the proportions so screwed up, with a monster beak but midget wings, that the bird couldn’t fly, and survived only as long on Mauritius as it took dogs, pigs, cats, rats and monkeys to find their way to its island and its eggs.

imageNor was it of the slightest use to us. Its feathers were dull grey and its meat tough and nasty. It was so brainless besides that the Portuguese gave it their word for fool - duodo. Its Latin name says it all: Didus ineptus.

In fact, looking at the goofy thing, I felt serenely confident that there was not the slightest gap left in my life by its passing, just as I have no reason at all to regret never being able to see a herd of tyrannosaurus rex in my front garden.

Rather the reverse. The dodo’s extinction has been a gift to the language, giving us the pithy phrase “as dead as a dodo” as well as a good-natured word to describe the brainless.

Here’s an animal of more use to us dead than alive, which brings me to our golden sun moth, and our peculiar new habit of losing all ability to reason once someone screams “endangered”.

Continue reading 'Column - Why save an animal just begging for extinction?' (Andrew Bolt)



U.S. Election-Year Pressures Might Sink Carbon Caps

July 13 -- U.S. lawmakers might be too focused on elections in November to approve legislation this year that charges power plants and other industrial companies a price for releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, said Senator John Kerry, a leading advocate of the pollution-cutting plan.

The U.S. Senate, which is expected to take up an energy bill within weeks, has “very little time” left this year to debate legislation, Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, told reporters in Washington yesterday.

Lawmakers face “a lot of pressures, including election pressures, and we’re just going to have to kind of be realistic” about which energy proposals can win enough votes to become law this year, he said. (Bloomberg)


“[Cap-and-trade] is not in my vocabulary” — Reid

by Marlo Lewis
13 July 2010 @ 5:27 pm

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring a sweeping energy and climate bill to the floor as early as the week of July 26, including a controversial cap on emissions from power plants,” Greenwire reporter Darren Samuelsohn writes today in Politico.

Except that Reid — like Sens. John Kerry (D.-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – won’t call a spade a spade.

“I don’t use that,” Reid said, referring to the term cap-and-trade. “Those words are not in my vocabulary. We’re going to work on pollution.”

For years, so-called progressive politicians clamored for cap-and-trade — the Kyoto Protocol, the McCain-Lieberman bill, the Lieberman-Warner bill, the Waxman-Markey bill, etc.

No longer. Thanks to the educational efforts of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform,…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)



Peterson Institute's Prediction of 203,000 Net Jobs Gained is Just More Spin

"The first thing the intellect does with an object is to class it along with something else. But any object that is infinitely important to us and awakens our devotion feels to us also as if it must be sui generis and unique. Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. ‘I am no such thing,' it would say; ‘I am MYSELF, MYSELF alone.'" -William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

We always eagerly await the next iteration of cap-and-trade legislation, for with it comes the inevitable refrain that "this time, it's different."  Claims that cap-and-trade means fewer jobs, higher energy prices for consumers, a weaker economy-well, maybe for those other bills, advocates say, but not this one.  The American Power Act, aka the Kerry-Lieberman bill, is deemed a special case, because, according to one prominent Senate supporter, this time "we got the balance right."  

That same supporter claims that, unlike those other unbalanced cap-and-trade bills, the Kerry-Lieberman bill will actually create jobs-203,000 jobs, in fact, according to a recent analysis by the Peterson Institute. Yet sadly for the bill's authors, the bill is not sui generis; it's fairly typical: close scrutiny of the Peterson Institute study shows Kerry-Lieberman is no different than Waxman-Markey and every other failed version of cap-and-trade-jobs will be lost and consumers will suffer. (Inhofe EPW Press Blog)


Whither Cap and Trade?

Just a year ago, it seemed a near-certainty that the US would eventually adopt some form of cap and trade mechanism for greenhouse gases (GHGs). [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)


<chuckle> Canberra wants China to lead on climate

Australia has called on China to do more to tackle climate change even though the Gillard government does not have a scheme in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As Labor works on a climate policy ahead of the election, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has tried to turn the attention to China. (AAP)


Climate change policies risk major damage to the economic recovery

A preoccupation with 'green' energy policies at any cost undermines the competitiveness of manufacturing industry

A newly published report from the independent think tank Civitas reveals that the increased costs of energy arising from 'green' energy policies are set to increase significantly. Increased costs will hurt manufacturing at a time when much depends on the sector to generate the economic growth the country needs, and to rebalance the economy.

In British Energy Policy And The Threat To Manufacturing Industry, Ruth Lea and Jeremy Nicholson examine the impact of the recent Labour Government's policy on energy prices. They argue that Labour's aim to reduce carbon emissions and increase the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources, significantly increased costs for energy consumers. Lea and Nicholson's analysis provides a timely warning because under the new Coalition Government, energy policy could be as damaging to manufacturing industry as it was under Labour. (Civitas)


Climategate and the Big Green Lie

By way of preamble, let me remind you where I stand on climate change. I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously. I think energy policy should be intelligently directed towards mitigating this risk. I am for a carbon tax. I also believe that the Climategate emails revealed, to an extent that surprised even me (and I am difficult to surprise), an ethos of suffocating groupthink and intellectual corruption. The scandal attracted enormous attention in the US, and support for a new energy policy has fallen. In sum, the scientists concerned brought their own discipline into disrepute, and set back the prospects for a better energy policy.

I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause. (Clive Crook, The Atlantic)


Killing the green wave

Most people understand what an independent public inquiry is

Except climate scientists and politicians.

In a public inquiry, a third party with no interest in the outcome — typically a judge — is appointed by government with a mandate to investigate an issue of public concern.

The inquiry has its own legal counsel, investigators and budget.

It has the power to compel witnesses to testify publicly, to cross-examine them, to demand documents and call in outside experts.

By that standard, the three official “inquiries” into “Climategate” — the last of which recently “exonerated” scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia (UEA) — again were farces.

Two were cases of the UEA appointing sympathetic academics to investigate itself.

The third was a one-day hearing before a British parliamentary committee in a country that has been at the forefront of global warming hysteria. (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)


Oh dear... Here We Go Again

I see that four climate scientists, including the incoming head of IPCC WGII, Chris Field, have written up an op-ed for Politico calling for political action on climate change. That they are calling for political action is not problematic, but the following statement in the op-ed ed is a problem:

Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected.
I have sent Chris Field an email as follows:
I read your op-ed in Politico with interest. In it you state:

"Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected."


I am unaware of research that shows either detection or attribution of human-caused changes in extreme storms or floods, much less detection or attribution of such changes "affecting lives and livelihoods". Can you point me to the scientific basis for such claims?

Many thanks,

I'll report back how he replies. Suffice it to say that it would not be good form for leader of the IPCC to be making political arguments using scientifically unsupportable statements. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


UN climate change claims on rainforests were wrong, study suggests

The United Nations' climate change panel is facing fresh criticism after new research contradicted the organisation's claims about the devastating effect climate change could have on the Amazon rainforest.
A new study, funded by Nasa, has found that the most serious drought in the Amazon for more than a century had little impact on the rainforest's vegetation.

The findings appear to disprove claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest could react drastically to even a small reduction in rainfall and could see the trees replaced by tropical grassland. (Richard Gray, TDT)


New propaganda effort: Environmental Reporters Receiving Training To Cover Climate Change in Developing World

Change is afoot in the number of international journalists in developing countries reporting on global climate change.

With a yearly budget of $1 million, the Earth Journalism Network, EJN, has become a leader among nonprofit organizations actively building networks of environmental journalists and communicators in the poorest of nations. In the past five years, the group has trained 1,000 journalists who have produced some 2,000 stories on the environment.

Media reporting on climate change has emerged as EJN’s main focus in the last two years. (Yale Forum)

Gotta keep that media indoctrinated...


Clouding the Truth: A Critque of Merchants of Doubt

Written by William O'Keefe and Jeff Kueter

The book Merchants of Doubt, written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, ostensibly provides insight and understanding about the challenge to the climate science orthodoxy. Although cloaked in the appearance of scholarly work, the book constitutes an effort to discredit and undermine the reputations of three deceased scientists who contributed greatly to our nation. These men were accomplished scientists, leaders of universities and major research organizations, advisers to government, and the founders of the George C. Marshall Institute. This book questions their integrity, impugns their character, and questions their judgment on the basis of little more than faulty logic and preconceived opinion.

Read more... (SPPI)


Guest Post By A.T.J. de Laat (Jos)

Jos de Laat is sharing with us his comments on the Muir-Russell report (see also).  Thank you Jos for your constructive contribution on this climate science issue.

Guest Post by Jos de Laat

Dear Roger,

While seeing several official investigations related to the ClimateGate emails coming by, sifting through some of their reports and through commentary in newspapers, magazines and on the internet, I came across a blog by Richard Horton in the Guardian in the aftermath of the recent British Muir-Russell report.


Horton is not a climate scientist but a medical doctor and chief-editor of the well known medical journal the Lancet. He contributed to the Muir-Russell report, mainly for explaining what peer-review actually consists of.

His Guardian blog is well worth reading and reminded me of a paper that was published 10 years ago in BAMS, and has been stuck to my notice board ever since.

“On the lack of accountability in meteorological research”, Bulletin of
the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), Vol. 81, No. 6, June 2000.

BAMS is obviously not the least of the Climate Science journals (http://sciencewatch.com/dr/sci/10/jan31-10_1/). The paper is a little editorial comment and analysis that worries about the “sloppy” (my words) state of checks and balances in publishing meteorological research. In the introduction, the paper notes that:


Apparently it was already observed 10 years ago that there were issues with regard to accountability and the peer-review process in meteorological research – and presumably throughout climate science. One might look at what is going on right now and wonder if what we see happening is actually what the editorial already warned for 10 years

And remember, this paper was published long before any ClimateGate emails, before the start of the “science” blogs, before any Hockeystick issues, even before the release of the third report of the IPCC, which played a major role in the advancing climate change as a political and public topic.

The paper is freely available here:


The recommendations put forward at the end of the paper are also well worth reading.

A.T.J. de Laat (Jos), Ph.D
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI)
The Netherlands (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


The Climate Spectator joins the gravy train

Here we go again. I like Alan Kohler, the economic reporter on the nightly ABC news. He likes numbers, graphs and hard data. Yet here he is, setting up a new project which looks like it ’s another climate clone site analyzing everything carbon-related in the harsh light of day except the assumption about climate “feedbacks” that the whole error cascade is based on. (This is the same assumption that the empirical evidence has shown was too high by a factor of six.) [See here for my latest demolition and  here where a Dr of Paleoclimate comes unstuck.]

The Business Spectator wrote so sagely and incisively about the Super Profits Tax, I’d love to think they would apply the same sharp brainpower to the issue of climate. But Kohler writes:

“We were initially despondent when the CPRS was kicked into the long grass by Kevin Rudd,…”

Despondent? Imagine them saying “Interest rates were raised and we were despondent?”

But Kohler and the other economic commentators have been caught watching the money instead of the reasoning (they’re watching the wrong money too, here’s the money that speaks volumes). If upper tropospheric water vapor doesn’t increase as the world warms, the reason for the worldwide carbon market is null and void. And the radiosonde evidence, for example, is pretty insistent that it doesn’t. This is good news for the carbon shorts, but I guess the Climate Spectator won’t be reporting that universal cataclysmic systemic risk. More » (Jo Nova)


Culling farting feral animals could curb carbon, Pew says

CULLING the feral animals that burp and fart their way around Australia's outback could eliminate billions of tonnes of carbon emissions, an environmental group says. (AAP)

I have no problem with culling ferals, I'm just not fussed about carbon emissions.


Informative Interview Of John Christy By Tom Fuller At The Examiner

Thomas Fuller of the Examiner continues to provide us with very informative interviews by climate scientists. His latest contribution is an important interview of John Christy

Global warming: Interview with John Christy–Models, sensitivity, the PNAS paper and more

I recommend readers of my weblog read Tom’s interview. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to realize its prediction potential; as a result, the nation is not mitigating weather impacts to the extent possible. 

This book represents a sense of the weather community as guided by the discussions of a Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate community workshop held in summer 2009. The book puts forth the committee's judgment on the most pressing high level, weather-focused research challenges and research to operations needs, and makes corresponding recommendations. The book addresses issues including observations, global non-hydrostatic coupled modeling, data assimilation, probabilistic forecasting, and quantitative precipitation and hydrologic forecasting. The book also identifies three important, emerging issues--predictions of very high impact weather, urban meteorology, and renewable energy development--not recognized or emphasized in previous studies. Cutting across all of these challenges is a set of socioeconomic issues, whose importance and emphasis--while increasing--has been undervalued and underemphasized in the past and warrants greater recognition and priority today. (NAP)


Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier Retreat

By Steve Goddard, as a follow up to this story


The press has been getting worked up about a 7 km² chunk of ice which broke off the Jakobshavn (Greenland) glacier on July 6. Is this an unusual event?

Since 1831, the glacier has retreated about 60km, as seen in the image above. About half of that occurred in the first 80 years (prior to 1931) and the other half has occurred in the last 80 years. The long term rate has not changed. As you can see, the retreat occurs in spurts, with quiesced periods in between.

Continue reading (WUWT)


Global sea ice anomaly is positive

It's very warm in Central Europe - high temperatures in Pilsen reach 35 °C - and the global mean temperatures are close to the July 2009 values which were pretty warm.

But the sea ice tells us a different story.

For several months, The Cryosphere Today has been showing the decline of the Arctic sea ice. Several months ago, the anomaly grew and almost reached zero but it stayed slightly negative throughout 2010 and has been dropping, reaching -1.5 million squared kilometers a week ago or so.

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


Lawrence Solomon: Antarctic ice continues its advance

Antarctica’s ice continues its relentless advance, as seen in this striking animation from NASA, based on satellite data. The advance, which NASA estimates at about 1% per decade since the late 1970s, can also be seen in this more mundane but easily followed chart from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Of late, the extent of Antarctic ice has especially shot up.

Before the advent of satellite data, humans had no way to accurately determine the overall state of ice in this immense continent. Photos from a boat offshore Antarctica could only provide anecdotal, albeit spectacular, imagery, such as the collapse into the ocean of an immense slab of ice. Yet now that satellite data is available, and humans can now what is happening to Antarctica, the media still prefers to show the spectacular images, and to imply – or assert — that they present the whole picture.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Uh-huh... Sea levels rising in parts of Indian Ocean, according to new study

Greenhouse gases are playing a role in changes, say scientists

Newly detected rising sea levels in parts of the Indian Ocean, including the coastlines of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java, appear to be at least partly a result of human-induced increases of atmospheric greenhouse gases, says a study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The study, which combined sea surface measurements going back to the 1960s and satellite observations, indicates anthropogenic climate warming likely is amplifying regional sea rise changes in parts of the Indian Ocean, threatening inhabitants of some coastal areas and islands, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Weiqing Han, lead study author. The sea level rise -- which may aggravate monsoon flooding in Bangladesh and India -- could have far-reaching impacts on both future regional and global climate.

The key player in the process is the Indo-Pacific warm pool, an enormous, bathtub-shaped area of the tropical oceans stretching from the east coast of Africa west to the International Date Line in the Pacific. The warm pool has heated by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, or 0.5 degrees Celsius, in the past 50 years, primarily caused by human-generated increases of greenhouse gases, said Han. (University of Colorado at Boulder)

No, our records are sufficient for such a claim and no, we really don't have a clear picture of the Indian Ocean Dipole and how its oscillations affect sea levels regionally.


Riding the Heat Waves

Written by Dr. Richard Keen and Joe D’Aleo

Although I’ve lived in Colorado for 40+ years, Philadelphia is my ancestral home and I keep track of the weather there. Of course, I’m excited about any event that sets records there, and last week’s heat wave set several. Apparently Michael Mann is excited, too, and in his “Victory and Vindication” interview, he said: “Record heat wave in the US that’s part of a larger picture of early summer temperatures that are the warmest on record, which is part of a larger picture of a globe that is running warmer than ever before...”

Read more... (SPPI)


Solar-driven temperature decline predicted for Norway, by a Norwegian

Guest post by David Archibald

click for a PDF file of this article

Professor Jan-Erik Solheim of the University of Oslo recently contributed an article to the Norwegian magazine Astronomi with the title: “The Sun predicts a colder (next) decennium”.  Oddbjorn Engvold, a Norwegian solar physicist, has summarised the article in English:

In the first section he refers to the earlier work by Eigil Friis-Christensen and Knud Lassen who showed a connection between the length of a solar cycle and temperature in the northern hemisphere.

The next section deals with “sunspot periods and temperatures in Norway”. He selected series of temperatures for a total of 10 locations in Norway.  In these series of temperature he detected no, or hardly any, correlation between length of the sunspot cycle and temperatures averaged over the cycles. On the other hand, he found a strong dependence between the length of the sunspot cycles and the mean temperatures in the following period.

Continue reading (WUWT)


A Post At The Yale Forum Climate Change & The Media By Bidisha Banerjee “Black Carbon’s Grey Areas: Key Messages From A Yale Workshop”

Richard Berler alerted us to this interesting post on the weblog the Yale Forum Climate Change & The Media

“Black Carbon’s Grey Areas: Key Messages from a Yale Workshop” By Bidisha Banerjee July 13, 2010

The post starts with the text

“Black carbon, a component of soot, and potentially one of the most important contributors to climate change, rises into the atmosphere each time someone fires up a traditional cook-stove or switches on an older-model diesel vehicle. The author recently co-organized a workshop under the aegis of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI), which brought together scientists, policymakers, and development experts to discuss controlling black carbon.

That workshop had three key conclusions: stop throwing cook-stoves at the problem; target diesel; and be very careful about comparing black carbon with carbon dioxide. The first part of this article examined the limits of targeting cook-stoves as a bid to slow climate change. Part II looks at the case for phasing out diesel emissions, and urges a more cautious approach to comparing black carbon with carbon dioxide.”

The entire post is worth reading. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 28: 14 July 2010

Why Are Climate Alarmists Getting More Alarmed About CO2?: Is it just a coincidence? ... or is the publication of studies that portray ever more extreme global warming scenarios timed to coincide with major political initiatives designed to impose binding limits on anthropogenic CO2 emissions?.

Subject Index Summary:
Ocean Acidification (Effects on Marine Plants: Phytoplankton, Foraminifera): What do we know about the ability of the earth's marine foraminifera to cope with the threat of a CO2-induced decline in seawater pH?

Journal Reviews:
Storm Severity and Frequency in North-Eastern New Zealand: How has it varied throughout the Holocene? ... and what do the results suggest about our future?

The Temperature Dependence of Cuban Coral Calcification Rates: How does it compare with that of the same (Montastraea annularis) and related (M. faveolata) species growing in other locations?

The Depths to Which Some Roots Will Go: Atmospheric CO2 enrichment appears to give roots -- especially those of trees -- what it takes to grow ever deeper to acquire more of what they need to maintain their elevated-CO2-provided potential to grow ever more abundantly.

Effect of Elevated CO2 on Uptake of Organic Nitrogen from Soil: Even plants in hot arid environments appear to be able to do what it was long thought most all plants could not do.

Will Rising Temperatures Lead to Greater Respiration Rates in Boreal Black Spruce Trees?: ... as has often been claimed by climate alarmists? Well, will they?

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Fructan-accumulating Plant (Oliveira et al., 2010), Quaking Aspen (Kets et al., 2010), Rice (Fan et al., 2010), and Tomato (Sun et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 855 individual scientists from 510 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Grotta Savi, Southeast Alps of Italy. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)


U.S. Issues Revised Offshore Drilling Ban

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued revised rules on Monday for a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, replacing an earlier one that had been declared invalid by federal courts.

The revised moratorium would allow some drilling rigs to resume operating under certain conditions. To qualify, the rig’s owners must prove that they have adequate plans in place to quickly shut down an out-of-control well, that the blowout preventers atop the wells it drills have passed rigorous new tests, and that sufficient cleanup resources are on hand in case of a spill. Industry officials said it would be difficult to meet those conditions quickly, which could threaten thousands of jobs.

The original moratorium, struck down late last month by a federal judge in New Orleans, halted work on 33 wells being drilled in water greater than 500 feet deep in the gulf. Other new regulations have slowed or stopped work on dozens of other wells in shallower water.

Mr. Salazar directed federal regulators to come up with interim rules by the end of August that would clarify the steps needed to resume operations. But he made clear that most rigs would remain barred from drilling in deep water through November.

His department characterized the moratorium issued on Monday as a refinement of the previous one that was rejected by the courts, not a retreat from it.

“Like the deepwater drilling moratorium lifted by the District Court on June 22, the deepwater drilling suspensions ordered today apply to most deepwater drilling activities and could last through Nov. 30,” the Interior Department said in briefing materials on the new ban. (NYT)


Idled Gulf Rigs Head For Africa

Commerce: What does it say about America’s investment climate when the Republic of Congo now attract oil rigs that once drilled the Gulf of Mexico? That’s the effect of the Obama administration’s nonstop bid to halt production here.

As millions were enjoying the World Cup last weekend, powerful engines began churning the waters of the Gulf of Mexico as Diamond Offshore Drilling began pulling its huge floating rig on a 60-day trip to the Republic of Congo.

Congo is hardly the place that springs to mind for the quality of its investment environment. But because of the Obama administration's nonstop efforts to halt offshore drilling through one executive order after another, that is now the reality. (IBD)


Hello! Where were you? In BP’s Record, a History of Boldness and Costly Blunders

Hurricane Dennis had already come and gone on July 11, 2005, when a passing ship spotted a shocking sight in the Gulf of Mexico: Thunder Horse, BP’s hulking $1 billion oil platform, was listing precariously to one side, looking for all the world as if it were about to sink.

Towering 15 stories above the water’s surface, Thunder Horse was meant to be the company’s crowning glory, the embodiment of its bold gamble to outpace its competitors in finding and exploiting the vast reserves of oil beneath the waters of the gulf.

Instead, the rig, which was supposed to produce about 20 percent of the gulf’s oil output, became a symbol of BP’s hubris. A valve installed backward had caused the vessel to flood during the hurricane, jeopardizing the project before any oil had even been pumped. Other problems, discovered later, included a welding job so shoddy that it left underwater pipelines brittle and full of cracks.

“It could have been catastrophic,” said Gordon A. Aaker Jr., a senior engineering consultant on the project. “You would have lost a lot of oil a mile down before you would have even known. It could have been a helluva spill — much like the Deepwater Horizon.”

The problems at Thunder Horse were not an anomaly, but a warning that BP was taking too many risks and cutting corners in pursuit of growth and profits, according to analysts, competitors and former employees. Despite a catalog of crises and near misses in recent years, BP has been chronically unable or unwilling to learn from its mistakes, an examination of its record shows. (NYT)

For years Junkman Steve Milloy has been kicking BP management over their green posturing while neglecting elementary safety and sound management issues. Why weren't the media interested then? Too busy fawning over "beyond petroleum" and meaningless greenhouse claims?


BP's Crisis Could Soon Become Great Britain's

With the oil continuing to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is facing ever greater challenges. Already, the company has lost half its market value. Should it be unable to cap the leaking well soon, the British oil giant may be forced to sell of assets. That could spell disaster for Great Britain.

Such a crash has never before been seen. Fewer than 12 weeks ago, the multinational oil giant BP still held an uncontested fourth place on the list of the world's largest companies. Its impressive balance sheet boasted annual sales of roughly $246 billion (€195 billion), a market value of more than $190 billion and after-tax profits of almost $17 billion.

Indeed, insurance companies, retirement funds and pension funds worldwide viewed BP as a safe haven, an almost risk-free investment in an otherwise turbulent market. The company, many believed, would have no trouble weathering even the severest of crises. BP's global earnings appeared safe, its cash and petroleum reserves seemed impervious.
But April 20, the day that the company's Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, marked an end to the once unshakable faith the financial markets had in the oil giant. The company has made several attempts to staunch the ensuing leak, all of which have failed. On Tuesday, the company was voicing optimism that yet another effort -- the installation of an enormous cap said to be an improvement over its predecessors -- may stop the leak entirely. Few are holding their breaths. Experts estimate that more than 60,000 barrels of crude oil are surging out of the well and into the Gulf of Mexico each day.

Already, the accident is one of the largest environmental catastrophes in US history -- one that will have immeasurable effects on wildlife, eco-systems and the economy. Experts have estimated that it will cost more than €60 billion to repair the damages. With every extra day that goes by without a solution to the gushing oil, the threat facing the environment, and BP itself, increases. Bankruptcy is no longer seen as an impossibility. (Der Spiegel)


Mommy, Are We Beyond Petroleum Yet?

by Marlo Lewis
13 July 2010 @ 2:23 pm

No, Sylvester, not even close! As noted in a previous post, on Earth Day (April 22), a Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet became the first aircraft to “demonstrate the performance of a 50-50 blend of camelina-based biojet fuel and traditional petroleum-based jet fuel at supersonic speeds.” Camelina is a non-edible plant in the mustard family.

Navy Secy. Ray Mabus crowed that the biofueled fighter demonstrates “the Navy’s commitment to reducing dependence on foreign oil as well as safeguarding our environment” and to being “an early adopter of alternative energy sources.”

Secy. Mabus neglected to mention that camelina-based fuel costs $65 a gallon (ClimateWire, 6/28/10, subscription required) – about 30 times more than commercial jet fuel. Only an organization funded with your tax dollars could afford to ignore so…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Unlike BP's, Natural Oil Seeps Can Help Sea Life

Some marine life thrives on oil bubbling up naturally from the seabed even though it cannot cope with giant single leaks like from BP's ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, experts say.

Natural seeps from thousands of spots from the Pacific Ocean to the North Sea account for about 45 percent of all oil entering the oceans in a typical year, according to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. The rest is from leaks caused by people. (Reuters)


U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Policy: Road to Nowhere [Part V: Lessons]

by Robert Peltier
July 13, 2010

Part 1 of this series explored the historical context of the U.S. nuclear waste storage policy. Part II and Part III looked at the failed Salt Vault and Yucca Mountain projects, respectively. Part IV reviewed the legal and political fallout from the Yucca Mountain failure.  In this final post, we review the past failed attempts to reprocess nuclear fuel in the U.S. and examine the global state-of-the-art reprocessing plants now operating or under construction.

Reprocessing and recycling in the U.S.

The reprocessing of nuclear fuel first began in the U.S. in January 1943. The Bismuth Phosphate Precipitation Process was used for recovering macroscopic quantities of plutonium. The REDuction-OXidation (REDOX) process was the first successful solvent extraction process to recover both uranium and plutonium; it was further refined into the Plutonium and URanium EXtraction (PUREX) process, which has become the most common and fully commercialized liquid-liquid extraction process for the treatment of spent nuclear fuel (SNF).

In order to support a self-sufficient commercial nuclear power industry in the 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC, circa 1946 to 1974)—the predecessor regulatory agency to the NRC (1974 to present) and the Department of Energy (circa 1977 to present)—encouraged the transfer of nuclear fuel reprocessing from the federal government to private industry. The three privately owned reprocessing plants constructed were the Western New York Nuclear Service Center (West Valley, N.Y.), Midwest Fuel Recovery Plant (Morris, Ill.), and the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant (Barnwell, S.C.). [Read more →] (MasterResource)



Restore Free Markets to Health Care

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Eline van den Broek probably is not happy today since she was in South Africa watching her team lose a high-scoring (by soccer standards) battle with Spain, but she should be very proud of the new video she narrated that urges the repeal of Obamacare — and also points out some of the other reforms that are needed to restore a free market to the US health care system.

Her comments on how the American health care system was a mess even before Obamacare are particularly important and echo many of the points made by Mike Tanner and Michael Cannon. (Cato at liberty)


Bad Medicine: A Guide to the Real Costs and Consequences of the New Health Care Law

At more than 2,500 pages and 500,000 words long, the new health care bill — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — is the most significant transformation of the American health care system since Medicare and Medicaid.

The bill’s complexity has created confusion, frustration, false expectations, and conflicts about its coverage and impact. An incisive new report by Cato scholar Michael D. Tanner provides an authoritative and deeply revealing explanation of its provisions.

The diagnosis: the bill is bad medicine. It is likely to make Americans less healthy, less prosperous, less able to direct their own health care decisions, and places huge burdens on our economy and already massive national debt. It is now certain that the debate over health care reform will be with us for much longer.


UK health shake-up puts doctors in charge of funds

LONDON - Britain's new coalition government, seeking to cut a record budget deficit, announced a radical shake-up of its sprawling health service on Monday.

The reorganisation of the world's largest public healthcare system will see family doctors take charge of the lion's share of a 110 billion pound ($165 billion) healthcare budget.

Losing out will be thousands of managers in the National Health Service (NHS) whose jobs will be cut to slash bureaucracy and save money. (Reuters)


Study: Competition Saves Lives in Britain’s NHS

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

This interesting NBER study just came across the transom:

The effect of competition on the quality of health care remains a contested issue.  Most empirical estimates rely on inference from non experimental data. In contrast, this paper exploits a pro-competitive policy reform to provide estimates of the impact of competition on hospital outcomes. The English government introduced a policy in 2006 to promote competition between hospitals. Patients were given choice of location for hospital care and provided information on the quality and timeliness of care. Prices, previously negotiated between buyer and seller, were set centrally under a DRG type system…

Our results constitute some of the first evidence on the impacts of a market-based reform in the health care sector. We find strong evidence that under a regulated price regime that hospitals engage in quality competition and that the 2006 NHS reforms were successful. Within two years of implementation the NHS reforms resulted in significant improvements in mortality and reductions in length-of-stay without changes in total expenditure or increases in expenditure per patient. Our back of the envelope estimates suggest that the immediate net benefit of this policy is around £227 million. While this is small compared to the annual cost of the NHS of £100 billion, we have only calculated the value from decreases in death rates. Allowing for improvements in other less well measured aspects of quality will increase the benefit, as will any further falls in market concentration which may occur as the policy continues in operation. If the UK were to pursue policies that lead to deconcentration of hospital markets, the gains could be substantially larger.

These results suggest that competition is an important mechanism for enhancing the quality of care patients receive. Monopoly power is directly harmful to patients, in the worst way possible – it substantially increases their risk of death. The adoption of pro-market policies in European countries, as well as policies directed at increasing or maintaining competition such as antitrust enforcement, appear to have an important role to play in the functioning of the health sector and assuring patients’ well being.

The study is, “Death by Market Power: Reform, Competition and Patient Outcomes in the National Health Service,” by Martin Gaynor (Carnegie-Mellon University), Rodrigo Moreno-Serra (Imperial College Business School), and Carol Propper (University of Bristol). (Cato at liberty)


Our Fiscal Cancer

Debtocracy: As a president, it's one thing to know you have a big fiscal problem. It's quite another when a panel you appointed tells you the policies you have in mind will only make things worse.

That's what happened Sunday, when leaders of President Obama's deficit commission offered up the darkest of outlooks for our financial future — calling current trends in U.S. budgets a "cancer" that will "destroy the country from within" unless halted soon.

Pretty sobering words. Let's hope Rahm "Never Waste A Good Crisis" Emanuel is unable to find something to exploit there. But in case Democrats in the White House and Congress think this is their golden chance to raise taxes and permanently increase the size of government, they should think again.

"We can't tax our way out," admitted Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of Obama's deficit commission and formerly President Clinton's chief of staff. "We've got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that." (IBD)


Boot-On-Neck Policies Choke U.S. Recovery

If you could spend vast amounts of other people's money just by saying a few magic words, wouldn't you be tempted to do it? Barack Obama has spent hundreds of billions of dollars of the taxpayers' money just by using the magic words "stimulus" and "jobs."

It doesn't matter politically that the stimulus is not actually stimulating and that the unemployment rate remains up near double-digit levels, despite all the spending and all the rhetoric about jobs. And of course nothing negative will ever matter to those who are part of the Obama cult, including many in the media.

But, for the rest of us, there is a lot to think about in the economic disaster that we are in. (Thomas Sowell, IBD)


The Great Escape

State Finances: Oregon voters decided in January that it was a good idea to raise taxes on the wealthy to increase revenues. The result: Tax revenues are actually down. The lesson: Envy doesn't pay.

Measure 66 passed 54-46 on Jan. 26 to increase funding for "education, health care, public safety, other services." It's an envy tax that increased the rates to 10.8% from 9% on single filers earning $125,000 to $250,000 a year and joint filers earning $250,000 to $500,000.

For individuals pulling down more than $250,000 a year and families making more than $500,000, the rate went up 2 percentage points.

The ballot initiative was pushed by aggressive public employee unions. Supporters spent $6.9 million campaigning for Measure 66 and 67, which increases corporate taxes, telling voters that 66 alone would raise an additional $472 million.

But that rosy projection isn't coming to pass. The Heartland Institute's Budget & Tax News reports that "Oregon's June revenue forecast predicted tax collections through July 2011 will come in $577 million shy of the budgeted amount. Nearly all of the decline is due to lower-than-expected personal income-tax collections."

This should not come as a surprise. Raising taxes on the wealthy often does the opposite of what the political left promises. Revenues tend to fall because soaking the rich, if we might use that class-warfare term, stifles economic and investment activity, which has a negative impact on the income that the left so desperately wants to tax. Economic history shows that when states — and entire nations — cut tax rates, tax collections grow. (IBD)


EPA, pesticide maker at odds over study

WASHINGTON - The federal Environmental Protection Agency says a new review of atrazine, a commonly used agricultural pesticide, is rooted in a statutory mandate and prompted by new evidence about the effects of the pesticide to humans and animals.

But one of the makers of the pesticide, Syngenta, calls the review "redundant" and say studies that conclude the pesticide is harmful are "bogus." The company says the new review is nothing more than "an unprecedented war on agriculture by anti-pesticide activists."

"EPA has stated that activist pressure and media reports prompted this unplanned evaluation of atrazine, which was re-registered in 2006 after a rigorous and transparent science review," said Sherry Ford, spokeswoman for Syngenta.

"EPA considered more than 6,000 studies over a 12-year period when it re-registered atrazine, yet the re-review has more scientific scrutiny in play: an unprecedented four Scientific Advisory Panel meetings in the space of 11 months, with the likelihood of more to follow. All this, when a previously-scheduled, and much more considered, EPA science review of atrazine will occur in 2013."

Other critics say the new review is because Democrats now control the White House, giving the EPA an activist flair with freshman administrator Lisa P. Jackson at the helm.

"We believe she is cooperating with, if not spearheading, a broad-based activist agenda to implement an official anti-chemical approach which has no basis in protecting anyone's health, nor do anything measurable or perceptible for the environment, but is designed to promote a political anti-chemical, anti-business agenda," said Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director of the American Council on Science and Health, a group devoted to consumer education. The group has been outspoken on the attack on atrazine. (Legal Newsline)


Low vitamin D levels 'linked to Parkinson's disease'

Having low vitamin D levels may increase a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease later in life, say Finnish researchers.

Their study of 3,000 people, published in Archives of Neurology, found people with the lowest levels of the sunshine vitamin had a three-fold higher risk.

Vitamin D could be helping to protect the nerve cells gradually lost by people with the disease, experts say.

The charity Parkinson's UK said further research was required.

Parkinson's disease affects several parts of the brain, leading to symptoms like tremor and slow movements. (BBC News)


Obesity is dangerous but still increasing: Obesity Congress president

STOCKHOLM, July 12 -- Obesity is still increasing in Asia at a fast rate while in the western world the increase has possibly stopped, said Stephan Rossner, president of the 11th International Obesity Congress in Stockholm on Monday.

"What I think is good is that experts now have realized that obesity is so dangerous, with so many other diseases, that are the consequence of the obesity, we all talk about diabetes that is very well known today. But now we see many other diseases like sleep apnoea, like incontinence," Rossner told Xinhua in an exclusive interview about the new development trend in obesity.

Rossner said that it is alarming to see that the increased risk of obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure start at lower Body Mass Index in Asia. (Xinhua)


Childhood: Obesity in Young Subjects Drops in Study

Thousands of sixth graders who participated in a school-based health program were less obese by eighth grade than a group of similar children who did not, according to a new study done for the National Institutes of Health. 

But the findings, reported June 27 by The New England Journal of Medicine, held a pleasant surprise for the researchers: overall rates of obesity and excessive weight dropped in both groups, suggesting that childhood obesity may finally be declining. 

“That’s the perplexing but happy part of this,” said the study’s chairman, Dr. Gary D. Foster, director of the obesity center at Temple University in Philadelphia, who added that this was the first such finding in a study following the same large group of children over time. (NYT)


What? All kids should have cholesterol tests: study

NEW YORK - Tens of thousands of kids may benefit from cholesterol-lowering medication, but no one would know because screening guidelines exclude too many children, U.S. doctors said Monday.

In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, they call for screening of all children, expanding one set of current recommendations that target only those whose parents or grandparents have heart disease or high cholesterol. Another existing set of guidelines doesn't call for screening in any children.

Screening all children would "identify a number of children who are of very significant risk of premature heart disease," said Dr. William Neal of West Virginia University in Morgantown, who led the new study. (Reuters Health)

We have no evidence cholesterol levels are predictive nor that lowering them with statins delivers a net benefit. The population is already overmedicated -- leave the kids alone!


Remember the "War on Science"?

During the Bush Administration, a lot was made about how Republicans were waging a "war on science." The Bush Administration was particularly ham-handed and certainly tried to use (and abuse) science in support of its political agenda. There is no dispute about this. For many years I have disputed the notion that such actions were simply characteristic of Republican leadership which might be addressed at the ballot box, returning science to its proper place, rather than via more systemic policy reform. With the election of Barack Obama and a significant Democratic majority in Congress we can test this hypothesis.

Today's Los Angeles Times provides some evidence that the Obama Administration is itself ham-handed and trying to use (and abuse) science in support of its political agenda:

When he ran for president, Barack Obama attacked the George W. Bush administration for putting political concerns ahead of science on such issues as climate change and public health. And during his first weeks in the White House, President Obama ordered his advisors to develop rules to "guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch."

Many government scientists hailed the president's pronouncement. But a year and a half later, no such rules have been issued. Now scientists charge that the Obama administration is not doing enough to reverse a culture that they contend allowed officials to interfere with their work and limit their ability to speak out.

"We are getting complaints from government scientists now at the same rate we were during the Bush administration," said Jeffrey Ruch, an activist lawyer who heads an organization representing scientific whistle-blowers.
What are some of the complaints being levied against the Administration?
[I]nterviews with several scientists — most of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation in their jobs — as well as reviews of e-mails provided by Ruch and others show a wide range of complaints during the Obama presidency:

In Florida, water-quality experts reported government interference with efforts to assess damage to the Everglades stemming from development projects.

In the Pacific Northwest, federal scientists said they were pressured to minimize the effects they had documented of dams on struggling salmon populations.

In several Western states, biologists reported being pushed to ignore the effects of overgrazing on federal land.

In Alaska, some oil and gas exploration decisions given preliminary approval under Bush moved forward under Obama, critics said, despite previously presented evidence of environmental harm.

The most immediate case of politics allegedly trumping science, some government and outside environmental experts said, was the decision to fight the gulf oil spill with huge quantities of potentially toxic chemical dispersants despite advice to examine the dangers more thoroughly.

And the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington-based organization, said it had received complaints from scientists in key agencies about the difficulty of speaking out publicly.

"Many of the frustrations scientists had with the last administration continue currently," said Francesca Grifo, the organization's director of scientific integrity.

For example, Grifo said, one biologist with a federal agency in Maryland complained that his study of public health data was purposefully disregarded by a manager who is not a scientist. The biologist, Grifo said, feared expressing his concerns inside and outside the agency.

Most of the examples provided by Ruch, Grifo and others come from scientists who insist on anonymity, making it difficult for agencies to respond specifically to the complaints. Officials at those agencies maintain that scientists are allowed and encouraged to speak out if they believe a policy is at odds with their findings.
Of course, during the previous presidency if you supported the policies of the Bush Administration, you might have found it easy to look away from issues of scientific integrity. Similarly, if you support the policies of the Obama Administration you might choose to remain silent about the continuing issues of scientific integrity. This sort of selective concern exacerbates the pathological politicization of science. Distinguishing partisan politics from issues of scientific integrity is important, but unfortunately, difficult to do. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Gasp! Mommy Nature is a... tree killer! Staggering tree loss from 2005 Amazon storm

WASHINGTON—A single, huge, violent storm that swept across the whole Amazon forest in 2005 killed half a billion trees, a new study shows

While storms have long been recognized as a cause of Amazon tree loss, this study is the first to produce an actual body count. And, the losses are much greater than previously suspected, the study's authors say. This suggests that storms may play a larger role in the dynamics of Amazon forests than previously recognized, they add. (AGU Release)


DOE Reinvades Showerhead Use

For anyone who has ever taken a timed shower or gone to a laundromat to cut down on their household utilities bills, it should not come as a surprise that an efficient showerhead is an easy way to cut costs. Likewise, luxury shower and bath lovers might consider the extra energy cost of multiple showerheads to be a worthy sacrifice for the daily spa experience. Either way, the choice is a personal one made based on preference or financial constraints.

Or is it?

Of the many microscopic issues in which the Department of Energy (DOE) involves itself, one of the most ridiculous could be showerhead flow-capacity limits. In the name of conservation, a federal law limits the amount of water that can pass through a nozzle to 2.5 gallons per minute. The law was designed to limit both water and energy use related to pumping the water. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Mandatory Training for Gun Owners: Constitutional? Useful?

A solution in need of a problem: mandatory training is of questionable legality, and gun misuse is not generally due to a lack of skill or knowledge. (Clayton E. Cramer, PJM)


Calling in the World Court against the Gun Trade

Posted by Walter Olson

Just before the holiday I sent off to Encounter Books the manuscript of my next book, tentatively titled Schools for Misrule: Law Schools and an Overlawyered America. One of the themes the book explores is how, after years of arguing that courts should read the U.S. Constitution as requiring the adoption of the liberal policy agenda of the moment (welfare rights, free health care, or whatever), cutting-edge law school thinking now promotes the idea that international human rights law requires the adoption of that same agenda. Thus the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in San Antonio v. Rodriguez (1973) and Milliken v. Bradley (1974) that the U.S. Constitution does not mandate (respectively) “Robin Hood” school finance redistribution and school busing across district lines; now it’s argued that both decisions need to be revisited and overturned as contrary to (ever-evolving) conceptions of international human rights. Similarly, there are said to be internationally recognized rights to government-provided housing, day care, and even (at least in Europe) tourism.

These notions are at odds with longstanding ideas of sovereignty and national independence, as held by (among many others) the Founders of this Republic. That they could also pose more direct dangers to individual liberty is suggested by a news item that drew only passing attention a few weeks ago: Chicago Mayor and long-time anti-gun advocate Richard Daley convened an assembly on global issues at which (per the Chicago Sun-Times) he “convinced more than a dozen of his counterparts from around the world to approve a resolution urging ‘redress against the gun industry through the courts of the world’ in The Hague.” According to another local news report, Daley “said American gun manufacturers should be held responsible in the World Court, since American-made guns are used in violent crime elsewhere in the world.” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and the mayor of Mexico City were among those endorsing the idea. David Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy has much more on the conditions that would have to be met for the World Court to assert jurisdiction.

Chicago and its mayor were in the Second Amendment spotlight most recently with the McDonald case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s ultra-strict anti-gun ordinance as in violation of the Bill of Rights. But the real antecedent of Daley’s latest idea was the late-Nineties litigation ginned up by anti-gun advocates and trial lawyers on behalf of three dozen cities and counties, which mostly fared poorly in court, yet still, through sheer cost-infliction, very nearly achieved its goal of off-the-statute-books gun control through litigation). That litigation campaign was decisively rejected and stopped in its tracks by Congress in the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed by then-President George W. Bush in 2005. In other words, Daley is seeking an international end run around both the Bill of Rights and the democratically expressed will of the American people. Aren’t Chicago voters tired of this yet? (Cato at liberty)



A Green Retreat: Why the environment is no longer a surefire political winner.

Just three years ago the politics of global warming was enjoying its golden moment. The release in 2006 of Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, had riveted global audiences with its predictions of New York and Miami under 20 feet of water. Within 12 months, leading politicians with real power were on board. Germany’s Angela Merkel, dubbed the “climate chancellor” by her country’s press, arranged a Greenland photo op with a melting iceberg and promised to cut Europe’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called climate change a scourge equal to fascism, offered 60 percent by 2050. In December 2007, the world got its very first green leader. Harnessing the issue of climate change, Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia, ready to take on what he called “the biggest political, economic, and moral challenge of our times.” Now, almost everywhere, green politics has fallen from its lofty heights. (Newsweek)



From: the Deputy Assistant Head of National Materials Acquisition

To: All Public Sector Materials Acquisition Officers

Subject: The World Whitewash Crisis

Most of you will know that there is now a serious global shortage of whitewash; the worst since the Iraq WMD inquiries. This memorandum is designed to inform you of how the crisis has arisen and what we must do about it.


There has been a sudden global increase in demand for whitewash. This largely arises from side issues related to the Climate Change Industry. Demand acceleration has been concentrated at certain geographic locations around the world. Among the major consumers are the UN IPCC and certain academic institutions, including The University of East Anglia and Penn State University. The UK House of Commons and a Dutch institution are among others involved. Fortunately the media are sympathetic to this cause, so they also have a major requirement. The industry has to be seen to be whiter than white, which is why some circumstances have required a triple application. The result has been a shortage of supplies for some time to come.

What we can do

The Climate Change Industry is not only a vital young trillion dollar business, but it provides the basis for vital major tax increases throughout the world, without which public authorities at all levels would be starved of finance. It requires faith on the part of the public at large for such increases to be accepted, without which there is the possibility of civil disturbance, as the UK is experienced over the poll tax. It behooves us all to give this industry all the support we can. Meanwhile we have to keep a close watch on the consumption of whitewash. Extensive and costly research shows that consumption is closely related to the occurrence of public enquiries, which therefore must be avoided as far as possible. Contact this department for assistance in inquiry avoidance.

Meanwhile, whitewash is a vital contributor to the smooth operation of world government, so it is necessary for all of us to conserve it for those applications where it is really needed. (Number Watch)


Deep into Amazonian Mud

With respect to the kerfuffle over a statement by the IPCC on the Amazon, I have been somewhat aware of the various claims, counterclaims, accusations, apologies, threatened lawsuits, demands for even more apologies, demands for retracted apologies and overall stridency that is endemic to blog debates over climate change. I haven't discussed the topic on this blog, because I didn't really know enough to say anything about it. But I spent a bit of time over the weekend looking into the issue, and here in capsule form is what I learned. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


An honest one would be more useful: Climate change needs a plain English guide

The science is solid but popular understanding of climate change lags.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have emerged from the six-month ''climategate'' inquiry with their reputations for honesty intact. The challenge for scientists across the world now, however, is to communicate clearly the realities of climate change to a public that simply wants straight answers. (SMH)

Then again, "we don't know if there's any problem at all" doesn't do much for scaring up big research grants.


Response to John Abraham

Written by Christopher Monckton

Christopher Monckton has issued an extensive and detailed critique and refutation of a widely circulated 83-minute personal attack on him by one J.P. Abraham, a lecturer in fluid mechanics at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. Read more... (SPPI)


India Climate Meet Ahead Of Mexico To Push Tech Deal

India will try to push climate talks forward at a two-day ministerial meeting in November by focusing on winning agreement on sharing clean technologies, a sticky issue that divides rich and poor countries.

The Nov 8-9 talks are aimed at clarifying rules on sharing future innovations and existing technologies involving contentious intellectual property rights (IPR) issues. (Reuters)


Surprisingly regular patterns in hurricane energy discovered

Research suggests that hurricane forecasts on intensity could never be feasible

Researchers at Mathematics Research Centre and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have discovered the mathematical relation between the number of hurricanes produced in certain parts of the planet and the energy they release. The distribution is valid for all series of hurricanes under study, independent of when and where they occurred. The research, which will be published on sunday online edition of Nature Physics, suggests that the evolution of hurricane intensity will be very difficult to predict. (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)


Fail: Rising Sea Drives Panama Islanders To Mainland

Rising seas from global warming, coming after years of coral reef destruction, are forcing thousands of indigenous Panamanians to leave their ancestral homes on low-lying Caribbean islands. (Reuters)

The item of significance is coral mining, which has wrecked the reef buffer against wave action.


Plant 'breathing' mechanism discovered

Palo Alto, CA—A tiny, little-understood plant pore has enormous implications for weather forecasting, climate change, agriculture, hydrology, and more. A study by scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, with colleagues from the Research Center Jülich in Germany, has now overturned the conventional belief about how these important structures called stomata regulate water vapor loss from the leaf–a process called transpiration. They found that radiation is the driving force of physical processes deep within the leaf. The research is published the week of July 12, 2010, in the on-line early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Carnegie Institution)


Ocean CO2 Storage Revised

The ocean is Earth's largest single sink for CO2 outside of the planet's crust itself. Simple sea creatures depend on carbon dissolved in the ocean's water for their existence, and their actions create a biological carbon “pump” that removes vast quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. Large amounts are suspended in the water column as dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and each year the ocean's biological pump deposits some 300 million tons of carbon in the deep ocean sink. New findings have revealed that massive amounts of carbon are converted into “inedible” forms of organic carbon that remain out of circulation for thousands of years, effectively sequestering the carbon by removing it from the ocean food chain. According to Jiao Nianzhi, a microbial ecologist here at Xiamen University, the amount stored is tremendous: “It's really huge. It's comparable to all the carbon dioxide in the air.”

On average, the world's oceans absorb 2% more carbon than they emit each year, forming an important sink in the overall carbon cycle. CO2 is absorbed by the ocean in a number of ways. Some dissolves into the water column, forming carbonic acid (H2CO3) while more enters the seas through the food chain. Green, photosynthesizing plankton converts as much as 60 gigatons of carbon per year into organic carbon—roughly the same amount fixed by land plants and almost 10 times the amount emitted by human activity. But this form of carbon is only stored for a short period of time. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Sigh... Climate change could put Canada's Arctic whales in hot water

A new report says climate change could be putting Canada's Arctic whales in hot water.

The report, released Tuesday by the World Wildlife Fund, said global warming is likely having the same effect on whales that it's having on polar bears — changing the conditions under which they are adapted to live. (Canadian Press)


What unprecedented warming?

Geology journal discusses the recent scare claims about “unprecedented” warming on just one small part of an otherwise cooling continent:

Rapid warming and consequent ice-shelf collapse have focused attention on the glacial record of the Antarctic Peninsula.... Moreover, the data indicate that present reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula is not unprecedented and is similar to that experienced during at least three periods in the last 5600 yr.

(Andrew Bolt)


The Need for Diversity in the Perspective: The Case of Temperature Data As An Example By Kiminori Itoh

Kiminori  Itoh, a faculty member of the Engineering Department at the Yokohama National University,  has graciously permitted us to post his excellent powerpoint presentation  The need for diversity in the perspective: The case of temperature data, as an example at the InterAcademy Council Committee to Review the IPCC, Tan Sin Lin Center, Peking University, Beijing, June 29, 2010. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


They never get it: The Emerging Climate Technology Consensus

The twenty-year effort to create a single global pollution framework to reduce carbon emissions is in a state of collapse. Meanwhile, a new climate policy consensus is emerging, one which prioritizes direct investment in technology innovation to make clean energy cheap. The new framework begins from the understanding that the root cause of the failure of the pollution paradigm was the technology and price gap between fossil fuels and their alternatives. But hard and important questions are being asked of the new investment-and-innovation paradigm. How is it different from just increasing subsidies for clean energy? How can we be sure it will reduce emissions? What role should carbon pricing play? Here Breakthrough Institute answers frequently asked questions of the climate technology paradigm and responds to challenges raised by Alex Evans on the left and Robert Bradley on the right, among others, who have taken aim at Breakthrough's and Bill Gates' proposals, respectively. (Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Breakthrough Blog)

There is absolutely no rational reason to "decarbonize" the energy supply.


CITGObama: A Somewhat Modest Proposal

Once again, a wacky, divisive, leftist president is nationalizing industries for political gain. [Read More] (Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune)


Obama Institutes Offshore Drilling Moratorium … Again

After the BP oil spill, the Obama Administration offered little excuse for instituting a moratorium on deepwater drilling regardless of the fact that it brought one of the Gulf Coast’s main industries to a sudden halt. Despite federal judge Martin Feldman’s ruling on the moratorium and despite a federal appeals court upholding that decision, the U.S. Department of Interior issued a new moratorium on deepwater drilling this afternoon.

The new ban will not apply to a specific depth but instead “apply to any deep-water floating facility with drilling activities.” But changing the rules of the ban does not change the fact that the moratorium would do nothing to address the oil spill. Instead, it would unnecessarily destroy jobs in a region struggling to manage an environmental and economic crisis—largely in part because of the federal government.

In the face of a disaster that has already torn through the economic fabric of many coastal industries, denying jobs to the area is unjust. If the newly issued moratorium circumvents judicial ruling, more than 120,000 jobs could be lost in the Gulf Coast, and the ripples from these lost jobs would be seen throughout all sectors of the economy. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


First rig sails away over drilling ban

Lawmakers and experts fear loss is only the start of offshore exodus

WASHINGTON — Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately — making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.

And the Ocean Endeavor's exodus probably won't be the last, according to oil industry officials and Gulf Coast leaders who warn that other companies eager to find work for the now-idled rigs are considering moving them outside the U.S.

Devon Energy Corp. had been leasing the Endeavor to drill in the same region of the Gulf as BP's leaking Macondo well, which has been gushing crude since a lethal blowout April 20.

But Diamond announced Friday it will lease the rig through June 30, 2011, to Cairo-based Burullus Gas Co., which plans to send the Endeavor to Egyptian waters immediately.
Devon is one of three companies that has cited the deep-water drilling ban in trying to ease out of contracts to lease Diamond rigs. Diamond, a drilling company, said it expects to make about $100 million from the deal, including a $31 million early termination fee it recovered from Devon.

Larry Dickerson, CEO of Houston-based Diamond, signaled that other of his company's rigs could be relocated, too. (Houston Chronicle)


Idiot Lefty, the Crone, is at it again: Big Oil’s Good Deal

No industry enjoys the array of tax breaks and subsidies that the oil and gas industry does. No industry needs them less. For all the damage it has caused, the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may provide the political momentum to end this special treatment. (NYT)

Exxon alone pays more than $25 billion in taxes each year and employs some 80,000 people who also pay taxes, all while finding, extracting, refining and distributing the fuels and lubricants that sustain our society. Would you pay pay an effective 40% tax rate to take the risks and reliably deliver essential goods to an ungrateful population that habitually abuses you as "dirty" "rapacious" "planet killing" and "greedy"? Not sure I would. Businessweek gave both sides an airing a couple of years ago. Doubtless everyone will view it with an ideological slant but I happen to think taxing the companies that literally keep society's wheels turning is a little bit rude, taxing them punitively is completely insane.


Isn't it good? Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists

For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change. 

Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and a burning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law. 

But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy. 

The Senate is still gridlocked. Opinion polls haven't budged much. Gasoline demand is going up, not down. 

Environmentalists say they're trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But historians say they're facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists' e-mails. 

The difference between now and the awakenings that followed past disasters is as stark as "on versus off," said Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale University who tracks public opinion on climate change. 

"People's outrage is focused on BP," Leiserowitz said. The spill "hasn't been automatically connected to some sense that there's something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world," he said. 

The story of 2010 is not that nothing happened after the BP spill, or after the coal-mine explosion that killed 29 in West Virginia on April 5. It's that much of the reaction has focused on preventing accidents -- on tighter scrutiny of rigs and mines -- rather than broader changes in the use of oil and coal. (David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

People are waking up to the emotional manipulation of misanthropic nitwits and no longer falling for it (as much). There's hope society will survive the people-haters after all.


The Left Wants You to Sweat

Woman Sweating

What would you do if the government forced you to turn off your air conditioning? Could you still live where you live or work where you work? Probably not. But that’s not just a bug in the enviro-left’s high energy cost future, its a feature! Stan Cox makes the case in yesterday’s Washington Post:

In a country that’s among the world’s highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers. … A.C.’s obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves do not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end. Less than half a century ago, America thrived with only the spottiest use of air conditioning. It could again.

In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas. Code-orange days mean offices are closed. Shorter summer business hours and month-long closings — common in pre-air-conditioned America — return.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

You can also comment on this over at NSLF: ‘Green’ Author Links Air Conditioning to Global Destruction and Obesity


The Department of Energy Cannot Afford to Save Energy

Some households just can’t afford to save energy. When the upfront costs of new light bulbs exceed the savings from using less electricity, people will stick with the old ones.

That also appears to be the case for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In spite of supporting regulations that will force all Americans to switch out old light bulbs for more expensive new ones (the good old incandescent bulb will be illegal in 2012), it seems that the DOE itself finds that it’s too much trouble and too expensive to adopt the latest energy-saving technologies. Continue reading... (The Foundry)



THE hidden costs of green policies are set to cause agony for Britain’s already over-stretched households, campaigners claim.

A raft of eco-levies currently cost energy bill payers £84 a year, but the sum is set to double when new policies come into force.

And experts are warning the figure could rise by a crippling £548 by 2025.

Campaigners are calling for a cap on the “hidden taxes” and more openness on what people are paying for. (Daily Express)


Britain at risk of energy crisis, engineers warn

Britain's competitiveness and future security will come under threat if the Government fails to act on energy policy, the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) will warn today.

The UK faces an unprecedented combination of energy challenges over the next decade and needs to invest billions of pounds in infrastructure, manage the risks associated with growing dependence on imported gas and meet renewable energy targets, the employment body says. (The Independent)

And the first step is to dump the foolish and utterly useless "renewable" targets.


British Gas boss announces brilliant new scheme to make Britain even more expensive and ugly

Today the man who runs British Gas was reported as saying something so culpably fatuous and wrong in every way it cannot be allowed to pass. Phil Bentley, the company’s MD, reckons that our religious buildings should follow the German model and cover themselves in solar panels – making themselves as much as £29 million a year.

Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas, said: “These potential savings are great news for the UK’s religious buildings and their congregations, and give them the opportunity to lead their communities in tackling climate change and helping Britain move towards a low carbon society.

“Religious buildings are particularly well suited to solar power as they tend to have large south-facing roofs which receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day.

“The Government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme is the key to unlocking the potential of solar power in Britain. As Britain’s energy company, we at British Gas are committed to helping households, business and community and faith groups make the most of this opportunity to cut their carbon footprint and earn money for the electricity they generate.”

And where, pray, does this weapons-grade pillock imagine that this “up to £29 million” (though, of course, it could be less) is going to come from? (James Delingpole)


U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Policy: Road to Nowhere [Part IV: Picking Up the Pieces]

by Robert Peltier
July 12, 2010

Part I of this series reviewed the historical context of the U.S. nuclear waste storage policy. Part II and Part III historically reviewed the ill-fated Salt Vault and Yucca Mountain projects, respectively.  This post reviews the legal and political fallout from the Yucca Mountain failure, and Part V tomorrow will explore failed attempts to reprocess nuclear fuel in the U.S. and examine the global state-of-the-art reprocessing plants now operating or under construction.

Ratepayers Pay to (Not) Play

1. View of the above-ground support structures and north and south portals at the now-defunct Yucca Mountain repository. Source: Department of Energy/Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (DOE/OCRWM)

The nuclear industry is unique among energy producers in its contractual commitment to cover the full costs for managing its waste. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) of 1982 directed utilities to levy fees on electricity generated by nuclear power and to pay those fees into a federal Nuclear Waste Fund (NWF) that was to be used to develop and operate a national repository. In return for the payment of fees, the NWPA directed the federal government to accept ownership and begin disposing of the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and other high-level waste (HLW) no later than January 31, 1998. Those fees included the cost of transporting SNF to the repository.

Since 1983, consumers of electricity from nuclear power plants have paid approximately $32 billion into the NWF. Consumers in Alabama and Georgia, for example, have sent more than $1 billion to the NWF and continue to contribute over $44 million a year. The current balance in the NWF exceeds approximately $22 billion, and consumers nationwide are contributing about an additional $750 million a year. The difference between total collections and the current balance is roughly equal to the approximately $9 billion already spent on preparing the Yucca Mountain site to date. [Read more →] (MasterResource)



ObamaCare: Dream Turned Nightmare

Health Reform: Key provisions of the president's health care reform are about to take effect. Don't expect any of it to be pretty.

It turns out that — as predicted by health experts, and reported on this page — ObamaCare will make health insurance premiums rise rather than fall. This and other unpleasant truths are revealed in a new report from two Republican senators, which charges that "when measured against the administration's own stated goals, the new health law fails to address the top health care concerns of the American people."

Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming are the only two members of the U.S. Senate with M.D.s, and their prognosis in the report, titled "Bad Medicine: a Check-up on the New Federal Health Law," is far from good. (IBD)


Pity the Poor Keynesians

The Obama administration and their Keynesian media allies are desperately pushing back against a growing consensus that President Barack Obama’s expansive and intrusive domestic agenda is to blame for high unemployment and the economy’s slow recovery. So in Paul Krugman’s Pity the Poor C.E.O.’s column today he asserts:

So where’s the evidence that an antibusiness climate is depressing spending? The answer, supposedly, is that this is what you hear when you talk to entrepreneurs. But don’t believe it. Yes, when you talk to business people they complain about taxes, regulations and the deficit; they always do. But the Obama’s-socialist-policies-are-wrecking-the-economy chorus isn’t coming from businesses; it’s coming from business lobbyists, which isn’t at all the same thing.

Krugman needs to start talking to more businesses. His own paper reported from a White House sponsored event last December:

Mr. Obama told the chief executives that he wanted to know: “What’s holding back business investment and how we can increase confidence and spur hiring? And if there are things that we’re doing here in Washington that are inhibiting you, then we want to know about it.”

He got a blunt answer from Fred P. Lampropoulos, founder and chief of Merit Medical Systems Inc., a medical device manufacturer in the Salt Lake City area. Mr. Lampropoulos said some in his discussion group agreed that businesses were uncertain about investment because “there’s such an aggressive legislative agenda that businesspeople don’t really know what they ought to do.” That uncertainty, he added, “is really what’s holding back the jobs.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The Tenacious Buzz of Malaria

Humans have underestimated the disease for millennia; new research, and new worries

The Romans called malaria the "rage of the Dog Star," since its fever and chills so often arrived during the caniculares dies, the dog days of summer, when Sirius disappeared in the glow of the sun. To avoid it, ancient Romans built their grand villas high in the hills, fled the mosquito-ridden wetlands that encircled Rome, and prayed for relief at temples dedicated to the fever goddess, Febris.

It was the emperor Caracalla's physician, Serenus Sammonicus, who in the second century came up with Rome's first antimalaria quick-fix, one that later became literally synonymous with magical solutions everywhere. An amulet should be worn, Sammonicus advised, inscribed with a powerful incantation: "Abracadabra."

It didn't work, needless to say. Thanks to deforestation and flooding that extended mosquito habitat, malaria worsened near the end of the Roman empire, contributing to its decline. It took a lot more than Abracadabras for the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, to unclench its tentacles: a state-run quinine distribution program in the early 1900s, the ruthless swampland reclamation programs of Mussolini a few decades later, a blitz of DDT around midcentury, and the general economic transformation of the lot of the Italian peasant all had to run their long and arduous course before malaria departed from Italy, centuries after Rome fell.

Yet the spirit of Sammonicus's cure for malaria still beckons. You'd think a pathogen as wily as Plasmodium would command a bit more respect. (WSJ)


Does pollution really increase stroke risk?

NEW YORK - Living in city smog may be bad for the lungs, but whether it also plays a role in jacking up stroke risk, as studies have suggested, warrants another look, new Canadian research concludes.

Health Canada's Dr. Paul Villeneuve and colleagues did find a higher incidence of stroke among residents of the smoggiest areas of Edmonton, Canada, but once income levels were taken into account, "the air pollution effect was lowered and disappeared," the study co-author told Reuters Health.

Previous research has "consistently" shown that short-term exposure to air pollution can increase the risk of stroke-related death, but long-term exposure had not been studied, the Canadian researchers note in the journal Stroke.

To address that question, they looked at environmental and health data gathered between 2003 and 2007, at the neighborhood level, in Edmonton, Alberta, a city surrounded by oil, gas and coal processing plants.

The authors found more than 7,300 hospitalizations for stroke and cross-referenced them to neighborhood pollution levels. Although a first glance at the numbers suggested an association between long-term exposure to smog and strokes, "once we adjusted for neighborhood characteristics such as income, the increased risk disappeared," Villeneuve said. (Reuters Health)


Are air pollutants linked to bowel disease risk?

NEW YORK - Young people who live in areas with higher levels of certain air pollutants may be more likely to have inflammatory bowel disease than those living under clearer skies, a new study suggests.

Specifically, people age 23 or younger were about twice as likely to be diagnosed with Crohn's disease if they lived in a region relatively high nitrogen dioxide levels.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, do not prove that air pollution is a contributor to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the major forms of which are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In the U.S., Crohn's affects about one in 600 people in the US, and ulcerative colitis affects about one in 400, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Instead, researchers are instead calling their study a "hypothesis-generating" one that raises the possibility that air pollution could be one of the environmental factors that plays a role in IBD development. (Reuters Health)


Fish oil salesmen find EU in the way

It's tough wading through health claims for food supplements, but Brussels has rejected 80% of 900 examined so far

This week the food and nutrition pills industries are complaining. They like to make health claims about their products, which often turn out to be unsupported by the evidence. Regulating that mess would be tedious, the kind of project enjoyed by the EU. Enter Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation in 2006.

Since then member states have submitted thousands of health claims for manufacturers about cranberries, fish oil and every magical ingredient you can think of. This week it turned out that 900 have been examined so far, of which 80% have been rejected. (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)


Oh... 'Soulless corporations are the enemy of the environment,' says Pavan Sukhdev

It is up to society and its leaders to ensure that companies do not become cancerous, says leading UN official

Modern businesses are "soulless corporations" that are in danger of becoming a "cancer" on society, a leading UN environmental official warns today.

Companies usually take a short-term view of the importance of the environment, said Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN's investigation into how to stop the destruction of the natural world. This short-term thinking is seen in their lobbying against new policies that could slow environmental devastation, he said. (The Guardian)

... actually it's misguided twits like this that endanger the environment. Thriving free enterprise enriches societies and wealthy societies protect the environment.


Does the ocean influence the atmosphere's response to ozone depletion?

Southern Hemisphere weather patterns have changed significantly over the past few decades. Modeling studies have shown that these changes can be mainly attributed to stratospheric ozone depletion. However, the ozone layer is predicted to slowly recover over the next several decades, and climate modelers would like to predict how the atmosphere will respond to this recovery.

It is known that the ocean influences the atmosphere: wind-induced changes to the ocean feed back on the atmosphere, making atmospheric fluctuations more persistent. It is anticipated that such atmosphere-ocean interaction will affect the atmosphere's response to ozone changes. The basic question is: do ocean-atmosphere interactions need to be included in climate models that project the atmosphere's response to ozone recovery? Currently, the majority of these models do not include this interaction.

To help answer this question, Sigmond et al. ran carefully constructed climate model experiments to determine the impact of the ocean on the atmospheric response to ozone depletion. They find that although atmosphere-ocean interactions affect the persistence of atmospheric fluctuations, atmosphere-ocean interactions do not have a discernible influence on the atmospheric response to stratospheric ozone depletion. Therefore, the researchers conclude that it may not be essential for global climate models to explicitly simulate ocean-atmosphere interactions to obtain reliable projections of Southern Hemisphere atmospheric change following ozone recovery.

Title: Does the ocean impact the atmospheric response to stratospheric ozone depletion?

Authors: M. Sigmond: Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

J.C. Fyfe and J. F. Scinocca: Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2010GL043773, 2010 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL043773 (AGU journal highlights -- July 9, 2010)

What ozone depletion?


What a fanciful load of nonsense: Arid Australia Sips Seawater, but at a Cost

BRISBANE, Australia — In Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, early British explorers searching for a source of drinking water scoured the bone-dry interior for a fabled inland sea. One overeager believer even carted a whaleboat hundreds of miles from the coast, but found mostly desert inside. Today, Australians are turning in the opposite direction: the sea.

In one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects in its history, Australia’s five largest cities are spending $13.2 billion on desalination plants capable of sucking millions of gallons of seawater from the surrounding oceans every day, removing the salt and yielding potable water. In two years, when the last plant is scheduled to be up and running, Australia’s major cities will draw up to 30 percent of their water from the sea.

The country is still recovering from its worst drought ever, a decade-long parching that the government says was deepened by climate change. With water shortages looming, other countries, including the United States and China, are also looking to the sea. (NYT)

Granted, Australia has droughts (common feature in the land down under) but no, rainfall hasn't reduced since records have been kept. Population certainly has increased and successive governments have yielded to noisy green demands and failed to increase water storage and infrastructure adequately. This is the sole reason idiotic state governments are installing excessively expensive and wholly unnecessary desalination plants.


Does recycling cause suicide? Or why The Spirit Level is wrong and more equal societies are not happier

It was the book that finally proved what egalitarian-minded liberals knew all along – that inequality was not only morally wrong but was literally the leading cause of all social ills, from homicide to obesity to early death and divorce.

The more equal a country was, claimed Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in The Spirit Level, the better everyone, both rich and poor, performed in every measure of social development. It must have been true – because they had graphs and statistics to prove it.

Roy Hattersley said: “It demonstrates the scientific truth of the assertion that social democrats have made for a hundred years.” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown gushed in the Independent that: “All free marketeers should be made to memorise it from cover to cover.”

The theory has just one tiny flaw – it’s complete rubbish. According to Natalie Evans in the Guardian:

A new report by Peter Saunders, published by Policy Exchange, finds significant flaws in Wilkinson and Pickett’s analysis that fatally undermines their arguments and conclusion. Beware False Prophets re-examines the empirical claims made in The Spirit Level and finds that of the 20 statistical claims made in it, 14 are spurious or invalid and in only one case (the association internationally between infant mortality and income inequality) does the evidence unambiguously support their hypothesis. Contrary to Wilkinson and Pickett’s claims, income inequality does not explain international homicide rates, childhood conflict, women’s status, foreign aid donations, life expectancy, adult obesity, childhood obesity, literacy and numeracy or social mobility rates. Nor does it explain variations among US states in homicide, infant mortality or imprisonment rates.

They’re not the only ones. Last week, having read The Spirit Level “from cover to cover”, I then read Christopher Snowdon’s The Spirit Level Delusion: Fact-checking the Left’s New Theory of Everything.

Snowdon goes through the methodology involved in The Spirit Level and picks so many holes in the theory that were it a building it wouldn’t be passed as structurally sound by the most crooked of third world local government surveyors. Snowdon should get a job de-programming Independent readers. (Ed West, TDT)


U.S. Farmers Can't Meet Booming Corn Demands

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Exporters, livestock feeders and ethanol makers are going through the U.S. corn stockpile faster than farmers can grow the crops, the government said on Friday.

Despite record crops in two of the past three years and another record within reach this year, the Agriculture Department estimated the corn carryover will shrink to the lowest level since 2006/07.

In a monthly look at crop supply and usage, USDA estimated 1.478 billion bushels of corn will be in U.S. bins on August 31, when this marketing year ends, and 1.373 billion bushels will be on hand at the end of 2010/11.

The carryover figures are sharply lower from USDA's previous estimates -- down 8 percent for this year and down 12 percent for next year -- but slightly larger than traders expected. (Reuters)


The Crone doesn't like you having Constitutional Rights: The Hard Work of Gun Control

Thirteen days ago, the Supreme Court undermined Chicago’s ban on handguns by applying the Second Amendment to the states, ruling that people have a right to protect their homes with a gun. Four days after that, Chicago passed another handgun restriction that edged right up to the line drawn by the court. And on Tuesday, a group of gun dealers and enthusiasts sued the city again to overturn the new law.

Bullets are flying on city streets, but the vital work of limiting gun use has become a cat-and-mouse game. Beleaguered citizens deserve better from both sides.

We strongly disagreed with the reasoning that led the court to find an individual right to bear arms in the Second Amendment, ending handgun bans in Washington, D.C., in 2008 and everywhere else last month. Nonetheless, the law of the land is now that people have a constitutional right to a gun in their home for self-defense. (NYT)



Obama’s inhumanity to India

Barack Obama isn’t the one that hundreds of millions of poor Indians have been waiting for. Many unemployed in Milwaukee won’t be too happy either.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank just denied a $250 million loan guarantee for the construction of a 3,690-megawatt coal-fired power plant and nearby mine in Madhya Pradesh, India.

According to a report in Climatewire, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said:

President Obama made clear his administration’s commitment to transition away from high carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future. After careful deliberation, the Export-Import board voted [2-1] not to proceed with the project because of the projected adverse environmental impact.

The plant would have provided electricity to 300 million homes in seven Indian states.

According to President Obama’s Department of Energy:

India suffers from a severe shortage of electric capacity… 40 percent of residences in India are without electricity… blackouts are a common occurrence throughout the country’s main cities… one-third of Indian businesses believe that unreliable electricity is one of their primary impediments to doing business…  compounding the situation is that total demand for electricity in the country continues to rise and is outpacing increases in capacity. Adequate additional capacity has failed to materialize in India in light of market regulations, insufficient investment in the sector, and difficulty in obtaining environmental approval and funding for hydropower projects. In addition, coal shortages are further straining power generation capabilities.

How important is electricity to India? The United Nations Habitat for a Better Urban Future says that increased access to electricity would:

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and ensure environmental sustainability.

But the benefits of the loan guarantee aren’t limited to India. It would have made possible $600 million worth of sales from, and almost 1,000 jobs with Bucyrus International, a Milwaukee-based mining equipment company. National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovch told Climatewire that Obama’s denial of the loan was “incomprehensible” given that more than 15 million Americans are out of work. (Steve Milloy, The Daily Caller)


The Greenhouse Protection Racket

Climate policymaking in our nation’s capital is best explained in the lingo of Hollywood mobsters and banditos. (Marlo Lewis, PJM)


Lawrence Solomon: It’s official, there’s no consensus on climate change

Lawrence Solomon  July 9, 2010 – 7:04 pm

A panel criticizes the Climategate scientists for being defensive and unhelpful, for withholding data, for providing misleading information, for having been “blinded … to the possibility of merit” in the claims of their critics

‘Panel in Britain clears scientists of misconduct allegations in ‘Climate-gate’,” read the Washington Post headline, one of many describing a vindication of the Climategate scientists at East Anglia University’s Climatic Research Unit in the U.K. Other press outlets saw the panel’s finding differently: “Clouds of doubt still hang over climate scientists,” the Calgary Herald’s headline stated.

The conflicting takes by the press are understandable. The British panelists, established by East Anglia University, saw too little evidence to declare the Climategate scientists at CRU guilty on most counts, and they saw too much to be always confident of their innocence.

But here’s another take on the same report, and another headline, that almost all newspapers would agree to: “Panel recognizes that the science is not settled on climate change.”

Read More » (Financial Post)


The Crone tries the big lie theory: A Climate Change Corrective

Perhaps now we can put the manufactured controversy known as Climategate behind us and turn to the task of actually doing something about global warming. On Wednesday, a panel in Britain concluded that scientists whose e-mail had been hacked late last year had not, as critics alleged, distorted scientific evidence to prove that global warming was occurring and that human beings were primarily responsible. (NYT)


The Climategate Whitewash Continues

Global warming alarmists claim vindication after last year's data manipulation scandal. Don't believe the 'independent' reviews.

Last November there was a world-wide outcry when a trove of emails were released suggesting some of the world's leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Keith Briffa called "a nice, tidy story" of climate history. The scandal became known as Climategate.

Now a supposedly independent review of the evidence says, in effect, "nothing to see here." Last week "The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review," commissioned and paid for by the University of East Anglia, exonerated the University of East Anglia. The review committee was chaired by Sir Muir Russell, former vice chancellor at the University of Glasgow. (Patrick J. Michaels, WSJ)


Parliament misled over Climategate report, says MP

Russell report is inadequate, says Stringer

Parliament was misled and needs to re-examine the Climategate affair thoroughly after the failure of the Russell report, a leading backbench MP told us today.

"It's not a whitewash, but it is inadequate," is Labour MP Graham Stringer's summary of the Russell inquiry report. Stringer is the only member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology with scientific qualifications - he holds a PhD in Chemistry. (Andrew Orlowski, The Register)


Lawrence Solomon: Reopen Climategate hearings, says UK parliamentarian

Lawrence Solomon  July 10, 2010 – 12:10 pm

The UK Parliament was misled by East Anglia University when it conducted hearings into Climategate earlier this year, charges Graham Stringer, a scientist and prominent Labour Member of Parliament, in an article published yesterday in The Register, a UK science and technology journal.

Dr. Stringer, a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, was reacting to the release this week of the Russell Report on Climategate, which he considers a betrayal of an understanding that the Select Committee had with East Anglia University, home of the Climategate scandal.

As the Official Hansards of the Select Committee show, MPs believed that they needn’t examine the science in great detail following assurances from East Anglia that its own independent inquiries would serve that purpose. “I am hoping, later this week, to announce the chair of a panel to reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong,” the Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Edward Acton, told the committee.

The first of the East Anglia inquiries, by Lord Oxburgh, did not do so and never intended to. As Oxburgh told Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit in an email, “The science was not the subject of our study.” Now that the Russell report is in, and it too underlines it never had any intention of examining the science, the snookering of the UK Select Committee is complete.

Dr. Stringer’s sense of betrayal is shared by the former chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Phil Willis, who in an interview with BBC on the Oxburgh report stated “Quite frankly, I couldn’t believe it. …There has been a slight of hand in that the actual terms of reference were not what we had been led to believe.” Other MPs feel as he does,

The call to reopen the Select Committee hearing arises because the Russell report failed to answer fundamental questions. Among these, Stringer told The Register: “Why did they delete emails? The key question was what reason they had for doing this, but this was never addressed; not getting to the central motivation was a major failing both of our report and Muir Russell.”

Although the Select Committee had stressed to East Anglia the importance of having open and independent inquiries, the hearings failed to oblige. The Russell inquiry, the last straw for Stringer, was held behind closed doors and heard only one side of the story. It failed to interview any scientist critical of the Climategate scientists; it failed to call witnesses who were the subjects of the emails, it failed to publish all the depositions, and its panellists could hardly be viewed as independent. One panellist, Geoffrey Boulton, was a climate change advisor to the UK and the EU; another, Richard Horton, had deemed global warming “the biggest threat to our future health.”

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Here's some wishful thinking: Climategate shows the need for openness by scientists

In the age of the blogosphere, blocking facts means science is damaged and public trust lost

"Like it or not, this [demand for openness] indicates a transformation in the way science has to be conducted in this century." That, say many, will be the lasting legacy of the independent review published last week into the controversial emails between climate scientists that were stolen from the University of East Anglia and posted online. (The Observer)

"The scientific evidence – showing that the world is warming fast due to human actions and presents a clear future danger – remains untarnished." Possibly technically correct since the "science" remains unevaluated and no evidence exists.


Peter Foster: Checking the hockey team

Peter Foster  July 9, 2010 – 7:09 pm

How a small group botched and manipulated climate science

The third British investigation into the Climategate scandal — led by former civil servant Sir Muir Russell — amounts, at best, to a greywash. No reason, it claims, to doubt the honesty of the scientists related to the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (which commissioned the review). However, buried within the review’s 160 pages considerable doubt is raised about the operations of both the CRU and the organization that it serves, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For anybody who wants to understand the scientific and psychological background to Climategate, there is no better read than Andrew Montford’s new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science.

Climategate was based largely on emails related to the so-called “Hockey Stick,” an iconic graph that purported to show that 20th-century temperatures were unprecedented in at least a thousand years. As Mr. Montford points out, “[T]he chief importance of the Hockey Stick lies not in that it is central to the case for man-made global warming, but in the fact that the IPCC promoted it as if it were.”

In other words, the real scandal lies in whoever was pulling the political strings of the IPCC.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Amazongate: At last we reach the source

The IPCC's attempts to hide the truth about its exaggerated claims on the deforestation of the Amazon have ended in defeat, says Christopher Booker.
Last week, after six months of evasions, obfuscation, denials and retractions, a story which has preoccupied this column on and off since January came to a startling conclusion. It turns out that one of the most widely publicised statements in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a claim on which tens of billions of dollars could hang – was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.

The ramifications of this discovery stretch in many directions. First, it seems to show that the IPCC – whose reports governments rely on to justify presenting mankind with the largest bill in history – has been in serious breach of its own rules.
Second, it raises hefty question marks over the credibility of the world’s richest and most powerful environmental pressure group, the WWF, credited by the IPCC as the source of its unsupported claim.

And third, it focuses attention once more on a bizarre scheme, backed by the UN and promoted by the World Bank, whereby the WWF has been hoping to share in profits estimated at $60 billion, paid for by firms all over the developed world. (Christopher Booker, TDT)


Lawrence Solomon: The IPCC’s First Test in “a New World of Openness”

Lawrence Solomon  July 12, 2010 – 1:36 am

“Climate science is a matter of such global importance, that the highest standards of honesty, rigour and openness are needed in its conduct,” stated the Muir Russell report into the Climategate scandal after it found the Climatic Research Unit at the UK’s East Anglia University guilty of “a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness.” This failure, the Russell report declared to wide agreement among climate scientists, led to harm “to the reputation of the University and, indeed, to the credibility of UK climate science.”

To ensure that climate scientists never again harm the cause of science in this way, the Russell report then recommended that scientists adhere to new standards of openness. “Without such openness, the credibility of their work will suffer because it will always be at risk of allegations of concealment and hence mal-practice.”

The Russell report was released last week. This week the UN’s Intergovernmental; Panel on Climate Change and other scientists have their first opportunity to apply the new standards by admitting to yet another gross transgression.

The opportunity comes via the latest revelation over Amazongate, a scandal that erupted in January, just two months after the Climategate scandal broke in November. The Amazongate story begins with a claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report that “up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation,” leading to the forest’s conversion to savannah. The IPCC gave as its source a report by WWF, the environmental lobby group. The press then dubbed this failure by the IPCC to rely upon peer-reviewed science “Amazongate.”

Last month, one of the media outlets that exposed Amazongate, the Sunday Times, retracted its story, apparently in the belief that the WWF had based its claim about the looming destruction of the Amazon on legitimate peer-reviewed science. If so, the IPCC’s error was trivial – it had sloppily quoted WWF instead of the actual peer-reviewed science.

With the Sunday Times retraction, most of the worldwide press and climate-friendly blogosphere jumped to the assertion that the IPCC had been exonerated. “Newspapers retract faulty climate reporting,” stated a Washington Post headline. “Lies Concocted By Climate Deniers Likely To Stick Around Despite Corrections,” stated the Huffington Post. Climate scientists everywhere supported the belief that WWF had based its views on peer-reviewed science.

One reporter, Christopher Booker at the London Telegraph, wondered where, exactly, was the peer-reviewed document that the WWF relied upon. When he was stonewalled in obtaining answers he dug and dug and finally found WWF’s source. As he explains, it “was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.” Booker’s impressive sleuthing is described in detail here.

The IPCC now has the opportunity to rise to Muir Russell’s challenge. He posed the following problem for science in introducing his Climategate report to the press: “How is science to be conducted in a new world of openness, accountability and indeed what I might term citizen involvement in public interest science? … There need to be ways of handling criticism and challenge, of responding to a range of different sorts of criticism and getting into a more productive relationship with critics than we have sometimes seen in this case.”

Will the IPCC and others in the climate science establishment pass this, their first test in the new world of openness? I hope they do. I know they won’t.

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


For believers: An interview with Yvo de Boer, the United Nations' former climate-change chief

Until this month, Yvo de Boer served as executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body that oversees international climate negotiations. After supervising the Copenhagen climate talks last year, a process he has called frustrating, de Boer suddenly announced in February that he would be stepping down. After nearly four years on the U.N. job (he describes it as "three years and 11 months," but who's counting?), he just started work as an adviser on climate change and sustainability at KPMG International in London. The Washington Post's national environmental reporter Juliet Eilperin spoke with de Boer last week about leaving the United Nations, why he never kept Al Gore out in the cold and how President Obama has his brain in the right place. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)


Australia's Climate Policy: Where Now?

Check out this excellent news report on Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's options on climate policy. As I've argued, Australia does not have many very good options. We have not seen the end of political fallout on emissions trading in Australia by a long shot. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

The clip is from Australia's über left public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Despite the fanciful claims of the Greens leader and Australian conservation Foundation (who knew they still had a member?) Aussies are not interested in paying more for energy and Australia's conservative parties returned from the wilderness by blocking the ETS. Australian "climate policy" is guaranteed to consist of shiny slogans and motherhood statements and no more for the foreseeable future.


PM Julia Gillard told to slow down on climate

LABOR'S closest business adviser, Heather Ridout, has warned Julia Gillard to slow down as the PM prepares to rush out a climate change policy.

As chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Ms Ridout has offered consistently strong support to the Labor government and was a member of the Henry tax review panel.

She told The Weekend Australian yesterday that it would be "over-reaching" for the government to roll out a replacement for the emissions trading scheme ahead of the election and cautioned Ms Gillard to avoid embracing a carbon-tax quick fix, warning that business was not prepared nor ready.

"It is totally the wrong atmosphere -- we are getting way ahead of ourselves," Ms Ridout said. "I think the confidence of business has been really shaken by the breakdown of the domestic consensus on this issue. Business doesn't want the government to be in any hurry to come up with this in the lead-up to the election." (The Australian)


More pain ahead as power bills set to soar

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard's refusal to set a carbon price will cost Australian households an extra $2 billion a year in higher electricity prices.

That's the damning finding of a major research report by the country's leading economists and power companies. (Daily Telegraph)

Isn't it wonderful what you can do with statistics? The essential purpose of carbon constraint, whether ETS or the fancifully labeled CPRS (carbon pollution reduction scheme), is to make energy so painfully expensive consumers self-ration. Lack of a rationing scheme does not make energy more expensive than having one. The activist "Climate Institute" wants you to forget that their desired outcome is even more expensive energy. Moreover, study after study has found that even if catastrophic climate change is real societies' best defense is cheap, abundant and reliable energy supplies, along with development and wealth generation, so that individuals can afford defensive heating and cooling and infrastructure can cope with any increase in adverse weather events. The correct if counterintuitive response is government-guaranteed generating facilities operating on the cheapest and most abundant fuel -- and that's coal. Build the generators!


Australia in denial over greenhouse

One of the ironies of globalisation is that in every country in the world you can probably find a majority of people who think their country is getting a raw deal and the rest of the world is ripping them off.

Even as societies become more cosmopolitan, there is an increasing constituency appealing to parochialism. As the scale and intensity of international interactions increase, so does the potential for frictions and resentments.

This is often accompanied by a profession of one's own country's virtues compared with others, a belief that typically owes more to patriotism than evidence. (Rodney Tiffen, SMH)

This nonsense again. If enhanced greenhouse effect is real and catastrophic people are going to need all the cheap energy they can get -- that means carbon dense fuels because we have no practical alternative in Australia. If the models are not the prognosticators some like to pretend then no foul either way. A "no regrets" policy is really the only option so just get on with it.


Prince of Wales opens new front in global warming fight

The Prince of Wales has launched a unit to help prevent ecological disaster.
The Prince of Wales, who warned last year that there were "less than 100 months" to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change, is stepping up his own efforts.
The heir to the throne has launched a global project to prevent ecological disaster, the International Sustainability Unit, for which he has ambitious plans.
"This is the most important cause that His Royal Highness has ever taken on," says one of Prince Charles's friends. "He hopes that the unit will make a real difference on the global stage. He knows that it's a controversial issue, but considers it of such importance that he is prepared to take risks." (TDT)

Long may She reign! (and protect us from this idiot...)


An increase in tropical cyclones? Data disagree.

It has been hotly debated recently whether global warming has led to an increase in tropical cyclone activity in the western North Pacific over the past several decades. One complicating factor in the debate is that different data sets show different trends in tropical cyclone activity.

To learn more, Song et al. compare three best track data sets from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), the Regional Specialized Meteorological Center (RSMC) Tokyo Typhoon Center, and the Shanghai Typhoon Institute (STI). They examine differences in track, intensity, and frequency of tropical cyclones that were simultaneously recorded in all three data sets from 1945 to 2007, along with the associated long-term trends. The study finds that differences in the tropical cyclone tracks among the data sets are small, but the three data sets estimate storm intensity differently. The JTWC data set tends to classify category 2-3 cyclones as category 4-5, while the others do not. Furthermore, the JTWC data set shows an upward trend in annual frequency of category 4-5 cyclones and potential destructiveness from 1977 to 2007; this trend does not appear in the other two data sets.

The researchers believe that the discrepancies among the data sets are likely caused by the different algorithms used to determine tropical cyclone intensity. The authors suggest that given the significant differences in intensity in these data sets, it is important to better understand the mechanisms behind the possible tropical cyclone intensity change and to further validate the data sets with observations.

Title: Trend Discrepancies among Three Best-Track Datasets of the Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclones

Authors: Jin-Jie Song and Yuan Wang: School of Atmospheric Sciences, and Key Laboratory of Mesoscale Severe Weather/MOE, Nanjing University, P. R. China;

Liguang Wu: Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, P. R. China.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (JGR-D) paper 10.1029/2009JD013058, 2010 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009JD013058 (AGU journal highlights -- July 9, 2010)


SPPI Monthly CO2 Report: June 2010

Cancun is coming – and it will pointlessly cost you dear The authoritative Monthly CO2 Report for June 2010 discusses the failure of the Climategate enquiries to do their job, and the coming Cancun Conference, which will be pointlessly expensive for all. (SPPI)


Science in an Echo Chamber

Every time you think that the global warming crowd couldn’t be any more ridiculous or brazen, somebody manages to turn the shameless meter up another notch. This month’s offering from the alarmists is a “scientific” study that basically demonstrates that alarmists are right about climate change because alarmists who believe they are right about climate change publish a lot of papers that demonstrate how right they are about climate change. That isn’t circular logic. Circular logic would be embarrassed to be seen in the same room as this study. This sort of tortured reasoning is so twisted that M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali would have trouble coming to grips with it. (Rich Trzupek, Front Page)


Every drip has a climate story to tell

WALKING into a cave of stalagmites and stalactites is like entering a Tiffany's showroom. But unlike an expensive ring, the sparkle of these formations is a precious record of climate history.

Australian scientists are using structures from the Wombeyan Caves, south-west of Sydney, to build a picture of rainfall patterns in NSW over the past 1000 years.

Until now, rainfall records extended back only to the 1800s, the lead researcher, Janece McDonald, of the University of Newcastle, said.

"Given natural climate variability, 200 years is insufficient to capture the true variability of moisture patterns in south-east Australia."

As stalagmites and stalactites grow they encode information about how the climate was above, she said.


They reveal the area has been subject to an increasing drying trend since around the 1600s, she said.

The drought which has engulfed south-east NSW for the past decade or so now appears to be part of a larger drying period, said Dr McDonald, who presented her findings at the Australian Earth Sciences Convention conducted by the Geological Society of Australia in Canberra last week.

The historic rainfall data will be used in forecast models to better predict the area's climate cycles. (SMH)

So much for gorebull warbling-caused drought...


In the virtual realm: Warming's water changes locked in for decades

One of the most significant direct effects of global warming is an alteration of the hydrological cycle affecting the world's water supplies, floods, and droughts. Most studies assume that if human-induced temperature changes were reversed, the hydrological cycle would revert to its prewarming state.

However, a new study reveals that climate change mitigation will not quickly return the hydrological cycle to its previous state. Wu et al. use climate model simulations to show how the hydrological cycle could react to changes in future amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. They simulate the effects of a steady rise in CO2 levels to more than 1000 parts per million (ppm), followed by a decrease to pre-industrial levels of around 280 ppm.

The simulations reveal that even a dramatic reduction of CO2 would not immediately reverse long-term changes to global precipitation already stored in the system. In fact, changes to the hydrological cycle would continue to intensify for several decades because accumulated heat in the ocean would continue to affect precipitation patterns long after global temperatures were brought back down. For instance, high-latitude regions would receive more rainfall, while the Amazon, Australia, and western Africa would become drier for decades after CO2 reductions were implemented, the researchers find.

The authors point out that when considering climate mitigation strategies, the effects on precipitation need to be carefully considered. The more heat that is stored in the ocean, the greater will be the commitment to long-lasting changes to the water cycle.

Title: Temporary acceleration of the hydrological cycle in response to a CO2 rampdown

Authors: Peili Wu, Richard Wood, Jeff Ridley, Jason Lowe: Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2010GL043730, 2010 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL043730 (AGU journal highlights -- July 9, 2010)


Flushing another half-million: Lab at Bangor University aims to fight climate change

A £500,000 research laboratory to develop ways of fighting climate change has opened at Bangor University.

The Wolfson Carbon Capture Laboratory will aim to find ways of preventing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, from entering the atmosphere. (BBC)


Linking atmospheric chemistry and climate

Accurately predicting climate change involves a thorough knowledge of how perturbations in the Earth's radiation balance influence temperature and other climate variables. These feedbacks alter the Earth's capability to absorb incoming solar radiation, and they involve water vapor, clouds, and ice and snow effects. Traditionally, changes in atmospheric chemistry induced by changes in climate have not been fed back into climate models to further change the climate itself. Thus, studies that evaluate the effect of reducing emissions typically assume a constant climate state rather than an evolving one, neglecting the effects of how changing atmospheric compositions influence climate.

Noting that climate models, though increasingly sophisticated, have not yet successfully coupled feedbacks between climate and atmospheric chemistry in a comprehensive way, Raes et al. develop a framework to help models better fuse these interrelated concepts together. When applying this framework to a specific model, they find that although atmospheric chemistry has only a small effect on climate sensitivity on a planetary scale, locally atmospheric chemistry can influence climate sensitivity by 20������ percent. Further, climate processes can significantly amplify the relationship between emissions and burdens of air pollutants. As a result, climate, through feedback processes, exacerbates air pollution.

Title: Atmospheric chemistry-climate feedbacks

Authors: Frank Raes: Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Ispra, Italy; also at Departments of Environmental Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California;

Hong Liao: State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China;

Wei-Ting Chen: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California;

John H. Seinfeld: Departments of Environmental Science and Engineering, and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (JGR-D) paper 10.1029/2009JD013300, 2010 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009JD013300 (AGU journal highlights -- July 9, 2010)


Comment/Reply On the PNAS Paper On “Warming Increases The Risk Of Civil War In Africa” By Burke Et Al 2010

In my post

Another Example Of Overstepping The Scientific Method

I communicated regarding the publication of the paper

Marshall B. Burke, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, John A. Dykeme, and David B. Lobell, 2009 Warming increases the risk of civil war in Africa. PNAS. December 8, 2009 vol. 106 no. 49. www.pnas.org cgi doi 0.1073 nas.0907998106

The Comment and Reply to this paper are presented at

Alexandra E. Sutton, Justin Dohn, Kara Loyd, Andrew Tredennick, Gabriela Bucini, Alexandro Solórzano, Lara Prihodko, and Niall P. Hanan, 2010
Does warming increase the risk of civil war in Africa? PNAS 2010 107 (25) E102; published ahead of print June 10, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1005278107

Marshall B. Burke, Edward Miguel, Shanker Satyanath, John A. Dykema, and David B. Lobell, 2010 Reply to Sutton et al.: Relationship between temperature and conflict is robust PNAS 2010 107 (25) E103; published ahead of print June 10, 2010, doi:10.1073/pnas.1005748107

The Sutton et al 2010 paper has the insightful comments

“The conclusions of this study represent a simplification of conflict history in Africa and potential impacts of warming. Studies exploring how climate change will affect human wellbeing and sociopolitical trends in Africa are important. However, the analysis of Burke et al. (1) invites the incautious reader to conclude that civil war in Africa will necessarily increase with future climate change. Such a conclusion could have perverse consequences: if international political and commercial communities conclude, based on the results of Burke et al. (1), that Africa is predestined to additional strife related to global warming, it might discourage the kind of meaningful engagement that is so important for political and economic stability, economic development, and peace in Africa.”

The Burke et al 2010 Reply to Sutton et al titled “Relationship between temperature and conflict is robust” further defines how they view their results. Extracts from their paper read 

“In a recent paper, we documented strong historical linkages between temperature and civil conflict in Africa… Sutton et al… raise two concerns with our findings: that the relationship between temperature and war is based on common trends and is therefore spurious, and that our model appears overly sensitive to small specification changes. Both concerns reflect a basic misunderstanding of the analysis.”

“Furthermore, our econometric approach deals directly with the concern that temperature might be correlated over time with other explanatory variables: we identify the effects of temperature on conflict through year-to-year deviations from country level average temperature, which are unlikely to be spuriously correlated to unrelated social phenomena. We control for the influence of unrelated trending variables using country-specific time trends that account for trends in conflict finance, decolonization, or any other time-varying unobservable of concern. That our temperature coefficient is robust to inclusion of these time trends suggests that temperature is indeed causal.

“Our paper does not argue that temperature is the only—or even the primary—determinant of civil war.”

The Burke et al paper emphasizes why we need to change from the top-down global climate model driven focus on social and environmental risks, to the bottom-up, resource based focus on food, water, energy, human health and ecosystem function as we present in our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

The Sutton et al 2010 Comment is much more in line with this multi-faceted assessment of risk than the more narrowly focused Burke et al 2009 study. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New Paper “An Evaluation Of The Progress In Reducing Heat-Related [Mortalities]” By Kalkstein Et Al 2010

There is a new paper on heat-related deaths in the United States (thanks to Willie Soon for altering us to it). It is

Laurence S. Kalkstein, Scott Greene, David M. Mills, Jason Samenow: 2010: An evaluation of the progress in reducing heat-related human mortality in major U.S. cities. Nat Hazards DOI 10.1007/s11069-010-9552-3.

The abstract reads

“This study estimates the excess mortality attributable to excessive heat events (EHEs) for forty major U.S. cities during 1975–1995 and 1975–2004. We calculate these results using the spatial synoptic classification method to identify EHE days. Step-wise regressions are then used to estimate the location-specific mortality algorithms that can account for the impact of the EHEs’ duration, severity, and timing. Our excess mortality results are expressed both as lives lost and associated mortality rates (excess deaths per 100,000 residents) using 2000 Census population estimates. Our results generally show a reduction in EHE-attributable mortality rates since 1996. Adjusting our results to account for changes in the average number of EHE days per year in each period does not affect this general conclusion. However, this adjustment has a considerable impact on a measure of the cities’ relative performance in terms of reducing this EHE-attributable excess mortality. Our results indicate there is promise for further reductions in EHE-attributable mortality from the approximately 1300 excess deaths per summer we identify using data from the 1975–2004 period. However, the magnitude of this result highlights the significant health burden of EHEs relative to other extreme weather events in the United States and suggests it is worthy of additional attention. Our results also raise important questions with respect to evaluating the performance of EHE notification and response programs and how EHE-attributable mortality should be estimated for future scenarios, notably for climate change projections.

The reduction in excess deaths due to heat waves since 1996 is interesting. This study also illustrates why a more broadly focused perspective on the risk from heat waves needs to be developed, as it is clear that simplistic approaches, by themselves, such as presented in the Sherwood and Huber 2010 study (see and see) are inadequate for planners who seek to reduce the threats from heat waves. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Partly right: Lloyd's adds its voice to dire 'peak oil' warnings

Business underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil, says Lloyd's of London/ISS report

One of the City's most respected institutions has warned of "catastrophic consequences" for businesses that fail to prepare for a world of increasing oil scarcity and a lower carbon economy.

The Lloyd's insurance market and the highly regarded Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS, known as Chatham House) says Britain needs to be ready for "peak oil" and disrupted energy supplies at a time of soaring fuel demand in China and India, constraints on production caused by the BP oil spill and political moves to cut CO2 to halt global warming. (The Guardian)

We do need to increase energy supplies and this means bringing unconventional oil and gas supplies online as quickly as practicable, stepping up coal to liquids and killing idiotic carbon hysteria because weather superstition is severely delaying construction of needed power stations.


Canada Following United States Lead in Handling Bird Kills: A double standard applies to wind farms

BY JACK DINI - A judge recently found Syncrude Canada Ltd, Canada’s largest oils sands producer, guilty in the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on a toxic Northern Alberta tailings pond in 2008, ruling the company should have had deterrents in place. There’s no word yet on a sentence but Syncrude faces possible fines of $800,000. (1)

Meanwhile, on the ‘green front’, over the first six months of operation, the huge 86 turbines on Wolfe Island, just outside Kingston, have killed 602 birds, 13 of which were raptors, and just under 1,300 bats. “Project this kill rate into the future, and Wolfe Island’s turbines might end up costing this continent over 12,000 birds (many of which are classified as threatened) and 26,000 bats in the next decade alone, not to mention the many tens of thousands of progeny the slain birds would have had,” reports Leslie Kaduck. (2)

Will Wolfe Island’s eco-terminations prove more palatable with the public because they are caused by a ‘green industry’? If Canada follows the United States’ lead, wind turbines will get a free ride. Speaking about the Syncrude incident, Canada’s Prime Minister declared it a ‘terrible ‘tragedy on national TV. (3) The Prime Minister didn’t mention the many more animals killed, or to be killed, by wind turbines. (Hawaii Reporter)


Clean coal dream a costly nightmare

Five Chicago suburbs and dozens of other Midwest towns in power-plant deal now face the prospect of rising electricity bills (Chicago Tribune)

This piece still idiotically refers to atmospheric carbon dioxide as pollution, sadly.


Poland Pins Hopes On Shale Gas

With the election this week of President Bronislaw Komorowski, Poland will likely attempt to renegotiate its energy relationship with Russia and the Poles believe their huge shale gas potential provides them with new bargaining power. The only problem is that Warsaw’s leverage is far from proven. [Read More] (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)


Abu Dhabi Investing in Nuclear Power: Is there a message here for the United States?

BY JACK DINI - What’s the message to the rest of the world when a country with the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves plans to invest in nuclear power? The oil-rich Arab emirate Abu Dhabi plans to get about 25% of its energy from nuclear stations. Two items have contributed to Abu Dhabi’s interest in nuclear power. First, the country didn’t foresee the rapid growth in electricity use and is now running out of its preferred fuel for power generation, natural gas. Secondly, Abu Dhabi would like to turn itself into a global energy center that would create high-quality jobs even after its oil runs out. (1)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), comprising seven states including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was founded in 1971, Abu Dhabi city is the federal capital of UAE, and Abu Dhabi emirate accounts for 86% of the area of UAE, and 95% of its oil. Dubai is the UAE’s largest city. Predictions indicate that the UAE will about double its need for electricity by 2020. Non-nuclear options such as solar and wind energy would provide only a maximum of 4% to 5% of the expected peak production capacity of more than 40,000 megawatts. With this in mind, nuclear power makes good sense. (1)

Even as the US remains determined to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama sees the UAE program as a ‘model for the world,’ according to a senior White House official. The ability to make electricity through nuclear power is a long way from the ability to build weapons. (2) (Hawaii Reporter)


U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Policy: Road to Nowhere [Part II: Project Salt Vault]

by Robert Peltier
July 9, 2010

Part I in this series reviewed the history of nuclear waste storage policy in the United States. This post reviews Project Salt Vault, an early attempt to solve the dilemma of storing spent nuclear fuel.   Part III will cover the history of Yucca Mountain.

Project Salt Vault

The primary objective of Project Salt Vault was to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of handling and storing high level nuclear waste (HLW) solids from power reactors in salt formations. The engineering and scientific objectives were to:

· Demonstrate waste-handling equipment and techniques required to handle packages containing HLW solids from the point of production to the disposal location.

· Determine the stability of salt formations under the combined effects of heat and radiation (approximately 4,000,000 curies of radioactive material, yielding up to 109 rads).

· Collect information on creep and plastic flow of salt needed for the design of an actual disposal facility.

· Monitor the site for radiolytic chemical reactions, if such should occur.

The demonstration site selected was the inactive Lyons, Kansas mine of the Carey Salt Co. The 1,020-foot deep salt mine had operated from 1890 to 1948 and had been kept open for possible future use. Preparations for the demonstration began in 1963, and the first radioactive material was placed in the mine in November 1965. The tests involved the emplacement of actual irradiated fuel assemblies from the Engineering Test Reactor (ETR) in Idaho. The ETR assemblies were chosen because of their availability on a dependable schedule and their relatively high radioactivity levels. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


The U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Policy: Road to Nowhere [Part III: Yucca Mountain]

by Robert Peltier
July 10, 2010

Part I explored the historical context of the U.S. nuclear waste storage policy, while Part II reviewed the 1960s Salt Vault project.

This post looks at the legislative history of the ill-fated Yucca Mountain repository and the formation of a committee to explore alternative storage sites (again). In Part IV, we will look at some of the legal and political repercussions of Yucca Mountain’s failure.  Finally, in Part V, we explore failed attempts to reprocess nuclear fuel in the U.S. and examine the global state-of-the-art reprocessing plants now operating or under construction.

The Retrievable Surface Storage Facility

The AEC announced plans (circa May/June 1972) to construct an engineered, at-grade Retrievable Surface Storage Facility (RSSF) to be used until a permanent geological repository would be available. The plan was to locate the RSSF at an AEC or federal site in the western U.S. However, the environmental impact statement (EIS) issued by the AEC in support of the RSSF concept drew intense criticism from the public and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both criticized the plan because of the possibility that economic factors could later dictate using the facility as a permanent repository, contrary to the planned interim use of the RSSF. In this instance, it was unacceptable to proceed with an interim storage system unless there were unambiguous assurances that a permanent repository would be developed.

In 1975, Dr. Robert Seamans—in one of his first acts as administrator of the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA)—withdrew the EIS associated with the RSSF and decided that a permanent waste repository should be given budget priority. ERDA was created to assume the responsibilities of the then-dissolved AEC that were not covered by the newly formed NRC. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Another lot wanting to gorge at the green slops trough: Nuclear targets 'at risk'

Britain needs to replace its ageing power plants, but needs better investment incentives to do it.

Britain will not get the cash needed to renew its ageing power generation capability without changes to market mechanisms to incentivise investment, the head of RWE nPower says.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Volker Beckers, chief executive of the German-owned company, which supplies electricity and gas to around 6.8m residential and business customers, says that simply putting a floor on the price of carbon is not the solution.
If action is not taken soon, the UK will put its carbon reduction targets at risk. (TDT)


The Great Renewable Energy Rort

Kathy Russell

I thought the message was loud and clear on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) decision: we don’t want one! So why is this same logic not being applied to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation? The proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation (which incorporated the ETS) was defeated twice in federal parliament, on August 13 and December 2, 2009. After the Opposition blocked attempts to further debate the legislation in February this year, the government announced on April 27 that the implementation of its proposed CPRS would be delayed until at least 2013.

The ETS aimed to create a price penalty for carbon with the overriding objective being to promote carbon abatement. It was effectively a new tax which would artificially inflate our cost of living and most importantly our manufacturing cost base, reduce any shred of international competitive advantage any industry had in this country and essentially ruin a perfectly good economy for no real gain. (Quadrant)



The President's One-Man Death Panel

Health Care: The president recess-appoints a fan of rationing and Britain's National Health Service to direct one-third of American health care. Why does the administration want his views hidden from scrutiny? (IBD)


One Hundred Days Later: The Best Way Forward with Obamacare is to End It

AT&T announces billion dollar health care costs

Exactly one hundred days ago today, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law.  The President promised that the law would extend access to high quality care to the millions of uninsured Americans, while at the same reducing costs and overall health spending.

Forget it. It’s not going to happen. It is clear that none of these promises will come true; instead, the legislation is likely, even certain in some cases, to make existing problems worse. To mark the 100 day anniversary of the health care bill, Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and John Barrasso (R-WY), both physicians, released a study compiling the mounting evidence of the real impact of the new health law. Based on a summary of the evidence thus far, Sens. Coburn and Barrasso show that Obamacare will: Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Heart tests add to U.S. radiation dose concerns

CHICAGO - Heart imaging procedures can deliver a significant amount of radiation to patients, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday, urging patients and doctors to weigh the risks against the benefits.

They said nearly 1 in 10 adults under the age of 64 had a heart procedure involving radiation over a three-year period in five major healthcare markets.

"For many patients in the United States, there is a substantial cumulative radiation exposure from cardiac procedures," said Dr. Jersey Chen of Yale University School of Medicine, whose study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

An advanced type of heart stress test called myocardial perfusion imaging, in which doctors inject a radioactive tracer in patients to test blood flow, accounted for 74 percent of radiation exposure from heart scans.

Heart catheterization and stenting - procedures in which thin tubes are fished through blood vessels to open blocked arteries - were the second biggest contributor to radiation exposure, Chen said. (Reuters)


Stress is good? Study says curbs cancer in mice

WASHINGTON - Some stress can be good for the body, helping fight off cancer, researchers reported on Thursday.

Experiments with mice showed that animals put into a stressful situation, even fighting with other mice, did a better job of fighting tumors than mice left to chill out.

They said their findings, published in the journal Cell, point to a possible neurological treatment for cancer.

"The way we live, and how we live, may well have a much bigger impact on the prognosis of cancer than we recognized previously," Dr. Matthew During, a professor of neuroscience who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.

During's team injected mice with melanoma, a type of fast-growing skin cancer, and let the tumors grow. They put some of the mice in a large cage, with lots of toys, space and many more other mice than usual.

Other mice stayed in ordinary lab cages.

After three weeks, tumors shrank almost in half in the mice in the "stimulating" cage and they shrank 77 percent after six weeks. The tumors completely disappeared in 17 percent of the mice, with no other cancer treatment.

Tumors continued to grow in the other mice.

During believes that more than simple stimulation is at work in the mice. The mice in the "enriched" cages were a little stressed out.

"You find some of them with little bite marks and fight marks," said During. "It's not all friendly."

Although common wisdom holds that stress is not healthful, the body's response to stress is complex, and hormones released in response to stress can have positive effects.

To show the benefits were not simply due to exercise, the researchers placed running wheels in the smaller cage. The mice ran up to three times as far as the mice in the large cage, but were not more resistant to cancer. (Reuters)


Salt Institute: New dietary guidelines on sodium will increase obesity and health risks for Americans

Washington, DC -- At the Oral Comment Meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, held today at USDA headquarters, the Salt Institute cautioned that instead of improving the health of consumers, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines will result in confusion and unintended consequences. Reduced salt in food will fuel the obesity epidemic as individuals will consume more to satisfy their natural sodium appetite and their hunger for taste satisfaction. It will also lead to other serious unintended health risks.

Salt Institute Vice President of Science and Research, Morton Satin said that the Dietary Guidelines have become far more a reflection of activist ideology than sound science. “The purpose of the 5-year review process is to objectively examine all the new evidence before making recommendations, yet, before the process began, key Committee members openly stated the expected outcomes regarding salt, thereby compromising the process and making any final recommendations a forgone conclusion,” Satin said. (Food Consumer)


Ban on phones at petrol pump stands, even if reason doesn't

It's an urban myth that won't go away: mobile phones and petrol are an explosive combination.

The myth, which surfaced in the 1990s, is perpetuated through warning signs at almost every service station in the country, but most experts agree mobile phones don't pose a safety risk at the petrol pump.

"It's not something that is a reality," the chief executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Chris Althaus, said. "It's something that came forward in the early '90s and has been the subject of a bit of urban mythology."

But Mr Althaus said the association still backed the ban on using a mobile phone at petrol stations.

"It's incredibly important that people are safe when they are filling their cars up with petrol, so we're happy to support the idea that you don't use a phone while you're doing that,'' he said. ''But it's not on the basis that the device could somehow lead to a spark and ignition. That's never been known to happen, and the physics would suggest that it's nigh on impossible." (SMH)


‘Running of the Bulls’ in Pamplona, Running of the Bull with Obama’s ‘Green Jobs’ Nonsense

President Obama's recent radio address continues the mythology of "green jobs" — even though his models for the green jobs program have been proven not to work. (Christopher Horner, PJM)


'Ecological' plan sees dead put in dunny

UNDERTAKERS could dissolve corpses in chemicals then flush the remains into the sewage system under plans being studied by European bureaucrats.

The controversial method has been hailed as a much more ecologically sound method of dealing with the dead.

But critics have branded the procedure, driven by a Scottish company, as "disturbing" and claim it shows no respect for the recently departed. (Herald Sun)

Actually my wife sent me this link with the comment that greenies have been treating people like this for years...


More green taxation: Council tax to increase because of landfill

Households face an increase in council tax of at least £50 every year unless more is done to boost recycling, town halls have warned. (TDT)



Milloy: We’re in a Lame-Duck Political Climate

Who would have guessed that 18 months into the Obama administration and a nearly filibuster-proof, Democratic-controlled Congress that cap-and-trade would still be just a green dream? Not many. But then not many people would probably think there’s enough time or political will to make cap-and-trade happen in the time remaining for this session of Congress. That’s wrong, too. (Steve Milloy, Roll Call)


CBO Plays “Let’s Pretend” on Kerry–Lieberman Scoring

Here’s a principles-of-economics question: Suppose the U.S. gross domestic product (national income) is currently $14 trillion. Then suppose the U.S. raised all tariff, income tax, and sales tax rates to 100 percent. How much money would the government collect? If you realized that nobody would generate taxable income under such a regime and answered “zero,” congratulations.

If, instead, you answered $14 trillion, you may have a future at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), because that is how they analyze (score) the fiscal impacts of the Kerry–Lieberman climate change bill. In defense of the many good economists at the CBO, the Kabuki Theater of legislation-scoring requires they use static analysis—that is, they have to assume that higher tax rates do not affect investment or work-effort decisions and, therefore, have no negative impact on national income and income-tax revenues. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Mann blames heat wave on manmade warming

In this LOL-interview with CleanSkiesTV, hockey stick inventor Michael Mann blames the current East Coast heat wave on manmade warming!

The interview is 10+ minutes. Blaming the heat wave on manamde warming occurs at about 6:45 into the interview. (Green Hell)

Oh dear... Mikey hits all the scripted talking points and conspiracy theories, including alluding to the "big tobacco connection". He even furthers the myth that fossil fuel interests drive "denial" despite the disproportionate contribution made by big oil to climate research by the climategate culprits themselves. Nice puff piece Mikey but this isn't over yet and you haven't seen "an attack" or been vilified by skeptics. The scam is being exposed whether advocates and scammers like or not. The big lie just isn't working like it used to.


Meanwhile, in the real world: Heat islands: Cities heat quickly, cool slowly

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hot town, summer in the city? No kidding.

The high temperatures blanketing the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the country are making many people miserable, but those in New York City, Philadelphia and other dense, built-up areas are getting hit with the heat in a way their counterparts in suburbs and rural areas aren't.

Cities absorb more solar energy during the day and are slower to release it after the sun sets, making for uncomfortable nights and no real relief from the heat. And because they haven't cooled down as much overnight, mornings are warmer and the thermometer goes right back up when the sun starts beating down the next day.

Scientists have known for years about so-called heat islands, urban areas that are hotter than the less-developed areas around them. (Associated Press)


We bet they do: Climate Scientists Praise Report On Hacked Email Scandal

Leading climate scientists on Thursday welcomed a British report that cleared researchers of exaggerating the effects of global warming and said they hoped it would restore faith in the fight against climate change. (Reuters)

They may even think people will fall for the widely-anticipated whitewash strategy.


Serial whitewash

So yet another tribunal has cleared the “Climategate” conspirators.  One can only echo the comment that “we are shocked, utterly shocked – that anyone could have thought that the review might have found otherwise.” The multiple apologias issued by university authorities only add to the stench of corruption emanating from the institutions practising politically controlled science. If the climateers had been working in the fields of business or finance they would be in jail by now for a range of crimes including falsification of information, conspiracy to corner a market, breach of freedom of information acts and conspiring to conceal evidence of crime. The institutions have confirmed the belief that the only criterion for evaluating a professor is the ability to bring in funds, regardless of the propriety of methods used.

The technique of multiple small inquiries with highly restrictive purviews is the one invented by the Blair government to whitewash the WMD fiasco. As for having a “neutral” chairman who is actually making money out of the scam under investigation, it would have beggared belief in more honest times. The arrogance and contempt for society at large revealed by these official cover-ups is an open festering lesion in the body politic. (Number Watch)


Climate science's watery reprieve

The last of three British investigations into the notorious Climategate emails, the Independent Climate Change Email Review, landed yesterday and left behind enough cherry-pickable material to give all sides an opportunity to claim modest vindication. (Terence Corcoran, National Post)


Climategate: reinstating Phil Jones is good news – the CRU brand remains toxic

“Move along now, please… Nothing to see here…” was the predictable burden of Sir Muir Russell’s investigation into Climategate. Are we surprised? Any other conclusion would have made world headlines as a first for the climate change establishment. This is the third Climategate whitewash job and it would be tempting to see it as just as futile as its predecessors. That, however, would be to underrate its value to the sceptic cause, which is considerable.

This is because Russell’s “Not Guilty” verdict has been seized upon as an excuse to reinstate Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia CRU, this time as Director of Research. That is very good news. It spells out to the world that the climate clique looks after its own; that there is no more a culture of accountability and job forfeiture for controversial conduct in AGW circles than there is in parliamentary ones; that it is business as usual for Phil and his merry men. Or, to put it more bluntly, the brand remains toxic. ( Gerald Warner)


The National Academy of Blacklists

The National Academy of Sciences creates virtual blacklists of scientists who dare to disagree with ‘the consensus.’

While most people understand that governmental entities are politicized, there are some we like to think maintain enough integrity to serve the public good. We hope, for example, that the Centers for Disease Control would be free of politicized determinations for what to do about swine flu. And we hope that the Food and Drug Administration were more concerned about whether a drug were beneficial than about how the cost of that drug might influence new healthcare legislation.

One such entity we have relied upon for non-politicized information is the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which Congress has turned to many times over the years to help work through the ramifications of highly complex issues. Unfortunately, the National Academy seems to have lost its way, and is morphing into a climate-alarm propaganda organ of the U.S. government. (Kenneth P. Green, The American)


Catastrophes Wanted: Climate Change and the Soft Market in Reinsurance

At the moment the property and casualty insurance industry is awash in capital -- so much so that it is making it difficult to make strong profits because the excess capital exerts a downward pressure on the pricing of coverage. This situation is what is known as a "soft market."

Last month, National Underwriter described the situation as follows:

With $100 billion in excess capital, the property and casualty insurance market is not turning, a Wall Street analyst said Thursday, and a carrier executive attributed existing conditions to the absence of AIGs historical price leadership.

The analyst, Jay Gelb, managing director of Barclays Capital, speaking Thursday at the S&P Insurance Conference held here, said the commercial lines and reinsurance markets will be soft for at least several years barring major catastrophe losses, or some other type of shock to industry capital.

Thats because the p&c insurers are overcapitalized. Its as simple as that, Mr. Gelb said.

It make strike some people outside the industry as odd, but what the reinsurance market needs is a big catastrophe, maybe even two:

Thomas Motamed, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based CNA, gauged the impact of catastrophes on a market turn.

He said brokers often tell him that a catastrophe is needed to end the soft market.

They believe that will drive the market turn, [but] I dont believe that for a second, he said.

The big companies with strong balance sheets can afford to take some hits, he explained, adding that the best companies are well-capitalized—much larger than they were a decade ago, when a single catastrophe may have changed the market.

How about two catastrophes? he asked rhetorically.

These are companies that make $1 billion or $2 billion a year. What you would need is multiple events, he said, postulating a natural catastrophe, an accompanying financial crisis and perhaps a terrorist event.”

He suggested that a more important factor relevant to insurance pricing changes is what happens with the economy.

Until the economy gets better, people are not going to pay us more for the product, Mr. Motamed said.

In the context of the soft market, some in the reinsurance industry are looking for a justification to try to firm up the market, to justify increasing premiums. If the economics don't justify increasing rates, maybe there is some other justification? Here is an Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview with a representative from Munich Reinsurance:

"Climate change, we believe, is a fact."


His pockets are already hurting.

"Based on our own loss experience, climate change we believe is a fact. It triggers natural disasters, atmospheric natural disasters, and the number of these natural disasters worldwide has more than doubled since the 1980s, driven by atmospheric perils, not by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions," Mr Rauch said.

"If we look at the sheer number of losses from natural catastrophes worldwide since the 1980s, more than $US1,600 billion in losses have occured. Most of them were actually weather-related, not earthquakes, not geophysical events."

And he says the economic cost of these disasters, once you take out things like inflation and currency fluctuations, is increasing by 11 per cent a year.

So faced with these increasing losses, what are large insurers and reinsurers doing?

Well, they're putting up premiums of course.

Well, they are at least trying to put up premiums. But in the marketplace, it is difficult to use science to argue against the economics of the market. And the market says that reinsurers have plenty of excess capacity and losses have not been at all unreasonable in recent years, so the market is soft. Of course, it is especially difficult to use science to argue against economics when that science is just wrong.

Climate change is indeed real -- with a significant human component -- but to date, there has been no signal of human caused climate change in the disaster record. Don't just take my word for it, you can see that result in the peer reviewed research conducted by . . . Munich Re. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Climate wars

Does a warming world really mean that more conflict is inevitable? (The Economist)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, July 8 2010

Canada’s primary hippie discovers that he’s a loser, the President might be going to Maine and alarmists have discovered the perfect headline. (Daily Bayonet)


Climate Change Lunacy

A new book, critical of the climate change establishment, is additionally noteworthy because the author, Mark Lawson, is a senior journalist who writes on environmental matters for the Australian Financial Review.

While large Australian publishers ignore climate warming sceptics a small publisher, Connor Court, continues to give writers with something to say a platform and the opportunity to be read by an ever growing readership: (Quadrant)


More virtual world fantasy: Heat waves could be commonplace in the US by 2039, Stanford study finds

Exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next 30 years, according to a new study by Stanford University climate scientists.

"Using a large suite of climate model experiments, we see a clear emergence of much more intense, hot conditions in the U.S. within the next three decades," said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and the lead author of the study. (Stanford University)


Trying to prop up the threatened "conveyor belt" paradigm? The North Pacific, a globa