Archives - June 2009

June 29, 2009


Hmm... seeking a platform for higher office, Doug? A Deadly Ingredient in a Chicken Dinner

Most people don't know that the chicken they eat is laced with arsenic. The ice water or coffee they enjoy with their chicken may also be infused with arsenic. If they live on or near a farm, the air they breathe may be infected with arsenic dust as well. (Douglas Gansler, Washington Post)


Reuters distributes chemophobic propaganda: Why the Adage 'the Dose Makes the Poison' Can Be Toxic to Corporate Chemicals Policy

There probably are lots of senior execs who've been comforted when their chief scientist or toxicologist has told them that since "the dose makes the poison," they shouldn't sweat some new study about a chemical found in small amounts in their products. Unfortunately, this maxim, which has been around for about 500 years, is somewhat misleading; taking it at face value may be toxic to your company's reputation. (Richard Liroff, Reuters)


A Genetic Link Between Anorexia and Autism?

At the Eating Disorders Unit at the Maudsley Hospital in London, anorexia is not seen as a social disorder — or even primarily a psychological one. While most American treatment providers blame perfection-seeking parents and the media's idealization of hollow-cheeked actresses for eating disorders (among other dysfunctional behaviors), researchers at Maudsley believe the root cause has little to do with social pressure. Rather, they think anorexia is better explained by heredity — perhaps by some of the same genes associated with autism. (Maia Szalavitz, Time)


The Figure-Flaw Paradox: Does it really matter how your body measures up? Part 2

The “figure flaw paradox” is really a retake on the obesity paradox. As obesity has proven to be a poor measure of health or mortality risk, new renditions are being proposed. But the fallacies are the same. (Junkfood Science)


Real life evidence — government funded healthcare

Yesterday’s news provided updates on two healthcare stories we’ve been following, so here’s a quick update. (Junkfood Science)


Comparative effective research — what it means for us

This past week, when speaking to doctors about healthcare reform and the steps needed to reduce healthcare spending, the President answered a rhetorical question recently posed here about comparative effective research. JFS readers may find his answers interesting. His speech, however, didn’t receive widespread mainstream media coverage, at least in a form we would recognize. Before we look at what he said, it might be helpful to sort through some popular misconceptions about what comparative effectiveness research is and isn’t. (Junkfood Science)


The importance of sound data — managing your healthcare costs

This week, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that Health Net, Inc., a managed care company covering more than two million Californians and nearly a quarter million New Yorkers, had agreed to end its relationship with Ingenix and pay $1.6 million towards the creation of an independent database. This was Cuomo’s twelfth settlement against a network of health insurers across the country (including Aetna, MVP Health Care, Cigna, Wellpoint and Excellus Health Plan) using the Ingenix database, which he charged was a “conflict-of-interest-ridden system” with manipulated data and behind industry-wide consumer fraud and corrupt out-of-network reimbursement schemes. (Junkfood Science)


Green Ad Scams

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates claims made in advertisements for all products and services -- including environmental (green) advertising. Yet, the FTC has taken little enforcement action in the exploding area of false or misleading environmental claims. Green, and all manner of eco-friendly, ads are supposed to comply with guidelines issued by the FTC in 1992. The FTC can take companies that ignore their "Green Guidelines" to court and seek fines to reimburse consumers. The FTC acknowledges less enforcement of environmental ad guidelines in recent years, citing a lack of resources. The 2009 budget for the FTC, which also regulates identity theft, credit fraud and monopolies, is $259 million.

There has been a massive global expansion in green marketing. Surveys last year of large US retailers found more than 1,700 products boasting of green credentials or environmental benefits. Green marketers have developed slick schemes to sell an avalanche of eco-friendly and green products. These marketing tactics emphasize an immediate and emotionally-compelling environmental benefit -- often when the claimed benefit is unproven. They also deploy ad messages through highly-leveraged partnerships with other products, institutions and media that are already a part of the consumer’s media. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)


Pastor Urges His Flock to Bring Guns to Church

In Louisville, Ky., a sign that American gun culture is thriving despite, or perhaps because of, President Obama. (NYT)


Human Nature Today

Evolutionary psychology has had a good run. But now there is growing pushback. Critics say the theory is being used to try to explain more than it can bear. (NYT)


UN Seeks to Avert Half of Natural Disaster Deaths

GENEVA - The United Nations called on Friday for more aid funds to help countries prepare for - instead of respond to - natural disasters, saying simple steps could halve the number of deaths they cause. (Reuters)

Then they've got a really stupid way of going about it.  The UN's favorite 'crisis' is gorebull warming and efforts to 'address' that phantom menace are doing more harm to vulnerable peoples than anything else. Why? because these people are vulnerable specifically due to poverty and the cure for poverty is development and trade, the very things gorebull warmers are trying not merely to limit but actively undo.


EU States Near Acid Pollution Deal

BRUSSELS - European environment ministers could agree to tighten up widely flouted acid pollution laws this week after rapid progress in recent negotiations over industrial emissions brought a compromise within reach.

"There has been significant progress in recent weeks, and member states are taking a cooperative approach," Jos Delbeke, number two at the European Commission's environment unit, told Reuters. "It is possible there will be a deal on Thursday."

The complex Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) weaves together seven existing air quality laws, including the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control directive (IPPC) and the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD).

These seven existing laws contain so many opt-outs that many of the 52,000 relevant European installations have managed to avoid cleaning up acidifying pollutants, such as sulphur and nitrogen oxides, that damage human health, soil and water quality. (Reuters)


Love and hate by the five-cent bagful - Three testy weeks into Toronto's new regime: fear, love and loathing

Small changes in our mundane lives can stimulate a surprising array of emotions – love, anger, defiance, even shame. Take the five cents it now costs Torontonians to take home anything they buy – books, fresh fish, running shoes – in a plastic bag.

"I hate those guys," says a man in a grey T-shirt charging out of the Loblaws grocery store on Dupont St. with a jar of mayonnaise in one hand, paper products in the other. Those guys?

He waves vaguely to the store. "Charging five cents!" (Leslie Scrivener, Toronto Star)


EU To Extend Checks On Food From Chernobyl Area

BRUSSELS - The European Union plans to extend strict radioactivity checks by 10 years on food imports from areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster due to continuing nuclear contamination, a document showed on Monday.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, first restricted imports just days after the accident in April 1986, with laws that have been successively updated since then. The current legislation runs out on March 31, 2010. (Reuters)


Monsanto, Dole To Try To Build Better Veggies

CHICAGO - Monsanto Co and Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc are formalizing a partnership to breed broccoli, spinach and other vegetables that would be more attractive to consumers.

The five-year collaboration, announced on Tuesday, will focus on creating variations of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach, the companies said in a statement.

The focus of their efforts is to breed more colorful, tastier vegetables that are less susceptible to bruising and have a longer shelf-life. (Reuters)


Might as well face it, you're addicted to phosphorus

According to new research published in the journal Global Environmental Change, we're running out of phosphate rock, a crucial ingredient of the fertilisers that farmers currently lavish on their crops to keep them bursting with food.

Phosphate rock can only be mined in a handful of countries such as the US, China and Morocco - and we may run out of it 50-100 years from now, according to a joint study by Linkoping University and the Institute for Sustainable Futures.

Great news for the climate, some would say. (Fertiliser production pumps 410m tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere every year, according to Greenpeace's 2008 report, 'Cool Farming', out-emitting farm machinery by a factor of two.)

Not such good news, however, for the two billion peckish new mouths that will need feeding by 2050, warns the study's chief author, Dana Cordell. 'Acquiring enough phosphorus to grow food will be a significant challenge for humanity in the future', she concludes. (Blog of Bloom)


Canadian Farmers Opposed To GM Wheat: Survey

SASKATOON - Canadian farmers oppose the introduction of genetically modified wheat until market conditions change, a Canadian Wheat Board survey has found.

In the CWB's annual survey of 1,300 Western Canadian farmers, only 9 percent said GMO wheat should be grown as soon as it's available, with the majority saying it shouldn't be grown until conditions are met such as proving benefits to farmers and demonstrating market demand. Nineteen percent said it should not be grown in Canada.

Farmers were close to evenly split when asked how interested they are in growing GM wheat. Fifty-one percent said they're not interested, with 46 percent very or somewhat interested. (Reuters)


Overheated Whitehouse Campaigns

CHURCHVILLE, VA—It was only a matter of time before First Lady Michelle Obama sprang to the wall of the White House Organic Garden and demanded more organic food—a heartfelt campaign fully as sincere as her husband’s ongoing demand that the affluent countries fight off man-made global warming by taxing away most of their energy. However, both the First Lady’s and the President’s campaigns share the same problem: Both are based on politically-correct illusions. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)


Giant prehistoric kangaroos wiped out by hungry Ice Age hunters

It stood tall at 6’5, weighed over 500lbs, had the face of a koala and the body of a sturdy kangaroo. And apparently it was delicious.

Scientists think they have discovered the reason behind the demise of the prehistoric Australian marsupial Procoptodon goliah – better known as the giant, short-snouted kangaroo. They say it was not climate change, as has always been assumed, but hungry Ice Age hunters. (The Times)


Stupid is as stupid does... House Passes Bill to Address Threat of Climate Change

The 219-212 vote marked the first time that either house of Congress has approved a bill aimed at curbing the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change, and it could lead to sweeping changes in the economy. (NYT)


Boehner: Climate bill a 'pile of s--t'

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) had a few choice words about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) landmark climate-change bill after its passage Friday.

When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, "Hey, people deserve to know what's in this pile of s--t."

Using his privilege as leader to speak for an unlimited time on the House floor, Boehner spent an hour reading from the 1200-plus page bill that was amended 20 hours before the lower chamber voted 219-212 to approve it.

Eight Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the bill; 44 House Democrats voted against it. (Molly K. Hooper, The Hill)


Kucinich: “Passing a weak bill today gives us weak environmental policy tomorrow”

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009:

“I oppose H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The reason is simple. It won’t address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse. (


Climate Depot Editorial: Climate Bill's Passage Represents 'nothing more than unrestrained exercise of raw political power, arm-twisting and intimidation'

No detectable climate impact: 'If we actually faced a man-made 'climate crisis', we would all be doomed'

The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed global warming bill (219-212 vote) will no doubt be hailed by many as “historic” or “landmark” or “The Bill of the Century.”

This passage of this bill does not signify any great “green revolution” or “growing” climate “awareness” on the part of Congress. Instead, the methods and manner that the Pelosi led House achieved final passage, represents nothing more than unrestrained exercise of raw political power, arm-twisting, intimidation and special interest handouts.

The House of Representatives passed a bill it did not read, did not understand. A bill that is based on crumbling scientific claims and a bill that will have no detectable climate impact (assuming climate fear promoters are correct on the science and the bill is fully implemented – both implausible assumptions). (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


Possible Plan for Tariffs on Imports From China Remains Alive in House Climate Bill

A House committee working on sweeping energy legislation seems determined to make sure that the United States will tax China and other carbon polluters, potentially disrupting an already-sensitive climate change debate in Congress. (ClimateWire)



Despite indications that much of President Obama’s agenda is meeting intra-party skepticism all over Capitol Hill, there is one policy nexus where congressional leaders are still doggedly determined to move the country left: energy and the environment. Speaker Pelosi will reportedly allow a vote on the controversial Waxman-Markey “cap-and-trade” legislation at the end of this week.

And it gets even better. Not content to tempt political fate by imposing huge carbon taxes on the American middle class, Democrats have added a provision which imposes stiff tariffs on our trading partners if they don’t adopt aggressive carbon restrictions of their own.

You heard correctly: progressives have authored a bill that earns the mortal enmity of domestic energy consumers and our most crucial trading partners at the same time. Economy-killing climate policies and a trade war — together at last! (Patrick J. Michaels & Sallie James, Planet Gore)


The Climate Change Climate Change - The number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.

Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.

If you haven't heard of this politician, it's because he's a member of the Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its own country's carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming.

Among the many reasons President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority are so intent on quickly jamming a cap-and-trade system through Congress is because the global warming tide is again shifting. It turns out Al Gore and the United Nations (with an assist from the media), did a little too vociferous a job smearing anyone who disagreed with them as "deniers." The backlash has brought the scientific debate roaring back to life in Australia, Europe, Japan and even, if less reported, the U.S. (WSJ)


Reason clouded by carbon obsession

ALTHOUGH there are many doubters of man-made climate change, I am not yet one of them. But I remain unconvinced that carbon dioxide is the sole bete noire. Two decades ago, I pored over the spectral properties of the infra-red radiation of this gas, which is essential to plant life, and found that it was almost completely overshadowed by the radiative properties of water vapour, which is vital to all forms of life on earth. (Peter Schwerdtfeger, The Australian)


Climate Change Regime is Immoral

To inflict intense pain for no environmental gain is immoral. To ram such legislation through with backroom deals and no substantive debate – and unleash bureaucrats to control our energy use and lives – is dictatorial and un-American. When The People finally catch on, it won’t be a pretty sight. (Paul Driessen, SPPI)


The value of Senates: Australian Carbon Plan Hits Political Roadblock

CANBERRA - Australia's landmark carbon trade scheme, being watched around the world in the lead up to global climate talks in December, hit a political roadblock on Thursday when parliament delayed a vote on the plan until August.

The decision by the upper house Senate scuttled government hopes of passing its carbon trade laws in this parliamentary session, prolonging uncertainty for major polluters and the stalled carbon trade market. (Reuters)


Could Australia Blow Apart the Great Global Warming Scare?

As the US Congress considers the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, the Australian Senate is on the verge of rejecting its own version of cap-and-trade. The story of this legislation's collapse offers advance notice for what might happen to similar legislation in the US—and to the whole global warming hysteria.

Since the Australian government first introduced its Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation—the Australian version of cap-and-trade energy rationing—there has been a sharp shift in public opinion and political momentum against the global warming crusade. This is a story that offers hope to defenders of industrial civilization—and a warning to American environmentalists that the climate change they should be afraid of just might be a shift in the intellectual climate. (Robert Tracinski and Tom Minchin, Real Clear Politics)


U.S. Resists EU Climate Target For G8 Summit

OSLO - The United States has been resisting European calls for industrialized nations to target an upper limit for global warming of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), according to a draft summit text.

Two degrees is seen by the European Union and many developing countries as the threshold beyond which climate change will reach danger levels, with rising seas and more heatwaves, floods and droughts. (Reuters)


Russia Says No to Climate Controls

As China announced just days ago, Russia has confirmed that it will not participate in any international greenhouse gas reduction plans advanced to replace the 2012 expiration of the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, Russia actually plans to increase air pollution emissions. Russian President Medvedev has announced that Russia will increase the country’s emissions 30% by 2020. Russia is the third biggest global air polluter – China first, US second.

Russia estimates the 30 percent increase in emissions would put his country 10 to 15 percent behind its 1990 emissions levels. This, based upon the decades of conversion from polluting heavy industry to cleaner industries in the digital age. Many of the former communist block countries may now make the same industrial conversion offset claim to avoid the costs of carbon controls. Like China, Russia recognizes that mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases will reduce GDP and punish long-term economic prosperity.

The rejection by China and Russia of international initiatives to control global warming will reduce the likelihood that Obama’s cap-and-trade carbon taxes will be adopted. Without controls on all global greenhouse gas emitters, nothing the US does in the way of costly greenhouse gas reductions will impact climates. (Paul Taylor, Examiner)


Twisted Science, Crooked Policy

The White House weather forecast is not the last word on climate: it marks the last stand of the ‘global warming’ profiteers, and the last gasp of the scientific-technological elite.  (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)


<chuckle> More nonsense ingredients in the gorebull warming witches' brew... "Climate refugees" gatecrash the agenda

JOHANNESBURG, 25 June 2009 - The debate on providing protection to possibly several million "climate refugees" displaced by the vagaries of nature is heating up. (IRIN)

... and the more nonsense mixed in the quicker the brew spoils.


Meanwhile: Climate refugees will not flood rich nations-study

LONDON, June 24 - Migrants uprooted by climate change in the poorest parts of the world are likely to only move locally, contrary to predictions that hundreds of millions will descend on rich countries, a study said on Wednesday.

The research from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a non-profit London-based think tank, challenges the common perception in the developed world that waves of refugees will try to move there permanently to escape the impact of global warming. (Reuters)


The Global Warming Sideshow: Why the Environmentalist Scare Tactics May Render Real Climate Research

As the scientific community debates the probable impact of human industry on the Earth’s climate, many in the environmental lobby, determined to dominate the political debate, wage an effective public relations campaign in the public arena. Believing fervently in their version of the facts, they cleverly tailor their rhetoric to have the strongest possible impact on the political process, without regard for the ongoing scientific debate. It is quite ironic that, while those who argue that we face a “climate crisis” like to think of themselves as the advocates for science and reason, their tactics and rhetoric are often reminiscent of a sideshow, relying on hype and fear to capture the public’s imagination. (Matthew Woessner, SPPI)


Polar bear expert barred by global warmists - Mitchell Taylor, who has studied the animals for 30 years, was told his views 'are extremely unhelpful’, reveals Christopher Booker.

Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission) will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN's major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world's leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week's meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with those of the rest of the group.

Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)


In fact it's scientists that endanger polar bears: Scientist kills polar bear during first field experience

Bob McNabb, 23, is just beginning what may be a long career studying glaciers. No matter how many seasons he spends on ice, he will probably never have a field experience like his first.

In May, McNabb shot and killed a polar bear that was charging him outside a research station in Svalbard. The doctoral student observing an extremely far-north glacier in the Norwegian territory spoke about his experience when he returned to Fairbanks, where he studies at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. (Alaska Dispatch)


There goes another excuse for the 'missing' warming: Global Warming Braked Less Than Expected by Haze

OSLO - Air pollution, dust and other tiny particles that can bounce sunlight back into space are braking global warming less than previously believed, a Norwegian study said.

The report, which helps understand how climate change works, said scientific estimates of light-reflecting airborne particles had underestimated a fast build-up of black airborne soot, which has the opposite effect by soaking up heat.

"The black carbon, or soot, emissions have increased fastest," said Gunnar Myhre of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (Cicero) of the report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. (Reuters)

One less reason for the modelers' marvelous magical multipliers, eh? Not that there were any realistic ones to begin with...


Scientists: Mediterranean Sea “Not Warming” - (via Piero Vietti’s Cambi di Stagione. My translation of course)

17 JUN 2009 From the ongoing OGS conference on Observational Oceanography in Trieste, Italy – Rome, 17 June (Apcom) – No water warming processes are likely to be undergoing in the Mediterranean. It’s one of the preliminary results obtained under MedArgo, the “sister project”, coordinated by OGS [the Italian National Institute on Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics].

MedArgo deals specifically with the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding countries and is part of EuroArgo, the European component of the international Argo project. (OmniClimate)


Shock: Global temperatures driven by US Postal Charges

he rise in global temperatures since 1880 closely correlates with increases in postal charges, sparking alarm that CO2 has been usurped as the main driver of climate change. (Jo Nova)


EPA Endangerment Finding: My Submitted Comments

Roy W. Spencer


News: EPA Quashed Report Skeptical of Global Warming

theodp writes

"CNET reports that less than two weeks before the EPA formally submitted its pro-carbon dioxide regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty 'decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.' In an e-mail message (pdf) to a staff researcher on March 17, the EPA official wrote: 'The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward...and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.' The employee was also ordered not to 'have any direct communication' with anyone outside his small group at EPA on the topic of climate change, and was informed his report would not be shared with the agency group working on the topic. In a statement, the EPA took aim at the credentials of the report's author, Alan Carlin (BS Physics-Caltech, PhD Econ-MIT), describing him as 'not a scientist.' BTW, the official who chastised Carlin also found himself caught up in a 2005 brouhaha over mercury emissions after top EPA officials ordered the findings of a Harvard University study stripped from public records." (slashdot)


Australia’s EPA was negligent

Excerpts from the document available here [PDF, 101 KB]

“Australia’s EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) has been negligent in listing carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant without conducting an independent public review of the scientific evidence to support that decision…


“Now a critical draft report has emerged from inside the US EPA. It was written by very competent EPA staff, warning that organisation that their classification of CO2 as a pollutant was too heavily based on the latest IPCC report “which is at best three years out of date in a rapidly changing field.” This EPA report has been suppressed for months…

“The best evidence before us now, supported completely by this in-house thinking in the US EPA, is that Australia’s EPA was hasty and negligent in classing CO2, the valuable and harmless Gas of Life, as a pollutant.” (Carbon Sense Coalition)


The Wong-Fielding Meeting on Global Warming

Senator Fielding holds a crucial vote on the proposed Emissions Trading Legislation. Fielding and four independent scientists faced the Minister for the Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong , The Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett, and Professor Will Steffan, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. Read what happened from someone who was there. (David Evans, SPPI)


British Climate Change Act doomed to failure

The UK Climate Change Act of 2008 recommends reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and 34% by 2022 but these goals are just too ambitious according to a new study. The Act is also "fundamentally flawed" and would require decarbonization rates that are simply unrealistic. (ERL)


Mystic Met Office predicts neighbourhood Thermageddon - Modelling 'totally inadequate' last year - why trust it now?

On Thursday, the Met Office launched its new report on global warming: UK Climate Projections 2009, otherwise known as UKCP09. This is based on the output of Hadley Centre climate models that predict temperature increases of up to 6°C with wetter winters, dryer summers, more heatwaves, rising sea levels, more floods and all the other catastrophes that one would expect from similar exercises in alarmism.

What makes this report different from any of its predecessors is the resolution of the predictions that the Met Office is making. They are not just presenting a general impression of what might happen globally during this century, or even how climate change could affect the UK as a whole. They are claiming that they can predict what will happen in individual regions of the country - down to a 25km square. You can enter your postcode and find out how your street will be affected by global warming in 2040 or 2080.

All this is rather unexpected. In May last year, I posted here and here about a world summit of climate modellers that took place at Reading University. On the agenda was one very important problem for them; even the most powerful super-computers that have been developed so far are not capable of running the kind of high resolution models that they claim would allow them to reduce the degree of uncertainty in their predictions, and also make detailed regional predictions that policy makers would like to have so that they can build climate change into infrastructure planning. (Tony Newbery, The Register)


Skeptical Inquirer Abandons Reason, Embraces Global Warming

For many years the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP) has published the Skeptical Inquirer, a magazine dedicated to rational thought and a scientific view of the world around us. Mostly concerned with debunking pseudoscience and mystical beliefs, its articles mostly concerned UFOs, bigfoot sightings, psychic spoon benders and spirit mediums. Now, unfortunately, it seems they have allied this previously skeptical magazine with one of the biggest scientific scams of our time, anthropogenic global warming. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Potential Climatic Impacts Of Vegetation Change: A Regional Modeling Study By Copeland Et Al 1996

This paper documents that landscape change is a regional first oder climate forcing in the United States. For more recent studies on this subject from our research group (see).

Copeland, J.H., R.A. Pielke, and T.G.F. Kittel, 1996: Potential climatic impacts of vegetation change: A regional modeling study. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 7409-7418. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Evidence That Local Land Use Practices Influence Regional Climate And Vegetation Patterns In Adjacent Natural Areas By Stohlgren Et Al. 1998

This paper provides observational examples of the interaction between the atmosphere and the landscape which was discussed in yesterday’s weblog.

Stohlgren, T.J., T.N. Chase, R.A. Pielke, T.G.F. Kittel, and J. Baron, 1998: Evidence that local land use practices influence regional climate and vegetation patterns in adjacent natural areas. Global Change Biology, 4, 495-504. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Interactions Between The Atmosphere And Terrestrial Ecosystems: Influence On Weather And Climate By Pielke et al. 1998

Today’s weblog reviews how the atmosphere and landscape are coupled together, and that the climate system is an interactive nonlinear system.

Pielke, R.A., R. Avissar, M. Raupach, H. Dolman, X. Zeng, and S. Denning, 1998: Interactions between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems: Influence on weather and climate. Global Change Biology, 4, 461-475. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


On The Impact Of Snow Cover on Daytime Pollution Dispersion By Segal Et Al. 1991

Yesterday’s paper discussed how adjacent snow and snow free areas could generate mesoscale circulations. Today’s post (and yesterday’s as well) shows that not only does this affect air quality, but temperatures near the ground (such as used to monitor long term temperature trends) are very significantly affected. Even if the atmosphere above was not warming over time, a series of winters with less snow in a region would report higher surface air temperatures.

Segal, M., J.R. Garratt, R.A. Pielke, P. Hildebrand, F.A. Rogers, and J. Cramer, 1991: On the impact of snow cover on daytime pollution dispersion. Atmos. Environ., 25B, 177-192. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Observational Evaluation Of The Snow Breeze By Segal et al. 1991

Today’s weblog documents that the areas of snow and adjacent snow free areas can result in signifcant mesoscale circulations. This is yet another example of a the role of landscape within the climate system.

Segal, M., J.H. Cramer, R.A. Pielke, J.R. Garratt, and P. Hildebrand, 1991: Observational evaluation of the snow-breeze. Mon. Wea. Rev., 119, 412-424. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Ice Ages & CO2, Part II – Rising Sea-levels in Tahiti

Having reported that scientists did not find CO2 responsible for a change in the duration of ice age glacial periods 700,00 years ago, another new report takes a look at the conditions around the last interglacial warm period and our own Holocene warming. Using corals from the south seas paradise of Tahiti to track sea-level changes, researchers probed the mechanisms driving Earth's climate between glacial and interglacial states. Almost as an after thought they added that there is no longer any doubt: changes in sea-level drive changes in CO2, not the other way around. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


CO2 Science Volume 12 Number 25: 24 June 2009

Rice Production in China: What is its current status? ... what are the challenges it faces? ... and how will these challenges be met?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 713 individual scientists from 416 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Skagerrak, Northeast North Sea. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Range Expansion (Butterflies): Contrary to climate-alarmist claims, earth's butterflies will likely do just fine in the face of any global warming that may occur in the future.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Bald Cypress (Llorens et al., 2009), Coastal Redwood (Llorens et al., 2009), Dawn Redwood (Llorens et al., 2009), and Maidenhair Tree (Llorens et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
New England Flood Risk: Is it rising or falling? ... and why?

The Rising Cost of European Floods: Has global warming increased the economic cost of European floods over the past few decades? ... or have the monetary losses been driven more by socio-economic factors?

Extreme Autumn and Winter Storms of the British Isles: How did they vary over the last eight decades of the 20th century?

Effects of Warming on Alpine Grassland Plants: Does it help or harm them?

Potato Response to Water Stress: How is it affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? ... and what do the results portend about potato production in the drier parts of a CO2-enriched world? (


Galactic link to climate change in doubt

Some physicists believe that changes to the Earth’s climate can be explained in large part by variations in the flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth. These occur as the solar system pass in and out of our galaxy’s spiral arms — passages that seem to correlate closely with the timing of ice ages. However, new research based on a recent model of the structure and motion of the spiral arms finds there is no such correlation.

In 2003 physicists Nir Shaviv and Ján Veizer reported a close correlation between the motion of the solar system through the Milky Way and changes to the Earth’s climate. They found that the solar system passes through one of the galaxy’s four spiral arms about once every 140 million years, and these intersections correspond with both the peaks of successive ice ages and fluctuations in the abundance of oxygen-18 in fossils — which is related to temperature. Both climatic variables also vary with a period of about 140 million years. (


Africa Needs Compensation For Climate Change - Meles

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has demanded that the rich world compensate Africa for global warming and said pollution in the northern hemisphere may have caused his country's ruinous 1980s famines. (Reuters)

Africa has been desiccating for millennia but now it's the fault of the Industrial Revolution ;-)


International Trade Is Now Causing Global Warming

The folks at the United Nations are at it again, this time along with the World Trade Organization. Last time it was their idiotic report about how cows and other forms of livestock are contributing so much to global warming (now calling it climate change which I believe happens naturally every year). This time they’ve moved a step ahead to try and link global climate change to trade. Give me a break. Here’s an excerpt from the WTO press release. (AgWired)


Climate change horror: the UK will be like Provence

A UK government report unwittingly reveals that we should not be cutting carbon use but investing in Mediterranean-style cooling measures. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)


British Columbia's forests to be 'marched' north?

Unless they're starring in the closing scenes of Macbeth, groves aren't famous for moving. But entire forests may be 'marched' to cooler climes to protect them from climate change if the government of British Columbia gets its way, writes Emma Marris in the journal Nature.

Scientists worry that British Columbia's rapidly warming climate (the region has already warmed 0.7C in the decade leading up to 2006 - nearly as much as the world has warmed in the last century) will trigger outbreaks of heat-loving pests and drought, wiping out the province's lucrative forests.

With so much at stake (stuff made of wood accounts for about half of the province's exports), it's no surprise that the British Columbia Ministry of Forests has already launched a project to see how seedlings fare after they've been dug up and transplanted to cooler environments in the north.

The 'Assisted Migration Adaptation Trial,' is uprooting seedlings from 40 spots in British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon and Idaho and replanting them in new environments to see if they flourish or fail. (Blog of Bloom)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, June 26th 2009

Al Gore rallied the troops for some Waxman-Malarkey and the Big O issued a report full of global warming doom and gloom, but cheer up, it’s not all bad. (Daily Bayonet)


Polish union warns of EU climate-law job cuts

Some 800,000 jobs across Europe will be wiped out following the adoption of EU climate change legislation last year, warned Poland's Solidarność trade union.

Jarosław Grzesik, deputy head of energy at Solidarność, said Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic would suffer most because of their reliance on coal for electricity production. (EurActiv)


Don't do it, ever. Atmospheric CO2 is a resource: AEP Sees Carbon Capture From Coal Ready By 2015

SAN FRANCISCO - Technology to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and store them underground will be ready by 2015 and could be in wide use in the United States by 2020, according to the top executive at American Electric Power Co Inc. (Reuters)


EU To Help China Bury Carbon In Climate Fight

LUXEMBOURG - Europe has started moves to help China develop technology to trap and bury carbon dioxide (CO2) underground in the fight against global warming. (Reuters)


Green Group Asks U.S. To Bar Canada Oil Sands

WASHINGTON - An environmental group on Wednesday asked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deny permits for pipelines that would bring oil from Canada's oil sands to the United States. (Reuters)


Iraqi oil contracts to be auctioned in live TV 'game show'

More than 30 energy companies, including BP, Shell and ExxonMobil will be forced to tussle for contracts worth billions. (Daily Telegraph)


Ice on fire: The next fossil fuel

DEEP in the Arctic Circle, in the Messoyakha gas field of western Siberia, lies a mystery. Back in 1970, Russian engineers began pumping natural gas from beneath the permafrost and piping it east across the tundra to the Norilsk metal smelter, the biggest industrial enterprise in the Arctic.

By the late 70s, they were on the brink of winding down the operation. According to their surveys, they had sapped nearly all the methane from the deposit. But despite their estimates, the gas just kept on coming. The field continues to power Norilsk today.

Where is this methane coming from? The Soviet geologists initially thought it was leaking from another deposit hidden beneath the first. But their experiments revealed the opposite - the mystery methane is seeping into the well from the icy permafrost above. (New Scientist)


Be skeptical of new “smart meters”

Last week, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced their plans to install 620,000 “smart meters” over the next two years in order to upgrade the aging electrical system in the Sacramento Area.

“Instead of today's ‘dumb’ odometer-style counters, the devices will be brainy hubs in a new electrical nervous system that promises to save money and power and foster the next tech boom,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

The renovations are being spun as positives for the utility’s customers, no more monthly visits from the meter reader and quicker repairs are both becoming popular sales pitches for the new “smart meters.” “A home's power usage will be beamed straight to the utility, eliminating the meter-reader's monthly visit. If your power goes out, the meter will tell SMUD instantly (now, the utility usually learns of outages when customers call),” the Bee further reports.

While technological innovation almost always means that consumers of a particular product or service will benefit, there are several problems with these electrical grid renovations that should concern everyone. (Cameron English, Examiner)


Hello! Where were you? Calm Days, Clouds Could Stymie Solar, Wind Future

SAN FRANCISCO - Maybe the future of climate friendly energy won't have as much to do with wind and solar energy as current booms in those technologies suggest.

Clouds and calm days could make the alternative energy stars bit players in a clean power future where round-the-clock dependability is critical.

That was one message from Microsoft Corp's deep thinker, Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie, whose view stirred controversy among energy executives.

"We should undoubtedly increase research and investment in alternative and renewable energy resources such as wind and solar but equally we need to be clear, at least in my mind, that I don't think these are ever likely to be a substitute for today's primary resources, particularly if world demand at least doubles over the next 20 years," Mundie said in a speech to utility executives this week. (Reuters)


Tilting at Green Windmills

The Spanish professor is puzzled. Why, Gabriel Calzada wonders, is the U.S. president recommending that America emulate the Spanish model for creating "green jobs" in "alternative energy" even though Spain's unemployment rate is 18.1 percent -- more than double the European Union average -- partly because of spending on such jobs? (George F. Will, Washington Post)


Green Jobs a Cost, Not Benefit, to the National Economy

BOSTON, MA – Recent studies forecasting the potential economic benefits of government green job programs are critically flawed and erroneously promote these jobs as a benefit, according to a report released today by The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University.

The economic analysis reviewed the primary claims of three of the most influential green jobs studies and found serious economic flaws in each.

“Contrary to the claims made in these studies, we found that the green job initiatives reviewed in each actually causes greater harm than good to the American economy and will cause growth to slow,” reported Paul Bachman, Director of Research at the Beacon Hill Institute, one of the report’s authors. (Beacon Hill Institute)


This eye-roller, again: Climate change to hit energy projects?

The use of nuclear power and/or renewable energy is seen as part of the response to climate change, but climate change may have a negative impact on some of these energy sources, limiting the contribution they can make. (ERL)


Deep in Bedrock, Clean Energy and Quake Fears

AltaRock Energy will drill ground laced with fault lines using a method that has caused earthquakes elsewhere. (NYT)


Pimp My Ride DC Style

In a Freudian slip, "Cash for Clunkers" is the latest Washington brainstorm to goose car sales while striking a fashion pose of being green. "Pimp my ride" would be more accurate. The legislation, which is passed and awaiting President Obama's signature this next week, offers up to $4,500 in vouchers to purchase a new car if it gets between 2 and 10 mpg more than the old car it replaces.

The industry, led by Undead Motors (formerly GM) and Zombie Motors (formerly Chrysler), is more than willing to grab a free lunch at our expense. Along for the ride are the Japanese car makers, the UAW, and everyone else dining off the US taxpayers' carcass. With apologies to the Eagles' Lyin Eyes, has Congress ever wondered how it got this crazy? ( Eric Singer, American Thinker)


Rules May Limit Cash for Clunkers Program

While the U.S. law may help raise demand for new cars, it is more restrictive than a similar law that proved popular in Germany.  (NYT)


Car Makers Fight EU Ban On Climate Change Chemicals

BRUSSELS - Car makers are lobbying the European Union to delay an agreed 2011 ban on climate-damaging chemicals in car air conditioners, a letter from auto industry group ACEA shows.

The move has aroused strong opposition from environmentalists and suppliers of greener engineering systems. (Reuters)


June 22, 2009

Peter Foster for Junk Science Week: Breaking out of green hell

Thank Gaia for Steve Milloy, who has for more than a decade fought to stem the ever-rising waters of environmental hysteria via his Web site,, and his personal activism. He has now written a book, Green Hell, that provides a jaw-dropping account of a society gone eco-mad.

How could you not love a man who, in 2007, rented an airplane to pull a banner over a Live Earth concert declaring “DON’T BELIEVE AL GORE.” Or who recruited students to hand out Earth-themed beach balls at the same event bearing the words “I’m more worried about the intellectual climate”?

How could you not admire someone who staged a virtual version of the debate that Al Gore refuses to have by interposing clips of An Inconvenient Truth with segments from The Great Global Warming Swindle and posting it all on YouTube?

How could you not laud an individual who exposed Ben & Jerry’s corporate humbug? In the summer of 2000, Mr. Milloy noticed a brochure in one of their stores titled “Our Thoughts on Dioxin.” He read that “dioxin is known to cause cancer, genetic and reproductive defects and learning disabilities… The only safe level of dioxin exposure is no exposure at all.” So he had the company’s “World’s Best Vanilla” tested and found that a single serving contained about 740 times the level of dioxin considered “safe” for children!

Mr. Milloy also co-founded the Free Enterprise Action Fund, which peppers corporate executives not with questions on what they are doing about climate change (they’re used to that), but why they are pointlessly pretending to do anything!

Green Hell shines the harsh light of objectivity on the usual NGO suspects, who are all here with their tame media megaphones, their corporate shakedowns and their cozy backroom deals: the Environmental Defense Fund, The Natural Resource Defense Council, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Rainforest Action Network, the World Wildlife Fund — the laundry machines of greenwashing. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)


Junk Science Week: DDT, the banned lifesaver - Nothing prevents malaria better than DDT application

Death from malaria means convulsions and delirium, retching and diarrhea, joint and abdominal pain so excruciating that coma can be a blessing. The parasitic infection destroys the body’s red blood cells and clogs its capillaries, depriving vital organs and the brain of blood. That malaria strikes some 300 million people annually — and kills an African child every 30 seconds — is all the more tragic given how preventable it is. But modern environmental ideology simply doesn’t permit the use of DDT, the most effective means of eradicating the ghastly disease.

Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) certainly ranks among the most senselessly demonized synthetic compounds of all time. Despite decades of research vindicating the insecticide, the World Health Organization recently announced plans for a “zero DDT world,” i.e., the total phase-out of the chemical during the next decade. Instead, the agency, in conjunction with the UN Environmental Program, will spend $40-million to test “non-chemical” (read less successful) methods of malaria control.

Only three years ago, WHO had endorsed its widespread use, declaring that “DDT presents no health risk when used properly,” and “Spraying is like providing a huge mosquito net over an entire household for around-the-clock protection.” The agency’s sanction in 2006 came 30 years after it renounced DDT amid unsubstantiated claims of environmental risks.

Such policy yo-yo frustrates those on the front-lines of the malaria fight who see special-interest politics, not science, driving public health policy. Indeed, groups who prosper by collecting contributions for bed nets and other less effective prevention methods are among the most virulent critics of DDT.

As Roger Bate, of Africa Fighting Malaria, recently told The Wall Street Journal: “Sadly, WHO’s about-face has nothing to do with science or health and everything to do with bending to the will of well-placed environmentalists. Bed-net manufacturers and sellers of less-effective insecticides also don’t benefit when DDT is employed and therefore oppose it, often behind the scenes.”

It was not always so. Swiss chemist Paul Muller was awarded a Nobel Prize for his formulation of DDT in 1939. Thereafter, it became the premiere weapon in defeating malaria across North America, Southeast Asia and a chunk of Europe, freeing a billion people from the miseries of infection.

However, full-scale eradication efforts were never mounted in Africa, where 90% of malaria deaths now occur—most among children under age five.

Widespread agricultural application of DDT captured the attention of naturalist Rachel Carson and others, who claimed the chemical was destroying wildlife and causing cancer in humans. In fact, a great deal of Carson’s conclusions about human health and the environment were patently wrong, more the product of her imagination than proper scientific research.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in 1972 despite the findings of administrative law Judge Edmund Sweeney, who concluded that DDT is not a carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to humans nor does it have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife.

Canada likewise banned its sale and use in 1990.

Nothing better has come along in the ensuing years. DDT remains the most affordable and effective method of “vector control,” which means it prevents infection by reducing the transmission of malaria from infected mosquitoes to people. Spray the walls of a house and the bugs are repelled from entering. The chemical so irritates mosquitoes that they exit fast. And, it kills any bugs that actually land on sprayed surfaces. Its potency can persist for up to a year, depending upon the concentration of spray and type of wall surface.

Proper and timely applications of DDT reduce malaria transmission by up to 90%.

Despite DDT’s benefits and relative safety, the United Nations and World Health Organization prefer instead to promote more costly and less effective control methods. Citing success with a pilot program in Central America (60% reduction of malaria cases), the agencies intend to replace DDT with “pharmacosuppression,” i.e., dispensing the drug chloroquine to curb infection. But chloroquine has been shown to cause ventricular arrhythmias, while mosquitoes build resistance to the drug over time. Moreover, the systematic delivery of legitimate drugs to millions of people in the poverty-plagued far reaches of Africa will be problematic, if not impossible. (In contrast, locals can quickly be taught proper methods of in-home spraying.)

The “zero DDT world” campaign also includes promoting bed nets and window screens; planting mosquito-repellent trees and stocking waterways with mosquito-hungry fish; draining ditches; and encouraging personal hygiene. None of which can match the affordability and ease of DDT, but all of which pass muster with the chemical-phobes.

Evidently, elements within the environmental lobby prefer the blood of malaria victims on their hands to DDT on the walls of malaria survivors. (Diane Katz, Financial Post)

Diane Katz is director of Risk, Environment & Energy Policy Studies at The Fraser Institute.


Dr. Phil Cole gives us the voice of reason on formaldehyde and cancer

In May, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study concerning formaldehyde exposure and cancers of the blood and bone marrow. As is far too often the case these days, the authors overstated the results.

Listen to Betsy Natz, executive director of the Formaldehyde Council:

"Despite acknowledging that their findings are not definitive, the authors of the study took the step of asserting a possible link, rather than practice some prudent epidemiological restraint. For example, the authors of the study have conceded that the patterns found in the data could be due to chance, while JNCI’s own editors wrote that the study was based on 'limited measurement data' that would tend to compromise its conclusions."

An independent panel examined the study, and posted this video. In the video, Dr. Phil Cole gives an objective discussion on the findings, and mentions that the National Academy of Sciences should examine all existing research and produce its own report.

More info here. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Terence Corcoran for Junk Science Week: No death by Bisphenol A - A new book rehashes all the now-familiar claims about how we live in a toxic chemical soup that is supposedly the cause of most ailments known to man

The number is 3,500. That’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s official limit on how much of the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), measured by nanogram per millilitre, an average male can safely take in every day of his life for 70 years. It’s a very small number. A nanogram is one billionth of a gram.

Humans are exposed to Bisphenol A through contact with plastic bottles and containers, tin cans lined with protective coatings and other polycarbonate products. The EPA reference dose is based on its assessment of thousands of studies, including tests in which animals were injected with BPA and studies of humans exposed to it. The EPA, along with regulators in Europe and Asia, have concluded that the current incidence of BPA is safe for all, including babies. French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said in March that “baby bottles containing this chemical compound are innocuous.”

Now have a look at the graph above. It’s a reproduction from a new book, Slow Death By Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health. Authors of the book are Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie. Mr. Smith is executive director of Environental Defence, one of Canada’s leading science scaremongers and lobbyists.

Slow Death is a rehash of all the now-familiar claims about how we live in a toxic chemical soup that is supposedly the cause of most ailments known to man — from cancer to genetic deformation, including turning men into women and vice-versa.

But Slow Death has a fresh and simple gimmick. Through the book, Mr. Smith and his partner deliberately expose themselves to various chemicals in ways that more or less mimic normal behavior. They spray themselves with perfumes that contain phthalates, eat tuna fish allegedly loaded with mercury and test themselves for pesticide levels. The result: A lot of hoary rhetoric, a few meaningless graphs and some numbers that — despite the hype — prove the opposite of their intent. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)


Junk Science Week: Case of chemophobia - The movement to ban Bisphenol A has no scientific basis. But that hasn’t been an obstacle

A bitter debate is raging over a chemical called BPA (Bisphenol A), which environmental activists charge is endangering the health of “millions of babies.” In the wake of widespread public alarm last fall, Health Canada banned BPA from baby bottles and infant formula packages, and members of the U.S. Congress are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban its use altogether. All this has occurred despite the fact that most scientific authorities, including Health Canada, do not regard the use of BPA in consumer products as a serious health risk to either children or adults.

BPA’s use in various food containers and other food-contact materials was long regarded as safe, based on reviews of the scientific evidence conducted by government regulators in the United States, Japan, Australia and the European Union, and by expert panels in France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway. Moreover, our recent survey of 937 toxicologists found that only 9% rated BPA as a serious health risk, about one-third the number who saw serious health risks in sunlight, ethyl alcohol or aflatoxin, a naturally occurring fungus found in peanut butter.

Public concern hasn’t been driven by any dramatic change in scientific opinion. Instead it stems from a conjunction of chemophobic activists, controversial scientists and credulous journalists. BPA is the latest in a long list of chemicals that environmental activists believe are poisoning our environment. In the case of many toxic substances, such as environmental tobacco smoke, mercury in fish and lead in paint and gasoline, their warnings have served the public interest. But they have also overstated the dangers of trace amounts of chemicals whose toxicity was established only for laboratory animals through methods that are not always applicable to humans. (S. Robert Lichter and Trevor Butterworth, Financial Post)


Junk Science Week: Base chemical rules on science, not fear - The integrity of Ottawa's Chemicals Management Plan hangs in the balance

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) in December, 2006, its objectives were, and remain, clear, noble and right. Canada would lead the world “in assessing and regulating chemicals that are used in thousands of industrial and consumer products.”

Environment Canada, with Health Canada, is leading this process guided by the legislative framework of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Based on my experience, industry fully supports the responsibility of Canadian governments to establish effective regulations to protect the health and safety of Canadians and our environment. This support is based on the premise that regulations will be rooted in sound science.

However, after two-and-a-half years, the evidence-based decision making that should be driving CMP decisions is not being applied consistently. Moreover, the integrity of the CMP process — both for domestic stakeholders and our global partners — is at risk due to poor communications from government, provincial regulatory creep and an over-reliance on computer modelling as opposed to tried-and-true field science. Computer modelling has a role, but it was not designed to be a substitute for actual environmental measurements, nor was it intended to be used for regulatory purposes in isolation of field data.

To be fair, communicating the findings of science and the concept of an “acceptable risk to human health” is challenging for government. Sadly, some governments have used this complex policy area for short-term political gain at the expense of companies that consistently strive to provide Canadians with safe and beneficial products.

The experience around Bisphenol A during the past 18 months provides instructive lessons from which we can all learn. (Howard Mains, Financial Post)


Paradoxes compel us to think — Part Two - Paradoxes Part One here.

Continuing with paradoxical correlations recently published in medical journals that we didn’t hear about, comes an analysis of the Helsinki Businessmen Study. As the authors noted, ‘obese’ or ‘overweight’ is associated in the medical literature with a better prognosis and lower death rates compared with ‘normal’ weight people, especially as people get older. They set out to see if losing or gaining weight during one’s adult life, or if traditional cardiac risk factors in middle-age, could potentially explain the obesity paradox. The authors reported finding that being overweight or losing weight in midlife had the worst prognosis and greatest risk of dying later in life.

Did you catch what they didn’t say? (Junkfood Science)


Stop Soda Tax for Government-Run Healthcare

Whether you call it soda or pop, another tax scheme has just emerged from the House Ways and Means Committee to fund the massive government run health care scheme. This time it's a 10 cent tax on each can of soda. That number sounds familiar since President Obama pledged as recently as February that no family earning less than $250,000 would see its taxes increased by "a single dime. Not a single dime." This is a tax we can't afford for a plan we don't want!

TAKE ACTION to stop this new tax. (Freedom Works)


US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive

Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline. (TDT)


Cardboard coffins: 'Let bodies feed bush'

AN MP wants Queenslanders to be buried in cardboard coffins in natural bush cemeteries where the decomposing bodies can promote vegetation growth.

The "green in death" approach has been advocated by Labor's Barbara Stone who told Parliament about a body's "natural nutrients."

She suggested that more local authorities follow the lead of the Gold Coast City Council which is planning the state's first natural bushland cemetery.

"The site will be an old quarry to be filled with suitable soil so that bodies can decompose and provide valuable nutrients that encourage the rejuvenation of native flora," she said. (Courier-Mail)

Why not just chuck 'em under a tree where bodies can provide "natural nutrients" for the ants & crows? With a population density of 2.76 people per square kilometer (about 7 people per square mile) Australia is so short of cemetery space, after all.


Change In Ice Ages Not Caused By CO2

Around 1.2 million years ago, a shift in global climate began that caused a change in the timing of the alternating warm and cold periods—called interglacials and glacials—that have persisted during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Prior to that time, ice age glacial periods lasted about 40,000 years but since ~700,000 years ago ice-age cycles have lasted for around 100,000 years. Orbital variations, called the Croll-Milankovitch cycles, do exert some forcing on the 100,000 year time scale, but it is relatively weak. Orbital cycles seem to many too feeble explanation an for the change in glacial-interglacial timing. Some scientists have attempted to attribute the timing shift to a drop in CO2 but a new study confirms that carbon dioxide levels were not the cause of the climate shift. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


U.S. Government's Climate Con-job

Suppose a company doctored data, misrepresented study findings, replaced observations with computer simulations and hired PR flacks to promote its new “wonder drug.” News stories, congressional hearings and subpoenas would be in overdrive. Fines and jail sentences would follow. And rightly so.

But the standards change when “climate catastrophe” is involved.

The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a 942-page bill to tax, regulate and penalize all US hydrocarbon energy use. The Senate promises an August vote. In December, 190 countries will meet in Denmark to discuss slashing carbon dioxide emissions, to “save the planet from global warming disaster.” (Paul Driessen, Townhall)


Scientist: Obama's climate report 'would make Pravda editors blush with envy on how they can misconstrue and mis-report truths for a propaganda angle'

The following is a guest post by Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Chris Walcek, a professor at the University at Albany in NY and a Senior Research Associate at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center who studies the relationship of pollutants within the atmosphere. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


UN IPCC Scientist Rejects Romm's Claims as 'nonsense on all counts...NASA's predictions of next solar cycle have all been wrong'

UN IPCC Scientist Richard Courtney told Climate Depot that Joe Romm's article was 'nonsense.' Courtney, a UK based atmospheric science consultant, is featured on page 224 of the U.S. Senate Report of More Than 700 Dissenting Scientists Over Man-Made Global Warming. (See Climate Progress article: Joe Romm Counters: 'No 'Maunder Minimum' — sorry, deniers — Solar Cycle 24 poised to rev up' - June 18, 2009) (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


Big taxes need big lies

The USA is beginning to savour in full the benefits of life under socialist government. It is expensive and wasteful. So it is no surprise that a breathtakingly mendacious climate report has been  issued with fanfares by the Obama government (or, indeed, by one of those coincidences that seem to haunt the field, a supporting one from a British Government source). The capacity to ignore objective evidence of falling global temperatures, in contradiction to years of forecasts in the other direction, is quite remarkable and only sustained by The Censorship in the media.

If Americans wish for a foretaste of what they are in for they only have to look at the career of Gordon Brown. Can it really be over six years since our poet penned his prophetic eulogy? Everything he does is at great expense to the populace, for example his endless game of musical chairs in Departments of Government. His very vocabulary is built on deception – he never spends, he invests. He has borrowed money at an ever increasing rate, but the worst of it is the future commitments he has taken on behalf of our grand children. There are hire purchase agreements (in code – private finance initiative) and, perhaps worst of all, the gold-plate pensions given to his ever growing army of bureaucrats, who develop the complexities that he so loves but blight the lives of ordinary people. He is still in denial about the public spending cuts that the next government, whatever its complexions, is bound to have to implement. Otherwise the world will simply stop lending money to the national equivalent of a drunken spendthrift father who has reduced his family to penury.

Meanwhile, we observe events in Washington with interest. (Number Watch)


Note to NCDC climate report authors: try using the telephone next time

Yesterday I reposted one of Warren Meyers essays on the hilariously flawed GCCI report from NCDC suggesting that the electrical grid is at risk due to increased weather related events affecting electrical systems. The chart looked hinky, turns out it was. One wonders if these guys at NCDC know how to use a telephone, because one phone call is all it took to verify the suspicions Warren had about this graph below being mostly about a change in reporting (baseline) rather than a real trend. His BS detector is very good. Too bad the people at NCDC didn’t do some basic due diligence rather than accept the data at face value.

One private citizen and a phone call undid the entire premise of this graph portrayed by the National Climatic Data Center. We need more people like Warren willing to ask questions.

Related: see my report on why tornado trends in general follow this same pattern that duped NCDC and why. – Anthony (WUWT)


Junk Science Week: MIT’s unscientific, catastrophic climate forecast - The MIT modellers violated 49 principles of forecasting

When we drive on a long bridge over a river or fly in a passenger aircraft, we expect the bridge and the plane to have been designed and built in ways that are consistent with proven scientific principles. Should we expect similar standards to apply to forecasts that are intended to help policymakers make important decisions that will affect people’s jobs and even their lives? Of course we should. Such standards exist. But are they being followed?

The Financial Post asked us to look at a report last month from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, titled “Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century Climate based on uncertainties in emissions (without policy) and climate parameters.”

The MIT report authors predicted that, without massive government action, global warming could be twice as severe as previously forecast, and more severe than the official projections of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The MIT authors said their report is based in part on 400 runs of a computer model of the global climate and economic activity.

While the MIT group espouses lofty-sounding objectives to provide leadership with “independent policy analysis and public education in global environmental change,” we found their procedures inconsistent with important forecasting principles. No more than 30% of forecasting principles were properly applied by the MIT modellers and 49 principles were violated. For an important problem such as this, we do not think it is defensible to violate a single principle. (Kesten C. Green and J. Scott Armstrong, Financial Post)


The Evidence is in on Global Warming and the Human Impact is....

Significant Evidence That Mankind has an Insignificant Impact on the Climate of the Earth. (Jay Lehr, American Daily)


UKCP09 launches today

After several months of delay and some behind the scenes controversy, UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) launches today, June 18th, 2009. (Humanitarian Futures Programme)


The Met Office brings doom to a place near you

On Thursday, the Met Office launched its new report on global warming, UK Climate Predictions 2009 otherwise known as UKCP09. This is based on the output of Hadley Centre climate models that predict temperature increases of up to 6°C with wetter winters, dryer summers, more heatwaves, rising sea levels, more floods and all the other catastrophes that one would expect from similar exercises in alarmism.

What makes this report different from any of its predecessors is the resolution of the predictions that the Met Office is making. They are not just presenting a general impression of what might happen globally during this century, or even how climate change could affect the UK as a whole. They are claiming that they can predict what will happen in individual regions of the country. Apparently there is even a page somewhere on their website where you can enter your postcode and find out how your street will be affected by global warming in 2040 or 2080, although I’ve failed to find it.

All this is rather unexpected. In May last year, I posted here and here about a world summit of climate modellers that took place at Reading University. On the agenda was one very important problem for them; even the most powerful super-computers that have been developed so far are not capable of running the kind of high resolution models that they claim would allow them to reduce the degree of uncertainty in their predictions and also make detailed regional predictions that policy makers would like to have so that they can build climate change into infrastructure planning. (Harmless Sky)


It’s only a bloody computer model, dammit!

First let us deal with the inevitable question that comes up when one addresses this topic – what makes you think you are qualified to criticise computer models?

Your bending author:

  • Started digital computer modelling in about 1960 on the first digital computer delivered in the UK for academic research, after wasting a year on an analogue computer. The machine was a Ferranti Pegasus, which had considerably less computing power than a modern hand-held device. Indeed, the computer you are using to read this almost certainly has more computing power than the whole world had then.
  • In the subsequent forty years, reviewed hundreds of computer models – in undergraduate reports, PhD theses and, as a consultant, in industrial applications.
  • Formulated the law of computer models long before global warming hit the headlines.

Most computer models are nonsense. This does not include those used by engineers in designing airplanes, bridges etc., which are based on detailed experiments on the systems involved and tested in a variety of real conditions before being used.

The reason they are nonsense is that they tend to be based on guesses of the value of coefficients assumed, particularly and disastrously feedback coefficients. There are few, however, that are quite as bad as climate models, where the physics of the interactions between variables and parameters is virtually unknown to mankind.

So, in inevitable synchrony with the issue of the Obama Government’s excuses for draconian taxation, we have the UK media filled with dire predictions. The Times, The Telegraph and, of course, the BBC gave copious coverage, with many supplementary articles. The source is the Met Office, one of the running jokes in the few pubs remaining after the New Labour revolution. Not only have they got the annual forecast grotesquely wrong two years running (having forecast great heat, presumably on religious grounds) but they are not very good at telling us what the weather is going to do tomorrow. Their third attempt at predicting a “barbecue summer” is not going very well so far, but they are bound to get it right one day.

Not to worry, however, because they now have an outrageously expensive super-computer. Unfortunately, if you write a program to print “two plus two equals five” you get the same result however super the computer.

Imagine you settled down in your seat in a jumbo jet and noticed a plaque on the back of the seat in front which reads “This machine was designed with the aid of a super-computer. We did not know the values of all the parameters, so had to guess most of them.” You would get off in a hurry. Yet the world’s political and media establishment are asking you to gamble the economic future of yourself and your descendants on just such a proposition.

Computer modelling is one of the most powerful, yet dangerous, tools available to mankind. To be useful it has to be hedged around with checks, tests and precautions. Ruthless, politically-motivated, members of the new establishment are not concerned with such niceties. They want your money and your acquiescence and if it takes a (to say the least) dubious computer model to get them, so be it. (Number Watch)


Pouring on the nonsense: Report: Global climate disaster is moving closer

The world faces a growing risk of ”abrupt and irreversible climatic shifts”, a scientific synthesis report released Thursday warns. (Michael von Bülow, COP15, Copenhagen)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, June 19th 2009

Find out what the left’s new segregation is all about, and why the future crimes department of corrections might want to lock you up for harboring naughty global warming thoughts.

Still dare to be skeptical? Step right on up, it’s linkage you can believe in, with 10% added snark. (The Daily Bayonet)


Waiting for the Other Shoe to drop on the Climate File

In part one of this piece, I explained how the Harper Conservatives rode to power on a platform that included open, common sense transparency in the climate debate; how they took full advantage of an electorate exhausted by past Prime Minister Jean Chetien’s opportunistic, unscientific climate change bombast to tell Canadians that the Conservatives would promote an honest re-evaluation of the file from top to bottom.

I also started to explain how, after forming the government, the Conservatives turned the tables on core supporters by quietly adopting as their own, the adolescent climate change rhetoric of their Liberal predecessors. This approach has resulted in today’s situation where a massive and unnecessary regime of carbon dioxide and other ‚’greenhouse gas’ emission ‚’cap and trade’ is about to be foisted on an unwitting public unaware of the coming storm. (Tom Harris, CFP)


Bull spit! Rising ocean temperatures near worst-case predictions

The ocean is warming about 50 per cent faster than reported two years ago, according to an update of the latest climate science.

A report compiling research presented at a science congress in Copenhagen in March says recent observations are near the worst-case predictions of the 2007 report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In the case of sea-level rise, it is happening at an even greater rate than projected - largely due to rising ocean temperatures causing thermal expansion of seawater.

Released last night at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, the report says ocean temperatures are a better indicator of global warming than air temperature as the ocean stores more heat and responds more slowly to change. (The Age)


Shooting them does rather reduce total numbers, doesn't it: Alaska polar bear numbers declining

Polar bear populations in and around Alaska are declining due to continued melting of sea ice and Russian poaching, according to reports released Friday by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fewer polar bears have survived in the southern Beaufort Sea, which extends from northern Alaska to parts of Canada, and in the Chukchi and Bering Seas between northwestern Alaska and Russia, the agency's draft population assessments show.

Officials say the drop among the Chukchi and Bering bears is likely steeper than for those in the Beaufort, due to a more dramatic melt of sea ice, which the bears need to travel and forage for food, and an illegal Russian hunt believed to be killing 150 to 250 bears a year.

The assessments, though incomplete, are disturbing, said an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned and later sued the federal government to add polar bears and walruses to the US Endangered Species Act list. (Reuters)


PC guess of the day: Global Warming May Be to Blame for Sudden Collapse in Ancient Biodiversity

Scientists have unearthed striking evidence of a sudden collapse in plant biodiversity from a trove of 200-million-year-old fossil leaves collected in East Greenland that raises new concerns about the dangers of global warming. One of the most likely culprits for this great loss of plant life, to be reported in the Friday, June 19, issue of the journal Science, was a relatively small rise in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which caused the Earth’s temperature to rise.

The international team, which includes researchers from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, University College Dublin and the University of Oxford, found rapid reductions in the density of plant-fossil distribution in the samples collected. In analyzing the stratigraphy of the sampled areas, they found normal patterns of density and diversity of life in the first 20 meters. “But the final 10 meters show dramatic losses of diversity that far exceed what we can attribute to sampling error,” said Peter Wagner, paleobiologist at the museum. “The ecosystems were supporting fewer and fewer species of notable abundance.”

Global warming due to a rise in greenhouse gasses has long been considered a cause for the extinction of species. The surprise find from this new study is that it looks like much less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is needed to drive an ecosystem beyond its tipping point than previously considered.

Despite the probability of a carbon dioxide-fueled extinction, lead author Jennifer McElwain of UCD cautions that additional atmospheric gasses such as sulfur dioxide from extensive volcanic emissions may also have played a role in plant extinctions. “The problem is that as yet we have no way of detecting changes in sulfur dioxide in the past, so it is difficult to evaluate if sulfur dioxide in addition to a rise in carbon dioxide influenced the pattern of extinction we see among the fossils," said McElwain. (7thSpace Interactive)


Checking the facts - Ocean "acidification"

Checking the facts:
The IPCC's projections for the future effects of climate change are generated, as is well known, by an array of computer models which attempt to reproduce the highly complex inter-connected aspects of the Earth's atmosphere and climate. This approach has often been criticised because it places undue reliance on a set of assumptions and treats the output as though it represented reality. But, setting aside these concerns, what if some of the basic data used as inputs for the models was wrong? As the saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out".

Serious questions have previously been asked about the economic growth scenarios used. Broadly, these assume growth rates for developing countries which many economists regard as unrealistically high, leading to a modelled global economy which, by the end of the present century, would have a much greater energy demand than would be likely for more reasonable rates of growth. David Henderson and Ian Castles also pointed out in 2002 that economic growth was modelled on the basis of market exchange rates rather than the more meaningful purchasing power parity, again artificially inflating the size of many economies. Even the lowest growth scenario postulated a 70-fold increase in GDP/capita for developing countries in Asia from 1990 to 2100. Nothing close to this has ever been achieved before.

But there are other areas of concern. The IPCC "business as usual" baseline assumes limitless supplies of fossil fuels over the next century or more, such that the vast increase in energy needed to enable the enormous projected growth in the global economy would essentially all be supplied by oil, gas and coal. The underlying trend of reducing carbon intensity in growing economies does not seem to have been taken into account, but there is an even more basic issue regarding exploitable reserves of fossil fuels. ...

Ocean "acidification":
In what is increasingly looking like a fallback position for the carbon-control lobby, the issue of ocean acidification is getting a higher profile. The argument goes that, whatever happens to the air temperature, a higher level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to greater concentrations in the oceans (which is unarguably true). However, CO2 affects pH by forming a weak acid (carbonic acid) when it dissolves. Everything being equal, more carbon dioxide will move the pH in the acid direction and this, argue some, will ultimately be dangerous for sea life, since many creatures will find it increasingly difficult to use the calcium in seawater to produce their shells.

In practice, the situation is more complex than that. First, the oceans are actually slightly alkaline, with an average pH of 8.2 (although alkalinity varies by about 0.3 unit from area to area). To become acid, the pH must fall below 7 (neutrality). So far, in moving from the generally-accepted pre-industrial figure for atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 280ppm to the present roughly 380ppm, ocean pH has dropped on average by about 0.1 unit. ... (Scientific Alliance)


NASA: The mystery of the missing sunspots solved?

Hot off the press.

NASA announces yet another explanation for the late arrival of Solar Cycle 24 (nearly two years after it was supposed to have started). (Solar Science)


Influence On Severe Storm Development Of Irrigated Land By Pielke And Zeng 1989

The weblog for today shows how the presence of irrigated landscapes in semiarid regions can result in a substantial alteration in the intensity of thunderstorms. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Influence Of Landscape Structure On Local And Regional Climate by Pielke and Avissar 1990

The weblogs of our research papers present observational and modeling evidence of the significant role of landscape processes on weather and climate Today’s paper summarizes why these effects have significant consequences on local and regional climate. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


'The West Is Responsible'

Progress towards a new global climate agreement has been slow. SPIEGEL spoke with China's head climate negotiator Yu Qingtai about Western responsibility for CO2 emissions in China and frustration in the developing world. (Der Spiegel)


Peterson: Democrats Back to Square One on Climate Bill

House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on Friday said climate change bill negotiators are heading back to the drawing board after discussions between Democrats “blew up last night.”

A meeting between chairmen drafting the climate bill and Democrats on the Agriculture Committee “by and large blew up last night” over the issue of offsets, Peterson said.

Specifically, he said, Agriculture Democrats rejected a concept pitched by bill drafters that would set money aside for a new greenhouse gas conservation program tied together with some offsets.

“It’s a whole new concept being brought in at the last minute,” Peterson said. “Many didn’t like it. ... The bottom line is we’re not going to consider anything unless we actually see the language and have it for three or four days so we can figure out what it does.”

Peterson said he hopes to find some resolution later Friday when he heads into another meeting with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), White House officials and farm groups.

But for now, he said, there is no proposal on the table to resolve the biggest concern among Democrats with agricultural interests: how to ensure the offset program works for farmers.

“We’re back to how do we deal — we want USDA to run our offset program; they want EPA to run it,” Peterson said. “Not that we’re necessarily against the EPA; they just speak a different language. They don’t have the infrastructure out there to deal with us.”

Added Peterson, “I’m tired of this running around in circles.” (Roll Call)


From the Australian Government climate evangelist: Turnbull in way of legacy on climate change

Our legacy starts now. Discussion on the link between global warming and carbon pollution began in the 1890s. Mainstream science has been establishing the link for more than 20 years. Globally, 13 of the 14 warmest years on record were between 1995 and 2008.

Despite all these warnings, we have accelerated the carbon pollution that is causing climate change. Next week, for the first time, the Senate will vote on laws that will stop that growth.

If the Senate passes the laws, by 2020 our carbon pollution will be reduced by as much as 25 per cent from where it was in 2000. If it does not, Australia's carbon pollution will be 20 per cent higher than in 2000. (Penny Wong, Sydney Morning Herald)


Upsetting Big Warming: Climate contrarians

THE evidence of global warming keeps piling up but that seems only to embolden the climate contrarians and sceptics to press their case harder.

Why shouldn't they, as they are having some success in raising doubts among politicians? (Mike Steketee, The Australian)

Wonder if Mike would care to actually mention something that qualifies as evidence enhanced greenhouse could cause catastrophic climate change, much less will.


Reject the Cap-n-Tax Scheme

Soon our elected representatives will be asked to vote on Senator Wong’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

This scheme is not about carbon or pollution. Its main effect is to provide for a cap on the human production of carbon dioxide, a colourless harmless natural gas. Carbon dioxide is no more a pollutant than oxygen or water, the other two atmospheric gases on which all life on earth relies.

The bill will also levy a tax on whatever carbon dioxide is produced, and levy an excess production tax on anyone whose production exceeds the legal cap. It is a carbon dioxide Cap-n-Tax Bill.

Read the full article and navigate the Cap-n-Tax maze. [PDF, 155KB]


Climate Change Cash Chase

Starting this week near Madison Square Garden in New York, a 70-foot-high, red digital display sign will indicate projected tons of greenhouse gases that we’re putting into the atmosphere. This giant counter is both green guilt baiting and an advertising stunt by a European climate consultants business venture that expects Obama’s cap-and-trade climate regulations to make them very rich. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)


Extortion? Nah... A Move to Put the Union Label on Solar Power Plants

SACRAMENTO — When a company called Ausra filed plans for a big solar power plant in California, it was deluged with demands from a union group that it study the effect on creatures like the short-nosed kangaroo rat and the ferruginous hawk.

By contrast, when a competitor, BrightSource Energy, filed plans for an even bigger solar plant that would affect the imperiled desert tortoise, the same union group, California Unions for Reliable Energy, raised no complaint. Instead, it urged regulators to approve the project as quickly as possible.

One big difference between the projects? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

As California moves to license dozens of huge solar power plants to meet the state’s renewable energy goals, some developers contend they are being pressured to sign agreements pledging to use union labor. If they refuse, they say, they can count on the union group to demand costly environmental studies and deliver hostile testimony at public hearings.

If they commit at the outset to use union labor, they say, the environmental objections never materialize. (NYT)


Estimate Places Natural Gas Reserves 35% Higher

Thanks to new drilling technologies that are unlocking substantial amounts of natural gas from shale rocks, the nation’s estimated gas reserves have surged by 35 percent, according to a study due for release on Thursday.

The report by the Potential Gas Committee, the authority on gas supplies, shows the United States holds far larger reserves than previously thought. The jump is the largest increase in the 44-year history of reports from the committee.

The finding raises the possibility that natural gas could emerge as a critical transition fuel that could help to battle global warming. For a given amount of heat energy, burning gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, as burning coal.

Estimated natural gas reserves rose to 2,074 trillion cubic feet in 2008, from 1,532 trillion cubic feet in 2006, when the last report was issued. This includes the proven reserves compiled by the Energy Department of 237 trillion cubic feet, as well as the sum of the nation’s probable, possible and speculative reserves. (NYT)


June 18, 2009

We gave you the .pdf, here's the online version: Science Suppressed: How America became obsessed with BPA

An in-depth examination of the science, risk assessment, and media coverage of the most controversial chemical since alar, drawing on interviews with the lead authors of two major risk assessments, and focusing on the accuracy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's award-winning series, "Chemical Fallout," and the newspaper's campaign to have the chemical banned. (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)


Hmm... Mom’s pesticide exposure at work increases her child's leukemia risk.

Wigle, DT, MC Turner and D Krewski. 2009. A systematic review and meta-analysis of childhood leukemia and parental occupational pesticide exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives doi:10.1289/ehp.0900582.

Synopsis by Negin P. Martin, Ph. D and Kim Harley, Ph.D.

Children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides at work while pregnant are at double the risk of developing childhood leukemia.

A detailed analysis of all the available studies comparing work-related, parental pesticide exposure and childhood leukemia finds that the mother’s exposure during pregnancy increases her child’s risk of the disease. The father’s exposure before pregnancy does not.

The study emphasizes the significant contribution of prenatal exposure in developing childhood disease and shows a need for more in-depth studies of the effects of prenatal exposures to environmental factors. (Environmental Health Sciences)

But is this just the old problem of population churning exposing people to infectious agents? That mom's exposure is important while dad's is not suggests mom & infant must be exposed directly (just because dad gets work away from home does not seem important). We've had claims of "clusters" in construction towns (usually investigated because they are say, nuclear facility constructions, factory towns or the like) but this has never been shown as any different from any other population churn exposure so why would their meta dredge come up with any different result (this time associated with pesticides but that could merely be a marker for seasonal workers and more population churning)?

Definitely less than exciting.


Mixing it up over cement plant pollution

A federal crackdown on toxic air pollution from cement plants is generating blowback from the industry, and an official with the company that runs a kiln in Union Bridge northwest of Baltimore warns that the plant  may be unable to meet the new clean-air rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to require cement plants, among the nation's leading air polluters, to reduce emissions of mercury and other harmful pollutants by 70 to 90 over the next four years. In addition to curbing mercury, a known neurotoxin, the EPA is proposing tighter limits on cement plant emissions of hydrocarbons, hydrochloric acid and fine particles.

But in hearings this week in Los Angeles and Dallas, industry representatives are contending that the pollution reductions would be so difficult and expensive to achieve that they may undermine the US cement industry, endangering thousands of jobs. There's a third hearing Thursday in Arlington, Va.

The Portland Cement Association, an industry group, has issued a statement calling the rules "excessively stringent" and so costly they could force many plants to close and make the US building industry import cement. (Baltimore Green)


Cardiologist writes his patients

It's a shame that too few consumers understand what medical professionals do about what’s coming and being planned for them in healthcare reform and the woo that is today’s preventive health movement. Dr. Westby G. Fisher, M.D., a board certified internist, cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Associate Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, writes a satirical letter to his patients, advising them to stay healthy! (Junkfood Science)


Presumably because societally we stigmatize people's weight: Childhood obesity underpins low self-esteem: Study

Obesity not only harms a child's body, but it also causes significant psychological damage to children as young as 10, a large new Canadian study shows.

The study, based on a nationally representative sample of 10 and 11-year olds, found that obese children had almost twice the odds of reporting low self-esteem when compared to normal-weight kids. (Sharon Kirkey, Canwest New Service)


Say what? Fast food close to home tied to obesity, study says

Having more junk food than produce for sale close to homes is associated with a greater prevalence of obesity in Edmonton neighbourhoods, according to a study released Wednesday.

University of Alberta researchers conducted a telephone survey of 2,300 people in the city and surrounding communities and collected data on their body measurements.

The researchers also tabulated the "retail food environment index," or RFEI, calculated as the ratio of the availability of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to grocery stores and produce vendors. (CBC News)


Meanwhile: Living Near Fast Food Outlet Not A Weighty Problem For Kids

A new study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) researchers contradicts the conventional wisdom that living near a fast food outlet increases weight in children and that living near supermarkets, which sell fresh fruit and vegetables as well as so called junk food, lowers weight.

The IUPUI investigators in economics, pediatrics, geography and urban planning compared children's weights over time before and after one of these food purveyors moved near the children's residences. Living near a fast food outlet had little effect on weight and living near a supermarket did not lower it.

The IUPUI researchers also report that residing near certain recreational amenities -- fitness areas, kickball diamonds, and volleyball courts -- lowers children's body mass indexes (adjusted for normal childhood growth). The researchers estimated that locating one of these facilities near the home of an overweight eight-year-old boy could lower his weight by three to six pounds. Surprisingly, living in proximity to a track and field facility (typically on the campus of a middle or high school) was associated with weight gain. (ScienceDaily)


Be careful... Water Risks Ripple Through the Beverage Industry

The Italian restaurant backed by celebrities Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich is one of several shunning bottled water, along with the city of San Francisco and New York state.

"The argument for local water is compelling and obvious," said Bastianich, who is phasing out bottled water across his restaurant empire, which stretches to Los Angeles.

"It's about transportation, packaging, the absurdity of moving water all over the world," he said. (Reuters)

... people buying restaurant food are basically buying an image, an illusion and if you start denigrating one illusion (better water) then what's to stop people figuring they shouldn't do without the restaurant illusion too? What makes your ambiance environmentally affordable as opposed the one closer to home?


"Lazy Environmentalist" Says Don't Feel Bad

"Environmentalists make people feel bad, and making people feel bad is a terrible marketing strategy," Dorfman said, explaining the concept of his new television series debuting on the Sundance Channel on Tuesday, "The Lazy Environmentalist."

"Prophecies of doom and gloom or trying to appeal to a moral imperative, those tactics appeal to a very small minority that change their behavior," Dorfman said in an interview. "I'm interested in implementing change for the great majority." (Reuters)

They're right in one respect -- you shouldn't feel environmental guilt and you shouldn't listen to dopey misanthropes either, whether they call themselves environmentalists or not.


Valley air pollution impacts negligible: report

Air pollution in the lower Fraser Valley would be no worse than it is today, whether Metro Vancouver burns its garbage in incinerators or hauls it away to distant landfills.

That’s the result of a consultant’s study of air quality impacts attributed to each of eight scenarios studied for future waste disposal.

The report by RWDI Air Inc. found Metro Vancouver’s waste now accounts for just 0.1 to 1.2 per cent of air contaminant levels in the lower Fraser Valley.

It found that those levels would be lower still by 2020 – no matter which waste technology Metro chooses – for particulate, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. (Jeff Nagel, Black Press)


A Refreshing Spin on Cable TV

Few of us had heard of Glenn Beck a few years ago. Now the conservative talk-jock is everywhere. His radio show reaches eight million people. He's performing live before sold-out crowds on a comedy tour.

He's had No. 1 bestsellers in both fiction and nonfiction -- plus a new book, "Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government" came out this week.

And now he's host of his own Fox News show, which, even though it airs in the ratings desert of late afternoon, has a bigger audience than every show on the other cable news channels.

Why is he so popular? Beck says it's because he really believes what he says. I don't buy that. Rachel Maddow and Lou Dobbs believe what they say, but their audience is a fraction of Beck's. I hope he's popular because of what he says, like: "Both parties only believe in the power of the party"; "if we get out of people's way, the sky's the limit"; and the answers to our problems "never come from Washington." (John Stossel, Townhall)


Live Free or Die

"Live Free or Die" is the title of author and columnist Mark Steyn's speech at Hillsdale College, reproduced in Imprimis (April 2009), a Hillsdale publication that's free for the asking. Canadian born, now living in New Hampshire, Steyn has had firsthand experience with socialist tyranny in his home country that is rapidly becoming a part of America. Commenting on one of his run-ins with Canada's human rights commissions, Steyn points how it might seem bizarre to find the progressive left making common cause with radical Islam. One half of that alliance is pro-gay, pro-feminist secularists and the other half is homophobic, misogynist theocrats. Steyn argues what they have in common overrides their differences, namely, "Both the secular Big Government progressives and the political Islam recoil from the concept of the citizen, of the free individual entrusted to operate within his own societal space, assume his responsibilities, and exploit his potential." (Walter E. Williams, Townhall)


Mammoth step sheds new light on life in prehistoric Britain

WOOLLY mammoths, scientists have discovered, were roaming Britain 14,000 years ago – seven thousand years after they were thought to have died out.

New radiocarbon dating of remains of an adult male and at least four juveniles found in Britain shows the iconic Ice Age beast, characterised by its spirally curved tusks, was wiped out by climate change rather than prehistoric humans hunting it to extinction.

The discovery of the bones in a Shropshire quarry at Condover in 1986 was one of the most important finds in Britain during the last 100 years, but the dating carried out at the time is now considered inaccurate.

Palaeobiologist Professor Adrian Lister said: "Mammoths are conventionally believed to have become extinct in north western Europe about 21,000 years ago during the main ice advance, known as the Last Glacial Maximum.

"Our new radiocarbon dating of the Condover mammoths changes that, by showing that mammoths returned to Britain and survived until around 14,000 years ago."

The analysis of both the bones and the surrounding environment, described in the Geological Journal, suggests some mammoths remained part of British wildlife long after they are conventionally believed to have died out. (The Scotsman)


Letter: “Warmists are Eco-vandals.”

We must assess the environmental damage caused by global warming alarmists.

Six stand out.

Firstly, by mandating the use of bio-fuels for motor vehicles, they have accelerated clear felling of tropical forests for palm oil plantations.

Secondly, by subsidising ethanol production, they have increased the area of cultivated land covered with a sterile mono-culture of ethanol crops. This also created a grain shortage and soaring food prices.

Thirdly, their silly carbon credit rules have replaced productive native pastures with monotonous forests of woody weeds which harbour feral pests and provide the ready fuel for wild fires. This problem is exacerbated by their bans on clearing regrowth.

Fourthly, by putting carbon taxes on coal but not on wood, they have increased legal and illegal logging to feed thermal power stations on wood. This also increases power costs.

Fifthly, their blind worship of piddle-power has blighted vast areas of land and sea shore with noisy and ugly wind towers and solar panels and scarred the landscape with their network of transmission lines and maintenance roads.

And finally, by their vilification of coal, they have delayed the provision of clean electricity to Indian and Chinese cities, thus increasing the choking Asian smog caused by open air burning of wood, dung, coal, coke, cardboard and rubbish.

Oblivious to all of this damage to the environment and living costs, climate continues to change naturally, in tune with the sun.

Viv Forbes
Chairman The Carbon Sense Coalition


Just blame warming

Michael Raper, a professional alarmist (and non-scientist) of the Red Cross, tells the ABC’s Fran Kelly that more people are dying each year from natural disasters caused by the villain guaranteed to get his outfit most media attention: (Andrew Bolt Blog)


Geologist rips Obama's 'new scare report': 'I become more skeptical every year. I am now beginning to conclude that global warming simply does not exist'

Below is a guest post by Geophysicist Dr. David Deming, associate professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma, who has published numerous peer-reviewed research articles. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


New Evidence the Earth Is Cooling

It was hailed as a breathtaking scientific discovery: two ancient skulls of an apparently primitive hominid, an ancestor of man. Dubbed "Piltdown man," (Eoanthropus dawsoni) it was unearthed in Britain in 1912 by Charles Dawson.

Here, excited scientists declared, was the long sought "missing link" part human, part ape, a primitive Brit sporting the noble brow of Homo sapiens and an ape's primitive jaw.

Here at last was proof that we are Bongo's evolutionary descendants. Science was agog. Sounding like Al Gore, gullible scientists assured the world that the science was settled. Darwinian evolutionary theory was a proven fact.

It wasn't.

It took 41 years for the truth to emerge — Piltdown man was a scam. In 1953, the roof fell in: Piltdown man was not our ancestor; nor was it a case of mistaken identity. It was, as Richard Harter wrote in "The Bogus Bones Caper," a case of outright deliberate fraud.

We’d been had.

I thought of this old scam when I read this morning of a document being peddled by the Obama administration and touted by global warming alarmists. We are, this panic-ridden report produced by a bevy of 30 scientists on the payrolls of 13 Obama administration government agencies responsible for dealing with the effects of alleged climate change, facing unimaginable horrors as a result of global warming. (Philip V. Brennan, Newsmax)


The Immorality Of Waxman-Markey: Intense Pain, No Environmental Gain

Even a $600-a-year increase in utility bills would be a "hardship" for 78% of American families, notes a recent Lauer Johnson Research poll. They should be so lucky.

If the pending Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill (HR 2454) becomes law, utility bills will soar. Farm and business energy costs will skyrocket — and be passed on to consumers, or defrayed by layoffs. Everything Americans grow, make, buy and do will be far pricier. And bureaucrats will control our lives.

Compared to no cap-and-tax regime, Waxman-Markey would cost the United States a cumulative $9.6 trillion in real GDP losses by 2035, concludes a study by the Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. The bill would also cause an additional 1.1 million job losses each year, raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for inflation, provoke a 74% hike in inflation-adjusted gasoline prices, and add $1,500 to the average family's annual energy bill, says Heritage.

The Congressional Budget Office says the poorest one-fifth of families could see annual energy costs rise $700 — while high-income families could see costs rise $2,200. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein estimates that the average person could pay an extra $1,500 per year for energy. And those are just direct energy costs. (Paul Driessen, IBD)


Global Warming Bill Is A Job-Killer

Environment: Democrats failed to create jobs with their unnecessary, pork-laden stimulus bill. Now they want to kill even more of them with an equally unnecessary global warming bill.

The party that cares so much about jobs for "working families" sure has a funny way of saving them.

Amid pre-summer frosts and hailstorms, the White House this week released a sky-is-falling report on global warming that outdoes even Al Gore in predicting doomsday scenarios. (


So, "climate change" is undermining Communist's Capitalism? Climate change slowing China's drive to end poverty

BEIJING - Climate change is making some of the poorest people in China even more destitute and undermining the development that has been a cornerstone of Communist rule, academics and campaigners said on Wednesday.

The most poverty-stricken parts of the country are often also the most vulnerable to changing weather patterns, and farmers in these places are already feeling the pinch from floods and drought, a report from Greenpeace and aid group Oxfam said. (Reuters)


Nude Socialist galloping off again: Silk Road threatened by melting glaciers

The Chinese gateway to the ancient Silk Road is being flooded – and the culprit, researchers say, is climate change. Melting glaciers sitting above the Hexi corridor in Gansu province, once an important trading and military route into Central Asia, are fuelling dramatic regional floods.

The finding illustrates a major problem for the coming century: around the world, arid regions that sit next to glaciers will suffer a spate of floods, then dry up completely when the glaciers melt away. (New Scientist)


This dill is still around? U.S. Faces Security Threat From Climate Change: Kerry

There is "scarcely an instrument of U.S. foreign policy" that was not vulnerable to climate change, which scientists say will raise sea levels by melting glaciers and ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica, Kerry, a Democrat, said at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting. (Reuters)


Argh! German Conservatives Delay Vote On CO2 Capture Law

A spokeswoman for the parliamentary group of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said the group will reconsider the carbon capture and storage (CCS) law again in two weeks.

In the meantime, the economy and environment ministries will attempt to resolve questions about the bill, which has already given rise to public concerns, she added. Conservatives had been scheduled to vote on the legislation on Tuesday.

The CCS law would pave the way for further developing technology aimed at cutting pollution from coal-burning power plants, by holding CO2 indefinitely in underground storage facilities. (Reuters)

Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant! It is an essential trace gas!


Oh... U.S. Energy Secretary Wants to Cut Carbon In The Americas

Chu launched the "Low Carbon Communities of the Americas" program at an event on energy and climate change that was put together after presidents at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April agreed to collaborate more on green energy issues. (Reuters)


European Airport Group Pledges to Cut CO2 to Zero

But ACI Europe's scheme did not set a deadline for airports to become carbon neutral -- largely by cutting emissions from ground transport, boosting renewable energy and reducing the energy consumption of buildings. (Reuters)


Non-CO2 Agents Are Key Targets in Climate Change Fight - Bonn event emphasizes complementing CO2 cuts with reductions in black carbon, methane, and HFCs, along with bio-sequestration through biochar.

Bonn, Germany – Although aggressively reducing CO2 emissions remains the primary target for avoiding the long-term effects of climate change, panelists at a side event last week at the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, Germany, emphasized that the contribution of non-CO2 climate forcers cannot be ignored and called for urgent action to reduce these forcers in order to avoid abrupt climate change.

“I think we sometimes forget that carbon dioxide is only half of what is causing climate change,” said Cynthia Ehmes, head of delegation for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Ehmes spoke at the event on behalf of Andrew Yatilman, the Director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management for FSM. “The climate challenge is simply too immense to be solved by only addressing half of the problem.” (Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development)


The Impact Of Crop Areas In Northeast Colorado In Midsummer Mesoscale Thermal Circulations By Segal Et Al. 1989

Today’s paper documents with observational data the major role of irrigated crops on the surface and boundary layer temperatures and moisture in a semi arid region.

Segal, M., W. Schreiber, G. Kallos, R.A. Pielke, J.R. Garratt, J. Weaver, A. Rodi, and J. Wilson, 1989: The impact of crop areas in northeast Colorado on midsummer mesoscale thermal circulations. Mon. Wea. Rev., 117, 809-825.

The abstract reads

“The present study provides a preliminary evaluation of mesoscale circulations forced by surface gradients of heating arising from irrigated areas adjacent to dry land, utilizing a combination of satellite, observational, and modeling approaches. The irrigated crop areas of northeast Colorado were chosen for the study. For the cases studied satellite surface infrared temperature data indicated a typical temperature contrast of approximately 10 K at noon, between the irrigated area and the adjacent dry land. Surface observations and aircraft measurements within the lower region of the atmospheric boundary layer indicated, in general, a significant temperature contrast and moisture difference, thereby implying a potential thermally driven circulation. The anticipated thermally induced flows, however, were reflected in the measurements only by modest changes in the wind speed and wind direction across the contrast location. It is suggested that the daytime, elevated, terrain-forced flow in the area, and the synoptic flow, combined to mask to varying degrees the thermally induced circulation due to the irrigated land-dry land area effect. Numerical model simulations which were carried out over the studied area support this hypothesis. In addition, the impact of the irrigated areas on the moisture within the boundary layer, as well as on potential convective cloud developments is discussed.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Ice Ages or 20th Century Warming, It All Comes Down to Causation

Musings on the Vostok Ice Core Record

Since I get asked so often what I think of the Vostok ice core data that James Hansen uses as ‘proof’ that CO2 drives temperature, I decided to spend a few days analyzing that data, as well as the Milankovitch forcings calculated by Huybers and Denton (2008) which (allegedly) helps drive the global temperature variations seen in the Vostok Data.

The following graph shows most of the 400,000 year Vostok record of retrieved temperature and CO2 content. Assuming that these estimates really are what they are claimed to be, what can they tell us — if anything — about the role of carbon dioxide in climate change?


First off you need to realize there has been a long history of debate in the climate community about the 3 Milankovitch cycles in solar forcing being the driving force for the Ice Ages. As far as I can discern, there have been at least three main problems with the Milankovitch theory.

First, the huge Vostok cycle at about 100,000 years remain unexplained because the Milankovitch cycles show no amplification for those events, just a regular series of small forcings which tend to be correlated with the smaller bumps on the curves of Vostok temperature and CO2 in the above graph.

A second problem has been that the positive correlation with Vostok (at the South Pole) came from NORTHERN Hemispheric forcing, not from the Southern Hemisphere. In the south, the Milankovitch forcings were out of phase with the temperature response in the Vostok ice core record. This has presented the problem of how Northern Hemispheric changes in solar forcing could cause such huge changes in Antarctic climate.

The third problem is that the Milankovitch forcings are so small it was difficult to see how they could cause even the smaller temperature changes in the ice core record – UNLESS climate sensitivity is very high (that is, feedbacks are strongly positive). This appears to be James Hansen’s view: the small Milankovitch forcings caused small increases in temperature, which in turn caused increases in carbon dioxide, which then took over as the forcing mechanism.

The recent paper by Huybers and Denton claims to have alleviated the 2nd and 3rd problems. If one assumes it is the length of summer in the Southern Hemisphere (rather than average yearly solar intensity) which is the main driving force for changing the Antarctic ice sheet, and also accounts for the fact that it takes many thousands of years for the ice sheet (and thus the temperature) to change in response to that summertime forcing, then the Southern Hemisphere Milankovitch cycles really do line up pretty well in time with the smaller Vostok events (but still not the huge 100,000 year events), and the “forcing” involved also becomes larger.

The Role of CO2 in the Vostok Record

So, where does CO2 fit into all of this? Well, at face value Hansen’s theory does require that temperature drives CO2. It has often been noted that the Vostok CO2 record lags the temperature record by an average of 800 years, which is somewhat of a problem for Hansen’s theory. But then there have been uncertainties in dating the CO2 record due to assumptions that have to be made about how far and how fast the CO2 migrates through the ice core, giving the appearance of a different age for the CO2. So the lead-lag relationship still has some uncertainty associated with it.

But even if the CO2 and the temperature record lined up perfectly, would that mean Hansen is correct? No. It all hinges on the assumption that there was no forcing other than CO2 that caused the temperature changes. Hansen’s theory requires that the temperature variations cause the CO2 changes, which begs the question: What started the temperature change to begin with? And what if the mechanism that started the temperature change is actually responsible for most of the temperature change? In that case, the climate sensitivity inferred from the co-variations between temperature and CO2 becomes less. The fact that even the recent work of Huybers and Denton does not address the major question of what caused the huge 100,000 year cycle in the Vostok data suggests there might be a forcing mechanism that we still don’t know about.

If CO2 is the main forcing in the Vostok record, then it takes only about 10 ppm increase in CO2 to cause 1 degree C temperature change. The full range of CO2 forcing in the Vostok record amounts to 1.6 to 2 Watts per sq. meter, and if that caused the full range of temperature variations, then today we still have as much as 10 deg. C of warming “in the pipeline” from the CO2 we have put in the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. That’s because 1.6 Watts per sq. meter is about the same amount of manmade forcing that supposedly exists in today’s atmosphere.

But if some other forcing is responsible for the temperature change, that necessarily implies lower climate sensitivity. And the greater the unknown forcing involved, the smaller the climate sensitivity you will calculate.

The Central Question of Causation

I believe that the interpretation of the Vostok ice core record of temperature and CO2 variations has the same problem that the interpretation of warming and CO2 increase in the last century has: CAUSATION. In both cases, Hansen’s (and others’) inference of high climate sensitivity (which would translate into lots of future manmade warming) depends critically on there not being another mechanism causing most of the temperature variations. If most of the warming in the last 100 years was due to CO2, then that (arguably) implies a moderately sensitive climate. If it caused the temperature variations in the ice core record, it implies a catastrophically sensitive climate.

But the implicit assumption that science knows what the forcings were of past climate change even 50 years ago, let alone 100,000 years ago, strikes me as hubris. In contrast to the “consensus view” of the IPCC that only “external” forcing events like volcanoes, changes in solar output, and human pollution can cause climate change, forcing of temperature change can also be generated internally. I believe this largely explains what we have seen for climate variability on all time scales. A change in atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns could easily accomplish this with a small change in low cloud cover over the ocean. In simple terms, global warming might well be mostly the result of a natural cycle.

The IPCC simply assumes this internally-generated forcing of climate never occurs. If they did, they would have to admit they have no clue how much warming in the last 50 years is natural versus anthropogenic.

Fears of substantial manmade warming are critically dependent upon the assumption that the climate system never changes all by itself, naturally, or that there were not other external forcing mechanisms at work we are not aware of. Given the complex nonlinear behavior of the climate system, it seems to me that the assumption that things like global average low cloud cover always stays the same is unwarranted. In the end, in scientific research it’s the scientific assumptions that come back to bite you.

Where Does this Leave Carbon Dioxide?

About the only thing that seems like a safe inference from the Vostok record is that temperature drives CO2 variations – even Hansen’s theory requires that much — but the view that CO2 then caused most of the temperature variations seems exceedingly speculative.

And, if you are thinking of using the Vostok record to support warming driving today’s CO2 increase, you can forget it. In the Vostok record it amounts to only about 8 to 10 ppm per degree C, whereas our ~1 deg. C warming in the last 100 years has been accompanied by about 10 times that much CO2 increase.

The bottom line is that fears of substantial manmade climate change are ultimately based upon the assumption that we know what caused past climate change. For if past climate changes were caused by tiny forcings (too tiny for us to know about), then the climate system is very sensitive. Of course, those forcings might have been quite large – even self-imposed by the climate system itself — and we still might not know about them.

Finally, as a side note, it is interesting that the modern belief that our carbon emissions have caused the climate system to rebel are not that different from ancient civilizations that made sacrifices to the gods of nature in their attempts to get nature to cooperate. Technology might have changed over time, but it seems human nature has remained the same. (Roy W. Spencer)


Groups add climate change to oil shale concerns

DENVER -- Conservation groups challenging a plan to open nearly 2 million acres of public land in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado to commercial oil shale development say potential effects on climate change weren't considered and that violates federal law.

Thirteen groups seeking to set aside the Bush administration's plan have amended two lawsuits first filed in January to add the claim about climate change. The amendments also allege the federal government broke environmental laws by not considering the potential effects on endangered species and air quality.

The coalition is challenging regulations and a plan approved late last year to tap the more than 1 trillion barrels of oil believed to be locked in a large formation under the three states. (Associated Press)


Europe Cuts Emissions With Biogas

BERGHAREN, the Netherlands -- European governments are quietly transforming the practice of turning manure into energy from a fringe technology into a tool for both slashing greenhouse gases from farms and boosting domestic energy supplies.

Plants that convert manure, corn, grass or organic waste into electricity were historically built by just a few environmentally conscious farmers. But the European Union now counts about 8,000 so-called biogas plants, and -- fueled by rising subsidies -- thousands more are expected to be built over the next decade. Farmers are building plants to make a profit, not to protect the environment, and orders are rising at companies that provide the technology.

Farm emissions account for 9% to 10% of the EU's total greenhouse gases -- more than all industrial processes, such as steelmaking and chemical manufacturing, combined, according to the European Environment Agency. Much of the emissions come from two gases produced from livestock manure: methane, which has 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, which is 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide. (WSJ)


June 17, 2009

AMA objects to calling obesity a disability

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association has taken action to support doctors' ability to discuss obesity with their overweight patients.

Under a new policy adopted Tuesday, the AMA formally opposes efforts by advocacy groups to define obesity as a disability.

Doctors fear using that definition makes them vulnerable under disability laws to lawsuits from obese patients who don't want their doctors to discuss their weight.

Doctors took the action at their annual meeting in Chicago.

In other action Tuesday, the AMA agreed to lobby for legislation to ban selling tobacco in pharmacies.

Health care reform issues are slated to come up later at the meeting, which ends Wednesday. (Associated Press)


US, Canadian obesity scientists share $1 mln Shaw Prize

HONG KONG — Two scientists whose work challenges the assumption that obesity is caused by a lack of willpower were on Tuesday announced as the winners of the Shaw Prize, known as the Nobel Prize of the east.

Douglas Coleman and Jeffrey Friedman, who both work in the United States, will share the one-million-dollar Shaw Prize for Life Sciences and Medicine, organisers of the award said.

The pair were given the coveted award for their separate research which led to the discovery of leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and bodyweight.

The discovery has challenged the conventional wisdom that obesity is caused by a lack of willpower and provided a genetic explanation.

"For those people who are beset with the problem of obesity, this is a most important discovery," Yang Chen-ning, a professor and chairman of the Shaw Prize board, told reporters in Hong Kong. (AFP)


The world of woo: Nearly all EU countries opt into free fruit scheme

BRUSSELS, June 16 - Millions of children in nearly all of the EU's 27 countries will get free fruit and vegetables from next school year under a scheme to promote healthy eating and tackle child obesity, the bloc's farm chief said on Tuesday. (Reuters)


Here's a humorless zealot in serious need of a life: Mother’s Fight Against Junk Food Puts a School on Edge

MeMe Roth, a publicist and an Upper West Side mother of two, is getting really, really mad — “and I do not mean angry,” she clarified. “I mean mad, like crazy.” Ms. Roth is being driven mad by Public School 9, where her children are in second and fourth grades, and it seems that P.S. 9, in turn, is being driven mad by Ms. Roth.

Ms. Roth, who runs a group called National Action Against Obesity, has no problem with the school lunches provided at the highly regarded elementary school on Columbus Avenue and 84th Street. What sets her off is the junk food served on special occasions: the cupcakes that come out for every birthday, the doughnuts her children were once given in gym, the sugary “Fun-Dip” packets that some parent provided the whole class on Valentine’s Day.

“I thought I was sending my kid to P.S. 9, not Chuck E. Cheese,” Ms. Roth, a trim, impassioned 40-year-old from Atlanta, said in an interview. “Is there or is there not an obesity and diabetes epidemic in this country?” (NYT)


Headline! Retailer sends trash to landfill! Target sued, accused of dumping toxic waste

California Attorney General Jerry Brown, 20 counties and the city of Los Angeles on Monday sued retail giant Target Corp. for illegally dumping bleach, paints, oven cleaners and other toxic materials into the state's landfills.

The complaint, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, claims the Minneapolis-based chain's 200 California stores improperly disposed of damaged, returned and past-due chemicals, resulting in more than 300 notices of violations from local environmental health inspectors over the last eight years. (SF Chronicle)


Tobacco Regulation Is Expected to Face a Free-Speech Challenge

The marketing and advertising restrictions in the tobacco law that Congress passed last week are likely to be challenged in court on free-speech grounds. But supporters of the legislation say they drafted the law carefully to comply with the First Amendment.

The law’s ban on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds would effectively outlaw legal advertising in many cities, critics of the prohibition said. And restricting stores and many forms of print advertising to black-and-white text, as the law specifies, would interfere with legitimate communication to adults, tobacco companies and advertising groups said in letters to Congress and interviews over the last week.

The controversy, legal experts say, involves tension between the right of tobacco companies to communicate with adult smokers and the public interest in preventing young people from smoking. (NYT)

Hmm... doubtless plenty will want to "hang the editor" for my comment but I have yet to see any evidence of net public good from the anti-tobacco pogrom. Once you get past the hype and emotional appeals there is no evidence society is any better off discriminating against any sub class of its citizens. Think tobacco is evil? Ban it then. Governments wont though, simply because smokers generate a lot of funds used often times (well, maybe only sometimes) for public benefit.


‘Smokers are now treated like lepers’

David Goerlitz was a star of cigarette ads until he turned against Big Tobacco. Now, however, he thinks the anti-smokers have gone too far. (Christopher Snowdon, sp!ked)


Constant scare-mongering doesn't help? Go figure... Most Canadians ignore air-quality advisories: Report

OTTAWA — With the summer smog season upon us, a new report concludes most Canadians pay scant attention to air quality advisories, in part because they've become psychologically "acclimated" to air pollution.

The Environics Research report, done for Environment Canada and the Meteorological Service of Canada, draws on surveys done in 2007 and 2008 in seven regions of Canada following episodes of poor air quality.

The report says air quality advisories "have had at best a limited impact on public awareness and behaviour.

"Many residents in the areas assessed are generally unaware of the fact that an air quality advisory was issued, and few among those who have seen or heard advisories have taken any action to protect their health."

People don't seem to notice when the air quality in their area is poor, the report says. Most of those surveyed thought conditions were no worse than normal during periods covered by air quality advisories.

Though Canadians know that air pollution poses a health risk, most "have largely 'acclimated' to this hazard, psychologically speaking," the report says. (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen)


The price of honesty: Merced supervisor in hot water over comment at air quality board

Local air quality activists and the State Senate's majority leader are calling for the resignation of Merced County Supervisor Mike Nelson from a local air quality board, citing what they call Nelson's irresponsible remarks about his role as a board member.

Their complaints follow a comment Nelson made last month during a San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District governing board meeting. Nelson, who serves as Merced County's representative to the board, said he sometimes "tunes out" anti-pollution activists who he's deemed untruthful when they're giving testimony before the board. (Merced Sun-Star)


Europeans target better pesticide protection

With the annual spread of some 80 000 tonnes of pesticides, farmers are bound to get hit. However, the context for pesticide spraying has changed considerably over the years, and Europe has outlined new requirements related to the safety of operators, the general public, and the environment.

In 2005 alone, a total of 800 000 French farmers were exposed to pesticides. French public research institute Cemagref's Technologies for Farm-Equipment Safety and Performance Research unit is working to gain knowledge on the exposure of operators to phytosanitary products.

The latest project is building on a 2006 experimental study that centred on apple tree orchards needing some 30 phytosanitary treatments every year. The main objectives of the study were to obtain data on the phytosanitary exposure and contamination of operators, and to enhance the performance of protection cabs used during the spraying process. (Europa)


Atomic has-beens

It was a classic case of a befuddled government throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s solution to the worldwide shortage of medical isotopes, caused by the unexpected shutdown of a Canadian reactor, is the announcement that Canada will be out the medical isotope production business by 2016. (Victoria Star)


Stand by for idiot climate 'reports': House may vote on climate change bill next week

WASHINGTON - Legislation to drastically reduce carbon dioxide pollution blamed for global warming could be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives as early as next week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday, as the Senate focused on the plan's tax implications for companies.

Hoyer, speaking to reporters, said he expects the House to wrap up action on the climate change bill, which is a high priority of the Obama administration, either next week or the week of July 6, following a holiday recess.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the bill in May and Hoyer said committee chairman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was ready to get it moving again.

But first, Waxman must work out problems that other committees, most notably the Agriculture panel. Farm community concerns include how alternative fuels such as ethanol will be treated, as well as land-use issues. (Reuters)


Nature demonstrates their absurd advocacy: US releases assessment of climate impacts

The White House opened its gates to a gaggle of science reporters Tuesday as administration officials and scientists released a much-anticipated assessment of global warming's impacts on the United States. The message - global warming is upon us - was delivered clearly and forcefully, several times over.

Hardly a novel finding, but, in a sign of the times, the audience proved receptive. The report echoed over the wires (see the Washington Post, New York Times) and filled up email in-boxes as environmental groups and politicians put their seal on the document.

President Barack Obama's chief science adviser, John Holdren, called the report "the most up-to-date, comprehensive and authoritative assessment" of global warming in the United States. The document focuses on regional impacts, he added, "talking about climate where people actually experience it: in their back yards."

At 196 pages, the document represents the final installment in a series of 21 assessments produced under the auspices of the Global Change Research Program, itself part of the US Climate Change Science Program. An earlier version of the document attracted some criticism last year, in part because it was released for public comment before the rest of the assessments were complete, but everything worked out in due course. ("The Great Beyond")


Inhofe Comments on New Government Global Warming Study

WASHINGTON, D.C. -U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today commented on a climate change study released by the Obama Administration.

“That the federal bureaucracy in Washington has produced yet another alarmist report on global warming is nothing new,” Sen. Inhofe said. It’s also no surprise that such a report was released just in time for the House vote on Waxman-Markey. What’s clear is that despite millions of dollars spent on alarmist advertising, the American public remains rightly skeptical of the so-called ‘consensus’ on global warming.

“I would suggest that, given a little time, the world’s preeminent scientists will quickly and thoroughly debunk this study. As has been clearly demonstrated by the Senate Minority report of over 700 scientists questioning global warming hysteria, the debate on the science remains wide open.” (EPW)


Terence Corcoran for Junk Science Week: Decision-based evidence making

Decision-based evidence making isn’t a joke. It’s part of the plan, the policy, the way things are done

The Obama administration yesterday released its blockbuster global-warming propaganda document, "Global Climate Change Impacts on the United States." It’s a doozy, filled with colour graphics, maps and dramatic pictures. The message: We’re all going to climate hell. Action needed now.

Scrolling through the 200-page output reminded me of a funny phrase a policy-wonk friend invented to describe the current state of policy research around the world. He called it, jokingly, “decision-based evidence making.” Everybody who hears the phrase cracks up.

The joke, obviously, is a flip version of the slogan “evidence-based decision making,” which has been all the rage for years in other fields, notably health care. Google produces thousands of hits for the idea that decisions should be evidence-based.

But the art of policy making has moved on, led by the global warming crusade, which daily produces science reports that turn the original slogan on its head. The new Obama report yesterday joins the Global Humanitarian Forum’s recent claim to have found evidence for up to 300,000 annual deaths from global warming (see Peter Foster’s article) or the recent MIT climate projections (reviewed here).

Decision-based evidence making isn’t a joke. It’s part of the plan, the policy, the way things are done.

In 2005, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which advises the U.S. Government on science policy, published a book, titled Decision Making for the Environment: Social and Behavioral Science Research Priorities.

The advice in the book is pretty clear: “By focusing scientific efforts increasingly on decision relevance, such a program of measurement, evaluation, and analysis would increase the influence of empirical evidence and empirically supported theory in environmental decisions relative to the influences of politics and ideology .... Processes for determining which research is most decision-relevant should be participatory.”

So there we have it. Decision and policy first, evidence later. That, in our book, is pure junk science. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)


Obama's Phil Cooney and the New CCSP Report

Imagine if an industry-funded government contractor had a hand in writing a major federal report on climate change. And imagine if that person used his position to misrepresent the science, to cite his own non-peer reviewed work, and to ignore relevant work in the peer-reviewed literature. There would be an outrage, surely . . .

The Obama Administration has re-released a report (PDF) first issued in draft form by the Bush Administration last July (still online PDF). The substance of the report is essentially the same as last year's version, with a bit more professionalism in the delivery. For instance, the photo-shopped picture of a flood appears to be removed and the embarrassing executive summary has been replaced by something more appropriate.

This post is about how the report summarizes the issue of disasters and climate change, including several references to my work, which is misrepresented. This post is long and detailed, which is necessary to support my claims. But stick with it, or skip to the end if you've seen the details before (and long-time readers will have seen them often), there is a surprise at the end. (Roger Pielke, Jr.)


The press, still clueless about temperature: Obama targets US public with call for climate action

Climate impacts report warns of flooding, heat waves, drought and loss of wildlife that will occur if Americans fail to act on global warming (Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian)

"Average temperatures in the US have risen by 1.5F (-17C) over the last 50 years, the report said." Temperatures have risen by -17 °C? We are in trouble! Fortunately they meant risen by 0.8 °C, although even that is a dubious claim likely having more to do with urbanization and statistics than reality.

In fairness, I have seen the draft report -- a synthesis of idiotic GCM output -- which claims all manner of disastrous consequence (we've already passed 'tipping points' you know, although no one noticed). Sigh...


'Scaremongering': Scientists Pan Obama Climate Report:

'This is not a work of science but an embarrassing episode for the authors and NOAA'...'Misrepresents the science' (Marc Morano – Climate Depot)


Seven Climate Models, Seven Different Answers

In a new report, scientists used seven different climate models to assess human induced land cover change (LCC) at regional and global scales. The first results from the LUCID (Land-Use and Climate, IDentification of robust impacts) intercomparison study by Pitman et al. show no agreement among the models. This study indicates that land cover change is “regionally significant, but it is not feasible to impose a common LCC across multiple models for the next IPCC assessment.” In other words, this important factor is missing from current models and scientists are at a loss as to how to add it. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Yet another eye-roller: UN warns of 'megadisasters' linked to climate change

GENEVA — The United Nations on Tuesday raised the prospect of "megadisasters" affecting millions of people in some of the world's biggest cities unless more is done to heed the threat of climate change.

"We are going to see more disasters and more intense disasters as a result of climate change," UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said at the opening of a four-day conference on reducing disaster risks. (AFP)


Asia set to become biggest climate change driver (Check out the Gorebots in the accompanying photo)

Protesters in alien costumes hold placards with a message as they stage a picket in time for the high-level discussion on climate change and clean energy Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at the Asian Development Bank in suburban Pasig City east of Manila, Philippines. The protesters were calling for a genuine climate change solutions and to stop the funding of coal powered technology which they claimed as the single greatest cause of climate change. (AP Photo/Pat Roque) (Pat Roque - AP)

MANILA, Philippines -- Asia's share of global greenhouse gas emissions could rise to more than 40 percent by 2030, making it the world's main driver of climate change, experts warned Tuesday.

The most populous continent with the fastest-growing economies in China and India already accounts for a third of world emissions of gases blamed for warming weather, including carbon dioxide, Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda told a conference in Manila.

Its share of discharges from energy use has tripled over the past 30 years, he said. (Associated Press)

It's a good thing carbon dioxide emissions are trivially related to climate then, isn't it.


Yes, the Chinese are playing a really good game: Climate Trap

Officials from the Obama administration have been beating a steady path to China’s door to talk about climate change.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was there in February. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Congressional leaders visited last month, followed by experts from the Energy Department and the White House. There also has been regular contact at a series of “major economies” meetings that began during the Bush administration and include the 17 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Without the enthusiastic participation of China — and, of course, the United States — negotiations in December in Copenhagen aimed at writing a new global agreement to replace the expiring 1997 Kyoto Protocol are almost sure to fail. The health of the planet is equally at stake. The United States is the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases; China is the biggest overall emitter. If they cannot agree on a common strategy, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are likely to reach potentially disastrous levels.

Ms. Pelosi found herself greatly encouraged by the dialogue but deeply afraid that the two countries would fall into an old trap: hiding behind each other so that neither would have to do anything difficult or expensive.

It’s a legitimate fear. Even though the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was never submitted for ratification, senators from both parties made clear that they would never agree to any treaty that required the United States to cap its emissions without at the same time imposing similar limits on developing countries like China.

For their part, the Chinese have insisted — and continue to insist — that Washington move first and do more because, along with Europe, the United States bears responsibility for most of the increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases over the last 150 years. (NYT)


Here's some advice: just say "No": Investors Call On SEC to Enforce Climate Change Disclosures

The investor community is making another attempt to push the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to improve disclosure of climate change risks. Members of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and other leading global investors sent a letter to the SEC this week requesting that the Commission address the lack of corporate disclosure of climate change and other material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks in securities filings.

Specifically, the investors are requesting that the SEC issue formal guidance on material climate-related risks that companies should disclose and enforce existing disclosure requirements for climate change and other risks such as water scarcity and labor practices. They also want the SEC to recognize shareholders’ right to submit resolutions related to climate change and material environmental, social and governance issues as well as require the disclosure of these risks using the Global Reporting Initiative as a framework. (Environmental Leader)


Oh boy... Building a low-carbon future: the politics of climate change

Will the reconstruction of the global economy be positive for mitigating climate change? Is the move toward energy security at odds with a low-carbon society? Do we need the return of state planning to overcome the climate change challenge? How can the response to climate change be socially just? How can we forge an achievable but also equitable and legally secure international emissions deal at Copenhagen?

By addressing these questions, leading international thinkers and practitioners put forward a compelling new account of climate change politics and policies in this pamphlet, demonstrating how a low-carbon future can be built by a revitalised co-existence of markets and the state, as well as a strong political narrative of hope and opportunity. (The Politics of Climate Change)


Climate change divides the Alps down the middle - Global warming is already causing flooding in the north and water shortages in south, report says

The dramatic effect of climate change on the Alps comes into focus as never before this week with the publication of a major report which reveals that the mountain range is rapidly dividing into two contrasting climatic zones, each posing new problems. (The Independent)

The parish records of tiny mountain communities high in the Alps chronicle great suffering during the Little Ice Age. The French historian Le Roy Ladurie has likened the fluctuations of Alpine glaciers to the endless cycles of ocean tides. After centuries of "low water" during the Middle Ages, the ice sheets were high in the mountains. Then, around A.D. 1300, the tide began to rise and the glaciers spread downslope. A glacial "high tide" brought the ice deep into foothill valleys between 1590 and 1850. The greatest thrusts occurred in the seventeenth century and again in 1818--1820 and 1850--1855, scarring villages and decimating Alpine pastures. By 1860 the tide had turned and a great retreat began. By 1900 many glaciers had re­ceded more than two kilometers deeper into the mountains in just forty years. -- Brian Fagan, Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nińo and the Fate of Civilizations (Basic Books, 1999). chapter on LIA


The Thermostat Hypothesis

Guest Essay by Willis Eschenbach



The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

Several kinds of evidence are presented to establish and elucidate the Thermostat Hypothesis – historical temperature stability of the Earth, theoretical considerations, satellite photos, and a description of the equilibrium mechanism. (Watts Up With That?)


Evaluation Of Vegetation Effects On The Generation And Modification Of Mesoscale Circulations By Segal Et Al 1988

The paper for today documents how landscape patterning, such as presented in yesterday’s weblog, result in the generation of mesoscale circulations.

Segal, M., R. Avissar, M.C. McCumber, and R.A. Pielke, 1988: Evaluation of vegetation effects on the generation and modification of mesoscale circulations. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 2268-2292. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Does EPA Have the Wrong Gas?

Over at is an article looking at EPA’s Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Sections 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, and wonders whether or not the EPA has set its sight on the correct gas. The EPA’s focus seems to be on carbon dioxide, but a very strong case can be made that the net effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations may not be so bad (in fact, it may be quite good). So instead of risking the possibility that if they consider the climate impacts of CO2 alone they very well may not be able to build a case for an “endangerment to public health or welfare,” the EPA has lumped CO2 together with five other greenhouse gases thus watering down the positive aspects of CO2 with the potential negative ones from the other gases.

The MasterResource piece argues that to make a fair assessment of its effect on climate, CO2 should be unlumped and considered on its own. (WCR)


From CO2 Science this week:

The Pharmacological Activity of Scutellaria Plants: How is it affected by the ongoing rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 712 individual scientists from 415 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Iceberg Lake, Alaska, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Ocean Temperatures (The Past Few Centuries): What do multi-century proxy sea surface temperature records suggest about the theory of CO2-induced global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Freshwater Diatom (Hu and Gao, 2008), Marine Diatom (Hu and Gao, 2001), Tropical Bromeliad (Monteiro et al., 2009), and Tropical Orchid (Monteiro et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
The Glacial Climate of Ammassalik Island, Greenland: How has it varied over the past century? ... and what do the results tell us about the cause of this behavior?

Temperature of North-Central Shaanzi, China, Since AD 1826: When was it warmest?

Effects of CO2 on Cereal Grain and Protein Production: Is one effect positive and the other negative?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Rice Leaves: Mature leaves provide all sorts of CO2-enhanced help to developing leaves as the growth process proceeds.

Salinity Stress in Tomato Plants: ... is alleviated by atmospheric CO2 enrichment. (


June 16, 2009

Drugs Won the War

This year marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs, and it now appears that drugs have won.

“We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs,” Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. “What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure.”

For that reason, he favors legalization of drugs, perhaps by the equivalent of state liquor stores or registered pharmacists. Other experts favor keeping drug production and sales illegal but decriminalizing possession, as some foreign countries have done.

Here in the United States, four decades of drug war have had three consequences:

First, we have vastly increased the proportion of our population in prisons. The United States now incarcerates people at a rate nearly five times the world average. In part, that’s because the number of people in prison for drug offenses rose roughly from 41,000 in 1980 to 500,000 today. Until the war on drugs, our incarceration rate was roughly the same as that of other countries.

Second, we have empowered criminals at home and terrorists abroad. One reason many prominent economists have favored easing drug laws is that interdiction raises prices, which increases profit margins for everyone, from the Latin drug cartels to the Taliban. Former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia this year jointly implored the United States to adopt a new approach to narcotics, based on the public health campaign against tobacco.

Third, we have squandered resources. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, found that federal, state and local governments spend $44.1 billion annually enforcing drug prohibitions. We spend seven times as much on drug interdiction, policing and imprisonment as on treatment. (Of people with drug problems in state prisons, only 14 percent get treatment.)

I’ve seen lives destroyed by drugs, and many neighbors in my hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, have had their lives ripped apart by crystal meth. Yet I find people like Mr. Stamper persuasive when they argue that if our aim is to reduce the influence of harmful drugs, we can do better. (Nicholas D. Kristoff, NYT)


Obama Open to Reining in Medical Suits

WASHINGTON — The American Medical Association has long battled Democrats who oppose protecting doctors from malpractice lawsuits. But during a private meeting at the White House last month, association officials said, they found one Democrat willing to entertain the idea: President Obama.

In closed-door talks, Mr. Obama has been making the case that reducing malpractice lawsuits — a goal of many doctors and Republicans — can help drive down health care costs, and should be considered as part of any health care overhaul, according to lawmakers of both parties, as well as A.M.A. officials. (NYT)


Sensation makes headlining news but not good science

The award for the most sensational swine flu story goes to The Age. The number of swine flu victims in Australia was overstated by 5,500–fold.

Today’s news headlined: “One-third of Victorians may have flu.” According to the story, “up to one-third of Victorians could now be infected with swine flu, an expert said yesterday, as the Federal Government announced it was preparing to ramp up its response to the virus in coming days.” Last night, Health Minister Nicola Roxon was reported as saying that the total number of people in Australia infected with the swine flu had hit 1,515.

Fact check: This equals about 0.006% of the Australian population — the Australian population was 21,814,135 people as of June 15, 2009, 12:26am, according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

Health surveillance finding about 0.006% of the Australian population infected with swine flu is a far cry from one in three, 33.33%, as is being claimed. Even if every single case of swine flu in Australia came from Victoria, that would only represent 0.028% of the Victorian population (5,364,800 people per Australia Bureau of Statistics). (Junkfood Science)


New Flu Has Been Around For Years In Pigs: Study

WASHINGTON - The new H1N1 virus, which has caused the first pandemic of the 21st century, appears to have been circulating undetected among pigs for years, researchers reported on Thursday.

Although health officials have been watching for new influenza viruses in humans, animal health regulators have missed the opportunity to check swine, the researchers reported.

Britons Andrew Rambaut of the University of Edinburgh and Oliver Pybus of Oxford University, and Yi Guan of the University of Hong Kong examined the genetic sequence of the new H1N1 swine flu virus.

Like others who have done the same, they show it is a mixture of other viruses that had been circulating in pigs, one of which was itself a mixture including swine, human and avian-like genetic sequences.

"We show that it was derived from several viruses circulating in swine, and that the initial transmission to humans occurred several months before recognition of the outbreak," they wrote. (Reuters)


Senior Democrat Says Obama's Czars Unconstitutional

Last week President Obama appointed yet another “czar” with massive government power, answering only to him. Even before this latest appointment, the top-ranking Democrat in the Senate wrote President Obama a letter saying that these czars are unconstitutional. President Obama’s “czar strategy” is an unprecedented power grab centralizing authority in the White House, outside congressional oversight and in violation of the Constitution. (Ken Klukowski, Townhall)


Memo to Starbucks: Dig In, Smell the Coffee, Fight Back

Starbucks, that epitome of a socially-conscious corporation, is now the target of an escalating campaign to blacken its name. One can understand why radical activists would go after discount retailing behemoth Wal-Mart. But who would have thought they’d also have classy Starbucks in their sights? (Carl Horowitz, Townhall)


Why those oh-so-healthy diet foods make us eat even more

On a diet but struggling to shed the pounds, or - horror of horrors - actually gaining weight?

Well it could be because you're on a diet, according to scientists.

A study has shown that when faced with a healthy, low-calorie dish, we instinctively increase the portion on our plate or feel justified in going back for second helpings.

Researchers at the University of Bristol discovered those on low-calorie diets believe you can't have too much of a good thing and end up consuming just as many calories as if they were eating regular dishes.

'A person's perception of how full a meal will make them feel will no doubt affect portion size,' said Lisa Miles, of the British Nutrition Foundation. 'It's so important to be aware of behavioural triggers for overeating.' (Daily Mail)


Rightly: Health nazis losing obesity war as pies return to school canteens

THE Aussie pie, pizzas and sausage rolls are back in school canteens as the war against child obesity falters and threatens to collapse.

Lollies, ice creams, chips and even banned sports drinks have also re-emerged on school menus because thousands of families are snubbing healthier foods.

Nutritionists and dietitians are desperately trying to rescue the $750,000 school health campaign launched five years ago by former Premier Bob Carr.

They are offering "low fat" Aussie beef pies, pizzas made with wholemeal pita bread and vegetables and chicken burgers to children who turn their noses up at salads and wraps.

The anti-health push is greatest at secondary level where students leave school grounds to eat at local fast food outlets or order in takeaway pizza on their mobile phones. (Daily Telegraph)


Indoor Air Pollution Kills 46,000 People in Bangladesh Every Year

Around 32,000 children below five years and 14,000 adults die of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) caused by indoor air pollution every year in Bangladesh, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Andrew Trevett, an environmental health advisor of the WHO, disclosed this while speaking at a workshop on indoor air pollution held here on Monday, national news agency BSS reported.

Trevett said there is a double risk of pneumonia among kids besides tuberculosis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, low birth weight and prenatal health outcomes due to the indoor air pollution.

Trevett, acting country representative of the WHO in Bangladesh, attributed the risk due to lack of using well-designed stoves for cooking meals across the country, the BSS said. (Xinhua)


Alaska's Rat Island Rat-Free After 229 years

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska's Rat Island is finally rat-free, 229 years after a Japanese shipwreck spilled rampaging rodents onto the remote Aleutian island, decimating the local bird population.

After dropping poison onto the island from helicopter-hoisted buckets for a week and a half last autumn, there are no signs of living rats and some birds have returned, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rats have ruled the island since 1780, when they jumped off a sinking Japanese ship and terrorized all but the largest birds on the island. The incident introduced the non-native Norway rat -- also known as the brown rat -- to Alaska.

The $2.5 million Rat Island eradication project, a joint effort between the U.S. federal government, the Nature Conservancy and Island Conservation, is one of the world's most ambitious attempts to remove destructive alien species from an island.

Now there are signs that several species of birds, including Aleutian cackling geese, ptarmigan, peregrine falcons and black oystercatchers, are starting to nest again on the 10-square-mile (26-sq-km) island. (Reuters)


No more Mr Rice Guy: British farmers sell up to make a 'green' profit

rice_guy.jpgBritish farmers, crippled by the credit crunch and the high price of grain, fertilizer and diesel, will be glad to hear that the RSPB has chirped up with a fix: why not transform your farm into a nature reserve? The birds and the bees will thank you, and what's more, you'll get thirty quid for every hectare you claw back from dreaded crop. Who knows, you might even make a profit, the RSPB concludes.

There's a teeny-weeny not-so-greeny catch, of course.

If the British farmer stops growing wheat and other food crops, other countries will have to farm even more land and cut down even more forest to keep us fed. Sure, there's plenty of arable land out there dying to be farmed (take the Black Belt of Ukraine, for instance), but as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations points out here, most of it is currently stashed underneath species-brimming, carbon-storing tropical rainforests in South America and Africa:

'By 2030, crop production in the developing countries is projected to be 70 percent higher than in 1995/97. About 80 per cent of this increase will continue to come from intensified crop production ... the rest will come from further expansion of arable land. Arable land in the developing countries is projected to increase by 12 per cent (an additional 120 million hectares), most of it in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, with an unknown but probably considerable part coming from deforestation'. So, farming out Britain's farms may not be such a boon for biodiversity after all. (BBC Blog of Bloom)


Online Petition: The next significant solar minimum should be called “The Eddy Minimum”

If "The Eddy Minimum" seems right to you for the name of the next solar minimum, sign the petition

If "The Eddy Minimum" seems right to you for the name of the next significant solar minimum, please consider signing the petition.

Link to sign the petition (don’t use handles please)

Jack Eddy was a solar scientist who discovered the sunspot period known as “Maunder Minimum” in the 1970’s, and despite intense academic pressure of the consensus then, argued that this demonstrated that our sun was not constant, but indeed a slightly variable star.

A humble man, he didn’t even name his discovery after himself as some scientists are known to do.

Jack Eddy recently passed away, as announced on WUWT here

Fellow solar astronomer and friend Dr. Leif Svalgaard announced his plan to present this idea formally in comments there:

At the Solar Physics Division [of the American Astronomical Society] next week in Boulder, CO, I will formally request that if a significant solar minimum materializes that it be called the “Eddy Minimum”

If you support this idea, please sign the petition so that Leif can present it with his formal request. (WUWT)


Sunspots Today: A Cheshire Cat – New Essay from Livingston and Penn

This arrived in my email tonight from Bill Livingston. It is hot off the press, date June 11th. I believe WUWT readers will be some of the first to see this. – Anthony

Guest Essay by:
W. Livingston, National Solar Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson AZ 85718;
M. Penn, National Solar Observatory, Tucson AZ

Physical conditions in the infrared at 1.5 microns, including maximum magnetic field strength and temperature, have been observed spectroscopically in 1391 sunspots 1990 to 2009 (1). We emphasize the quantitative difference between our IR sunspot measurements and the visible light results from most solar magnetographs employed world-wide. The latter are compromised by scattered light and measure flux, not field strength. A lower limit of ~1800 Gauss is required to form spot umbra. The umbral maximum field strength has declined over the above interval, perhaps because spots have on average diminished in size. The present condition of solar activity minimum has more spotless days than since the 1910s (2). The Cheshire Cat behavior is related to magnetic surface fields often appearing without accompanying dark spots.

Sunspots recently are behaving like a Cheshire Cat: the smile is there (magnetic fields) but the body is missing (no dark markings). We are unsure about past cycles but at present sunspots, with their usual umbrae and penumbrae, are failing to materialize. For hundreds of years the Sun has shown an approximately periodic 11-year alteration in its activity where the number of sunspots increases and then decreases. Sunspots are dark regions on the solar disk with magnetic field strengths greater than 1500-1800 Gauss. The last sunspot maximum occurred in 2001. Magnetically active sunspots at that time (Figure 1A) produced powerful flares, caused large geomagnetic disturbances, and disrupted some space-based technology. (WUWT)


Too Little CO2 To End Life On Earth

It is no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of our planet and the life it harbors that CO2 levels have been falling for billions of years. Despite all the hoopla over rising CO2 levels, eventually Earth will have lost so much carbon dioxide from its atmosphere that plants and trees will suffocate, signaling an end to life as we know it. Now, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology, led by physicist King-Fai Li, have proposed a way to avert disaster—get rid of much of the atmosphere.

In a paper titled “Atmospheric pressure as a natural climate regulator for a terrestrial planet with a biosphere,” published in the June 1 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Li et al., suggest that the life span of the biosphere can be extended at least 2.3 billion years, more than doubling previous estimates. Here is a description of the problem from the paper's online abstract:

Lovelock and Whitfield suggested in 1982 that, as the luminosity of the Sun increases over its life cycle, biologically enhanced silicate weathering is able to reduce the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) so that the Earth's surface temperature is maintained within an inhabitable range. As this process continues, however, between 100 and 900 million years (Ma) from now the CO2 concentration will reach levels too low for C3 and C4 photosynthesis, signaling the end of the solar-powered biosphere.

There are three basic categories of plants when it comes to photosynthesis: C3, C4 and CAM. The difference between them are the ways in which CO2 is extracted from the air and the primary products of photosynthesis. In C3 plants the enzyme involved in photosynthesis, RUBISCO, is also the enzyme involved in the uptake of CO2. Examples of C3 plans include wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beets—most plants are of this type. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Crops under stress as temperatures fall

Our politicians haven't noticed that the problem may be that the world is not warming but cooling, observes Christopher Booker. (Daily Telegraph)


A Three-Dimensional Numerical Model Of The Sea Breezes Over South Florida By R.A. Pielke Sr. 1974

For the next two weeks, my website is going to present each day an earlier research paper that was published by my research group, with a short comment on its relevance to the current debate on climate science.

The first paper documents how important landscape configuration is on the patterning of deep cumulus convection. Figures 7 and 18, for example, clearly shows this effect from a satellite photo.

Pielke, R.A., 1974: A Three-Dimensional Numerical Model of the Sea Breezes Over South Florida. Mon. Wea. Rev., 102, 115–139.

The abstract reads

“An eight-level three-dimensional primitive equation model which includes a detailed boundary layer parameterization scheme has been used to describe the initiation and evolution of sea-breeze convergence patterns over south Florida as a function of the surface heat and momentum fluxes and of the large-scale synoptic forcing. A minimum grid spacing of 11 km was used. Model results are presented for several different initial conditions and the results, when compared against cumulus cloud and shower patterns, demonstrate that the dry sea-breeze circulations are the dominant control on the locations of thunderstorm complexes over south Florida on undisturbed days.

It is also shown that, in contrast to the differential roughness, the differential heating between land and water over south Florida is the primary determinant of the magnitudes of convergence. The values of surface roughness, however, indirectly influence convergence patterns by affecting the intensity of the vertical turbulent transport of heat and momentum.

It is found that the sea breeze over south Florida accumulates synoptic-scale moisture in the convergence zones, since the magnitudes of moisture convergence are relatively unaffected by evaporation from the ocean at least for a period of 10 hours or so.

The results of the numerical experiments suggest that, in order to properly interpret the results of the Experimental Meteorology Laboratory’s cloud-merger seeding experiments over south Florida, an appreciation and understanding of the sea-breeze circulations are required.” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Australia's forests key to fighting global warming

CANBERRA - Ancient Australian forests are key to fighting climate change and contain the world's most dense carbon store, eclipsing tropical rainforests as efficient greenhouse gas absorbers, scientists said on Tuesday.

Towering Mountain Ash forests covering Victoria state's cool highlands hold four times more carbon, or around 1,900 metric tons of carbon per hectare, than tropical forests, scientists at the Australian National University said.

"The trees in these forests can grow to a very old age, at least 350 years, and they can grow very large, very tall, and they grow very dense, heavy wood," said Brendan Mackey, a professor of environment science.

The researchers studied biomass data from 132 forests around the world to discover regions storing the most carbon, with results published in the U.S.-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Australian forest was compared to old growth tracts on the United States Pacific Coast, Siberia, the central Amazon, Thailand and Cambodia, Venezuela, Finland and elsewhere.

The findings overturn conventional thinking about the carbon density of different forest types that until now held that tropical rainforests were the most carbon-dense, Mackey said. (Reuters)


EU, US criticised for low profile in Bonn climate talks

The EU and the US took a backseat at the negotiating table during the second round of global climate talks in Bonn, while Japan shocked developing countries by announcing a "shameful" emissions reduction target. (EurActiv)


Global warming: India, China unite against West

BONN: India-China unity held firm at the climate change talks here with the two big Asian countries defeating a bid by developed nations to offer
limited reductions while seeking concrete commitments from ‘‘third world’’ nations on control and mitigation of greenhouse gases. (Times of India)


Nations May Form Global CO2 Market Without U.N. Deal

NEW YORK - Rich countries may act on their own to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by developing a carbon market they hope will lure in poor nations even if U.N. climate talks get bogged down, experts said.

Nearly 200 countries have been trying to reach an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol on global warming with a December deadline at a meeting in Copenhagen approaching.

But there remains a large rich-poor divide. Developing countries want industrialized countries to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the international agreement. Industrialized countries want poor countries to take on binding commitments.

To get past the differences, the rich world, including the European Union and the United States, may form a carbon market outside or parallel to the U.N. talks. Rapidly developing countries like China may be inspired to join the market to sell emissions offsets such as clean energy projects. (Reuters)


Not exactly bigger than Ben Hur, with a cast of, well, several: Australians Demand More Action On Climate Change

SYDNEY - Hundreds of environmental activists took to the streets of Australia's main cities on Saturday, saying the Labor government was not doing enough on climate change.

The protests came ahead of a vote in the upper house Senate next week on the government's planned emissions trading scheme, which the protesters regard as inadequate. (Reuters)


Australia Leads Media Debate On Global Warming

CHURCHVILLE, VA—A major country is getting media debate on the science of global warming for the first time ever—thanks to Australia’s Senator Steve Fielding. As one of a half-dozen swing votes on Prime Minister Rudd’s massive carbon tax bill, Fielding recently spent his own money to attend an international conference of climate skeptics in Washington, D.C. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)


Obligatory eye-roller: Gossip and mistrust replace progress at Bonn as campaigners fear the US will settle for deal with China - Despite the hardened scientific view since Kyoto, the deal at Copenhagen risks being another messy compromise

s another set of climate talks wrap up with little outward sign of progress, are the chances of a new global deal to combat the threat of global warming slipping out of reach? Even battle-hardened green campaigners saw few reasons for optimism this week in Bonn. One group was considering whether to simply reissue the same press release about the state of negotiations they sent out last year, partly as a protest at the impasse, but partly because the picture has simply not changed since.

The deadlock extends further back than last year. Since the messy compromise that was the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, climate change has always been more about the politics than the science. And while the message from the scientists has hardened over the last decade, the politics has remained largely the same. (David Adam, The Guardian)


He may even believe carbon constraint is necessary (poor blighter): Bargaining over climate change futile

Excuse me, which war are we fighting: The war against climate change, or a war over climate change?

We (by that I mean all the people in the world) will most likely have a war of the second sort. That is, if most conditions laid out by various countries - in the run-up to the UN climate change conference, slated for Dec 7-18, 2009, in Copenhagen - is any indication.

In such a war, the industrialized countries are unwilling to commit to any significant cutback on their emissions unless (as they demand) the larger developing economies, at the same time, are willing to pledge mandatory caps on their emissions. (China Daily)


Scared silly about global warming - Exaggerating the dangers of climate change does more harm than good

The continuous presentation of scary stories about global warming in the popular media makes us unnecessarily frightened. Even worse, it terrifies our kids.

Former US vice president Al Gore famously depicted how a sea-level rise of 6m would almost completely flood Florida, New York, Holland, Bangladesh and Shanghai, even though the UN estimates that sea levels will rise 20 times less than that, and do no such thing.

When confronted with these exaggerations, some of us say that they are for a good cause and surely there is no harm done if the result is that we focus even more on tackling climate change. A similar argument was used when former US president George W. Bush’s administration overstated the terror threat from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

But this argument is astonishingly wrong. Such exaggerations do plenty of harm. Worrying excessively about global warming means that we worry less about other things, where we could do so much more good. We focus, for example, on global warming’s impact on malaria — which will be to put slightly more people at risk in 100 years — instead of tackling the half-billion people suffering from malaria today with prevention and treatment policies that are much cheaper and dramatically more effective than carbon reduction would be. (Bjorn Lomborg, Taipei Times)


The American Energy Act: Finally! An Energy Bill With Some Real Energy In It!

It should be obvious, but in Washington it is often not: A big part of the solution to America's energy challenges involves making better use of the resources available beneath American soil and territorial waters.

Unfortunately, the federal government has either locked up much of these oil and natural gas reserves or tied them up with insurmountable red tape. While the current Congress and Administration's idea of smart energy policy is to add to this already-daunting regulatory burden, the recently introduced American Energy Act strikes a blow for fewer constraints and more domestic energy in the years and decades ahead. (Ben Lieberman, Heritage Foundation)


June 15, 2009

This utter rubbish, again: Hormone Experts Worried About Plastics, Chemicals

WASHINGTON - Hormone experts said on Wednesday they are becoming worried by a chemical called bisphenol A, which some politicians say they want taken out of products and which consumers are increasingly shunning.

They said they have gathered a growing body evidence to show the compound, also known as BPA, might damage human health. The Endocrine Society issued a scientific statement on Wednesday calling for better studies into its effects. (Reuters)


Update: Science Suppressed: How America became obsessed with BPA (.pdf)

A handful of scientists and environmental activist groups claim that bisphenol A is the biological equivalent of global warming, and its presence in plastic bottles and can linings is endangering “millions of babies.” Their message – and their accusation that the Food and Drug Administration has been swayed by industry-sponsored studies and has ignored vital scientific evidence – has led Congress to ask the agency to re-examine the safety of the chemical. A decision is expected by the end of the summer.

Missing in this debate is that it’s not just “industry groups” that think BPA shouldn’t be banned – or just industry-sponsored studies that say it’s safe. Scientists, regulators, and politicians in Europe, Australia, and Japan have all rejected as methodologically flawed, badly conducted or irrelevant the studies that purported to show that the chemical is harmful. – Some have warned that banning it could actually endanger the public. Now that the National Institutes of Health has acknowledged it funded several poorly-designed studies on BPA – the very research that activists touted as evidence that the chemical is deadly – it’s time to ask whether America has been spun.

In March this year, Roselyne Bachelot, France’s Minister for Health, criticized Canada for banning the chemical bishpenol A (BPA), from polycarbonate baby bottles. “Reliable studies”, she told the National Assembly, showed that the chemical was harmless. The European Union’s Food Safety Authority had found no cause for alarm, nor did separate investigations by regulatory bodies and expert panels in France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway. Canada’s decision, she said, was not rational.

Now, the United States appears to be going down the same path as Canada, with states voting to ban BPA even as Canada admitted it found no evidence that people were at risk. But why had a substance no one had ever heard of triggered such a reaction when the rest of the world had found no cause for concern? (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)


Fear mongering by the Endocrine Society

The precautionary principle strikes again, as the Society's overblown findings are being trumpeted in the mainstream media.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically."

To the uninitiated, this principle may sound good, but in practice there have been virtually no demonstrated benefits to balance the well-documented failures and even catastrophes. All but the most strident Greens now agree that the banning of DDT was a tragic mistake, leading to the deaths of millions of Africans from malaria. Closer to the present, a mostly moronic Congress was quick to exploit the lead-poisoning death of young Jarnell Brown, with the patently ridiculous and destructive Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act—quite possibly the worst law passed in the last 50 years.

At any rate, the charm that killed Jarnell was proscribed by a law dating back to 1978.

In calling for reduced use of BPA—an important chemical proven safe both by usage experience as well as by extensive FDA testing—the Society is exposing itself as a bunch of PC know-nothings. How ironic that their big scientific statement came out only a few weeks after the wonderful Fisch epi study that drove a stake through the heart of virtually all of their premises.

There is much wrong with the Society's "Scientific Statement" on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and I cannot cover it all here, but will mention a few things:

This entire body of so-called knowledge has a phenomenal over-reliance on sometimes absurd rodent studies. I challenge you to read some of the papers cited, and you will marvel at how much the currency of peer-reviewed journal articles has been devalued. Apparently, all a budding researcher need do is pick a chemical, posit some dire consequence, and no matter how bad the methodology or ambiguous the results, as long as the PC (that is, dire) conclusion is obtained, it will be published. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Update: Disrupting the "endocrine disruptor" hypothesis

That's the title of my latest HND piece, which speculates on how the "endocrine disruptor" mission got started. Along the way, we look at the consequences of overzealous regulators, and mention two articles (one already covered in this blog), which espouse rather different views of the situation.

The second article was written by a true believer—Stephanie Engel—who posits that ":Any level higher than zero (of phthalates) is to some degree abnormal," and even objects to calling phthalates "trace chemicals." The article attempts to relate findings in an infant behavior test (BNBAS) to phthalate exposure, although the results—to be kind—are inconclusive.

I promise you that ten or fifteen years ago, this paper would not have been published.

I posed a few questions to Engel, which to her credit she did answer quickly...

Shaw Question 1.    Since sex-specific effects were hypothesized a priori, what specific hormones do you think are involved? How do these hormones relate to such factors as can be measured with BNBAS?

Engel's answer:  Research has shown that phthalates can be anti-androgenic (i.e. interfere with testosterone), anti-estrogentic, and/or estrogenic. They are known reproductive toxicants that have been shown to be related to reduced anogenital distance in both animal and human studies. Previous studies have shown that boys and girls perform slightly differently on the BNBAS overall, which may be related to differences in sex hormones/ brain development. We therefore hypothesized that phthalates may impact BNBAS differently in boys and girls.

Shaw comment:  She did not mention any specific hormones, referring only to speculations derived from earlier research. Normally, if a biological effect is proposed, some mechanism should be suggested.

Shaw Question 2.    You state that the median phthalate biomarker concentrations are within the range reported on another survey. Does this mean that most of the subjects were in a normal range?

Engel's answer:  I am not comfortable with referring to phthalate biomarker concentrations as "normal" or their range as "normal". Normal implies endogenous levels, and phthalates are exogenous environmental toxicants. Any level higher than zero is to some degree abnormal. However, the levels that we measured in these women were in the range of what has been reported in the large, population-based NHANES study. This implies that the women in our cohort were no more highly exposed than the general population is (i.e. we are not describing an unusually highly exposed population).

Shaw comment:  Normally, if one suspects an effect from a particular environmental chemical, tests are run on a normal as well as an occupationally-exposed cohort (or at least a cohort that has a higher exposure) to allow for a classic control. Since nearly everyone is exposed to phthalates, the researcher should have tried to find a cohort (possibly Amish people, who might not use modern personal care products??) with a much lower exposure.


Shaw Question 3.    Did you determine if lifestyle factors could explain the differing levels of phthalate metabolites in the women, or, again, did you simply see a normal range of titers?

Engel's answer:  We performed multivariate analyses that considered lifestyle factors that may be both associated with biomarker concentrations and BNBAS domains. In general everyone is exposed to phthalates. Women tend to have higher exposure to lower molecular weight phthalates than men do because they tend to use more personal care products that contain these chemicals. The purpose of this analysis was not to explain variation in phthalate levels (this has already been done), but to determine whether prenatal phthalate biomarker concentrations associate with neonatal behavior, after accounting for factors that might be associated with both phthalates and neonatal behavior. We found that phthalates were associated with neonatal behavior, particularly for girls, and particularly for the domains of orientation and quality of alertness.

Shaw Question 4.    Since you are trying to look at effects of a trace chemical, how wise is it to rely on a questionnaire to determine smoking, alcohol consumption, and illegal drug use--especially if CDC was running the urine tests--and presumably could have tested for such activities?

Engel's answer: I think characterizing phthalates as a "trace chemical" is inaccurate. Phthalate exposure in the general population is orders of magnitude higher than most other known environmental toxicants (PCBs, lead, methylmercury, organophosphate pesticides, bisphenol A). However, your question as to whether self-report is adequate to measure smoking, alcohol consumption and illegal drug use has also been addressed in methodological studies. Smoking is variable during pregnancy as women tend to repeatedly try to quit or cut-back, so biomarker measuring of cotonine in urine during pregnancy has almost as many problems as questionnaire based assessments (a spot cotinine level only addresses 2 week exposure). Methodological studies has found maternal self-reported smoking to be more accurate. Alcohol consumption cannot be assessed through biomarkers, and is probably under-reported. Illegal drug use can be measured through biomarkers, and is probably under-reported by questionnaire. However, these two factors would have to strongly associate with phthalate exposure to represent a substantial bias in our study. Neither do.

Shaw comment:  Sorry, not good enough. Since all the women are exposed to phthalates, how this associates with illegal drug use is irrelevant. Certainly, illegal drug use could affect the BNBAS, and to not check for it is simply ignoring a huge confounding factor. My take is that the women only agreed to the urine tests on the promise that illegal drug use was not going to be examined, although this is obviously not mentioned in the paper.

I am still waiting for an unequivocal study showing real health effects in real humans from these endocrine disruptors, but I'm not holding my breath. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Paradoxes — Compel us to think

We may know, intellectually, that correlations can never show causation, but when a correlation seems to confirm a reason we believe, it’s very easy to find ourselves falling for the fallacy, anyway, and to not even consider other explanations. We may call our belief “common sense” or what “everyone knows,” without realizing that we’ve come to believe it simply because it’s all we ever hear. It may never even occur to us to question an axiom — especially if we never hear about the evidence which contradicts or disproves it. The obesity paradox wouldn’t be a paradox at all, for example, if the public had been hearing objective reports of medical research all along. (Junkfood Science)


Fracture risk doubled after obesity surgery

NEW YORK - The dramatic and sustained increase in bone turnover that occurs following surgery for obesity, or "bariatric surgery," translates into a significantly increased risk of fractures, especially in the hands and feet, according to a study presented today at The Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The study team, from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, compared the fracture rate in 97 patients (average age of 44 years) who underwent bariatric surgery to the rate expected in individuals of the same age and sex in the general population.

Gastric bypass was performed in 90 percent of the subjects while 10 percent had either vertical banded gastroplasty or biliopancreatic diversion. Eighty-six of the subjects were women.

Within an average of 7 years after surgery, 21 bariatric surgery patients experienced a total of 31 fractures, the investigators report.

"We showed that patients who have had bariatric surgery have about a twofold increased risk in developing a fracture or sustaining a fracture as compared to the normal population," said study presenter Dr. Elizabeth Chittilapilly Haglind. (Reuters Health)


Blocking A Muscle Growth-limiting Hormone Protects Against Obesity And Atherosclerosis

Knockout of myostatin, a growth factor that limits muscle growth, can decrease body fat and promote resistance against developing atherosclerosis, or "hardening" of the arteries, according to a new study conducted in mice. The results were presented June 11 at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (ScienceDaily)


Science, belief and rational debate

The scientific method is a valuable way to advance objective knowledge. By testing a hypothesis against observation, it can either be falsified or supported. Not proved, of course, but nevertheless over time sufficient evidence can accumulate for a hypothesis to be generally accepted as the best available explanation. It is then known as a theory. Hence, although the vast majority of scientists and citizens (at least in Europe) accept Darwin's description of evolution, this is still regarded as a theory rather than fact. This is important, because as our understanding develops, apparently satisfactory theories may be replaced by others. (Scientific Alliance)


Health workers free to 'fog' mosquitoes

OROVILLE — Health workers are free to "fog" mosquitoes with pesticides as usual this year, due to a court ruling this week.

The ruling allays fears that without fogging, there might have been a rise in West Nile virus this year. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes.

"I'm very happy for the sake of the county residents," said Matt Ball, manager of the Butte County Mosquito Control District, in a phone interview Thursday. "We can continue doing adult mosquito control without worrying we'd have to stop." (Contra Costa Times)


Congress Passes Measure on Tobacco Regulation

The House moved quickly Friday to pass the Senate’s tobacco bill and send it to the White House, where President Obama promised to sign it.

Mr. Obama, who himself has struggled to quit smoking, said the measure would “protect our kids and improve our public health.” Appearing in the Rose Garden just moments after the House vote, he said the tobacco legislation was “a bill that truly defines changes in Washington” and one that “changes the way Washington works and who it works for.”

The law would for the first time give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, which kill more than 400,000 people in this country each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The House vote on Friday was 307 to 97, and followed Senate passage of the measure 79 to 17 on Thursday. A key to Senate passage was a vote earlier in the week to overcome a filibuster, by a two-vote margin.

Under the law, the F.D.A. will be able to set product standards and ban some chemicals in tobacco products, but not totally ban addictive nicotine. The F.D.A. will set up a new tobacco regulatory office financed by industry fees, which are expected to be $85 million in the first year and as much as $700 million annually within 10 years.

The F.D.A. would have the power not only to consider changing existing products, but also to ban new products unless the agency found they contributed to overall public health. (New York Times)


The saddest thing is that this should be necessary: U.S. Chamber to Bring Back Capitalism

Massive government intervention in the economy has spurred the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to launch an unprecedented campaign to promote a basic American principle: capitalism.

As much as $100 million will go toward public education, lobbying, grassroots organizing and a high-profile advertising campaign over an unspecified number of years. (Jillian Bandes, Townhall)


Prosecuting “Future Crimes”

The “World Future Council” has recently issued a press release stating “Crimes against Future Generations need to become taboo” (pdf), with a lead sentence that states the following: “How can we prevent and prosecute activites today that severely threaten the living conditions and health of those living in the future?”

Does this sound sinister to you? If you don’t buy into some of the dominant concepts of mainstream environmentalism today, if you appreciate the potential for unintended consequences, and if you are paying attention the ongoing momentum of mainstream environmentalism, you will find this pronouncement sinister indeed. Here’s more: (Edward Ring)


The Crone disapproves but fishermen must survive too: Of Fish and Flexibility

Senator Charles Schumer has introduced a bill called The Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act. Flexibility, in this case, means bending to the will of fishermen who want to keep vacuuming up depleted fish populations before they have a chance to recover.

The bill aims to help New York fishermen whose livelihoods depend on fluke and other species. To achieve this narrow objective, however, it would poke holes in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the basic law governing fishing in federal waters. The act, strengthened by Congress in 2006, imposes ambitious timetables for rebuilding fish stocks and gives scientists a say in setting limits.

It is those sensible restrictions under which the fishermen are now chafing, and which Mr. Schumer’s bill — the companion to a House measure sponsored by Frank Pallone of New Jersey — seeks to gut.

The bill would allow the government to consider the economic consequences of fishing restrictions, and prolong the deadlines for rebuilding fish stocks. It’s an understandable response to the frustration of fishing interests, like the Long Island charter and party-boat captains who say they are seeing more fluke than ever and who accuse rigid bureaucrats and misguided scientists of unfairly limiting their catch. (New York Times)


We for sure don't agree with them but we'll defend to the death their right to hold and espouse such stupid opinions: Genetically Modified Organisms are Unfit for Consumption

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has issued a warning urging the public to avoid genetically modified foods and has also called for a moratorium on GMOs until long-term, independent studies can prove their safety. The group has also called for required labeling of foods that contain GMOs, a move that has been strongly opposed by the Food and Drug Administration and Big Biotech which cooperatively purport that consumers should not have the right to know whether or not the foods they buy come from traditionally bred or genetically engineered sources. (Ethan Huff, NaturalNews)


Despite Odds, Cities Race to Bet on Biotech

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Where a textile mill once drove the economy of this blue-collar town northeast of Charlotte, an imposing neoclassical complex is rising, filled with fine art, Italian marble and multimillion-dollar laboratory equipment. Three buildings, one topped by a giant dome, form the beginnings of what has been nicknamed the Biopolis, a research campus dedicated to biotechnology.

At $500 million and counting, the Biopolis, officially called the North Carolina Research Campus, is a product of a national race to attract the biotechnology industry, a current grail of economic development.

Cities like Shreveport, La., and Huntsville, Ala., are also gambling millions in taxpayer dollars on if-we-build-it-they-will-come research parks and wet laboratories, which hold the promise of low-pollution workplaces and high salaries.

At a recent global biotech convention in Atlanta, 27 states, including Hawaii and Oklahoma, paid as much as $100,000 each to entice companies on the exhibition floor. All this for a highly risky industry that has turned a profit only one year in the past four decades. (New York Times)


Not What a Sensible Person Should Do

FEMA is attempting to do the impossible, and that is to predict future flood losses in a way that will allow changes to be made in the federal flood insurance program. E&E Daily reports:

Federal officials are struggling to calculate the fiscal impact that climate change could have on the nation’s troubled public flood insurance program, amid predictions of intensifying downpours and more potent hurricanes. The mission is proving extremely difficult, according to one researcher, who said the effort so far has failed to reveal even “squishy assumptions.”

The project’s lead researcher suggested that the entire effort was misguided (emphasis added):

Researchers are using data from the IPCC and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program to determine the climate risks to the insurance program. But there are glaring omissions in the overall knowledge needed to accurately depict the effects, says David Divoky, an expert with the consulting firm AECOM and the study’s lead researcher.

Detailed information about population growth is unknown, for example. So are the frequency, severity and location of future hurricanes, all of which can create large variations on the impacts on the flood insurance program. “There may be no solid projections. We’re not even coming up with squishy assumptions,” Divoky told an audience at the floodplain managers conference. “This whole thing is not what a sensible person should do.”

Once again I am reminded about a vignette from Nobel Prize-winning economist Kenneth Arrow (PDF):

As a weather forecaster in the Second World War, Arrow and his colleagues were told that their commanding officer needed a long-term forecast. The forecasters knew from experience that such forecasts had little scientific basis, and related this up the chain of command. The reply that came back was this: no matter, the general needs the forecast for planning purposes.

One prediction for the FEMA study seems spot on:

“The results could produce controversy regardless of the outcome” (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


In the virtual realm: Climate Change Worsens Disaster Risks For Poor-UN

BONN - Climate change will aggravate natural disasters and people in developing nations such as Dominica, Vanuatu, Myanmar and Guatemala are most at risk, a U.N.-backed study showed on Thursday.

It urged governments to invest hundreds of billions of dollars to curb mounting impacts of hazards such as cyclones, floods, droughts, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis.

"Risk is ... felt most acutely by people living in poor rural areas and slums," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the report, issued on the sidelines of June 1-12 U.N. climate talks in Bonn working on a new treaty to combat global warming. (Reuters)


Climate change? No worries here

Polls show that global warming has fallen to the bottom of the list of Americans’ worries. Meanwhile 170 Michigan professors signed a letter calling for tough climate legislation. I read the professors’ letter, and I have to say I’m with the people on this one.

Their letter would be more convincing if they weren’t so dismissive of the costs involved. They cite unnamed “recent studies” that claim emission cuts could create 150,000 jobs in Michigan. I put more stock in the analysis by the Energy Information Administration of last year’s Lieberman-Warner bill (which is similar to the Waxman-Markey bill now before Congress).

The EIA pointed out that cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions requires driving up energy prices, and this will shrink the economy. U.S. manufacturing would decline by 3% to 7%, depending on how lucky the United States is at developing alternative energy sources, and manufacturing employment will fall between 3% and 10% (p. 39). Of course the professors won’t lose their jobs, but they should still be concerned about these things.

It is true that if you could convince taxpayers in the other 49 states to subsidize new, money-losing green energy projects in Michigan, then you might gain some jobs. But when every other state is hoping to pull the same trick on you, it’s a zero-sum game. Actually it’s worse: Subsidies for green jobs end up reducing national employment, not increasing it. (Ross McKitrick, Detroit Free Press)


Climate change? Check this data

Next there is the problem of attributing temperature changes to CO2 emissions. In the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Figure 9.1 shows that the main effect of CO2 over the past century (see panel (c)) should have been a strong warming in the mid-troposphere over the tropics. Figure 10.7 shows the same pattern resulting from current and future CO2 emissions. Changes are also projected at the surface in the polar regions. However they are not so easy to tie to greenhouse gases since those regions are also sensitive to solar variability and natural atmospheric oscillations.

The tropical troposphere stands out as a good place to measure the specific effects of CO2. The contour lines imply an expected warming of the tropical tropospheric of 1-2 degrees Celsius over four decades starting in 1980, implying a warming of one-quarter to one-half degree Celsius per decade should now be observable.

Satellite data for the tropical mid-troposphere is available from the University of Alabama and from Remote Sensing Systems in California. These series track each other closely. There were some processing differences in the early decades but in recent years the two have converged.

Taking the average of the two series, there is a 30-year trend over the tropics of six-hundredths of a degree Celsius per decade, and it is statistically insignificant (when applying the appropriate autocorrelation correction). In other words, the data do not show the warming trend that the models say should be under way, if greenhouse gases have such a big effect on the climate. (Ross McKitrick, Detroit Free Press)


UN climate talks advance, poor urge more CO2 cuts

BONN, Germany - Climate talks made progress on Friday toward a new U.N. treaty to curb global warming but ended far short of calls by developing nations for the rich to make deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Four years of talks to widen the existing Kyoto Protocol have struggled to agree on how to share the cost of efforts to curb greenhouses gas mainly emitted by burning fossil fuels. (Reuters)


ANALYSIS-Dispute on CO2 cuts forms roadblock to Copenhagen

BONN, Germany, June 12 - A small reference on page 776 of a mammoth U.N. scientific report to cuts in greenhouse gases far deeper than those on offer by rich nations has become a main roadblock towards a new U.N. climate treaty.

For developing nations at two-week U.N. talks in Bonn ending on Friday, the outlined emissions cuts by developed nations of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 have become vital for a deal due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

Many developed nations, however, say such curbs meant to avert the worst of climate change would cripple their economies.

"The minus 25 to 40 range has become a sort of beacon," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters. "It is very much in the back of people's minds as something to measure the success of Copenhagen against."

The 25-40 range was based on only a handful of studies and did not even make it to the "summary for policymakers" of the three-part report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), drawing on work of 2,500 experts.

"Very little progress has been made on setting targets," Shyam Saran, special climate envoy to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said of the Bonn talks. (Reuters)


Walk away (run, if you can): U.S. Emissions Bill Is Criticized Abroad

A bill to cap U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions, hailed on Capitol Hill as a historic breakthrough, went over with a soft thud this week during international negotiations, criticized as inadequate for the climate and unfair to poor countries.

The bill passed a House of Representatives committee last month and is regarded as the most serious effort yet to reduce U.S. contributions to climate change. But at a United Nations-led conference in Bonn, Germany, and at a summit of mega-emitters America and China in Beijing, some environmental groups and foreign governments derided it for a lack of ambition.

The bill's target for reducing emissions is "unacceptable to China," said Pan Jiahua, an official at a think tank affiliated with the Chinese government and a member of the Chinese government's advisory panel on climate change. "It is much too low."

That kind of reaction revealed the vastness of the work ahead, as countries seek to hammer out a new climate treaty by December.

This week it was mainly posturing and gridlock. The United States promised a first step; others said the situation requires a long jump. (David A. Fahrenthold and Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post)


Climate Change: Road to Copenhagen I

copenhagen symbolWith this post I am initiating a periodic update of various landmarks along the road toward the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Known in UN jargon as the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the conference will convene in Denmark this coming December. Today's update features a new statement on climate change issued by the scientific academies of the world's 13 largest economies, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Indian Academy of Sciences. Among many other things, the statement declares:

...climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid. Feedbacks in the climate system might lead to much more rapid climate changes.

The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable. For example, limiting global warming to 2°C would require a very rapid worldwide implementation of all currently available low carbon technologies.

According to the science academies' statement, all governments should

...agree at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen to adopt a long-term global goal and near-term emission reduction targets that will deliver an approximately 50% reduction in global emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 ...

Curiously, the statement doesn't talk about actual global temperature trends.

Read the whole statement here. Look for coming updates detailing various scientific and policy landmarks as the world wends its way toward Copenhagen in December. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)


Unhappy campers: Climate change talks need to change

China Daily carried a report on Wednesday, saying China and the US had achieved nothing substantial at the bilateral climate change talks. But that was not to be, for shortly before boarding the flight back home on Wednesday afternoon, US climate change negotiator Todd Stern told China Daily: "We don't expect China to take a national cap (on greenhouse gas emission) at this stage."

The report in Thursday's edition carried the reaction of US environmentalists, who insisted that Stern's stance was temporary because the Sino-US climate change talks had just begun.

It seems that many American environmentalists and think tanks are not happy with Stern's performance in Beijing. A US source even said: "This kind of language can lead to Stern's resignation". Many interested groups have pinned high hopes on Sino-US partnership to fight climate change. But they have expressed concern on the slow progress of their talks, too, especially after the world's two biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters made climate change a "primary area" of cooperation after Barack Obama became the US president.

Irrespective of the agenda of bilateral talks or the 12-day UN meeting on climate change in Bonn that ended on Friday, accusations and arguments have dominated conferences and forums.

If talks do not yield positive results and no concrete agreement on cutting GHG emissions is reached before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, there is no reason for negotiators, including Stern, to continue on their posts. The reason for that is simple: if they cannot reach a deal they do not have the right to fly across the globe to attend meetings and increase their carbon footprint. (China Daily)


II: CLIMATE CHANGE: Obama Sounds Too Much Like Bush

BONN, Jun 12 - A leading global environmental group has accused the United States of holding up UN climate negotiations.

Friends of the Earth Malaysia's honorary secretary Meena Raman said that throughout the second round of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn that ended Jun. 12, the U.S. administration had blocked progress to move negotiations forward.

Delegates from 183 countries meeting in Bonn discussed key negotiating texts which will serve as the basis for an international climate change deal due to be reached at a meeting in Copenhagen Dec. 7-18. The Copenhagen meeting would seek to bring an international agreement to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

The 12-day gathering in former West German capital Bonn this month was attended by more than 4,600 participants, including government delegates, and representatives from business and industry, environmental organisations and research institutions.

Rather than show global leadership, the Obama administration failed to live up to its responsibility as the world's largest historical greenhouse gas polluter, Raman told reporters Jun. 12.

"This strategy damages the prospects for a just, equitable, and effective outcome" at the key UN conference planned in Copenhagen, she added.

Echoing general disappointment with the new U.S. administration, Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S. said: "The election of President (Barack) Obama created tremendous hope worldwide that the U.S. would finally play a leadership role in solving the climate crisis that - more than any other nation on earth - it is responsible for causing.

"Unfortunately for the survival of people and the planet, the Obama administration's position at these UN negotiations sounds frighteningly similar to that of (former U.S. president) George Bush." (IPS)


At least they had the honesty to file this nonsense under "politics": Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans

WASHINGTON -- In Washington state, oysters in some areas haven't reproduced for four years, and preliminary evidence suggests that the increasing acidity of the ocean could be the cause. In the Gulf of Mexico, falling oxygen levels in the water have forced shrimp to migrate elsewhere. (McClatchy Newspapers)


Reports of ocean acidity discredited

A noted skeptic of "climate change" disagrees with a recent report that the oceans are becoming too acidic.

In recent hearings before the Oceans Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, researchers and scientists predicted a dire future for the world's oceans. According to their research, "manmade climate change" is warming the oceans and increasing the acidity of the water as they absorb more carbon -- which they claim, in turn, could destroy the economies of coastal communities.

Lord Christopher Monckton, a noted skeptic of manmade climate change who has testified before Congress, edits the Science & Public Policy Institute's "Monthly CO2 Report." He says global-warming alarmists have realized that their predictions are not coming true, so they are resorting to a new scare tactic. (Pete Chagnon, OneNewsNow)


Sheesh! Globesity: How climate change and obesity draw from the same roots

You’ve heard all the reasons before: We drive too much. We eat too much meat and processed food. We spend too much time with plugged-in devices—computers, TVs, air conditioners.

But what problem are we talking about—climate change, or the worldwide rise in obesity? (Grist)


When science academies play politics: World Science Academies Push For G8 Climate Action

WASHINGTON - The world's richest countries and those that are developing fastest need to lead the transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy to stave off the worst effects of climate change, science academies from these nations said on Thursday.

In a message to the Group of Eight industrialized nations, as well as leaders of fast-growing Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, the academies from these so-called G8+5 countries said that tackling this environmental challenge should be part of efforts to rebuild the global economy.

"The need to find solutions to climate change presents a huge but as yet unrealized opportunity for the creation of new jobs and for the stimulation of new and emerging markets," the statement said. (Reuters)


Dem mutiny on climate bill grows, says Peterson

More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he’s at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking.

“We’re stuck,” Peterson said regarding a clash he’s had with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over a number of issues in the bill. “And there’s a lot of issues that haven’t even come up yet.”

The two powerful chairmen are butting heads at the staff level, despite a deadline set by Pelosi for all committee action to be completed by June 19.

But that may be the least of the trouble.

Peterson has warned that the bill put together by Waxman and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will fail if agriculture-related provisions aren’t altered, and he’s said he has as many as 45 votes on his side. That number of Democratic defections would certainly doom the prospects of passing the bill in the House.

And while the Agriculture chairman said he’s working to resolve those differences and not intentionally trying to torpedo the legislation, he noted that skepticism toward the bill is growing, not shrinking.

“I’m just estimating the number of votes that will be against this,” Peterson said. “I suspect that the list has grown as more members have gotten a chance to look at this. I mean, my list has grown.” (Jared Allen, The Hill)


GOP says Democrats' climate bill is another tax

WASHINGTON — Republicans on Saturday slammed a Democratic bill before the House that seeks to address climate change, arguing that it amounts to an energy tax on consumers.

In the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence said Congress should instead open the way for more domestic oil and natural gas production and ease regulatory barriers for building new nuclear power plants.

"During these difficult times, the American people don't want a national energy tax out of Washington, D.C.," said Pence, the third-ranking House Republican. (AP)


Don't do it at all: U.S. Climate Bill, U.N. Pact Seen More Likely In 2010

NEW YORK - The U.S. energy bill may not pass until next year, which could also delay an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions until 2010, experts said on Thursday.

Environmentalists, carbon market developers and many politicians have urged passage of a U.S. climate bill before December, when nearly 200 countries will aim to hash out a successor to the Kyoto pact.

They have seen it as a way for the United States, the world's largest greenhouse gas polluter on a per capita basis, to break a deadlock with China, the top overall greenhouse polluter, on taking action on global warming. Combined, the giants emit about 40 percent of the world's planet-warming pollution. (Reuters)


Cap and trade schemes are bad for the economy and for the environment

With concern over global warming disappearing in a hurry, proponents of a cap and trade scheme are desperately churning out arguments in hopes of convincing Americans that carbon dioxide restrictions are necessary.

In a June 12th editorial, PG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Darbee and Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp jumped on the bandwagon and tried to shill a carbon cap to Sacramento Bee readers. While they did everything they could to make a carbon tax look like a plus for consumers, they presented nothing but cleverly reworded arguments that environmentalists have made for years.

Like all climate alarmists do, Darbee and Krupp argued that the scientific aspect of the debate is settled: “With study after study showing that the climate is changing alarmingly fast – faster than anyone predicted – we can no longer duck the need to act.”

One wonders how the climate is changing “alarmingly fast” when the earth’s surface temperature hasn’t moved in well over ten years, and recent research indicates that it won’t continue moving again until the middle of next decade. In fact, as time goes on it seems that the IPCC’s predictions of runaway warming don’t agree with reality. Many qualified skeptical scientists—yes, they do exist—have argued that “the computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.” (Cameron English, El Dorado County Conservative Examiner)


“The RAT Scheme will destroy jobs, jobs, jobs.” A statement/letter by Mr Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

13 June 2009

Any politician interested in preserving Australian jobs must vote against “The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme”. It will destroy real jobs faster than green jobs can be created.

This deceptively misnamed bill is not about “carbon” nor about “pollution reduction” – it is designed to Ration and Tax human production of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is correctly named “the Carbon Dioxide Ration and Tax Scheme” or “the RAT Scheme” for short.

There is no human activity or business that produces zero carbon dioxide – every activity (even sleeping on the job) produces CO2, either directly or indirectly. And for Australia’s chief industries, there is no feasible alternative on the horizon. Electricity generation, transport and tourism, agriculture and food processing, mining and mineral processing, infrastructure and construction, forestry and fishing, metals and cement, electronics and appliances – all depend for most of their energy on hydro-carbons – coal, oil and gas.

Even with a crash-through program of investment in alternative energy, the base load power will still be required, with boilers charged and staff on standby to cope with the many times when there is neither sun nor wind energy available. Given time and the political will, nuclear power could take up base-load power generation (at higher costs). But that looks unlikely to occur any time soon.

The first thing the RAT Scheme will do is establish a “cap” - a ration or limit on the production of CO2. (The exact level of the cap, and the base reference year will apparently be set using a roulette wheel in Penny Wong’s office.)

The whole purpose of the cap is to force Australia’s backbone industries to reduce production of CO2 (unless of course they are exempted, but that would make the whole exercise even more pointless and unfair than it is now). There are no real alternatives available in many applications (solar aircraft? wind powered trucks? geothermal fishing trawlers?) Thus the cap must thus reduce production.

This rationing of production will cause the first round of job layoffs.

Then comes the tax whammy.

Most industries will have to pay for their cap entitlement – ie they have to pay to do what they have previously been doing for free. Even after they have paid for production up to their rationed entitlement, any business which wishes to return to its pre-Rat scheme production levels (above the cap), must buy new ration permits in a speculative Emissions Permit market. This is another tax which has to be recovered from customers, other businesses or shareholders.

The first law of fiscal policy is this: “If you tax something, less of it will be produced.” This is the real aim of the RAT Scheme and it will achieve that aim.

There are always marginal businesses in all industries. An increase in taxes will cause a few of them to close their doors or move to a more enlightened country. And there are always nervous bankers ready to pull the plug because of the extra risk in the speculative carbon trading market.

In the green new world there is also no room for new projects or new jobs in traditional industries – any new project will need to force closure of an old project by buying its Ration permits on the market.

These new and uncertain taxes on existing production will cause the second round of job losses.

Even those businesses that survive the production cap, the ration fee and the excess carbon tax, will be forced to increase their prices to recoup the extra costs. This makes them less able to compete with imports in the Australian market, or with other exporters in the world market. Countries such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa, who have no intention of embracing the shackles of a RAT Scheme, will be the chief beneficiaries. Overseas is where the real new jobs will be created.

This unfair competition from foreign firms will cause the third round of jobs layoffs.

To date we have only looked at things from the perspective of existing industry.

There is also a whole gamut of global warming policies that will directly or indirectly subsidize regulators, inspectors, auditors, lawyers, bankers, carbon traders, international conferences, and the manufacture and operation of subsidised facilities such as wind farms, solar arrays, carbon forests and facilities granted exemptions from the costs everyone else must bear.

The second law of fiscal policy is this: “If you subsidise something, you will get more of it”.

We will thus get more of these costly subsidised things – the Climate Change Industry looks like becoming the biggest industry in the world. It will compete with real industry for materials, labour and rationed energy, but will not put cheaper food on our plate, cheaper or more reliable electricity into the grid or make a net contribution to tax revenue.

The growing costs of the Climate Change Industry must filter back to the real economy, causing more job layoffs.

Three places in the world have already tested the Green Job Creation Myth – Spain and Denmark with massive wind and solar power developments and California which tries to lead the world in everything green.

All three have seen loss of jobs as industries close or relocate because of costly or unreliable electricity supply. A recent study in Spain has concluded that more than 2 real jobs were destroyed for every green job created. In addition Spain has 17% unemployment, electricity shortages, and power costs up by from 30% (homes) to 100% (businesses). Denmark is selling unreliable wind power at a loss, and California’s climate madness has caused a huge loss of jobs and tax revenue.

For more information on Green Job destruction in Spain see:

Viv Forbes Chairman
The Carbon Sense Coalition


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, June 12th 2009

It’s time for skeptics to smile again, the regular round-up of all things warm, toasty and positively hoaxy is here.

It’s a bumper edition this week, so a well padded seat and extra-large beverage is recommended. (Daily Bayonet)


Argh! U.S.-Private Bid to Trap Carbon Emissions Is Revived

A public-private project to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions that was abandoned by the Bush administration is being restarted, Steven Chu, the energy secretary, announced Friday.

The project, known as FutureGen, was dropped in January 2008 because the Bush administration said that costs had doubled to $1.8 billion, from $950 million. A study later found that a math error had caused the increase to be overstated; costs had actually risen 39 percent, to $1.3 billion.

Under the project, a coal plant will be built in Mattoon, Ill., that will store nearly all of its emissions underground, where they cannot contribute to global warming.

Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant. It is an essential trace gas. ...


Stop trying to rip off the biosphere: CO2 Conversion A Carbon Capture Alternative

Capturing and storing (or sequestering, if you prefer) carbon dioxide to meet international greenhouse gas reduction targets is expected to be a high growth industry in the next few years if the technology can be made cost effective.

An alternative to storing carbon dioxide underground is to work within the industrial waste stream to convert CO2 to an energy source and valuable organic molecule. Mantra Venture Group of Seattle is developing technology that will turn CO2 into formic acid, which is naturally produced by stinging ants who use it as a defense mechanism.

Formic acid is currently used in a variety of applications, including a hog feed additive, for de-icing planes, in pharmaceuticals and rubber manufacturing. According to Mantra CEO Larry Kristof, the company's electro-reduction of carbon dioxide (ERC) technology requires electricity, platinum as a catalyst, and a salt water solution. (Reuters)


Caterpillar CEO Commits to Pro-Cap-and-Trade Lobbying Course While Admitting Risk to USA and His Own Corporation; Says Stockholders Who Object Can Just Sell Their Stock

Should We Sell Our Stock in America, Too, Mr. Owens?

Washington, DC - Caterpillar CEO James Owens admitted Wednesday at his company's annual stockholder meeting that the carbon caps his company supports could hurt the U.S., U.S. heavy industry and Caterpillar itself.

Owens made the admission in response to questioning by Tom Borelli, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, who attended the meeting on behalf of the Free Enterprise Action Fund.

Owens told Borelli and stockholders that the U.S. and Caterpillar will be harmed if carbon caps are adopted by the U.S. but not adopted by the rest of the world.

The key industrial nations of China and India are extremely unlikely to adopt carbon caps.

Borelli also asked Owens how Owens would be held accountable if Caterpillar's lobbying led to "a regulatory avalanche leaving the U.S. in an uncompetitive situation." Owens responded by telling Borelli to just sell his stock.

"Caterpillar CEO Owens' flippant remark that stockholders can just sell their stock if Caterpillar's lobbying efforts harm the company leaves me wondering: Does Owens expect us to sell our stock in America, too? Because by lobbying for legislation that would harm individual Americans and American competitiveness, it sure seems like that's what Mr. Owens and his board of directors have done," said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Mr. Owens freely admits the legislation his firm backs will hurt the country and his company unless it also is adopted by major nations worldwide, but everyone knows the powerhouses China and India have no interest in doing so." (National Center)


China Breaks with Climate Crusaders

This week China, the world’s fastest growing economic power, most populous country and biggest greenhouse gas polluter, says no to participation in any global climate change programs. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that as a developing country China’s priority is to develop its economy, alleviate poverty and raise living standards. “Given that, it is natural for China to have some increase in emissions, it is not possible for China to accept a binding or compulsory target,” the Chinese said. Officials from Beijing told a UN conference in Bonn that China would increase its emissions to develop its economy rather than sign up for any mandatory greenhouse gas cuts. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)


Scotch whisky pledges to go green

Scotch whisky firms have pledged to cut their use of fossil fuels by 80% over the next 40 years under the first industry-wide environmental strategy. (BBC)

Oddly enough some extraordinary things make sense to me after (more than?) a few single-malteds that on sober reflection are not so well founded after all. One can only assume a great deal of grain alcohol sampling had taken place before they arrived at this little gem.


Climate change reconsidered: reasons to question beliefs

Proponents of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change have ruled the roost for years. Following the release of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” book and movie, the media focused on “impending doom,” shunning skeptics. Only recently have several thousand credible scientists offered organized evidence, research and persuasion that explain how forces far greater than those of mortals are effecting climate change. Their data and explanations indicate that the incredible, soon-to-be-spent megamillions, will have little effect on lowering human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions. On June 2, “Climate Change Reconsidered — The Report of the Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)” (, documenting this scientific evidence, was unveiled at the Third International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. (Michael Mogil, Naples News)


New Paper “Uncertainties In Climate Responses To Past Land Cover Change: First Results From The LUCID Intercomparison Study” by Pitman Et Al 2009

A new study has appeared (and thanks to Willie Soon for alerting us to it!) which provides further quantitative documentation of the role of land use change as a first order climate forcing.

The paper is

Pitman, A.J., N. de Noblet-Ducoudré, F.T. Cruz, E.L. Davin, G.B. Bonan, V. Brovkin, M. Claussen, C. Delire, L. Ganzeveld, V. Gayler, B.J.J.M. van den Hurk, P.J. Lawrence, M.K. van der Molen, C. Müller, C.H. Reick, S.I. Seneviratne, B. J. Strengers, and A. Voldoire, 2009: Uncertainties in climate responses to past land cover change: first results from the LUCID intercomparison study, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2009GL039076, in press. [“Land-Use and Climate, IDentification of robust impacts” (LUCID)].

The abstract reads

“Seven climate models were used to explore the biogeophysical impacts of human induced land cover change (LCC) at regional and global scales. The imposed LCC led to statistically significant decreases in the northern hemisphere summer latent heat flux in three models, and increases in three models. Five models simulated statistically significant cooling in summer in near-surface temperature over regions of LCC and one simulated warming. There were few significant changes in precipitation. Our results show no common remote impacts of LCC. The lack of consistency among the seven models was due to: 1) the implementation of LCC despite agreed maps of agricultural land, 2) the representation of crop phenology, 3) the parameterisation of albedo, and 4) the representation of evapotranspiration for different land cover types. This study highlights a dilemma: LCC is regionally significant, but it is not feasible to impose a common LCC across multiple models for the next IPCC assessment.”

This is the type of study that was recommended in the 2005 National Research Council report

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.

The conclusions in the Pitman et al 2009 article include the text

 ”In conclusion, LUCID results suggest that the statistically significant impacts of past LCC are restricted to regions of LCC….Thus, the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) should implement LCC since it is regionally significant, recognizing it will cause divergence over regions of LCC in the models.”

“LUCID did not identify any region, remote from LCC, where there are impacts that approach statistical significance or where several models agree on a remote teleconnection pattern.”

“We recognise several limitations in our results. First, fixed SSTs may damp global-scale teleconnections resulting from LCC if they exist. LUCID plans fully-coupled experiments in the future. Second, we note that others have found teleconnections with fixed SSTs; we suggest that by using multiple realizations and the modified t-test to exclude changes that are caused by model variability and by using multiple models our
results are more robust than earlier studies that used a single model. Third, we imposed small LCCs in the tropics and it is arguably more likely that global scale teleconnections would be triggered from this region (Werth and Avissar, 2002). Clearly, including future LCC in climate projections (Feddema et al., 2005) is necessary but is not possible to implement in a common way for AR5. Finally, our simulations only included the biogeophysical effects of LCC on climate. Additional impacts may have occurred had we included changes in land-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases, reactive trace gases and aerosols as a function of LCC.”

This is a very important study.

The failure to find a a long distance connection, however, needs further scrutiny. The finding of a “no common remote impacts of LCC” does not mean this teleconnection does not exist, since they also report that there is a “lack of consistency among the seven models”.  Thus, in addition to the other shortcomings that the authors list with respect to teleconnections, if there are significant real world teleconnections, but they are not spatially coherent among the models due to their lack of consistency, the analysis proceedure they used will incorrectly conclude that there is no long range effect of LCC when there really is. This issue needs  further exploration in order to remove this limitation in their excellent preliminary investigation.

For further papers on the importance of land use change in climate assessments, see, for example,

Marland, G., R.A. Pielke, Sr., M. Apps, R. Avissar, R.A. Betts, K.J. Davis, P.C. Frumhoff, S.T. Jackson, L. Joyce, P. Kauppi, J. Katzenberger, K.G. MacDicken, R. Neilson, J.O. Niles, D. dutta S. Niyogi, R.J. Norby, N. Pena, N. Sampson, and Y. Xue, 2003: The climatic impacts of land surface change and carbon management, and the implications for climate-change mitigation policy. Climate Policy, 3, 149-157.

Pielke Sr., R.A., J.O. Adegoke, T.N. Chase, C.H. Marshall, T. Matsui, and D. Niyogi, 2007: A new paradigm for assessing the role of agriculture in the climate system and in climate change. Agric. Forest Meteor., Special Issue, 132, 234-254. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New Paper “Spatiotemporal Variability Of Precipitation, Soil Moisture, And Vegetation Greenness In North America Within The Recent Observational Record” by Castro et al. 2009

I am pleased to announce another peer reviewed paper with the senior author, Professor Chris Castro, on the faculty of the University of Arizona.

Castro, C.L. A. Beltrán-Przekurat, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2009: Spatiotemporal variability of precipitation, soil moisture, and vegetation greenness in North America within the recent observational record. J. Hydrometeor., accepted.

The abstract reads

“Dominant spatiotemporal patterns of precipitation, modeled soil moisture, and vegetation are determined in North America within the recent observational record (late 20th century on). These data are from a gridded U.S.-Mexico precipitation product, retrospective long-term integrations of two land surface models, and satellite-derived vegetation greenness. The analysis procedure uses two statistical techniques. First, all the variables are normalized according to the Standardized Precipitation Index procedure. Second, dominant patterns of spatiotemporal variability are determined using multi-taper method, singular value decomposition for interannual and longer timescales. The dominant spatiotemporal patterns of precipitation generally conform to known and distinct Pacific SST forcing in the cool and warm seasons. Two specific timescales in precipitation at 9 years and 6-7 years correspond to significant variability in soil moisture and vegetation, respectively. The 9 year signal is related to precipitation in late fall to early winter, while the 6-7 year signal is related to early summer precipitation. Canonical correlation analysis is additionally used to confirm that strong covariability between land surface variables and precipitation exists at these specific times of the year. Both signals are strongest in the central and western U.S., and are consistent with prior global modeling and paleoclimate studies which have investigated drought in North America.”

As written in the paper

“The main goal of the present study is to determine the dominant spatiotemporal patterns of precipitation that force long-term variability in soil moisture and vegetation.”

This study is a very significant advancement in our understanding the role of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean on precipitation and other weather variables in the central and western United States. It also reinforces that it is the regional atmospheric and ocean circulations, not a global average surface temperature trend, that dominate regional climate patterns such as drought and floods. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


A Recommended Article “Collateral Damage From The Death Of Stationarity” By Pielke Jr. 2009

Yesterday, my son posted at the weblog Prometheus an excellent, much needed weblog titled Collateral Damage from the Death of Stationarity which referred to the paper

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2009. Collateral Damage from the Death of Stationarity, GEWEX Newsletter, May, pp. 5-7.

This paper effectively discusses the issues associated with the incorrect assumption of the stationarity of the climate system. The real climate has never been stationary in time.

To provide additional documentation of the nonstationarity of the climate system on a variety of space and time scales, see our paper

Rial, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Beniston, M. Claussen, J. Canadell, P. Cox, H. Held, N. de Noblet-Ducoudre, R. Prinn, J. Reynolds, and J.D. Salas, 2004: Nonlinearities, feedbacks and critical thresholds within the Earth’s climate system. Climatic Change, 65, 11-38

where our abstract reads in part

“The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. ……. we provide a number of illustrative examples and highlight key mechanisms that give rise to nonlinear behavior, address scale and methodological issues, suggest a robust alternative to prediction that is based on using integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability studies……. It is imperative that the Earth’s climate system research community embraces this nonlinear paradigm if we are to move forward in the assessment of the human influence on climate.”

There is also a clear example of nonstationarity in the research of Connie Woodhouse and her colleagues (see) which I presented in Figure 1 my paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: Global climate models - Many contributing influences. Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Climate Change, Colorado Climate Foundation for Water Education, pp. 28-29.

I urge readers of my weblog to read the excellent new article in the GEWEX Newsletter by R.A. Pielke Jr. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Another Report On The Role Of Human Caused Landscape Change On The Climate

There was an article on January 26, 2005 in the Sydney Morning Herald titled Climate change: settlers 50,000 years ago blamed which provides another example of the major role of land surface processes (and the human conversion of the landscape) on the climate system (and thanks to Tom Grahame for alerting us to this!).

Excerpts from this news article read

“Settlers who came to Australia 50,000 years ago and set fires that burned off natural flora and fauna may have triggered a cataclysmic weather change that turned the continent’s interior into the dry desert it is today, United States and Australian researchers say.”

“Their study, reported in the latest issue of the journal, Geology, supports arguments that early settlers literally changed the landscape of the continent with fire.”

“The implications are that the burning practices of early humans may have changed the climate of the Australian continent by weakening the penetration of monsoon moisture into the interior,” Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado at Boulder, who led the study, said in a statement.”

“Miller’s study suggests that large fires could have altered the plant population enough to decrease the exchange of water vapour with the atmosphere, stopping clouds from forming.”

“The researchers, working with John Magee of the Australian National University in Canberra, used computerised global climate simulations to show that if there were some forest in the middle of Australia, it would lead to a monsoon with twice as much rain as the current pattern.”

A Science peer reviewed article by Gifford Miller closely related this subject is

Miller, G. H. et al, 2005: Ecosystem Collapse in Pleistocene Australia and a Human Role in Megafaunal Extinction: Science 8 July 2005: Vol. 309. no. 5732, pp. 287 - 290 DOI: 10.1126/science.1111288

The abstract reads

“Most of Australia’s largest mammals became extinct 50,000 to 45,000 years ago, shortly after humans colonized the continent. Without exceptional climate change at that time, a human cause is inferred, but a mechanism remains elusive. A 140,000-year record of dietary 13C documents a permanent reduction in food sources available to the Australian emu, beginning about the time of human colonization; a change replicated at three widely separated sites and in the marsupial wombat. We speculate that human firing of landscapes rapidly converted a drought-adapted mosaic of trees, shrubs, and nutritious grasslands to the modern fire-adapted desert scrub. Animals that could adapt survived; those that could not, became extinct.”

With the much smaller human populations at that time, it should not be surprising that there is an even greater effect on today’s climate by human conversion of the landscape. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


IPCC Admits they Could be Wrong about Humans Causing Global Warming

If that headline surprises you, then it is a good indication of how successful the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been in their 20-year long effort to pin the rap for global warming on humanity. I’m not reporting anything really new here. I’m just stating what is logically consistent with, and a necessary inference from, one of the most recognizable claims contained in the Summary for Policymakers in the IPCC’s 2007 report:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

They assign a probablility of 90% to the term “very likely”. This is a curious use of statistical probability since warming over the last 50 years is either mostly due to anthropogenic emissions, or it isn’t. Probabilities do not apply to past events like this.

What the IPCC is really using probabilities for is to attach some scientific value to their level of faith. I would be very surprised if there weren’t vigorous objections to the use of probabilities in this way from members of the IPCC…but the IPCC leadership really needed a scientific-sounding way to help push their political agenda, so I’m sure any objections were overruled.

But I digress. My main point here is that the IPCC is admitting that they might be wrong. That doesn’t sound to me like “the science is settled”, as Al Gore is fond of saying. If it is “very likely” that “most” of the observed warming was due to mankind, then they are admitting that it is possible that the warming was mostly natural, instead.

So, let’s play along with their little probability game. Given the extreme cost of greatly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, wouldn’t you say that it would be important to actively investigate the 10% possibility that warming is mostly natural, as the IPCC readily admits?

Where is the 10% of government research dollars looking into this possibility? I suspect it is going to environmental NGO’s who are finding new ways to package “global warming” so that it doesn’t sound like a liberal issue. Or maybe they are working on more clever names to call researchers like me other than “deniers”, which is getting a little tiresome.

For many years the Department of Defense has had “Red Team” reviews devoted to finding holes in the “consensus of opinion” on weapons systems that cost a whole lot less than punishing the use of our most abundant and affordable sources of energy. It seems like a no-brainer that you would do something similar for something this expensive, and as destructive to the lives of poor people all over the world.

One could almost get the impression that there is more than just science that determines what climate science gets funded, and how it gets reported by the news media. Oh, that’s right I forgot…the United Nations is in charge of this effort. Well, I’m sure they know what they are doing. (Roy W. Spencer)


Playing politics with global warming

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is widely regarded in the media as the ultimate authority on climate change. Created by two divisions of the United Nations, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, its pronouncements are received as if they come down from Mount Olympus or Mount Sinai. The common presumption is that the IPCC has assembled the best scientific knowledge.

Let’s take a closer look at this organization to see whether it merits such uncritical deference. (Mark W. Hendrickson, The Citizen)


Beware of blood lust on the Left

Scratch a global warming fanatic these days and you may find a wannabe executioner.

The way I figure it, wish death upon your political opponents once and it can be ignored as just a warped jest. Do it twice and it looks like evidence of mounting frustration with your neighbors’ inability to see your cause’s crystalline righteousness.

Do it three times and folks around you should start reaching for their hog legs (Don’t know the meaning of that firearms industry technical term? Google it, then read the entry in the Urban Dictionary).

It seems there are more than a few global warming fanatics these days whose patience is wearing thin with those of us who refuse to endorse repeal of what the true believers view as three of the 20th century’s greatest evils – privately owned cars that empower people to go where they please, suburbs that let them permanently escape city life, and free market capitalism that produces a wider prosperity than seen anywhere else in human history. (Mark Tapscott, Examiner)


BBC And Climate: News Before Things Happen?

[ UPDATED 23:47 GMT: According to Singapore's Straits Times, it was "Hundreds of environmental activists" marching in Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald focuses on Brisbane and "a crowd of 600", after reporting that "thousands of environmental activists marched in central Sydney". Finally, Melbourne-based The Age writes that "The rallies attracted about 6,000 people nationwide".

That article is timestamped at 6:24PM, or 8:24AM GMT, a little less than 4 hours after Phil Mercer's piece for the BBC. QED.]

[ UPDATED 13:50 GMT: I have inserted the pictures grabbed earlier today.

There is now an ABC article saying "At a protest rally in central Sydney, streets were blocked off as more than 1,000 people marched through the city streets to the office of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd". And yes, it mentions just Sydney.

There is also a blog (with a photo) claiming "Thousands marched from Melbourne’s State Library to the Treasury Gardens to demand more action on climate change".

To be perfectly clear, the point of this blog is not to ask if thousands have marched in Australia against climate change or not. Had the BBC reported manufactured news, that would have been fraud. Instead, the point is to ask on what basis did the BBC find it necessary to rush this kind of news first, and without having had the time to check what they were writing about.

That is not fraud: it is bias. And I do not think the BBC can afford to show bias.]

Australians demand climate action“, writes Phil Mercer from Sydney on the BBC News web pages

Thousands of demonstrators have rallied across Australia to demand greater government action to protect the environment from climate change

BBC report on marching Australians

BBC report on marching Australians

Or have they? Has Mr Mercer written his piece before the fact (could happen), and much worse, before having the information needed to verify the contents of his article? (OmniClimate)


Policing Carbon Corruption

Imagine a cap and trade regime in place, and a company decides to shave off a few percentage points on its emissions accounting in order to generate a few tens of thousands more allowances. What happens then?

Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong explains the policing of carbon corruption via the Herald Sun (and for those like me needing some translation from Australian, here is the definition of “rort”): (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Probe Under Way In Alleged French CO2 VAT Fraud

PARIS/LONDON - The Paris prosecutor's office confirmed on Thursday a probe was under way into a suspected multi-million euros value-added tax (VAT) fraud in the French carbon emissions market.

"An inquiry is under way but we are not yet about to place people under official investigation," a source at the Paris prosecutor's office said.

The French Budget Ministry has made carbon permits exempt from VAT in order to prevent a potential scam linked to a French emissions exchange, a government source said on Monday. (Reuters)

So what? ALL hot air trading is fraud since it can never achieve its stated aim of controlling the planet's temperature.


Carbon conmen selling the sky

PAPUA NEW GUINEAN landowners are being ripped off by conmen travelling village to village offering fake carbon trading deals and promising big returns from "sky money".

The crude carbon trading racket has duped at least 500 villagers since late last year around Popondetta, Oro province, on the north-west coast, an industry insider said.

The unknown con artist hired agents to offer "brokerage" in the province's coming carbon trading windfall. (AAP)


NYC Water Towers Seen As Ground For "Wind Farms"

NEW YORK - New York City could become the grounds for a new kind of urban wind farm if a Cleveland-based mechanical engineer has his way.

Cleveland State University's Fenn College of Engineering on Thursday said it will unveil a new wind turbine design by one of its professors, Majid Rashidi, that could attach to the sides of the water storage tanks that sit on the rooftops of many city apartment buildings.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made green programs a centerpiece of his administration, last August proposed crowning the city's bridges, skyscrapers and shorelines with turbines, but critics said they would be impractical and possibly hazardous.

But Rashidi said his turbines solve a key stumbling block of harnessing wind power effectively in crowded urban areas because they accelerate the flow of wind through four rotating turbines. That allows the turbines to work where the wind speed otherwise would be too low.

"In the urban settings, usually because of the existence of buildings, you don't get the high speeds needed," he said. (Reuters)


Train can be worse for climate than plane

True or false: taking the commuter train across Boston results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than travelling the same distance in a jumbo jet. Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is false.

A new study compares the "full life-cycle" emissions generated by 11 different modes of transportation in the US. Unlike previous studies on transport emissions, Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath of the University of California, Berkeley, looked beyond what is emitted by different types of car, train, bus or plane while their engines are running and includes emissions from building and maintaining the vehicles and their infrastructure, as well as generating the fuel to run them. (Table 1 on page 3 has a complete list of components that were considered).

Transport studies expert Abigail Bristow of Loughborough University, UK, who was not involved in the study, says it is valuable because it attempts to compare transport on equal terms. To do this, Chester and Horvath calculated how many passengers each train, plane, bus or car would carry in its lifetime and how many kilometres it would cover. The pair took into account how much each infrastructure component – such as tracks, roads and airports – is used in its lifetime.

Including these additional sources of pollution more than doubles the greenhouse gas emissions of train travel. The emissions generated by car travel increase by nearly one third when manufacturing and infrastructure are taken into account. In comparison to cars on roads and trains on tracks, air travel requires little infrastructure. As a result, full life-cycle emissions are between 10 and 20 per cent higher than "tailpipe" emissions. (New Scientist)


Oil demand falls at fastest rate since 1982, says BP - For the first time, demand from developing economies outstripped the OECD

Global oil demand dropped for the first time in 15 years in 2008, falling at its sharpest rate since 1982, according to the industry-leading BP statistical review published yesterday.

Total worldwide consumption dropped by 0.6 per cent – equivalent to 420,000 barrels per day (bpd) – and demand from developing economies, particularly China, outstripped that from OECD countries for the first time. As the developed world curtailed its appetite for oil by 1.5 million bpd – spurred first by eye-watering prices and then by sharply braking economic growth – non-OECD countries also registered slower growth in demand at just 1.1 million bpd.

But the big story last year was China, and not just with regards to oil. Global energy consumption grew by just 1.4 per cent in 2008, its smallest rise since 2001. And China accounted for three-quarters of it.

The US is still the world's most energy-hungry nation, gobbling a whopping 20.4 per cent. But demand was down 2.8 per cent last year, the biggest contraction for a quarter of a century. Meanwhile, Chinese energy usage shot up by 7.2 per cent, its slowest rate for five years but still enough to take the rapidly industrialising nation to a 17.7 per cent share. No other country is even in double figures.

Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, said: "The centre of gravity of the global energy markets has tilted sharply and irreversibly towards the emerging nations of the world, especially China." (The Independent)


June 11, 2009

Paging Captain Renault - Research Journal Out for Access Fees

The Scientist is the source of our Casablanca flashback, with its report that an open access journal published by Bentham was willing to publish a ‘nonsense’ paper that supposedly passed peer review.  A Ph.D. student in science communications and a staffer at The New England Journal of Medicine have been testing journals peer review practices by submitting papers generated by computer program.  They document this particular incident on their blog.  In short, the journal agreed to publish the article, if the authors paid the fee, and asserted it had passed peer review.

At a minimum the publisher Bentham is guilty of allowing journals to assert peer review when none had taken place.  The scamming conclusion is reasonable, given the reports.  I’m not in agreement that open access journals are necessarily more suspect of putting out supposedly peer-reviewed articles that weren’t so reviewed.  Yes, they do charge more fees than traditional journals (who could be scamming authors for photo and chart fees, amongst other things), but an open access journal is not more likely to skimp on peer review than any other journal.

What bothers me is that it has to take generating obviously lousy articles to ferret out derelict peer review.  Given the volume of scientific publishing, there’s an enormous amount of implicit trust in the processes behind these articles that people will continue to exploit.  I wish I had even the germ of a possible solution here. (David Bruggeman, Prometheus)


Covering Their Butts

Tucked away in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was passed by the House in April and by the Senate this week, is a provision that speaks volumes about the law's impact. It prohibits manufacturers from making "any statement directed to consumers" that "would reasonably be expected to result in consumers believing" a tobacco product "is regulated, inspected or approved by the Food and Drug Administration."

The bill, which President Obama supports, authorizes the FDA to regulate tobacco products. Yet it says, "consumers are likely to be confused and misled" if they know the FDA is regulating tobacco products. They might mistakenly believe that FDA regulation makes these products safer, for example, when the opposite is the truth.

It's easy to understand why Philip Morris supported this bill. The market leader can expect to benefit from the limits on advertising and promotion, the regulatory burden on smaller competitors, and the ban on every "characterizing" flavor except the one it happens to use in some of its most successful brands (menthol). But the company may be wrong to believe that FDA regulation will allow it to pursue plans for safer cigarettes. (Jacob Sullum, Townhall)


Anti-smoking zealots: restrict depiction of tobacco consumption in movies

In their continuing effort to eliminate tobacco use, anti-smoking advocates are now lobbying for restrictions on tobacco consumption in “all film media.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), any film depicting tobacco consumption should automatically receive the “R” rating and movie studios should “certify that they received no payoffs from tobacco companies to display tobacco products or their use, stop displaying tobacco brands onscreen [and] require strong anti-tobacco advertisements before all movies that have tobacco imagery.”

So what end could possibly justify such blatant violations of personal and creative freedom? Why our children’s health, of course. The American Medical Association Alliance, who recently began a campaign to irritate the movie studios into compliance with these draconian rules, claims that there is […] “a growing body of research showing that youth see and are influenced by these [tobacco] images. In fact, studies show that one-third to half of all new smoking by teens can be attributed to smoking in movies.”

Sure they do. (Cameron English, El Dorado County Conservative Examiner)


Study Offers Clues to Why People Overeat

People usually gain weight because they overeat, but what makes them overeat? A new study suggests that obese people have a different physiological response to food: they continue to salivate longer in response to a new taste than do people of normal weight.

Saliva production tends to decline in most people once they’ve gotten used to the taste of a certain food and had enough of it. The process, called habituation, is associated with a feeling of fullness, said Dale S. Bond, a study author and assistant professor of research at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I.

But among very obese people in the new study, all of whom were candidates for bariatric surgery, the decline in saliva in response to a stimulus — in this case, lemon juice — was slight and occurred much more gradually than among those who were of normal weight, researchers said. (New York Times)


U.S. chain menus could soon start counting calories

WASHINGTON - Large U.S. chain restaurants, criticized for their role in the country's obesity epidemic, agreed on Wednesday to support legislation that would require them to disclose calories on their menus.

Chain restaurants with 20 or more locations would have to list on their menus the number of calories per item and would also have to make available upon request other nutritional information such as the amount of sugar, salt or cholesterol.

The menu labeling law could be included in health reform legislation expected to be discussed in Congress during the next few weeks. (Reuters)


Sugar Taxed

Raising taxes on cigarettes worked: Fewer kids are smoking because of it. That is among the most powerful arguments being made by proponents of an effort in Congress to impose taxes on sugary drinks to help pay for health care reform while dissuading people from overconsuming sweetened beverages. (Another proposal would raise federal taxes on alcoholic drinks).

Of course, the mere fact that a tax is effective in reducing consumption doesn't by itself mean it should be enacted. Indeed, the same argument can be made against imposing taxes. Reducing consumption reduces sales, which hurts business, which could hit workers and stockholders.

And soda pop ain't cigarettes. Any amount of smoking is bad for you, but as the otherwise-disingenuous beverage industry correctly points out, it's possible to consume sugary drinks in moderation without seriously degrading your health. (Dan Mitchell, The Big Money)


Sin taxes on sugary drinks is a sour idea

As I recently wrote about in a previous article, one of the ways that the Obama administration and members of Congress propose paying for their healthcare system overhaul plan is via a new tax on ‘sugary products’ such as sodas. The argument behind this new tax is that sugary products contribute to obesity, which in turn is one of the major reasons why healthcare costs have been skyrocketing.

On the surface, as is true with most government proposals, the concept seems to make sense. In a perfect world, the new tax on sugary products would cause Americans to consume lower quantities of them, which in turn would lead to less obesity and finally to lower healthcare costs. Makes perfect sense, right? (Rick Robbins, Louisville Economic Policy Examiner)


'Killer' moth: murder machine or butterfly in the ointment?

'Killer moth begins English invasion' was the disturbing title of a story in the Daily Telegraph's recent Nature Notes linking the spread of the oak processionary moth to climate change.

This revelation about our imminent demise due to a furry Lepidoptera may have troubled you slightly. So just how deadly is this moth? (BBC Blog of Bloom)


Americans are still very generous people: Charitable Giving Declines, a New Report Finds

Charitable giving fell last year by the largest percentage in five decades, according to a new study by the Giving USA Foundation.

Individuals and institutions made gifts and pledges of $307.65 billion, a decrease of 5.7 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis over the $314 billion given in 2007, according to the foundation, a research organization backed by the fund-raising industry.

Some experts said they were surprised the drop was not even bigger, given that endowments fell by as much as 40 percent, the stock market declined by a similar margin, corporations posted unheard-of losses and unemployment was rising at a fast clip. (New York Times)

That's a little over $1,000 per man, woman & child across the entire U.S. population, despite the current economy.


So it's a few trillions too late, you gonna make a federal case out of it? Obama Aims to Revive ‘Pay as You Go’

WASHINGTON — During the first four months of his administration, President Obama has committed roughly $1 trillion in federal spending: a $787 billion economic recovery package, and $350 billion in money to bail out the nation’s banks. The budget deficit for this year is now projected at $1.8 trillion.

So on Tuesday, in the face of considerable skepticism from Republicans, the president was talking about saving money, not spending it.

Mr. Obama announced he was sending legislation to Congress to restore the 1990s-era “pay as you go” law, known as Paygo. The law, in effect from 1990 to 2002, required that tax cuts or new entitlement spending — like the health care overhaul that Mr. Obama hopes will be a signature domestic achievement — be paid for through budget cuts or tax increases.

The restriction would not apply to so-called “discretionary” spending that finances most government programs aside from Medicare and Social Security.

“The ‘pay as you go’ principle is very simple,” Mr. Obama told a group of Congressional Democrats in the East Room of the White House. “Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere.”

But critics of Paygo say it is not simple at all, because Congress has a long history of waiving its requirements. And White House officials conceded Mr. Obama’s proposal would not put a dent in the federal deficit. It would only keep it from getting bigger. (New York Times)

The part about cutting spending is fair enough but the increasing taxes thing is definitely not on.


Action Alert: Stop the Deferral Tax Hike Scheme!

Obama and his liberal cohorts in Congress want to enact a new tax on profits that U.S. companies currently defer. This will spur many firms to move their operations overseas in order to avoid the tax - threatening American jobs and the economy as a whole. Urge your elected officials to oppose the deferral tax hike scheme! (Freedom Works)


Hearing to Seek Ways to Separate Birds and Planes

WASHINGTON — Airports already bulldoze bird nests and send dogs to chase off flocks, but engineers are trying new technologies to scare away birds in flight, including using landing lights as strobe lights, the vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

The official, Robert L. Sumwalt, spoke on the eve of Tuesday’s safety board hearing on the crash of US Airways Flight 1549, which took Canada geese into both engines shortly after takeoff from La Guardia Airport on Jan. 15 and glided into the Hudson. All 155 people on board survived.

Mr. Sumwalt said turning the landing lights into strobe lights could make a plane, closing in on the birds at more than 100 miles an hour, more conspicuous to them. But, he said, that is only one solution that should be investigated.

“Maybe there’s some other technology out there, a radar that some innovative company can come up with to zap the birds out of the way,” Mr. Sumwalt said in an interview. Some pilots believe that birds try to avoid emissions from the planes’ on-board weather radar, he said, and “we need to find out, is that an urban legend or is there some truth to that?”

“We need to be innovative when we’re looking for solutions here,” he said. (Reuters)


Air pollution from freeway extends further than previously thought

Environmental health researchers from UCLA, the University of Southern California and the California Air Resources Board have found that during the hours before sunrise, freeway air pollution extends much further than previously thought.

Air pollutants from Interstate 10 in Santa Monica extend as far as 2,500 meters — more than 1.5 miles — downwind, based on recent measurements from a research team headed by Dr. Arthur Winer, a professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health. This distance is 10 times greater than previously measured daytime pollutant impacts from roadways and has significant exposure implications, since most people are in their homes during the hours before sunrise and outdoor pollutants penetrate into indoor environments. (University of California)


US tells California to cut water use to save fish

California's rivers used to brim with trout, salmon, sturgeon and more, but the federal, state and local governments built a monumental system of dams and pipelines in the most populous state that turned a desert into productive farmland and left some rivers dry.

The state faces a water crisis and a third year of drought. Add climate change and a growing population to the mix, and the fate of some salmon runs looks untenable without change, the National Marine Fisheries Service said in a report ordered as part of a long-running court battle over the salmon.

It called for a 5 percent to 7 percent cut in water diversions for cities and agriculture from key state and federal water suppliers. Water conservation, recycling and groundwater use could offset the cuts, the report said, but water agencies described a tougher situation.

That reflects a larger argument about whether the state can conserve its way out of crisis or should build more dams and canals to capture the last trickles that bypass the system. (Reuters)


Peruvian troops patrol Amazon towns after 60 die over forest protests

Troops controlled the town of Bagua Grande, 870 miles (1,400 km) north of the capital Lima, after an overnight curfew was enforced to defuse the worst violence faced by President Alan Garcia's government.

An indigenous leader said 40 protesters were killed and the government said 23 members of the security forces perished in two days of battles over Garcia's push to open up the rainforest to billions of dollars in foreign investment.

Thousands of Indians armed with wooden spears vowed to dig in at blockades on remote Amazon highways to defend their ancestral lands from outside developers. (Reuters)


Reporters Cluck Over Chicken-Raising 'Trend'

Despite Jack Shafer's recent complaints, newspapers continue to report on the "trend" of people raising chickens in their back yards.

The latest: The Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph-Herald, which has taken it even further than a trend-according to that newspaper (whose article was picked up by the Chicago Tribune), it's a "movement":

"Whether they are owned as pets or food sources, chickens have become the animals du jour, the darlings of the growing 'backyard flock' movement," the paper reports.

Of course, there is nothing to support the idea that such a "movement" actually exists; the article is built on nothing but anecdotes. The only trend here is of newspaper reporters insisting that there is a trend.

It may well be true that more people are raising their own chickens. But these stories offer no real data to indicate that it is so. (Reuters)


GMO wheat acceptance hinges on public benefit

Europeans, considered among the staunchest opponents of food created with genetically modified organisms (GMO), are at least a decade from accepting biotech food, said Meinolf Lindhauer from Germany's Max Rubner federal research institute of nutrition and food.

"The majority of consumers in many European countries, not in all, do not accept GMO at all," he said while attending the International Wheat Quality conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The only way for GMO wheat proponents to be heard above the arguments of anti-GMO groups is to demonstrate biotechnology could give consumers a "convincing advantage," he said.

One way might be modifying wheat so it could be eaten by people with celiac disease, a serious digestive condition caused by eating the protein gluten, he said.

In the long run, genetically modified wheat will be necessary to keep pace with corn and soybeans, said Robert Henry, director of the Center for Plant Conservation Genetics in Lismore, Australia. (Reuters)


So ludicrously bad we've reproduced the whole thing: Concordia researcher finds definitive link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming

Damon Matthews

Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Geography, Planning and the Environment has found a direct relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

Matthews, together with colleagues from Victoria and the U.K., used a combination of global climate models and historical climate data to show that there is a simple linear relationship between total cumulative emissions and global temperature change.

These findings will be published in the next edition of Nature, to be released on June 11, 2009.

Until now, it has been difficult to estimate how much climate will warm in response to a given carbon dioxide emissions scenario because of the complex interactions between human emissions, carbon sinks, atmospheric concentrations and temperature change. Matthews and colleagues show that despite these uncertainties, each emission of carbon dioxide results in the same global temperature increase, regardless of when or over what period of time the emission occurs.

These findings mean that we can now say: if you emit that tonne of carbon dioxide, it will lead to 0.0000000000015 degrees of global temperature change.

If we want to restrict global warming to no more than 2 degrees, we must restrict total carbon emissions — from now until forever — to little more than half a trillion tonnes of carbon, or about as much again as we have emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

“Most people understand that carbon dioxide emissions lead to global warming,” says Matthews, “but it is much harder to grasp the complexities of what goes on in between these two end points. Our findings allow people to make a robust estimate of their contribution to global warming based simply on total carbon dioxide emissions.”

In light of this study and other recent research, Matthews and a group of international climate scientists have written an open letter calling on participants of December’s Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to acknowledge the need to limit cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide so as to avoid dangerous climate change.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the full article, contact Damon Matthews at 514-848-2424 ext. 2064 or email

Matthews (read his profile) was one of Concordia’s 2009 University Research Award winners.

The actual 'paper' is in letters Nature: Vol 459 | 11 June 2009 | doi:10.1038/nature08047 and it appears an appalling exercise in modeling make-believe. The fun part is that we ran up a simple script years ago that delivers estimated time-independent linear response and far more accurate answers than these guys managed since ours is based on real-world numbers (plug in 1,000,000,000,000 metric tons CO2 and it will calculate ~0.43 K temperature response). Their response is 4 times larger than ours and we state unequivocally that ours is far too high as a linear calculation rather than logarithmic.

Stupid game...


Comment On The Guardian News Article “White Roofs And ‘Cool’ Cars - Obama’s US Energy Secretary Gives Prince Charles Tips On Tackling Climate Change”

There was an article on the Guardian on May 26 2009 titled

“White roofs and ‘cool’ cars - Obama’s US energy secretary gives Prince Charles tips on tackling climate change.”

This article has already been effectively commented on elsewhere (see and Roy Spencer’s weblog), and I want to add to the discussion of this news article here.

The article by John Vidal reads in part

“Reflecting sunlight on buildings and cars among dozens of ideas considered by Steven Chu and the US energy department”

People should paint their roofs white and drive ‘cool’ cars on pale-coloured roads to avoid devastating climate change, US energy secretary and Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Chu has advised Prince Charles and a group of 19 other laureates meeting in London today.

The measures, which would reflect sunlight and enable buildings and automobiles to stay cooler and use less energy in summer, are some of dozens that Chu and the US energy department are considering for the “revolution” which he said was needed in the US, Europe and around the world to address global warming.

‘Yes, make people paint their roofs white. I think white is pretty. If all vehicles used cool colours then they could cut down the air conditioning and we would have a great reduction in energy,’ he said at the start of a three-day climate change symposium hosted by Prince Charles and attended by peace, literature, chemistry and physics laureates as well as 40 other senior scientists…..”

First, I am pleased that Dr. Chu accepts that land cover/land use, at least on very small spatial scales, can affect climate. Land use/land cover change is an issue that readers of our weblog know I have emphasized frequently (e.g. see).

However, Dr. Chu does not consider unintended consequences with respect his suggestions. “Pale-coloured roads”, for example, might be a good idea in hot climates, but in mid-latitude regions of the world with cold and snow during the winter, when the sun shines after a storm, the absorption of sunlight by asphalt is an effective way to clear the roads.  We need, therefore, to consider each of these proposals in terms of all of their possible effects (intended and unintended).

Nevertheless, I am an advocate of passive solar heating which is an idea that Dr. Chu seems to similarly embrace. This is the type of “win-win” environmental policy that I have weblogged on before (e.g see A Win-Win Solution to Environmental Problems). 

I next urge Dr. Chu to embrace the issue that, since white roofs and pale-coloured roads can reduce energy consumption and thus a reduction in resultant CO2 emissions, that land uses of all types (irrigation, deforestation, afforestation, dryland agriculture, etc) be elevated in the policy planning with respect to mitigation and adaptation to natural and human caused climate variability and change.

 A example of the need for integrated environmental policy planning is discussed in my paper (with respect to carbon sequestration)

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2001: Carbon sequestration — The need for an integrated climate system approach. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 82, 2021.

In that paper I wrote

“There has, unfortunately, been no attempt to evaluate the benefit of carbon sequestration as a means of reducing the concentrations of the radiatively active gas CO2 in the atmosphere, while at the same time, assessing the influence of this sequestration on the radiatively active gas H2O, and on the surface heat energy budget. Until these effects are factored in as part of an integrated climate assessment, a policy based on carbon sequestration as a means to reduce the radiative warming effect of increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 could actually enhance this warming.”

This concept of considering all aspects of an environmental action should be part of Dr. Chu’s policy planning. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Sulfates and Global Warming

Usually when we think of global warming, we are led to believe that it is caused primarily by increasing greenhouse gases. After all, that is what all the fuss is about in Washington DC these days. But is that entirely true?

After all there are lots of other things going on all the while. For instance, to what degree has the global temperature record in recent decades been influenced by the variability in aerosol emissions?

This question has been the subject of a series of articles in recent years by Martin Wild and colleagues which look at the impacts of (primarily sulfate) aerosols on the earth’s climate. They typically conclude that sulfate aerosols play a larger role in multi-decadal climate fluctuations than the climate models generally give them credit for. And that models’ inability to properly handle the climate aspects of aerosols “may hamper the predictive skills of these models to project near future climate evolution.” (WCR)


Tying everything to greenhouse: Chestnut trees might slow climate change

A U.S. study shows introducing a hybrid of the American chestnut tree would not only help the nearly extinct species, but also reduce atmospheric carbon.

Purdue University Associate Professor Douglass Jacobs said the study found American chestnuts grow much faster and larger than other hardwood species, allowing them to sequester more carbon. And since American chestnut trees are more often used for high-quality hardwood products such as furniture, they hold the carbon longer than wood used for paper or other low-grade materials.

"Maintaining or increasing forest cover has been identified as an important way to slow climate change," said Jacobs. "The American chestnut is an incredibly fast-growing tree. Generally the faster a tree grows, the more carbon it is able to sequester … (and) the carbon can be stored in hardwood products for decades. (UPI)


Plan to Combat Global Warming? Pie in the Sky

Whenever you hear a politician start a sentence with, "If we can put a man on the moon ... ," grab your wallet.

For years, Democrats, enthralled by the cargo cult of the Kennedy presidency, have used the moon landing as proof that no big government ambition is beyond our reach.

The latest example of anthropogenic-lunar empowerment is global warming. Al Gore and Barack Obama routinely cite the Apollo program as proof that we can make good on the president's messianic campaign pledge to stem the rising ocean tides and hasten the healing of the planet. (Jonah Goldberg, Townhall)


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Japan announced a target for emissions reductions, that by all accounts is based on what the Japanese government thinks is actually possible.

In reaction to this announcement, the Japanese government was criticized for not playing along with the charade that most every other country is playing: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Could Cap and Trade Cause Another Market Meltdown? The same Wall Street players that upended the economy are clamoring to open up a massive market to swap, chop, and bundle carbon derivatives. Sound familiar?

You've heard of credit default swaps and subprime mortgages. Are carbon default swaps and subprime offsets next? If the Waxman-Markey climate bill is signed into law, it will generate, almost as an afterthought, a new market for carbon derivatives. That market will be vast, complicated, and dauntingly difficult to monitor. And if Washington doesn't get the rules right, it will be vulnerable to speculation and manipulation by the very same players who brought us the financial meltdown. (Rachel Morris, Mother Jones)

They've got this much right -- carbon trading is a massive scam.


Some truth in that: Gore says carbon capture boom unlikely across China

"I'm not saying it's technologically impossible, but a lot of the coal plants in China are old technology. They are thermally inefficient ... and they have to use a lot of energy to capture and store the CO2," former U.S. Vice President Gore told a panel at the Cornell Global Forum on Sustainable Enterprise late Wednesday.

Actually Al, all CCS involves exorbitant expenditure in energy and it is never worth doing -- especially since CO2 emission is the best thing people have ever done for the biosphere.


China alone could bring world to brink of climate calamity, claims US official

Business as usual in China would lead to 2.7C rise by 2050 even if all other countries slash emissions, says energy assistant (The Guardian)

Through CO2 emissions? No way.


China doesn't give a stuff about global warming: thank God!

"China launches green power revolution to catch up on west" [sic] shrieks the front page headline in today's Guardian. It's a nonsense, of course. Modern China cares about as much about "anthropogenic global warming" as Chairman Mao did about providing his population with five-course steak dinners. AGW's only use, as far as the Chinese are concerned, is as an ingenious device to suck up money and power from the gullible west.

And this isn't meant to be an insult to the Chinese, by the way. I mean it wholly as a compliment to their far-sightedness, shrewdness and pragmatism. Over the last ten days, delegation after US delegation has gone to China in a vain bid to persuade its leadership to believe in - or at least pay lipservice to - the mythical beast they call ManBearPig.

How has China responded? Why, with exactly the mix of incredulity, scorn and cynicism you'd expect of a hungry, fast-industrialising nation whose priority is economic growth rather than, say, assuaging breast-beating liberal guilt about how we've sinned against Mother Gaia and must now flagellate ourselves for our sins with swingeing new eco taxes and punitive regulation. (James Delingpole, Daily Telegraph)


A wander from the sex war to climate politics

Your bending author has been thinking about women lately (as you do). This was precipitated by the shock of being cited in a review of a feminist tract, though the connection is not clear. It induced an urge to stick ones head in the lioness’s mouth. (Number Watch)


Funny: Not so windy: Research suggests winds dying down

WASHINGTON — The wind, a favorite power source of the green energy movement, seems to be dying down across the United States. And the cause, ironically, may be global warming — the very problem wind power seeks to address.

The idea that winds may be slowing is still a speculative one, and scientists disagree whether that is happening. But a first-of-its-kind study suggests that average and peak wind speeds have been noticeably slowing since 1973, especially in the Midwest and the East.

"It's a very large effect," said study co-author Eugene Takle, a professor of atmospheric science at Iowa State University. In some places in the Midwest, the trend shows a 10 percent drop or more over a decade. That adds up when the average wind speed in the region is about 10 to 12 miles per hour.

There's been a jump in the number of low or no wind days in the Midwest, said the study's lead author, Sara Pryor, an atmospheric scientist at Indiana University. (AP)

Now, this is not implausible (we have pointed out many times that gorebull warming, if real, would have the effect of reducing atmospheric thermoclines (steep temperature gradients) and hence reducing the potential between equator and poles, surface and altitude, in turn reducing wind speed, convective towers...). The question now is how they can continue claims of increasingly powerful and destructive storms in the face of apparently declining wind speed.


Climate Rorshach Test as News

Apparently an AP news article out today on how we don’t know if global warming is making the winds blow with less gusto is not a parody, despite all indications to the contrary. For benefit of readers I have condensed it as below: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Virtual world eye-roller: Sea Level Rise By 2109 Could Cost Houston-Galveston Billions

HOUSTON, Texas, June 10, 2009 - Sea level rise due to climate change in the Houston-Galveston area over the next 100 years could displace more than 100,000 households and create more than $12 billion in infrastructure losses, finds a new report commissioned by the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund and the British Consulate-General Houston.

The study used an economic computer model to assess the impact of both conservative and aggressive sea level rise on homes, buildings, industrial and hazardous material sites and water treatments plants in Galveston, Harris and Chambers counties.

"Climate change is happening," said David Yoskowitz, co-author of the report and a professor of socio-economics at the Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. (ENS)


More make-believe: Climate change will lead to mass migration in 40 years - Breakdown of activities such as subsistence herding, farming and fishing will drive forced migration

Bangalore: In the next four decades, millions of people will be forced to flee rising seas, floods, drought and other climate-induced effects, with the melting Himalayan glaciers particularly putting at risk the biggest irrigation system in the world, says a new report released on Wednesday in Bonn, Germany, at the ongoing United Nations climate change talks. (LiveMint)


Climate change? Big mammals may be flexible - Many changed diets when glaciers retreated more than a million years ago

Big mammals might be unexpectedly resilient in the face of global warming, suggests a new study that looked to the past for insights into the future.

The study found that llamas, tapirs, deer and other large mammals changed their diets when glaciers retreated from North America more than a million years ago.

Scientists have long assumed that animals would be rigid about what they ate and what niches they occupied during periods of climate change — making them especially vulnerable to those shifts. (Discovery)


Indoctrination funding opportunity: NASA Announces Climate Change Education Funding Opportunity

WASHINGTON, June 10 -- NASA has announced a new funding opportunity that could result in the award of cooperative agreements for projects designed to educate students, teachers and lifelong learners about global climate change. (PRNewswire-USNewswire)


High Gas Prices Could Slow Recovery

HOUSTON — After just a few months of relief at the pump, cheap gasoline is disappearing.

Gas prices have risen 41 days in a row, to a national average of almost $2.62 a gallon. That is a sharp increase from the low of $1.62 a gallon that prevailed at the end of last year.

Refinery problems are producing especially high prices in the Midwest, a region that was already reeling from the economic crisis. Michigan, the state with the highest unemployment rate, at 12.9 percent, is now paying the highest gasoline prices, averaging $2.93 a gallon.

The national jump in prices, far larger than the normal seasonal increase, is pulling billions of dollars from the pockets of drivers. It threatens to curtail a modest recovery in consumer spending on items like apparel and electronics.

After increasing 62 percent since December, the price of gasoline is actually lagging behind the increase in the price of oil, which has doubled in the same period, to more than $68 in recent days. Analysts say the increase is being driven by investor expectations of an economic recovery, the recent fall of the dollar against other currencies and, to a lesser extent, the success of oil-exporting countries in curtailing supplies. (New York Times)


House GOP offers nuclear-loaded energy bill

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are calling for a hundred new nuclear power plants to be built in the next two decades as part of an energy plan they say is a better alternative than one championed by Democrats.

The legislation unveiled by the GOP Wednesday would also increase production of oil and gas offshore, open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and spur refinery construction. The money from the new drilling would go into a trust fund that would pay for the development of renewable energy. (Associated Press)

They lost me at wasting the funds generated by drilling in a trust fund for renewable development.


Aarrgh! Airlines to achieve CO2-neutral growth by 2020: IATA

"Demand will continue to increase, but any expansion of our carbon footprint will be compensated," Giovanni Bisignani told the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association in the Malaysian capital.

But Bisignani said wide cooperation was needed from allied industries and governments.

"Air navigation service providers must make it possible to fly even more effectively. Fuel companies must supply eco-friendly fuels and governments must give us access to credits in global carbon markets."

Aviation is responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas pollution and that share is expected to rise. (Reuters)

Greenhouse gases are not atmospheric pollutants. They are what makes this planet's surface habitable!


Emissions Caps Seen Costing Airlines $7 Billion A Year

KUALA LUMPUR - Airlines project that carbon trading will cost the global industry around $7 billion a year from 2020, from when the sector has pledged to grow without adding to greenhouse emissions.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 airlines, agreed at a board meeting that it would achieve carbon neutral growth from 2020 through a combination of investment in technology, biofuels and economic measures such as carbon trading.

Aviation is likely to be included in any global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol to cap emissions from 2013, meaning caps on emissions that will make airlines buy credits to exceed those limits. (Reuters)


Texas Hold ‘Em: Gov. Perry Hates Climate-Change Bill, Loves Clean Energy

Yesterday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took aim at the federal government, salting his critique with a dose of unabashed global-warming skepticism.

He criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s April ruling that rising levels of carbon dioxide present a hazard to human health. The governor, a former West Texas rancher and Texas A&M University graduate, said: “The idea that CO2 is a toxic substance is a bit hard for this agricultural scientist to get his arms around when … Nobel laureates have talked CO2 in a very positive sense when you talk about the green revolution.”

But he saved his sharpest barbs for the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill and its cap-and-trade provision to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. He said it amounted to “the largest tax increase in the history of our country.” It would devastate the Texas economy–and for what?

He’s not sure there’s much to be worried about. “This is going to come down to this: Are the Democrats in Congress willing to stand up and say we are fixing to raise everyone’s cost of living in America on some science that still is yet to be solidified?”

That’s not much difference than Gov. Perry’s earlier assault on federal ethanol mandates, which he said raised the price of corn and threatened another cherished Texas industry—cattle.

Surely that means Gov. Perry is against clean energy–which is being propped up by all sorts of government incentives, loan guarantees and mandates? Not exactly. (WSJ)


Clean energy depends on wider economy growth

The big picture for renewables is a sector which may emerge from recession as fast or faster than the wider economy, because government support is often in the form of guaranteed long-term price support.

But capital-intensive projects, such as new installations, are dependent on debt finance and for that reason the sector can only recover fully with a growing economy. (Reuters)

Pitiful energy return on expenditure means "alternative" energy will likely never get off the government teat. We have ample fossil fuels for hundreds of years and absolutely no valid reason not to use them.


UK To Miss Clean Energy Goals On Govt Under-Spend

LONDON - Britain will miss 2020 clean energy targets and the supporting certificate scheme "will die" if the government does not spend more to support renewables, the CEO of clean energy developer Climate Change Capital said on Tuesday.

The UK's Renewables Obligation scheme forces utilities to generate an increasing proportion of their electricity from low-carbon sources, including wind and biomass energy, in an effort to meet a 2020 target of 15 percent renewable energy.

If utilities are unable to generate renewable energy, they must buy Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) from generators that have excess low-carbon energy to sell.

"Between now and 2020 we're not even going to come close to hitting our targets, but between 2020-2025 I think we'll reach them," said Mark Woodall, speaking at a conference held by Project Finance International, a leading source on project finance intelligence owned by Thomson Reuters.


Higher U.S. Ethanol Blends Seen Spiking Food Prices

NEW YORK - Raising the allowable levels of ethanol in conventional U.S. gasoline would help push up prices for corn and other grains and ultimately meat and dairy, economists associated with food groups said on Tuesday.

The government allows conventional gasoline to be blended with up to 10 percent ethanol. But the ethanol industry, which has grown rapidly during the last two years amid generous government incentives and mandates that call for more ethanol blending over time, wants the blend rate raised to 12 percent to 15 percent ethanol for the industry to continue growing.

"Ultimately this will translates into higher livestock and dairy prices, and eventually further upward pressure on consumer food prices," said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions.

He said in a report issued on Tuesday commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers Association that 12 to 15 percent blends would push up the amount of land needed to grow corn to at least 100 million acres by about 2010 to 2015. (Reuters)


Europe Car Scrapping Seen Failing Green Test

OSLO - European car scrapping schemes are aiding a shift to small, less polluting cars but environmental campaigners say they fall short of pledges to create a greener economy during the recession.

"It's definitely a missed opportunity. This is just doling out cash to the car industry," said Jos Dings, director of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, which campaigns for greener transport.

"The first goal is to help the economy," German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said of a "cash for clunkers" subsidy that helped boost German car sales by 40 percent in May from the same 2008 month.

"The indirect effect is that you help the climate" by replacing old cars with cleaner vehicles, the minister told Reuters of the scheme that pays motorists 2,500 euros ($3,468) to scrap a car at least nine years old and buy a new vehicle.

By contrast, U.S. auto sales slumped 34 percent in May. (Reuters)


Green jobs growth potential found to be high - Pew study names Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee as leaders

The nation's green jobs market has "explosive" growth potential, outpacing overall job growth 9.1 percent to 3.7 percent over a 10-year span, a new research report on the "clean energy economy" released by the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington has found. (Andrea Billups and Kristi Jourdan, Washington Times)

Yes, we got this media release, too. No idea why The Times bothered to print it though.


June 10, 2009

This one obviously caught the media's attention: Another Computer Hazard: Dropping It on Your Foot

As ergonomics specialists know, using a computer can be a real pain — in the neck, wrists, back, eyes, shoulders, etc. But it also leads to injuries that experts may not have considered, such as trips and falls over the printer cord, lacerations from the sharp corners of a CPU or bruised toes from dropping laptops on feet.

Accidents like these happen more often than you think. According to a study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine — the first to tally acute computer-caused injuries like cuts and bruises — 9,300 Americans suffer such mishaps each year. Based on data from some 100 hospital emergency rooms across the country from 1994 to 2006, the study found that 78,703 people sustained injuries ranging from scrapes and bruises to contusions and torn muscles during the 13-year study period. (Watch a video about dropping your laptop from 3 ft. off the ground.)

In part, the high rate of injury reflects the sheer increase in household computer ownership, which jumped 309% over the same period. But computer exposure and injuries hardly rose in lockstep: injuries far outpaced ownership, growing 732% from 1994 to 2006.

"I found that to be really astounding," says study co-author Lara McKenzie, assistant professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy. "We never see increases like that, and we look at consumer products all the time." (Tiffany Sharples, Time)


... Children At Highest Risk of Computer-related Injuries

A new study has revealed an increased risk of computer-related injuries among US households. (redOrbit)


... Computers Causing Injuries in the Home

Falling monitors, dangerous wires a growing risk, especially for kids, study shows (HealthDay News)


... Is Your Computer Hazardous to Your Kids' Health?

Computer-related injuries on the rise in children? Sure, I thought, their thumbs get sore from playing Grand Theft Auto for hours on end. But I was wrong; we’re talking real injuries here, the kinds that land kids in the emergency room. (USNews)


... Computers Can Send You to the ER, Study Shows - Serious Computer Injuries Outpaced the Number of New Computer Owners

How dangerous could that laptop, desktop, or Mac sitting in front of you be? (ABC News)

Must be a big deal so for goodness sake teach your kids to play catch with a ball instead of that laptop & desktops should, well, stay on the desk, OK?


Adolescent Obesity Linked To Reduced Sleep Caused By Technology Use And Caffeine

According to a research abstract that will be presented on June 9, at Sleep 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, adolescent obesity is associated with having less sleep. Reduction in sleep could be related to a higher caffeine intake, more hours of technology use and increased symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring).

Results indicate that children who slept less consumed more caffeine and had more hours of screen time (use of television, Internet, computer and video games). A higher body mass index (BMI) was also associated with shorter sleep duration. More hours of screen time were also associated with higher caffeine consumption. (ScienceDaily)


Can legislation on calorie disclosure stem tide of American obesity?

Whether MEAL or LEAN proposals pass, Americans may get more information on the foods ordered in restaurants. With 2/3 of Americans overweight, and many of them obese, calorie information may shock you but then it could save your life.

MEAL is the Menu Education Act which is based on a similar law in New York City. Under MEAL, any restaurant with more than 20 locations would be required to list the calories, carbs, fat and sodium content next to each menu item.

LEAN is the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act which is championed by the restaurant industry. To avoid calorie-shock by diners, the restaurant industry supports LEAN which only requires the calorie count be listed somewhere (menu board, separate page insert) which is less in-your-face than placing this vital health information next to each menu item as mandated under the MEAL act.

How much does this matter? A few quick examples of fast take snacks showed stunning information in the column on Beware of Hidden Calories in Name Brand Foods. Check out a bold article on the front page of the St Petersburg Times headlined, Consuming Truths. How refreshing to see nutrition and health focus on the front page instead of relegated to a back page of a distant section. (KT Erwin, Examiner)


UN green chief: Ban plastic bags

UN environmental chief Achim Steiner said yesterday that,

“Single use plastic bags which choke marine life, should be banned or phased out rapidly everywhere. There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere.”

The notion that plastic bags pose some special hazard to marine life, however is a myth. As reported in the Times (UK) on March 8, 2008,

Scientists and environmentalists have attacked a global campaign to ban plastic bags which they say is based on flawed science and exaggerated claims.

The widely stated accusation that the bags kill 100,000 animals and a million seabirds every year are false, experts have told The Times. They pose only a minimal threat to most marine species, including seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds…

Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals… (Green Hell Blog)


Greenpeace: putting trees before people

The claim that massive areas of rainforest are being cut down to make way for grazing pasture is a lot of bull dung. (Ben Pile , sp!ked)


Eco-colonialism Degrades Africa - Green, UN, rich nation and African elites impose deadly anti-development colonialism

Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of Earth's most impoverished regions. Over 90% of its people still lack electricity, running water, proper sanitation and decent housing. Malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and intestinal diseases kill millions every year. Life expectancy is appalling, and falling.

And yet UN officials, European politicians, environmentalist groups and even African authorities insist that global warming is the gravest threat facing the continent. They claim there is no longer any debate over human-caused global warming - but ignore thousands of scientists who say human CO2 emissions are not the primary cause of climate changes
, there is no evidence that future warming will be catastrophic, and computer models do not provide valid projections or "scenarios" for the future.

[Global] Warming alarmists use the "specter of climate change" to justify inhumane policies and shift the blame for problems that could be solved with the very technologies they oppose. (Willie Soon and Paul Driessen, Right Side News)


The fishy message of The End of the Line

Instead of guilt-tripping Western consumers about overfishing, we should invest our energy in developing aquaculture. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)



Roger Pielke, Jr.

Dear Colleagues-

I have not been this excited about a web app for a long time if ever.

ICAT is an insurance company located here in Boulder, Colorado and I have been working with them over the past year to develop a new website called the ICAT Damage Estimator -- -- which builds upon our research on normalized hurricane losses. The website is now live
in beta mode.

You can view a brief tutorial at the link above, and I encourage you to do so as it has a lot of interesting functionality. In the coming weeks we'll be rolling out some additional functions that will be mightily impressive. Stay tuned for that. Meantime, please explore the site, share it around, and use the feedback options on the site to let us know what you think.

It is a public site and I am sure will get lots of use as hurricane season heats up.

All the best,

Roger Pielke, Jr.
University of Colorado (via CCNet)


"Climate Change means Cultural Change". Scientists hold first ever debate on contribution of cultural studies to climate research

Essen, June 9, 2009 - The foreseeable consequences of dangerous climate change call for combined global efforts for climate protection - efforts that require great social, political and cultural changes. These aspects of climate protection will be discussed for the first time between scientists of various disciplines and international experts from the worlds of politics and business.

The conference from June 8-10 in Essen (Germany) aims to consolidate the social debate on climate change and provide new incentives for scientific policy advice in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI) and Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI))

Foreseeable consequences... if only we could foresee climate states.
Wonder why they don't consider the foreseeable consequences of climate hysteria?


Oh dear... Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate


Everyone--government agencies, private organizations, and individuals--is facing a changing climate: an environment in which it is no longer prudent to follow routines based on past climatic averages. State and local agencies in particular, as well as the federal government, need to consider what they will have to do differently if the 100-year flood arrives every decade or so, if the protected areas for threatened species are no longer habitable, or if a region can expect more frequent and more severe wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, water shortages, or other extreme environmental events. Both conceptually and practically, people and organizations will have to adjust what may be life-long assumptions to meet the potential consequences of climate change. How and where should bridges be built? What zoning rules may need to be changed? How can targets for reduced carbon emissions be met? These and myriad other questions will need to be answered in the coming years and decades.

Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate examines the growing need for climate-related decision support--that is, organized efforts to produce, disseminate, and facilitate the use of data and information in order to improve the quality and efficacy of climate-related decisions. Drawing on evidence from past efforts to organize science for improved decision making, it develops guidance for government agencies and other institutions that will provide or use information for coping with climate change. This volume provides critical analysis of interest to agencies at every level, as well as private organizations that will have to cope with the world's changing climate. (NAP)


Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Scare Stories obviously effective: Plug in cars on their way – but too little too late?

I’ve posted some fairly upbeat posts about tackling climate change recently – but there was a less than optimistic message about the latest climate change science from Dr Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change to this year’s big low carbon vehicle event and conference held at London’s City Hall.

Here’s what came out of it…

Health warning: this was based on my notes – plus the issues are highly technical, and many of them are moving so fast that it’s difficult to for anyone to provide a settled overview.

The context is scary…very scary (Enchanted Isle)


Wash. Post reporting makes progress! Article concedes sea level computer model 'predictions could be flawed or flat wrong'

The Washington Post's reporting on global warming has made an important step forward. Post Reporter David A. Fahrenthold's June 8, 2009 Washington Post article about global warming and sea level rise does a surprisingly decent job of reporting on the issue.

Fahrenthold's article notes that the predicted increase in sea level by 2100 on the East Coast may be enough to "submerge a beach chair." The article then notes that the possibility of even a submerged "beach chair" by 2100 is only a "might." (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


Unpredictable weather: why the climate is not a model citizen

One of the awkward things about global warming is that there are no absolutes. No one can say definitively what the climate will do next. Anyone who thinks they can will probably end up looking like one of those TV scientists from the 1950s who said we'd all be holidaying in space and flying around in hover cars by now.

But why is it so very difficult to state anything with complete confidence about the behaviour of our climate? Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which periodically publishes 'the largest and most detailed summary of the climate change situation ever undertaken' is only prepared to say that human beings are 'very likely' to be the source of the problem. They are hedging for a reason.

Admittedly, it's a little firmer about the temperature itself, stating: 'Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.' But then that's a bit like saying that, today, it is hot. It doesn't tell you very much about tomorrow.

The weather is chaotic. Chaotic systems are infinitely complex and inherently unpredictable, (although not, as some suppose, random). The climate is simply 'big, long weather' - the atmospheric conditions of a region charted over a period of time - and is therefore also infinitely complex and inherently unpredictable. (BBC Blog of Bloom)


Climate change driven IT spend: are we being hoodwinked?

One of the great things about being an Irregular is that every now and again, one of our motley band will toss a pebble into a pond which sends ripples. Last weekend Jeff Nolan, one of our founders and a great personal friend said this:

I try not to post anything on climate change because I’m not qualified (like most people) to debate the scientific issues but also because I don’t relish getting shouted at by frantic commenters. This recently published book [Climate Change Reconsidered - PDF] on the subject is fascinating and all 880 pages are available as a free download…

…Whatever side of the issue you are on, a reasoned debate dominated by facts rather than hyperbole and speculation should be viewed as a welcome development.

I then spent a day reading some of what is being said by NIPCC, the organization that challenges the CO2 theory of climate change, watched introductory videos from a conference on the topic held 2nd June and then watched two contrasting movies: The Great Global Warming Swindle and The Denial Machine. This is what I learned:

On one side of the debate CO2 emissions are causing global warming, that is generally bad and we need to do something about it. On the other side, CO2 is an effect, not a cause of global warming and that there is more likelihood that natural activity by the sun is causing climate change. The economic consequences are fundamentally different, depending on which side of the divide you choose to camp.

I was particularly taken by arguments in The Great Global Warming Swindle that this is a political issue with economic overtones that has washed out any real debate about the science involved in understanding what is happening to the planet’s climate. Given what I have seen and especially the upsurge in attention paid to the topic by IT companies it makes sense to stand back and ask: are we being hoodwinked into spending on IT that will be fruitless? More to the point, why should I take this position when all around me say we urgently need  to spend on IT measures that will help bring change? (Dennis Howlett, ZDNet)


A Comment On A 1999 Paper “Global Warming And Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent By Vinnikov Et Al

Ten years ago, the following paper was published.

Vinnikov et al., 1999: Global warming and northern hemisphere sea ice extent. Science. 286, 1934-1937.

In this paper, there is a presentation of the model predictions of sea ice extent along with observations up to 1998.  This weblog introduces the subject of how well have the model predictions done.

Their abstract includes the statement (referring to the GFDL and Hadley global climate models)

“Both models used here project continued decreases in sea ice thickness and extent throughout the next century.”

In the conclusion to their paper, they write

“Both climate models realistically reproduce the observed annual trends in NH sea ice extent. This suggests that these models can be used with some confidence to predict future changes in sea ice extent in response to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Both models predict continued substantial sea ice extent and thickness decreases in the next century.”

In their paper (in Table 1) they have model predictions (in units of linear trend in 106 square kilometers per decade) listed for the GFDL climate model from 1978-1998 of -0.34 (and -0.19 using a “smoothed model output“) and for the Hadley Centre climate model -0.18 (and -0.16 using a “smoothed model output“).

A value of -0.18 is the loss of sea ice area of 180000 square kilometers per decade, for example.

The first figure below is from the Vinnikov et al 1999 paper  with respect to the model predictions, while the second and third figures are the sea ice areal anomaly and the sea ice areal converage for the Northern Hemisphere up to the present from The Cryosphere Today.



Until later in 2007, the sea ice areal extent continued to decrease in a manner which, at least visually, is consistent with the Vinnikov et al 1999 predictions (although the actual values of areal coverage differ substantially between the observations and the predictions, perhaps as a result of their formulation to compute areal coverage).

However, since 2006, the reduction has stopped and even reversed. Perhaps this is a short term event and the reduction of sea ice extent will resume. Nonetheless, the reason for the turn around, even if short term, needs an explanation.  Moreover, this data provides a valuable climate metric to assess whether the multi-decadal global models do have predictive skill as concluded in the Vinnikov et al 2009 paper. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Brookings: Waxman-Markey a $9 trillion tax!

The Waxman-Markey climate bill amounts to a $9 trillion tax that will reduce personal consumption by up to $2 trillion by mid-century, according to an analysis presented yesterday by the left-leaning Brookings Institution.

No effort was made to estimate the benefits of Waxman-Markey, apparently because of the difficulty of such an estimation, according to a report in Carbon Control News.

To summarize: We know Waxman-Markey will hurt taxpayers, consumers and the economy, and it’s too difficult to determine whether the bill will provide any benefits — so let’s hurry up and enact the Mother of All Taxes?

Click here for Brookings’ “Fact Sheet.”

Click here for Brookings’ Powerpoint presentation. (Green Hell Blog)


Of Kites, Coal and the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill

If nothing else, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill is keeping the think tanks and Washington lobbyists busy. I've been surveying analyses and comment from critics including The Heritage Foundation ("a massive energy tax in disguise that promises job losses, income cuts, and a sharp left turn toward big government"), former Lotus CEO Jim Manzi in The National Review ("a terrible deal for American taxpayers"), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ("expensive, complicated, regulation-heavy, domestic-only legislation"), The Breakthrough Institute ("may allow American emissions to continue to rise for up to twenty years") as well as Greenpeace ("not strong enough to stop global warming") and Friends of the Earth ("we have serious concerns and misgivings that prevent us from offering our support"). Now we are getting analyses of the analyses, such as the NRDC's Laurie Johnson's persuasive takedown of Heritage's work. (Marc Gunther, GreenBiz)


Greens' U.N. climate advice: slash CO2, pay $160 billion

OSLO - Environmental activists called on Monday for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and for developed nations to pay $160 billion a year to help the poor as part of a radical new U.N. climate treaty.

"It's going to be unpopular with almost everyone," said Tasneem Essop, of WWF International, of the blueprint issued on the sidelines of 181-nation U.N. talks in Bonn about a U.N. pact to be agreed in December in Copenhagen.

"But we need more ambitious targets," she told Reuters of the draft, written by almost 50 leading environmentalists and with the backing of groups including WWF, Greenpeace, Germanwatch and the David Suzuki Foundation. (Reuters)


EU summit to hold off climate funding decision

EU heads of state and government are expected to yet again postpone a decision to provide poor countries with financial contributions to fight climate change when they meet in Brussels next week (18-19 June), according to diplomatic sources. (EurActiv)


Putting the burning question to global-warming alarmists

STEVE Fielding has had a conversion that could blow apart the great global warming scare.

No wonder the Rudd Government is scrambling and the ABC is already sliming the Family First senator.

You see, Fielding has suddenly realised that global warming may not be caused by humans after all.

What has startled him out of merely accepting we're heating the world to hell with our carbon dioxide emissions is one fact in particular.

While our emissions are increasing fast each year, satellite measurements show the world's temperatures have still not risen above the 1998 record, and have actually fallen since 2002.

Of course, all this has been pointed out before. I've asked both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong - to their faces - to explain why the world isn't still warming as it should if their global warming theories are right.

Neither has given me an answer. Nor have they answered similar challenges from the few sceptics in Parliament who have dared to reveal themselves - notably the Nationals' Barnaby Joyce and the Liberals' Dennis Jensen.

But here's why Fielding's conversion is potentially so much more dangerous to the Government than sniping from mere columnists or Coalition MPs.

Fielding is not just in a position to ask the Government the same question. He can also demand a straight answer.

If he does not get it, his vote in the Senate could destroy the Rudd Government's plan to impose billions of dollars of taxes on all our sources of emissions - from power stations and smelters to, eventually, even cows.

With the Liberals refusing to back the scheme this year, the Government needs not just the votes of the Greens but of the two crossbench senators, Nick Xenophon . . . and Fielding.

But Fielding, an engineer, is now insisting he be shown the proof that the world is even still warming, and the Government must at last justify its plan's most basic assumption. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)


In case you missed the background for the above: Fielding's climate mission

THE fact-finding mission to the US of Family First senator Steve Fielding has culminated in him giving senior White House staff graphs provided by climate change sceptics and asking why he should not believe them.

Senator Fielding emailed graphs that claim the globe had not warmed for a decade to Joseph Aldy, US President Barack Obama's special assistant on energy and the environment, after a meeting on Thursday.

Speaking from Washington, Senator Fielding said that asking the White House to explain why it is convinced global warming is linked to greenhouse emissions was part of "picking up the fight for the underdog".

He earlier attended a climate sceptics' conference run by free-market think tank the Heartland Institute — part of a trip to "hear both sides".

Senator Fielding said he found that Dr Aldy and other Obama Administration officials were not interested in discussing the legitimacy of climate science.

The talks focused on the Democrats' Waxman-Markey climate bill, expected to go before Congress in August. (The Age)


Japan, Russia urged to issue 2020 greenhouse goals

OSLO - Japan and Russia should publish 2020 goals for greenhouse gas emissions to help spur U.N. talks on a new climate treaty, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Monday.

Other developed nations have already set targets and the lack of Japanese and Russian data was holding up the June 1-12 talks among 181 nations in Bonn, Germany, on a new pact due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December.

"A number of critical ... ones are missing -- Japan and Russia," Yvo de Boer told a webcast news conference about progress in the talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the existing U.N. pact for curbing emissions.

"It's really important now to get those remaining numbers on the table." (Reuters)


Japan set to unveil timid target on climate change: campaigners

BONN — Japan on Wednesday will unveil a target of reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions by seven percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, Japanese campaigners said on Tuesday at the UN climate talks here.

They lashed the reported goal as pitiful, saying it marked a mere one-percentage-point fall over Japan's target for 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty set to be superseded by a far more ambitious global pact.

The target will be announced by the government as part of a larger strategy for tackling climate change, said Kimiko Hirata of Kiko Network, part of an alliance of green groups called the Climate Action Network (CAN). (AFP)


From CO2 Science this week:

Experts Rebut IPCC on Its Analysis of Medieval Warm Period: The most recent attempt of the IPCC to discredit the global and coherent nature of the Medieval Warm Period is demonstrated to be both incorrect and based on inadequate empirical data.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 712 individual scientists from 414 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lake Haukadalsvatn, West Iceland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Evolution (Terrestrial Plants - Natural Vegetation: Warming-Induced): Will global warming be its own catalyst for inducing earth's plants to evolve to meet the thermal challenge it presents to them?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: European White Birch (Esmeijer-Liu et al., 2009), Scots Pine (Alberton and Kuyper, 2009), Silver Vase Bromeliad (Monteiro et al., 2009), and Sugarcane (Vu and Allen Jr., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Himalayan Glaciers: What does their melt-history tell us about late-20th-century global warming?

Storms of Northwest France: How have they varied over the past few millennia?

Summer Temperatures in the Northern French Alps: How have they varied over the past two millennia?

The Progressive Nitrogen Limitation Hypothesis: It takes another beating, as nature overrides the wisdom of man.

Mopping Up Soil Copper Pollution: As the air's CO2 content continues to rise, it will accelerate natural soil-cleansing processes. (


Little Ice Age II, The Sequel?

The lingering cool temperatures being experience by much of North America has weather forecasters wondering it we are entering a new Little Ice Age—a reference to the prolonged period of cold weather that afflicted the world for centuries and didn't end until just prior to the American Civil War. From historical records, scientists have found a strong correlation between low sunspot activity and a cooling climate. At the end of May, an international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA released a new prediction for the next solar cycle: Solar Cycle 24 will be one of the weakest in recent memory. Are we about to start a new Little Ice Age? (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Global Warming - Sorry Al, it's the Sun!

According to Robert Cahalan, climatologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center "For the last 20 to 30 years, we believe greenhouse gases have been the dominant influence on recent climate change."

This may not come as such a big surprise to those who weren't so ready to swallow the Al Gore theory. We all knew that Earth has experienced dramatic changes in its history, going from ice ages to periods of extreme heat (even to the point of melting all the ice on the planet).

Many have suggested that the Sun was responsible for these climatic changes and pointed out that low (or non-existent) solar activity often appeared during cooler periods on the planet.

It would now seem that NASA agrees with this finding. Thomas Woods, a solar scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder said "The fluctuations in the solar cycle impacts Earth's global temperature by about 0.1 degree Celsius, slightly hotter during solar maximum and cooler during solar minimum," and added "The sun is currently at its minimum, and the next solar maximum is expected in 2012."

Its the Sun!

Between 1650 and 1715, almost no sunspots were observed on the Sun's surface and this is believed to have been partly responsible for the Little Ice Age in Europe.

There have been few, if any, sunspots for some time now, but does this mean we have reached a turning point and can expect temperatures to fall again? (Ian Brockwell, News Blaze)


West Virginia’s New State Rock: Coal

Coal has become the official rock of West Virginia.

Last week. Gov. Joe Manchin signed a resolution (text) giving the rock its new status, and declaring that the bituminous coal industry “remains essential to economic growth and progress in West Virginia and the United States.”

The resolution, which passed the state’s house of delegates 96-0 and was approved by the State Senate in a voice vote, also traces the noble history of the rock, from the time George Washington noted a “coal hill of fire” in what became West Virginia.

The Mountain State joins Kentucky and Utah, both of which have had coal as their state mineral and state rock, respectively, for more than a decade.

The West Virginia movement was started, according to the West Virginia Coal Association, by a high school student who was a coal miner’s daughter.

“I realized the state didn’t have an official state rock,” the high school senior, Britnee Gibson, told the association, “and I thought, what better to be the state rock than coal?”

The resolution comes as the state’s coal industry encounters tough times, with some residents in West Virginia protesting the blasting of mountaintops to remove it.

The recession, too, has dampened demand for electricity, such that Consol Energy, a big coal company operating in the state, recently announced that it was idling two West Virginia mines. (Green Inc.)


Delay new biofuels rule one year: U.S. oil industry

WASHINGTON - The government should delay new rules that expand U.S. use of biofuels until 2011, the oil industry said on Tuesday, because there is too much work to do on the ground-breaking rules to start sooner.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a January 1 target to apply the rules that also require advanced biofuels to have greenhouse gas emissions that are 40 percent lower than petroleum from creation through consumption.

Al Mannato, a manager at the American Petroleum Institute, said the industry would prefer a year's delay as it is unlikely EPA can complete work in time for a smooth January 1 start.

"It appears the only option possible is a 2011 start date," said Mannato during an all-day EPA hearing on its May 5 proposal to update the so-called renewable fuels standard. (Reuters)


June 9, 2009

Reusable grocery bags are a source of cross-infection

Well, are you really surprised?

Far too many simpleminded Green precepts have terrible unintended consequences:

  • DDT ban led to millions of deaths from malaria
  • CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards created cars that even proponents admit are less safe
  • Drive to save energy in buildings by sealing them up tight as a drum created indoor air quality issues with radon and other toxics
  • Foolish advocacy of ethanol as an automotive fuel led to drastic increase in food prices

Now, a study—coming out of Canada—indicates that reusable grocery bags are a breeding ground for bacteria and pose public health risks: Food poisoning, skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections. It is noted that in the control group (single-use plastic bags and first-use reusables), there was no evidence of bacteria, mold, yeast, or total coliforms.

Astoundingly, 64% of the previously-used reusables showed the presence of some levels of bacterial contamination.

Greenie proponents are calling for users to clean the bags, but this is not as simple as it sounds. Organic matter is difficult to remove, and if left wet, the situation is probably made even worse. Other voices are blaming the findings on people using the grocery bags as general-purpose totes, thus mixing in gym clothes and even diapers. However, the real problem is contamination from various food items (and is some cases the bag's material), which can breed microbial growth.

Even without this bad news, it was difficult to justify the reusables, in terms of the extreme energy cost in both manufacturing and transportation from China—especially in light of the fact that most people do re-use plastic grocery bags.

Read my whole HND article for more serious public health implications. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Tobacco: Why Not Obesity?

Major health problems associated with smoking account for about a tenth of our health care spending, about the same amount as illness and behaviors associated with obesity. Today, the Senate will vote to regulate tobacco like a drug and crack down on marketing. Costs associated with cigarette consumption will rise. A lot of folks wonder why the government can't borrow the tobacco approach and apply it to obesity, which also seems to be -- seems to be, I say -- a condition that results from an addiction to food? Arguably, the long-term costs associated with being overweight exceed those of nicotine addiction. Trouble is, obesity belongs to a different category of conditions. There is a social and psychological element to the smoking contagion, but its origins, effects and treatments are much more defined.

Also, people can live without nicotine. They can't live without food. And food advertising is already more tightly regulated than tobacco advertising. The correlation between tobacco advertising and consumption is much stronger than the correlation between food advertising and obesity -- so strong, in fact, that it's close to being unidirectional.

Though policy makers are beginning to change their thinking, I'd wager that most still believe that obesity is, at its core, a condition that individuals ought to be able to control themselves. That's why the preferred response to obesity, so far, has been more study and prohibitions on lawsuits against the food industry. On the flip side, comprehensive national anti-obesity programs, like national nutrition labeling standards, are untethered to evidence that they work. I'll be writing more about obesity and health care policy in the coming months, but suffice it to say that the tobacco model offers fewer clues for obesity treatment and prevention then one might assume. (Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic)

Somewhat unkind comment with the above article:

... strange that as a non-smoker he supports higher tobacco costs, but as a clearly overweight man [pictured left] he finds the obesity epidemic to be a much more nuanced issue. This leads to insights like "people can live without nicotine. They can't live without food."

I don't think anyone is proposing that we starve people to reduce obesity. But many cases of obesity aren't caused by an "addiction to food"; they're caused by an addiction to sitting on the couch/at a computer with minimal physical activity for most of the week.

We tax smokers to support children's health care, why not support an obesity tax as well? Certainly obesity is a more lethal epidemic than smoking, especially after 25 years of anti-tobacco campaigns. If the Democrats get their way and succeed in creating a public health option, then the obese should have to carry more of the weight since they will eat up more of the resources.

Granted, Mr. Ambinder would probably appear less full in the face if he smoked more and ate less but that wouldn't actually tell us anything about his health. Smokers definitely smell bad but that doesn't make them societally expensive from a health perspective (nicking off for a smoke-break might mean they are less productive workers, or not), nor is there any evidence that an aging society getting "broad in the beam" is indicative of poor health.

Some people shouldn't smoke and some people are ill-suited to carrying extra weight but that doesn't make them a hazard or a cost for the rest of us. The antis all need to get a life and stop trying to dictate how everyone else lives theirs.


Same lightweight ad menu key to youth obesity inquiry

THE House of Representatives inquiry into the obesity epidemic, Weighing it up: Obesity in Australia, recognises the magnitude of the problem and recommends a range of reforms but the advertising industry will remain self-regulated.

This is, they are told, their last chance.

I have been hearing such admonitions for more than 30 years.

From 1978-84 I chaired the children's program committee of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal when the children's advertising standards were first introduced. I soon learned the only way to get program reform supported, and introduce the Classification for children's programs, was to go easy on advertising.

Little seems to have changed. The advertising industry's reprieve this time is based on evidence from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the current regulator, which has claimed it cannot identify a link between obesity and television advertising to children in its commissioned research. Ofcom, the media regulator in the UK, had no such problem in accepting as credible the research it commissioned and banned junk food advertising in and around children's television programs in 2007. (Patricia Edgar, The Australian)

Patricia, Australia does not have to repeat the mistakes of the UK -- just because Ofcom is gullible does not mean ACMA must be too.


Situation worsening in Europe? Greens make big gains in EU parliament vote

LONDON—Polar bears have taken over screen savers. Two of the last five Nobel Peace Prizes have gone to eco-campaigners. Climate change has crept onto government agendas.

And now the European Parliament itself has gone a bit more green. (Associated Press)


An amphibious assault

Around the world, frogs and toads are falling victim to a loss of habitat, pesticides, pollution and an insidious, quick-acting fungus. And now they are going extinct faster than any other animals since the dinosaurs (Globe and Mail)

Significant in that it gives mere passing mention to old chestnut of "climate change" (might be a promising sign of reality reintruding).


How Afghanistan's grapes will help defeat wrath, in a climate-friendly way

Afghanistan is poised to become a major exporter of fruits, ranging from pomegranates to melons to Kunduz strawberries, according to the Spectator.

The more Helmand grapes we can stuff down our throats the more rapidly Afghanistan will wean itself off 'submission to the Taleban and economic dependency on opium,' says Elliot Wilson.

What a shame that we're all supposed to be eating local fruit that doesn't need to be flown to the UK on greenhouse gas-emitting planes to stop climate change.

Well actually, there is a way to eat Helmand grapes without feeling too guilty, scientists say.

Assuming the fruit has been grown using nothing more than the sun's heat, picked by humans and flown to the UK, there's still a good chance that they are responsible for fewer emissions than grapes that have been grown out of season in a heated greenhouse in Britain, heavily fertilised, harvested using fuel-thirsty machinery and stored for months in fridges. (BBC Blog of Bloom)


Global Warming/Climate

The wannabe rulers of the world and rationers of our energy supply can see their opportunity slipping away with the world's obstinate failure to overheat and the sun's continued quiescence. Countdown timers such as the above are beginning to proliferate (you can get the html code for this one and variants here). Their purpose is of course to pressure lawmakers and politicians into rash and panicked action against the mythical beast. Ours is a little different. We think Copenhagen is where the Kyoto farce will finally crash and burn and with it the political issue of gorebull warming.

We look on our version as a clock ticking away the life of one of the most absurd scares in human history.


They just don't get it: Warming and Death

[UPDATED, 6/3, below.] There are significant questions about the robustness of the numbers at the heart of the new report estimating more than 300,000 deaths are already being caused each year by global warming, with nearly twice that number possible by 2030. The report was commissioned by the Global Humanitarian Forum, created in 2007 by the former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, and reviews reams of data and earlier analysis by other researchers and groups. More on the questions is below. (Andrew C. Revkin, NYT)

We have real problems to deal with every day and there is NEVER any excuse to misdirect effort with irrelevant and trivial enhanced greenhouse effect.

Can adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere increase global mean temperature?

Theoretically, yes -- BUT this hypothetical increase is trivially small and unnoticeable given the wide variability of local temperatures experienced on even an hourly basis, much less the meaningless drift of hundredths of a degree averaged over thousands of hours. A quick look at the forecast for Washington, DC, suggests a daily temperature range this week of 8 kelvins and more (pretty ordinary, as daily ranges go), that's an experienced change of 0.33/K/hr (also trivial, people regularly experience far greater hourly change rates). So, if the silly claims of +5 °C (9 °F) warming over the next century were true? That's an hourly rate of change of less than 0.000006 °C/hr or roughly +0.0001 °C/day. Without sophisticated statistics and record keeping no one would ever know the difference and yet that hypothetical change is far beyond the physical characteristics of carbon dioxide and only achieved in models through the use of marvelous magical multipliers -- increasing atmospheric CO2 alone CAN NOT DO IT.

Damn but this is a stupid game!


Buried Code - The unexamined federal regulation in a House energy bill

THE RUNNING joke in Washington is that nobody has read the 900-plus-page energy bill sponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), which the House will consider in coming weeks. What you hear from its backers is that its cap-and-trade provisions would create a market-based program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- which should mean that a simple, systemwide incentive encourages polluters to make the easiest reductions in greenhouse gases first, keeping the costs of fighting global warming to a minimum. In fact, the bill also contains regulations on everything from light bulb standards to the specs on hot tubs, and it will reshape America's economy in dozens of ways that many don't realize.

Here is just one: The bill would give the federal government power over local building codes. It requires that by 2012 codes must require that new buildings be 30 percent more efficient than they would have been under current regulations. By 2016, that figure rises to 50 percent, with increases scheduled for years after that. With those targets in mind, the bill expects organizations that develop model codes for states and localities to fill in the details, creating a national code. If they don't, the bill commands the Energy Department to draft a national code itself. (Washington Post)


Questions on EPA's Cost Estimates for Waxman-Markey Climate Change Legislation

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) analysis of the economic impact of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill relies on a variety of assumptions. These assumptions strongly bias the cost downward when compared to the results of studies done by the Center for Data Analysis (CDA) at The Heritage Foundation and by CRA International for the National Black Chamber of Commerce. (David Kreutzer, Ph.D. and Nicolas Loris, Heritage)


Climate Change Legislation: Benefits Must Outweigh Costs

Washington, DC-The talk on Capitol Hill is not to expect climate change legislation to become law this year, but do expect Congress to take action before the 2010 elections. Any delay in sweeping climate change legislation is welcome news for America's farmers and ranchers because whatever action Congress takes could have a profound and permanent impact on production agriculture.

Congress should not push through such important legislation in a rushed, haphazard way. Experts agree that efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will impact all sectors of the economy and will be costly to all. Climate change may well be the most serious, far- reaching issue the 111th Congress handles, even more critical than health care reform.

Farm Bureau has a clear message to Congress on climate change legislation: the benefits must outweigh the costs. Any cap-and-trade program must make economic sense for U.S. agriculture. Doing so means giving the Agriculture Department a prominent role in administering any offsets program and assuring that agricultural offset projects are spelled out in the legislation. (AFBF release)


Poor families could receive hundreds of dollars from climate bill to offset energy costs

WASHINGTON — Low-income families will receive hundreds of dollars a year to help pay higher energy bills if Congress enacts the first-ever limits on the gases blamed for global warming, according to a new analysis.

But it is unclear just how much more those families will have to pay for energy. (Associated Press)

Why not leave things alone and not increase their costs to start with? Al doesn't really need their money.


And on his personal enrichment quest: Former Vice President Al Gore Pushes Climate Change Bill in Congress - Global Warming Guru, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Gore Continues Post-White House Crusade

Dick Cheney is surely the most visible ex-vice president these days.

But Al Gore is almost certainly the most influential.

As Congress wrestles with politically explosive issues surrounding climate change and energy, Gore is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.

He's worked the phones to squeak a bill through a key legislative committee. He's serving as an informal counsel to allies on Capitol Hill and inside the Obama administration, as they seek to solve a complicated political equation.

The not-for-profit Gore heads is running ads in targeted congressional districts, and holding town-hall meetings across the country to drum up support for climate-change legislation. The slideshow made famous in "An Inconvenient Truth" has now been shared more than 30,000 times and counting worldwide.

The one thing the former vice president is not doing very much of: talking in public about what he's doing behind the scenes. (ABC News)


Right... Todd Stern to press China on climate change in run-up to Copenhagen

America’s leading climate change negotiator will urge China to make a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions during meetings in Beijing this week, as the US seeks to avoid the collapse of the next global warming treaty. (The Times)


Meanwhile, in the real world... 'Hindi-Chini' still `bhai-bhai' at climate meet

NEW DELHI: Does the `Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai' slogan still hold value at the climate negotiations? Or could the Sino-India leadership of the
G77+China grouping come undone in the lead up to the crucial climate talks at Copenhagen by the end of 2009?

This concern has been nagging a powerful section of the Indian establishment ever since the ball began to roll towards a possible international deal in Copenhagen. But the doubts seem to have been put to rest with China taking a strong and unequivocal stance at the ongoing discussions at Bonn.

At the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, G77+China makes up a formidable group and the India-China team is seen as the bulwark that holds the disparate team together in the face of diplomatic and economic onslaught from EU and other industrialized nations. Sticking together, the powerful block has been able to neutralize the economic influence of the rich countries with its moral position (`the rich were to blame for climate change not this collective of nations') and some of their own economic muscle flexing.

But in the past year, some senior Indian officials (though not directly involved in climate change negotiations) have been voicing concern and some news in the media from industrialized nations has been indicating that China may be ready to strike out on its own breaking the block. A fear had been expressed in the Indian quarters that a US-China deal on the side could break the G77, and as a consequence leave India to fend for itself.

But China's strong statements at the ongoing Bonn negotiations and its formal submissions just before have left no room for doubt that it is sticking to the demands that G77 nations have collectively made. (Times of India)


The con is on: how carbon credits neuter Cap & Trade

In my discussion of the Cap & Trade scheme for carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2E) emissions (greenhouse gases) proposed by U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Edward Markey, D-Mass. (the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009), I argue that the two key issues are (1) the size of the overall quota and (2) the enforcement of the rule that without a permit, you cannot emit.

Prima facie, the scheme looks tough. The Discussion Draft Summary of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 reads: “The draft establishes a market-based program for reducing global warming pollution from electric utilities, oil companies, large industrial sources, and other covered entities that collectively are responsible for 85% of U.S. global warming emissions. Under this program, covered entities must have tradable federal permits, called “allowances,” for each ton of pollution emitted into the atmosphere. Entities that emit less than 25,000 tons per year of CO2 equivalent are not covered by this program. The program reduces the number of available allowances issued each year to ensure that aggregate emissions from the covered entities are reduced by 3% below 2005 levels in 2012, 20% below 2005 levels in 2020, 42% below 2005 levels in 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels in 2050.”

In fact, the scheme is a total con. It permits the US to increase CO2E emissions until 2020. The escape mechanism used - carbon offsets or carbon credits - suggests that for the period 2020 - 2050 also, the supposed intent of the Act - to reduce CO2E emissions in the US - will be neutered. (Willem Buiter, Financial Times)


Canada ``bullying'' developing countries over Kyoto: environmentalists.

OTTAWA - Environmentalists say government documents show Canada's role in international climate change negotiations includes ``bullying'' developing countries, backpedalling on commitments and attempting to exploit divisions in Europe.

Foreign Affairs briefing notes obtained through an Access-to-Information request indicate a ``deliberately provocative'' Canadian strategy in negotiations to replace the Kyoto accord in Copenhagen in December, says Dale Marshall, climate change policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation.

``It suggests that Canada doesn't mind exacerbating tensions between developed and developing countries and wouldn't mind if that led to a failure in the discussions,'' Marshall said in a weekend interview from Bonn, Germany. ``Quite simply if you're looking for an agreement in Copenhagen, this is not the approach to take.'' (Juliet O'Neill, Canwest News Service)


West not playing its part to tackle climate change: India

NEW DELHI: Industrialized countries are nowhere near meeting their legal obligations to combat climate change and are trying to muddy the waters by saying the global problem cannot be tackled unless developing countries do more, says Shyam Saran, India's chief negotiator at the climate treaty talks.

As the world stumbles towards a climate treaty scheduled to be inked this December in Copenhagen, a key preparatory meet is on in Bonn (June 1-12). Negotiators from around the world are poring over the "negotiating text" expected to lead to the treaty. (IANS)


How Much Should Poor Countries Be Paid to Fight Climate Change?

What will it take to get developing nations to sign up to a global climate agreement?

A critical part of the answer, it seems, is cold, hard cash.

Countries in poorer parts of the world like China and India are demanding that wealthier regions like the European Union and North America finance their efforts at developing clean energy technologies and help them adapt to the effects of climate change caused largely by accumulated emissions from the industrialized West.

Money to finance these efforts is seen as a precondition for reaching an agreement at United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen in December, when nations gather to hammer out a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

European finance ministers meeting over lunch in Luxembourg on Tuesday are expected to discuss the thorny question of what would represent a fair amount, according to diplomats. (Green Inc.)


The littlest totalitarian.

''HELPING Dad become a better man: priceless."

That's the closing line of a new MasterCard commercial. You know those commercials; they've been out for nearly a decade. A typical one goes something like this: "Bric-a-brac: 17 dollars. White elephant: 28 dollars. Getting your wife to remove the restraining order: priceless."

Only this one has a little boy tailing his father--a man who looks like a perpetually adolescent extra from the old sitcom Friends--through a home-improvement store pointing out ways the carbon-profligate old man can reduce his footprint. The boy replaces the usual narrator as well.

"Energy-saving bulb: four dollars," quoth the child. "Reusable bag: two dollars. Helping Dad become a better man: priceless." (The Free Library)


Freeman Dyson Takes On The Climate Establishment

Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson has been roundly criticized for insisting global warming is not an urgent problem, with many climate scientists dismissing him as woefully ill-informed. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Dyson explains his iconoclastic views and why he believes they have stirred such controversy. (Yale Environment 360)


Gravy train riders upset: Fielding slammed over solar flare theory

Scientists have slammed Family First's Steve Fielding after he returned from the US suggesting solar flares rather than human activity are responsible for climate change.

Senator Fielding said he wanted to debate the cause of global warming with government scientists before he votes on Labor's climate change legislation.

He recently returned from a trip to the United States where he met climate change sceptics who blame global warming on solar flares, not human activity or carbon emissions.

It is a theory he believes has some credibility.

"The issue that has been put forward is that over the last decade carbon emissions have been going up but global temperature hasn't," he told ABC Radio today.

"What I heard at the conference was that solar activity seems to be more closely aligned to global temperature changes over a long period of time."

Senator Fielding said there hadn't been a proper debate on the science behind climate change and that up until now, there was only a blanket acceptance that carbon emissions were the cause of global warming. (AAP)


How the ABC’s priests damn Fielding (Andrew Bolt Blog)


The questions Fielding wants Wong to answer (Andrew Bolt Blog)


"Global Warming," Painting Your Roof White, and the Chattanooga Chu-Chu

Chu’s ‘Texas Longhorn’

(A point here, a point there, and a whole lotta bull in between.)

Steven Chu, entertainingly described as an “Energy Secretary”, says we can Save The Planet from “global warming” by painting our rooftops and roads white. He says making roofs and roads paler would have the same effect as taking every automobile in the world off the road for 11 years.

The Limbaugh Question

Rush Limbaugh, entertainingly as always, but pointedly, asks –

“Now, would somebody explain to me how he knows this? … If we can do something that will effectively remove the carbon emissions of every car on the road for 11 years, then why are we doing anything else? Why are we doing cap and trade? Why are we getting rid of SUVs? … How much paint is this going to take, by the way? How much of a footprint does paint manufacturing leave? … I need a scientist to answer this for me. I understand how clouds at altitude can help reflect the heat, but I want to know … where does that reflected heat go? … Are we being told here that reflected heat is not damaging at all, but direct heat is? It seems to me that, if we had ‘global warming’, wouldn’t we want dark roofs to absorb the heat?”

His Lordship’s Elegant Answer...  (SPPI)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, June 5th 2009

Gangsters are muscling in on Big Al’s territory and skeptics might be executed. It’s just another week in the rough world of radical environmentalism, conveniently rounded up for your delectation and delight. (Daily Bayonet)


CERN: CLOUD on cloud number nine

The LHC is not the only experiment that will begin to collect the data later in 2009.

The chamber has arrived: click here if the video is missing.

CLOUD - Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets - just got closer to reality because of the operation you can see in the video above: their three-meter diameter cloud chamber has just arrived.

On CLOUD nine (CERN press release)
The experiment will try to find out whether the ions (similar to the galactic cosmic rays) influence the creation of clouds in the atmosphere. In other words, whether a roof is necessary for the cloud chambers to operate. ;-)

The inflow of ions may be subsequently modulated by the variations of solar activity. Because clouds cool the surface by 30 W/m^2, which is 20 times higher than the assumed CO2 forcing, be sure that small systematic changes of the cloud cover are damn important for the climate.

If the influence is found to exist, a widely suspected major climate driver will be quantified. Further sources:
CLOUD proposal documents
A talk by Jasper Kirkby on last Thursday:
... Poster (PDF), Slides (PDF), Video (CDS)
Funnily enough, the host of the seminar was string theorist Luis Alvarez-Gaume. He introduced a "part of the CERN furniture for 25 years". :-) The last sentence on the slides reaches comic proportions. After having spent 1 hour and 44 pages with this natural climate driver, the whole work is motivated by the desire for a better understanding of anthropogenic climate change. ;-)

Kirkby's talk at CERN: click here if the video is missing.

Despite this "happy end", let's wish the experiment success and we will see what it says.

Hat tip: Benny Peiser

Technical comment: the videos above appear in Microsoft Internet Explorer, Chrome, and other browsers, but not in Firefox, among others. Sorry but all of those videos can be found on the pages I have linked. And "click here" could work (and open an external player) for most browsers that don't show the player. (The Reference Frame)


Comments On My George C. Marshall Institute Talk ”Considering the Human Influence On Climate” By Mike MacCracken

Mike MacCracken attended my George C. Marshall Institute seminar titled ”Considering the Human Influence on Climate” on May 14 2009.  First I want to thank the Institute again for graciously inviting me to present a lecture, and for encouraging the open participation by climate scientists and others of all viewpoints.

I also want to thank Mike for attending and for the time he took to complete his weblog. While he and I disagree on a number of substantive issues, he is willing to engage in constructive discussions, unlike quite a few others who are involved in the IPCC and CCSP process.

Mike has posted a summary of my talk titled “Michael MacCracken’s review of Roger Pielke, Sr.’s May 14 climate talk to the Marshall Institute”. While, he correctly summarized much of the talk, his summary does need clarification and correction in places.  Below, I will comment on these issues in which we disagree.

1. Mike’s comment: “Pielke noted that the term “climate change” was not the right term to be using because climate was always changing. True, but by how much and how rapidly really matters. The recent pace of change is very unusual, given the present set of surface conditions (i.e., we do not have continental ice sheets melting around the Northern Hemisphere).”

The climate system has had much larger natural excursions in the recent past. We provide examples in

Rial, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Beniston, M. Claussen, J. Canadell, P. Cox, H. Held, N. de Noblet-Ducoudre, R. Prinn, J. Reynolds, and J.D. Salas, 2004: Nonlinearities, feedbacks and critical thresholds within the Earth’s climate system. Climatic Change, 65, 11-38


Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: Global climate models - Many contributing influences. Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Climate Change, Colorado Climate Foundation for Water Education, pp. 28-29.

We also need to make sure we do not use the term “climate change” when we are referring to “global warming or cooling”. Climate variability and change cover a much wider set of influences on society and the environment (e.g. see).

2.  Mike’s comment: “He then made the point that CO2 is not like a traditional pollutant in that CO2 is and has always been a part of the climate system. He later said that it should not therefore be regulated like a traditional pollutant—suggesting that it would seem that with EPA treating it as a pollutant needing to be regulated, in the future EPA could regulate water vapor and land cover. On these points Pielke is being quite sloppy—methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and ozone are all present naturally and are being regulated as pollutants.”

Mike is the one who is not accurate here. Human caused emissions of methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and ozone  can result in atmospheric concentrations, that humans are exposed to, that have direct health effects, while CO2 at current, or even doubled or tripled atmospheric concentrations, does not.

3. Mike’s comment: “The focus solely on CO2 is mainly in the media and so in the public discussion—mainly to keep the matter focused and not to make things overwhelmingly complex. In addition, for the long-term (over centuries to millennia), CO2 is the major factor contributing to climate change (as indicated by the recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Susan Solomon).”

The claim that CO2 is dominant over centuries to millennia is over-simplistic. Landscape and aerosol emissions (e.g. dust, fires) also have long term changes.  Mike agrees the climate system involves these forcings, so he should be more vocal about letting the policymakers know this.

Moreover, with respect to policy actions, we are focusing on the coming decades, where all of the climate forcings that we identified in the 2005 NRC report are occurring; see

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.

Policymakers need to be correctly informed of the diversity of human climate forcings that are altering local, regional and global climate. The IPCC and CCSP reports did not provide an accurate report to policymakers on this fundamental climate science issue. 

 Mike writes The focus solely on CO2 is mainly in the media and so in the public discussion—mainly to keep the matter focused and not to make things overwhelmingly complex”.  This narrow focus, also results in erroneous information being communicated to the public and policymakers!

4. Mike’s comment:As specific illustrations of his assertion, Pielke showed the trends in satellite-derived observations of tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures (interestingly, and sensibly, using the RSS data set), indicating that while the former showed warming over the last four decades and the latter showed cooling over this period, the results for the last 10 years did not show the expected trends.”

I presented the RSS data since their figures were easier to extract from their webpage than the corresponding analysis of the UAH group. Both analyses show a lack of lower tropospheric warming in recent years. However, from your comment, it appears you have concluded the RSS analyses are superior. This issue was addressed, however, in an independent assessment and reported in the peer reviewed literature;

Randall R. M., B. M. Herman (2008), Using limited time period trends as a means to determine attribution of discrepancies in microwave sounding unit–derived tropospheric temperature time series, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D05105, doi:10.1029/2007JD008864. 

I reported on this paper on my weblog (see), where I concluded that

While both UAH and RSS are outstanding research groups, with respect to the assessment of multi-decadal tropospheric temperature trends, the independent comparison reported in Randall and Herman indicates that the trend values of the UAH group are more accurate.”

5.  Mike’s comment: “For sea ice, Pielke suggested that Arctic sea ice had recovered its average area this past winter and Antarctic sea ice cover had recently been increasing, drawing the conclusion that sea ice feedback is not monotonic.”

I did not report that the Arctic sea ice has recovered to its long terms average (see my slide 8). Arctic sea ice has been below average for several years, and we published on this issue even before the more recent greater decline; see

Pielke Sr., R.A., G.E. Liston, and A. Robock, 2000: Insolation-weighted assessment of Northern Hemisphere snow-cover and sea-ice variability.J. Geophys. Res. Lett., 27, 3061-3064.

Pielke Sr., R.A., G.E. Liston, W.L. Chapman, and D.A. Robinson, 2004:Actual and insolation-weighted Northern Hemisphere snow cover and sea ice — 1974-2002. Climate Dynamics, 22, 591-595 DOI10.1007/s00382-004-0401-5.

6. Mike’s comment: “…..he suggested, measuring the temperature at 2 meters above the surface tends to yield a warm bias—for reasons that seemed to me a bit obscure during his lecture.”

The paper below provides a discussion of the reason for this bias. We have another paper, almost through the review process, which shows this is a global scale issue for all land areas.

Lin, X., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, K.C. Crawford, M. A. Shafer, and T. Matsui, 2007: An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. Geophys. Res. Letts., 34, L24705, doi:10.1029/2007GL031652.

7. Mike’s comment: …”many other variables suggest that the surface temperature is rising. For example, snow cover is retreating; ranges of species are shifting, etc.”

Observational data conflicts with Mike’s assertion.  Although not specifically on the range of species, with respect to phenology  (see) the new White et al 2009 article reported on in that weblog writes

We found no evidence for time trends in spring arrival from ground- or model-based data; using an ensemble estimate from two methods that were more closely related to ground observations than other methods, SOS trends could be detected for only 12% of North America and were divided between trends towards both earlier and later spring.”

For northern hemisphere snow cover, see from the Rutgers Snow Lab, where since about 1988 there has been no clear long term trend in this metric of snow cover.

8. Mike’s comment: ” …it seems to me that while land cover change can indeed affect local weather, even by significant amounts, and might well need to be locally regulated, the increase in the CO2 concentration is very dramatically altering the underlying baseline climate for everyone in the world—and so it has drawn the attention of international regulators.”

Mike has ignored, or is unaware, of the rich literature that documents that human caused landscape results in alterations of regional and global climate including; for example, the Asian monsoon (e.g. see); the summer weather over the eastern USA (e.g. see); and planetary circulation patterns (e.g. see).  A NASA press release on our Florida research effectively summarizes this issue (see).

9. Mike’s comment: “I also agree with Pielke that the spatial variations in aerosols and their forcing should be considered, but I am more interested in scales larger than in the more localized areas that Pielke seemed to focus on.”

Mike and I agree on this issue. I am also concerned about scales larger than localized areas. However, Mike is inconsistent in his conclusion. If spatial variations in aerosol heating are important in terms of their role in altering regional scale circulation features, land use/land cover change, and other aspects of landscape dynamics, should be of a comparable importance.

10. Mike’s comment: “Near as I could discern, he believes the main problem is that IPCC and other assessments are not, even after review, sufficiently accounting for his views on the effects of land cover change on the regional weather and climate.”

My concerns with the assessment process are much more significant than just that my per reviewed viewpoint on the important climate issues was excluded. The problem with the assessment process is that independent evaluations of them are not being completed.  I have documented the resulting narrowness of the IPCC and CCSP assessments in detail, and invite Mike to respond to the specific concerns that I report.  This documentation can be read at

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

Protecting The IPCC Turf - There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC.

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

11. Mike’s comment: “On the question of having the author teams be neutral, I don’t think a coherent vision emerged. For this to be implemented, these neutral authors would, at the start, have to not be doing research in the area, for it would not be helpful to change the process if all that we ended up with was a new set of authors citing their own work.”

The assumption that the authors would be “neutral” or “not to be doing research in the area” is not correct. There are many well-qualified climate scientists working on climate research, who do not have the significant vested interest in the outcome of a climate assessment. 

As an example of the current conflict of interest, Tom Karl was Chair of the committee evaluating the quality of his own surface temperature trend data in the CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences“.  I was strong-armed on that committee to accept Tom Karl’s conclusion on the robustness of his data and analyses. This failure in the assessment process led us subsequently to complete our own multi-authored peer reviewed assessment which we reported on, for example, in

Pielke Sr., R.A. J. Nielsen-Gammon, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, N. Doesken, M. Cai., S.  Fall, D. Niyogi, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, X. Lin, H. Li, and S. Raman, 2007: Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88:6, 913-928.

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.

 12.  Mike’s comment: “In seeking win-win strategies, Pielke also urged that the climate effects of all factors, including natural variability, be accounted for in addition to the climate change effects of greenhouse gases. Well, the National Assessment urged that as well. Indeed, regional assessment leaders were urged to consider three types of scenarios for the 21st century: (a) a repeat of the 20th century climate, but with altered societal conditions; (b) the changes in climate projected by a set of climate models (unfortunately, appropriate and complete model results were then available from only two modeling groups, although less complete results could also be used in some analyses); and (c) based on longer-term paleoclimatic data (derived, for example, from tree-ring reconstructions and other means), evaluate where sensitive thresholds might be and their likelihood and consequences. It is true that the first (and so far only) time through the National Assessment process most of the emphasis was on the use of the model-based scenarios, but the intent was there (although unfortunately not the resources and the time)—the effort really needed to be continued and improved rather than halted as the Bush-43 Administration ended up doing”.

I am glad that Mike and I agree on the scenario approach above. However, the choice of ONLY the model-based scenarios resulted in a seriously incomplete miscommunication to policymakers of the actual possible threats we face in the future. I urge Mike to encourage funding in the current Administration for such an inclusive vulnerability assessment.

13. Mike’s comment: I would also note that I do not think that scientists should be asked what they “believe,” but instead what their analysis and interpretation of the evidence indicates.”

I agree with Mike on this. However, he is in error in reporting what is written on my powerpoint slide on this issue. I wrote “The climate science community should be polled with respect to which of the following three hypotheses have been rejected” (see slide 53).

14. Mike’s comment: “in that for four IPCC assessments there has been unanimous acceptance of the IPCC chapters by the nations of the world without any nation taking exception..”

Mike is mixing up a political acceptance of the chapters with the scientific rigor of the assessments. We have completed a preliminary poll of the climate science community (see) and found more diversity of perspectives than claimed by Mike’s statement of the “unanimous acceptance of the IPCC chapters”.

15. Mike’s comment: “Overall, my sense was that this was a more thoughtful discussion of the issues than Prof. Pielke has presented in the past—and one that one could engage with. So, that’s progress. ”

I agree with Mike on this, and welcome his contribution to a constructive debate.  I also want to thank again the George C. Marshall Institute for their graciousness in providing a venue so that these discussions can take place.  We need more such opportunities, if the public and policymakers are going to be provided the true diversity of viewpoints by climate scientists on the role of humans within the climate system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


“The Global Warming Debates: Part 2 Of’s Exclusive Interview With Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr.” Has Been Published

The Global warming debates: Part 2 of’s exclusive interview with Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. was published today by Tom Fuller. Part 1 was published on June 2 2009.  I appreciate the opportunity provided by Mr. Fuller to present the public and others with the diversity of viewpoints on climate science, and look forward to future interviews by others in this field.  This is news reporting of the highest quality and what we need more of. (Roger Pielke, Sr., Climate Science)


Fear still trumps the facts on nuclear energy

June 6th was the 20th anniversary of the shut down of the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant in Sacramento. Given the occasion, environmentalists both locally and nationally are making a point to remind us how horrible nuclear energy really is. Movie stars and NGO types alike foolishly continue propagating concerns about the safety, costs and environmental damage made possible by nuclear energy. Unsurprisingly, their arguments haven’t changed in two decades and they’re just as wrong today as they were then. (Cameron English, El Dorado County Conservative Examiner)


New Tech Could Make Nuclear the Best Weapon Against Climate Change - Two new designs aim to make nuclear reactors safer and vastly more efficient.

In December 20, 1951, just outside the tiny town of Arco, Idaho, four 100-watt lightbulbs strung on a single cord flickered to life and then glowed brightly, becoming the first appliances ever powered by nuclear energy. The small group of scientists watching, employees of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), toasted to a future powered by the splitting of atoms.

It would be a dream deferred. Nuclear power stalled in America amid highly publicized accidents and concerns about radioactive waste. But scientists at the INL quietly soldiered on, and now the tide may be turning: The imperative to limit greenhouse-gas emissions is sparking an atomic renaissance on the very site of nuclear energy’s birth. (Discover)


Nuking green myths

IF climate change is the inconvenient truth facing our fossil fuel-dependent society, then advanced nuclear power is the inconvenient solution staring right back at the environmental movement. (Barry Brook, The Australian)


Think twice about 'green' transport, say scientists

You worry a lot about the environment and do everything you can to reduce your carbon footprint -- the emissions of greenhouse gases that drive dangerous climate change.

So you always prefer to take the train or the bus rather than a plane, and avoid using a car whenever you can, faithful to the belief that this inflicts less harm to the planet.

Well, there could be a nasty surprise in store for you, for taking public transport may not be as green as you automatically think, says a new US study.

Its authors point out an array of factors that are often unknown to the public.

These are hidden or displaced emissions that ramp up the simple "tailpipe" tally, which is based on how much carbon is spewed out by the fossil fuels used to make a trip.

Environmental engineers Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath at the University of California at Davis say that when these costs are included, a more complex and challenging picture emerges.

In some circumstances, for instance, it could be more eco-friendly to drive into a city -- even in an SUV, the bete noire of green groups -- rather than take a suburban train. It depends on seat occupancy and the underlying carbon cost of the mode of transport.

"We are encouraging people to look at not the average ranking of modes, because there is a different basket of configurations that determine the outcome," Chester told AFP in a phone interview.

"There's no overall solution that's the same all the time." (AFP)


Move It! Fuel-efficient vehicles can be a drain

What’s not to love about hybrid cars?

They’re great for air quality, they save money at the pump, and they confer eco-chic on their drivers, who cruise down the roads in vehicles that proclaim: “I’m doing my part for global warming and oil dependence.”

But they’re terrible for roads. Fuel-efficient cars are draining government coffers of money needed to repair roads and build new ones.

It’s an unfortunate side-effect of beneficial, green technology.

When you fill your tank, each gallon is taxed: the feds take 18.4 cents per gallon, and Texas takes 20 cents. The revenue is supposed to be used by the governments to fund transportation projects.

The reality is somewhat different. In Texas, five cents is spun off and sent to public education. That leaves 15 cents per gallon for transportation. State troopers get a cut, too, about 4 cents. So that’s about 11 cents left for the Texas Department of Transportation. The tax hasn’t been raised since 1991, and it’s not indexed for inflation.

Meanwhile, Texas has had a population boom, with more demand on our roads. The gas tax is simply not keeping up, TxDOT Commissioner Ned Holmes told me recently. (Houston Chronicle)


Watering Down Biofuels

The ineffectiveness of biofuels—ethanol and biodiesil—has been much in the news lately, with reports from the EPA, California's CARB and the EU's joint Research Council claiming that biofuels pollute more than the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace. Still, this has not prevented the biofuels industry from receiving big government subsidies. Now a new report discloses another reason to shun biofuels, one that has nothing to do with CO2 and everything to do with H2O. When the water use of biofuel feedstock crops is analyzed, the water footprint (WF) ranges from 1,400 to an astounding 20,000 gallons of water for each gallon of biofuel produced. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


June 8, 2009

Step and repeat: the fast and easy way to use our noggins on flu fears

Sadly, judging by the news and internet buzz, a lot of innocent people are frightened all over again each and every time the same scare makes the news. But the lessons learned the first time you hear a scare can be applied the next time you hear it. Let’s look at three helpful adages:

1. Diagnosis ≠ incidence

More people diagnosed with a disease does not equal more cases of a disease. The corollary to this is more people seeking to be examined or tested for a disease does not equal more cases of a disease. This is sometimes referred to as the “seek and ye shall find” fallacy.

2. Bigger numbers ≠ better evidence

If claims of ten cases of some new disease are based on flawed science, the science doesn’t become more credible by claiming 100-fold more people are diseased. This is also sometimes referred to as “bigger numbers = bigger lies.” Don’t be scared by numbers.

3. “What-if” speculations ≠ science

Speculative scenarios and predictions with no credible evidence to back them up, or even their plausibility, are nothing more than scare marketing (aka scare mongering). Credible scientists and medical professionals don’t use scares to sell you on something, they objectively report the sound facts and body of evidence, along with risks and benefits, so that people and patients can make informed decisions for themselves. Try hard to look for the facts, then check them, and distinguish them from the “what-ifs.”

Let’s take a critical look at some of the latest scary news and myths about swine flu that give us an opportunity to apply these adages. (Junkfood Science)


Pigs An Underestimated Source Of Flu: Study

WASHINGTON - Global health officials underestimated the risk that pig herds might be a source of new influenza strains, choosing instead to focus on the threat of bird flu, researchers in Mexico said on Thursday.

They analyzed samples from people infected with the new H1N1 swine flu virus, which has been confirmed in more than 19,000 people in 64 countries, killing about 120. U.S. health officials say this number reflects only a fraction of the true number of cases.

"This virus most likely evolved from recent swine viruses," Gerardo Nava of the National Autonomous University of Mexico and colleagues wrote in their report, published in the online journal Eurosurveillance.

"These findings indicate that domestic pigs in North America may have a central role in the generation and maintenance of this virus." (Reuters)


More Jacobson/CSPI horse spit: Finance health care with your fork

As legislators struggle to craft a health care program that covers every American, they inevitably confront the harsh economic reality: Health care is expensive.

There are basically three ways to deal with the money issue. One is to cover fewer people and slash services--defeating the very purpose of the legislation. A second is to bring in more revenues. The third is to trim costs.

A smart mix of the second and third could help prevent the first. And doing so could be accomplished partly at the dinner table.

Our food supply is riddled with large amounts of sodium, mostly from plain old salt -- sodium chloride. Perhaps surprisingly, salt is the single most harmful and costly substance in our diet -- worse than all the pesticides, trans fat and sugar combined. Americans' high sodium intake boosts blood pressure, which triggers heart attacks and strokes, and contributes to congestive heart failure. In 2004, the director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and two colleagues estimated that cutting the sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods in half would save 150,000 lives per year.

Perhaps of greater immediate interest to Congress is a preliminary RAND study that conservatively estimated that cutting sodium intake by 1,100 milligrams a day (just over a one-fourth reduction) would slash medical expenses by $18 billion a year, about half of which savings would accrue to the federal government. (Michael F. Jacobson, Detroit News)


BMI registries eyed as promising tool for fighting childhood obesity

Michigan's statewide system could prove to be a model for physician-reported registries. (Pamela Lewis Dolan, AMNews)


Rule 19: Your child’s Body Mass Index is nobody’s business but yours

As part of its fatwa against fat the government is measuring every schoolkids’ height and weight. It’s a waste of time – and bad for children.
Jennie Bristow (sp!ked)


Row erupts over lap-band surgery to combat obesity

OBESITY has become a financial battleground, with heated debate over who will pay for the soaring burden of the overweight on the public purse.

This week, the parliamentary report Weighing It Up described obesity as "one of the last bastions of discrimination in our community".

Estimating thousands of morbidly obese people last year cost Australia $58.2 billion, the report urged the Federal Government to recognise obesity as a chronic disease and provide taxpayer-funded treatments - including lapbanding surgery.

While experts agree the life-saving surgery should be more readily available in the public health system, the suggestion provoked a public outcry this week. (Courier-Mail)

Well, we allowed people's weight to be morphed into a medical condition, created a completely victimized society and removed all personal responsibility. What did everyone expect?


What? No lobotomies? Electrodes in the brain could curb appetite

Building on research first done in Canada, human experiments are underway to test using jolts of electricity to the brain to keep obese people from overeating.

Deep brain stimulation involves boring through the skull and implanting electrodes the width of uncooked spaghetti in regions of the hypothalamus believed to control hunger and satiety, or feelings of fullness.

A year ago, Toronto researchers reported the world's first attempt to treat obesity in a human with deep brain stimulation. Now, patients number two and three have been operated on in a Pittsburgh hospital, and a fourth is scheduled for surgery in the next month.

The idea is to use electrical brain implants ``to get better weight control'' by resetting the body's metabolism, says Dr. Don Whiting, a neurosurgeon at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Chicago researchers reported two years ago that the surgery resulted in ``significant and sustained'' weight loss in rats. (Sharon Kirkey, Canwest News Service)


The best reason that we don't need CPSIA

Of course, there are plenty of reasons that we don't need the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, but the best one just occurred today.

As part of its commitment to protecting the safety of children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Mattel Inc., of El Segundo, Calif. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y. have agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for violating the federal lead paint ban.

This is the biggest fine EVER ASSESSED by the agency for CPSC regulated product violations.

Anti-CPSIA activist Rick Woldenberg and others have been saying for awhile that the lion's share of violations with children's products have to do with lead in paint. And, somehow, even though CPSIA is now on the books, clearly this particular action derived from a violation of a 30-year-old federal law. In 1978, a federal ban was put in place which prohibited toys and other children's articles from having more than 0.06 percent lead (by weight) in paints or surface coatings. In 2007, about 95 Mattel and Fisher-Price toy models were determined to have exceeded this limit.

Many small toymakers believe that Mattel was working behind the scenes to get CPSIA passed, as its extreme regulations would damage its smaller competitors. While it is difficult to prove such a thing, I do know that regulation ALWAYS favors the big guys.

In any event, Mattel got smacked down, and CPSIA was not needed. Nor, would it have been needed in the case of Jarnell Brown, the poster child for the law. The deadly lead charm that he ingested in February, 2006 was also in violation of the 1978 law.

We know that off-the-record CPSC despises CPSIA. Was this enforcement action done at this particular time to prove that the law is not needed? (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Single payer visions

We’re beginning to learn what Senator Edward Kennedy’s secret meetings with key health insurance industry stakeholders have been creating in their vision for universal health coverage.

If you want to keep your health care separate from your job, you will no longer have that choice, according to reports of the plan’s 170-page draft. Employers would be required to provide health care to employees or be penalized. Step #1 to a single-payer government managed national health plan.

If you want to self-insure or receive care from independently-practicing doctors, you will no longer have that choice. Every American would be forced to buy health insurance or be penalized through their income taxes and the penalties would be collected by the Internal Revenue Service. As the Washington Post reports, this mandate provision will guarantee 20 million more customers for the insurance industry. (Junkfood Science)


Control your government, or it will control you!

Few people know that there is currently legislation pending in Congress that, if enacted, would allow President Obama to run for a third term. House Joint Resolution 5 would repeal the 22nd Amendment which limits the president to two terms in office. This is not new legislation. Congressman Jose Serrano, a Democrat who represents New York City, has introduced similar legislation in every Congress since 1997. No one has paid much attention – until now.

This legislation would require approval by two-thirds of both houses, and ratification by 38 states within seven years to become law. This is a very high hurdle for Obama worshipers to jump. They have launched a website to help persuade people to get busy now so Obama can be re-elected in 2016.

Never happen? Perhaps. But one year ago, who could have imagined that President Obama could fire the CEO of General Motors and put 31-year-old Brian Deese, a campaign advisor with no auto industry experience, in charge of reorganizing the corporation. Who would have believed, one year ago, that President Obama would plunge the nation into debt to the tune of nearly $9 trillion – during his first 100 days? Who could have imagined that the U.S. Congress would even consider taxing and rationing energy, as prescribed by The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES - HR2454). Who would have believed, a year ago, that the nation today would be at the brink of accepting socialized health care. No one thought that the nation could move from moderate, center-right political policies, to left-wing command-and-control policies in a matter of months. (Henry Lamb, CFP)


Preserving our history . . . of respect for property rights

As politics pits a property owner in Montgomery County, Maryland, and a county councilman against the county’s Historic Preservation Commission and other do-gooders, Washington Post reporter Ann E. Marimow asks, “Who should decide what is historic?”

It’s the wrong question.

Still, the answer is simple: Americans are free to individually decide what they deem to be historic. So are committees and commissions and preservationist societies of all sorts. They just shouldn’t be able to control someone else’s property because of its historical significance.

The more important question: Whose property is it? (Paul Jacob, Townhall)


Have We Got a Deal For You

WASHINGTON -- "I," said the president, who is inordinately fond of the first-person singular pronoun, "want to disabuse people of this notion that somehow we enjoy meddling in the private sector." He said that in March, when the government already owned 80 percent of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. "When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the new GM, not the United States government, will make that decision." But the government is GM's largest shareholder, customer, tax collector, regulator, partner in determining employees' compensation, protector of dealers and pension guarantor. GM's other large owner, the United Auto Workers, is increasingly a government dependant.

Yet Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom, two of the president's fixers of Detroit, recently wrote in USA Today that government "will play no role" in running GM. They were not under oath. (George Will, Townhall)


If Congress Ran a Car Company

The Edsel was one of the biggest flops in the history of car making. Introduced with great fanfare by Ford in 1958, it had terrible sales and was junked after only three years. But if Congress had been running Ford, the Edsel would still be on the market.

That became clear last week, when Democrats as well as Republicans expressed horror at the notion that bankrupt companies with plummeting sales would need fewer retail sales outlets. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., led the way, asserting, "I honestly don't believe that companies should be allowed to take taxpayer funds for a bailout and then leave it to local dealers and their customers to fend for themselves."

Supporters of free markets can be grateful to Rockefeller for showing one more reason government shouldn't rescue unsuccessful companies. As it happens, taxpayers are less likely to get their money back if the automakers are barred from paring dealerships. Protecting those dealers merely means putting someone else at risk, and that someone has been sleeping in your bed. (Steve Chapman, Townhall)


S .F. Students Earn Their Stripes

When the San Francisco school board voted last month to restore the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program, it seemed that sanity had prevailed -- three years after the board voted to kill the popular program. Finally, the board had put students' welfare ahead of its ruthless political correctness.

Wrong. Unless the school board votes to recognize that JROTC fulfills students' high school physical education requirements at Tuesday's board meeting, the board's vote to keep JROTC could be viewed as a conniving stunt and a cruel hoax.

If students cannot get PE credit -- as they could before the board yanked it in 2007, as a follow-up to its 2006 vote to phase out the program -- many students will not be able to fit it into their schedules. Enrollment in "RO" -- as the kids call the program -- will continue to drop. It has fallen from 1,600 students in 2006 to 500 students this year. Folks outside the Bay Area no doubt look at this story and see proof that San Francisco is America's premier military-bashing city. For good reason, too: When they pushed the measure, former school board members Dan Kelly and Mark Sanchez wrote against "the prominent presence of uniformed cadet units" and a curriculum that relies "upon memorization and rote repetition rather than critical thinking." To them, it seems, JROTC was gym for dummies. (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)


Listeria Warning for Raw Milk from Upstate NY Dairy

Raw milk from an Upstate New York dairy may be tainted with listeria, state health officials warned today. Consumers are being advised not to drink raw milk from Breese Hollow Dairy in Hoosick Falls, and the dairy has suspended production until testing proves its milk is free of listeria and other pathogens. (Inferno)

Actually you gotta be nuts to consume raw milk in the first place -- it's pasteurized for your protection, not because people want to spend the money to do it.


Eye-roller: Meat: The Slavery Of Our Time, June 5, 2009 · I have a prediction: Sooner than you might think, this will be a vegetarian world. Future generations will find the idea of eating meat both morally absurd and logistically impossible. Of course, one need only look at the booming meat industry, the climbing rates of meat consumption in the developing world, and the menu of just about any restaurant to call me crazy. But already, most people know that eating red meat is bad for their health and harmful for the planet. It's getting them to actually change their diet that's the hard part — and that's exactly why it won't happen by choice. (Jim Motavalli, NPR)


II: Liverpool schools to go meat free once a week

LIVERPOOL schools and businesses could go meat free once a week under radical new plans.

The council is to consider having an official city-wide “meat free day” in a collective bid to protect the environment.

Under the proposals, organisations ranging from schools to meals on wheels services would voluntarily agree to only serve vegetarian options on a day of their choosing every week.

If it wins full council backing it could be launched later this year, complementing the city’s Year of the Environment which hopes to make Liverpool more green and sustainable.

The meat-free campaign would see free vegetarian recipe ideas and nutrition advice given to the city schools and other outlets signing up.

The proposal comes on the back of a three-year Greenpeace study which claims western demand for beef and leather and an increase in cattle ranching is leading to intensified deforestation of the rainforests. (Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo)


Wood stoves blamed for worsening air quality

MONTREAL – The number of days of poor air quality on Montreal Island shot up to 68 last year from 44 days during 2007, the city’s air-quality watchdogs said Saturday.

The Réseau de surveillance de la qualité de l’air, or RSQA, placed the blame for that deteriorating air-quality performance squarely on fine-particulate air pollution – largely caused by the use of residential wood heat.

“The contribution of wood heat to fine-particulate emissions continues to grow and amounted in 2006 to about 61 per cent of the total estimated emissions,” the body’s freshly released eight-page annual report for 2008 states.

“That’s much more than the portion attributable to transportation – 14 per cent – and even industrial sources, at 22 per cent,” the report added, citing a national pollution inventory produced by Environment Canada. (Jan Ravensbergen, The Gazette)


EPA pulls 2 moth pesticides; more in pipeline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revoked approval of two moth pesticides pulled from aerial spraying over a dozen California counties last year when residents argued in a Santa Cruz court that the government failed to adequately assess health and environmental risks.

Residents now worry that another unknown pesticide may be used to combat the light brown apple moth.

The EPA determined last month that two Checkmate products, which sparked complaints in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties in 2007, were not needed because other products are available.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has promised no new aerial spraying in urban areas, is breeding and releasing sterile moths as a way to keep down the population. (Jane Kay, SF Chronicle)


Well gosh! Maybe climate hysteria is not paying that well for the foot soldiers -- the following hungry-looking selection from daily web items posted on IISD Reporting Services. Well-upholstered Al should be ashamed keeping the troops in cadaverous condition like the ones below:

  Axel Michaelowa, University of Zurich, underscored that Africa’s share in the worldwide CDM supply is “dismal.”
  Jan Kowalzig, Oxfam, noted that an agreement in Copenhagen must include modalities to establish a compensation and rehabilitation mechanism to address climate change impacts to which countries cannot adapt, and that the modalities can be elaborated later.
  Almuth Ernsling, Biofuelwatch, highlighted that over 150 organizations had recently signed a declaration opposing the inclusion of biochar as a means to offset emissions under international climate change regulations.
  Christoph Thies, Greenpeace, stated that biodiversity is not a co-benefit but a “core benefit” of avoided deforestation under REDD.

All of the above from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, Special Report on Selected Side Events at the UNFCCC SB30, 1-12 June 2009 Bonn, Germany

Come on Al, you're making millions off the sweat of these poor misguided souls. How about springing for unlimited Big Macs for these obviously malnourished trench dwellers? Feed your people, Al! We all know you can afford it!

Sidebar: interesting that the Greenpeacer looks about the best fed of the lot (been sampling the biodiversity?) while there's the possibility the Biofuelwatcher scrounged perhaps a little more than used cooking oil from the back of burger joints but they are a sad-looking bunch, aren't they?


"I knew nothing about climate change, absolutely nothing" Yvo de Boer, global climate butler

PARIS: Yvo de Boer, it could be argued, holds the fate of the planet in his hands.

The United Nation's climate majordomo -- tasked with herding 192 nations toward a do-or-die deal by year's end -- does not have the power to impose an agreement on how to curb greenhouse gases and cope with its consequences.

But if he fails in his role as executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it just might muck the whole thing up.

This week, de Boer is in Bonn, Germany coaxing the troubled and hugely complex talks along ahead of the December deadline for a new treaty.

The road to Copenhagen, where the final round of talks is set to take place, is strewn with minefields, and part of his job is to help negotiators sidestep and defuse them.

So how did a Dutch public housing bureaucrat wind up at the epicentre of the fight to slow global warming?

"I had a policy in my life up to then to try something completely different every three or four years," de Boer said of his decision in 1994 to apply for a job within the Dutch environment ministry to head the climate change department.

"To my great amazement, I got the job. I knew nothing about climate change, absolutely nothing," he said in an interview. (Economic Times)

The saddest thing is that he still doesn't know the first thing about global climate but is treated as an authority by media and governments alike.


The Man Who Cried Doom - NASA's James Hansen is the least-muzzled climate alarmist in America.

It's been more than 20 years since James Hansen first warned America of impending doom. On a hot summer day in June 1988, Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, came to Washington to announce before a Senate committee that "the greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now."

The greenhouse effect would have looked obvious enough to anyone watching on television. The senators conducting the hearing, including Al Gore, had turned the committee room into an oven. That day it was a balmy 98 degrees, and as former Colorado senator Timothy Wirth later revealed, the committee members "went in the night before and opened all the windows. And so when the hearing occurred, there was not only bliss, which is television cameras and [high ratings], but it was really hot."

Hansen has been a star ever since. On the 20th anniversary of his testimony to Congress and still serving in the same role at NASA, Hansen was invited back for an encore performance where he warned that time was running out. He also conducted a media tour that included calling for the CEOs of fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, to be put on trial for "high crimes against humanity and nature." (Michael Goldfarb, Weekly Standard)


'Worse Than Fiction'

Global warming alarmists are fond of invoking the authority of experts against the skepticism of supposedly amateur detractors -- a.k.a. "deniers." So when one of those experts says that a recent report on the effects of climate change is "worse than fiction, it is a lie," the alarmists should, well, be alarmed.

The latest contretemps pits former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, now president of the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, against Roger Pielke, Jr., an expert in disaster trends at the University of Colorado. Mr. Annan's outfit issued a lengthy report late last month warning that climate change-induced disasters, such as droughts and floods, kill 315,000 each year and cost $125 billion, numbers it says will rise to 500,000 dead and $340 billion by 2030. Adding to the gloom, Mr. Annan predicts "mass starvation, mass migration, and mass sickness" unless countries agree to "the most ambitious international agreement ever negotiated" at a meeting this year in Copenhagen.

Even on its own terms, the numbers here are a lot less scary when put into context. Malaria kills an estimated one million people a year, while AIDS claims an estimated two million. As for the economic costs, $125 billion is slightly less than the GDP of New Zealand. Question: Are targeted campaigns using proven methods to spare the world three million AIDS and malaria deaths a year a better use of scarce resources than a multitrillion-dollar attempt to re-engineer the global economy and save, at most, a tenth that number? We'd say yes.

But the Annan report deserves even closer scrutiny as an example of the sleight of hand that so often goes with the politics of global warming. Unlike starvation, climate change does not usually kill anyone directly. Instead, the study's authors assume a four-step chain of causation, beginning with increased emissions, moving to climate-change effects, thence to physical changes like melting glaciers and desertification, and finally arriving at human effects like malnutrition and "risk of instability and armed conflicts."

This is a heroic set of assumptions, even if you agree that emissions are causing adverse changes in climate. Take the supposedly heightened risk of conflict: The authors suggest that "inter-clan fighting in Somalia" is a product of climate change. A likelier explanation is the collapse of a functioning Somali government and the rise of jihadists in the region. (Wall Street Journal)


We should all listen to Mike Hulme

Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia and founding director to the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, has been in the news again recently. His new book Why we Disagree about Climate Change has led to sceptics - who I suspect have not read it - welcoming him to their fold. Even the Daily Mirror, which is not a publication that one might choose to rely on for scientific information, has reviewed the book. So has this eminent scientist who has been at the heart of the climate debate for decades really changed sides? (Harmless Sky)


Global warming and a tale of two planets - Kofi Annan claims that global warming is already "killing 300,000 people a year". The situation looks a little different in the real world, says Christopher Booker.

It might well be called "the tale of two planets". On one planet live all the Great and Good who have recently been trying to whip up an ever greater panic over global warming, as the clock ticks down to next December's UN conference in Copenhagen when they plan a new treaty to follow the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

There was, for instance, the three-day gathering organised by Prince Charles at St James's Palace, at which 20 Nobel laureates (including two African winners of the Peace and Literature prizes) listened to speeches from Lord Stern and Prince Charles, before issuing a declaration which compared the threat of global warming to that of all-out nuclear war. They also heard President Obama's Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, solemnly telling them that if all buildings and pavements were painted white, to reflect the sun's rays back into space, this would be equivalent to taking all vehicles off the world's roads for 11 years. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)


Climate Change Reconsidered

An important event in the global warming debate occurred this week, with the release of Climate Change Reconsidered, an 880-page book produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change Reconsidered is authored by Dr. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso, with 35 additional contributors. The purpose of the book is to "present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals." You can download it in its entirety at the linked site. (Power Line)


Just for laughs: Here is the weather ... for July 2080

ANYONE for a drop of Château d’Exeter? Farmers in Devon and Cornwall could be challenging vintners in France by 2080 as climate change transforms the southwest into a balmy wine-growing region.

Forecasters predict that temperatures could rise by 3C to 4C, making the West Country ideal for growing crops such as grapes, sweetcorn and sunflowers.

Meanwhile, commuters in London will be left sweltering as peak temperatures spiral as high as 41C.

The projections are part of the first national study on how climate change might affect different parts of Britain.
Related Links

Some may question how the Met Office can make predictions a lifetime into the future, when it struggles to produce forecasts for the next few months. However, climate change impacts are predicted to be so strong that, over decades, they are easier to predict than short-term changes. (Sunday Times)


Identified New Vitamin Essential to Health & Life

Have you read about the grass-roots polls to ban dihydrogen monoxide (youtube search it for video - it's hilarious). It's a substance used in Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. People are just afraid of anything they do not understand. It's just that simple. And people simply don't understand CO2. It's a vital component to the entire biosphere of the planet without which Earth's entire life-cycle would collapse. But we are coached to think it's a kind of poison.

I've got a good idea. For those of us who have a grip on common-sense, let's think of CO2 as really being C(O2). Then let's always refer to it as Vitamin C(O2); pronounced Vitamin C..(O2), with a little delay. That should help fix the perception. And the irony is that this would be an entirely fair characterization of what the molecule really is. (Ron Voisin, Right Side News)


One of our favorite climate nutters: Noah’s ark revisited: An alliance of pro-carbon sceptics and fundamentalists is retarding 11th hour attempts at mitigation of dangerous climate change

Mammals have only been able to attain large dimensions on land once atmospheric CO2 concentrations declined toward c. 500 ppm during the Eocene (56-34 million years ago) (1), with related cooling of c.5 degrees C, formation of the Antarctic ice sheet and decline of sea levels by c.70 meters. current atmospheric carbon gas levels (CO2 - 387 ppm; CO2+CH4 >450 ppm equivalent) threaten fast-tracking toward the top of ice age conditions (2).

In the wake of current global warming to temperatures as high as 4 – 6 degrees C, humans, having endured the sharp climate upheavals of the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles (+5 degrees Celsius; 120 meter sea level rise), are likely to survive in sheltered environments, including clouded tropical mountain valleys, high elevation islands and sub-Arctic latitudes.

Under global warming on the scale of several degrees Celsius, the future of civilization, hinging on extensive agriculture in temperate climate zones prone to severe droughts, on cultivation in low river deltas prone to sea level rise, and on irrigation of mountain snow-fed rivers, is less clear. (Andrew Glikson, Webdiary)

Andy's hypothesis rests on one climate model run and fanatical belief if carbon dioxide's magically multiplied ability to drive global mean temperature (there's no evidence to support this, see items here). In fact there is significant disagreement on the age of the Antarctic Ice Cap which makes concurrence with falling CO2 levels a matter of faith rather than fact (estimates of cap formation vary from 3 to over 30 million years ago).

Recent proxy estimates (see) of the Eocene-Oligocene Climate Transition (about 34 million years ago) suggest high-latitude (45 degrees to 70 degrees in both hemispheres) temperatures before the climate transition were ~20 °C and cooled an average of ~5 °C. How Earth's temperature changed during this climate transition remains poorly understood and we have no reason to believe this instance may be unique in that temperature was driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide rather than temperatures actually driving atmospheric carbon levels as all other reconstructions indicate.

In a way we do agree with Andy, dangerous climate change is a major risk and every reasonable attempt must be made to guard against the devastation of rapid cooling. The big deal there would be not wasting effort on the phantom menace of gorebull warming.


The St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium

On May 29th, after three days of deliberation, the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium issued a memorandum which adds to the pressure for the UN Copenhagen climate summit in December to come to an agreement guaranteeing swingeing cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. Drawing on the received wisdom of the IPCC consensus view on climate change, it takes as given the need to halve "greenhouse gas" emissions by 2050 to keep average temperatures from rising more than 2°C and so enter the realms of "unmanageable climate risks".

The symposium was a high-profile event, jointly hosted by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The final memorandum clearly hopes to be influential, directly referencing the 1955 memorandum from Betrand Russell and Albert Einstein on the threat of thermonuclear weapons, and the resulting Pugwash conference. In the view of the current signatories "Global climate change represents a threat of similar proportions, and should be addressed in a similar manner."  (Scientific Alliance newsletter 5th June 2009)


Indoctrinating children: 'Why don't we stop hurting the planet?'

Telling our children about climate change could leave them angry, worried or even traumatised. So when and how should we do it, asks Leo Hickman (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)


Peter Foster: Scary stories - The mainstream media love to tell global warming horror stories

This past week — as delegates from 182 countries circled and plotted in Bonn about how to avoid the great upcoming Copenhagen Climate Policy Collapse — there appeared the usual bumper crop of stories that either regurgitated climate alarmism, positively promoted it, or otherwise carried the banner for pointless policy upheaval.

Despite Al Gore’s claims of too much denialism in the press, the mainstream media has been almost entirely captured by his alleged “Inconvenient Truth.” The skeptical voices that have always been essential to science — and freedom — have been marginalized and ridiculed, and nonsense walks proudly on stilts.

Typical was widespread and unquestioning coverage of a report this week from the UN claiming that climate change was killing more than 300,000 people a year. The report’s figures were found to have been entirely manufactured, but that revelation received virtually no coverage. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)


'Global warming is baloney' signs put the heat on Burger King

A row between the fast food giant Burger King and one of its major franchise owners has erupted over roadside signs proclaiming "global warming is baloney".

The franchisee, a Memphis-based company called the Mirabile Investment Corporation (MIC) that owns more than 40 Burger Kings across Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, has described Burger King as acting "kinda like cockroaches" over the controversy. MIC says it does not believe Burger King has the authority to make it take the signs down.

The dispute began to sizzle last week, when a local newspaper reporter in Memphis, Tennessee, noticed the signs outside two restaurants in the city and contacted the corporation to establish if the message represented its official viewpoint. Burger King's headquarters in Miami said it did not, adding that it had ordered MIC to take the signs down.

But a few days later readers of the Memphis paper said they had seen about a dozen Burger King restaurants across the state displaying the signs and that some had yet to be taken down. (The Guardian)

Burger King should ask the rest of their franchisees to follow suit by telling everyone gorebull warming is a crock.


Lawrence Solomon: Climate insurance

Contrary to conventional wisdom, fear of climate change has been the biggest boon in insurance industry history. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)


Comment On Joe Romm’s Weblog On El Nińo and Global Warming

Climate Progress has a weblog by Joesph Romm titled “Breaking: NOAA puts out “El Nińo Watch,” so record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record“.

This is an interesting and very bold forecast of record temperatures by Joe Romm, and, if this does occurs, it would substantially support his claims on the dominance of human-caused global warming. Only time will tell, of course, if this warming will occur.

However, unfortunately, he still does not understand that i) the appropriate metric to monitor global warming involves heat in Joules, most which occurs in the oceans (e.g. see),  and ii) that the accumulation Joules in the upper ocean has not occurred since 2003 (e.g. see and see). Even Jim Hansen agrees that the ocean is the dominant reservoir for heat accumulation (e. g. see).

In Joe Romm’s weblog, there is the text

As a side note:  Roger Pielke, Sr.’s “analysis” of how there supposedly hasn’t been measurable ocean warming from 2004 to 2008 is uber-lame.  In the middle of a strong 50-year warming trend, any clever (but cynical) analyst can connect an El Nińo-driven warm year to a La Nińa-driven cool year a few years later to make it look like warming has stopped.  In fact, the latest analysis shows “that ocean heat content has indeed been increasing in recent decades, just like the models said it should.”

This text shows a failure to understand the physics of global warming and cooling. There are peer reviewed analyses that document that upper ocean warming has halted since 2003 (e.g. see and see).  Even the last few years of the Levitus et al 2009 paper shows this lack of warming (see).

Joe Romm, since he disagrees with this, should present other observational analyses of the continued accumulation of heat content in Joules since 2003. He should also focus on this time period since the Argo network was established, as it is this data network which is providing us more accurate assessments of the heat content in the upper ocean than is found in the earlier data.

If he continues to use the global average surface temperature trends as the metric for global warming, he will convince us that he does not recognize i) that surface temperature, by itself, is not a measure of heat (e.g. see), and ii) that there are major remaining uncertainties and biases with the surface temperature data set (e.g. see, see and see).

He writes

“In the middle of a strong 50-year warming trend, any clever (but cynical) analyst can connect an El Nińo-driven warm year to a La Nińa-driven cool year a few years later to make it look like warming has stopped.”

He ignores that since 2003, global warming (the accumulation of Joules) has stopped. An objective scientist [as opposed to a "clever (but cynical) analyst"] would report this scientific observation.

He would find more appreciation and respect for his viewpoints if he properly presented the actual observational finding, and discussed its implications as to where we are with respect to the accumulation of Joules over time. I have proposed such an approach in my weblogs

A Litmus Test For Global Warming - A Much Overdue Requirement (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Should Climate Models be accepted as Evidence in a Court of Law?

The use of complex computerized numerical models for predicting global warming is obviously critical to the IPCC’s claims that manmade global warming will be — if it is not already — a serious problem for humanity. Computer modeling used as evidence in a court of law is not new, and it involves special challenges. While I am not a lawyer, nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, I have the following thoughts regarding the admissibility of climate models as scientific evidence.

The admissibility of scientific evidence, such as computer models, now relies upon the Daubert standard resulting from legal precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993. Applying the Daubert tests impartially, I believe computer models should be deemed inadmissible as evidence when it comes to predictions of global warming and associated climate change. This is not likely to happen since a judge has considerable discretion in how the Daubert standard is applied, and the U.S. Supreme Court in its April 2, 2007 ruling on carbon dioxide as a pollutant obviously relied very heavily on climate models as evidence.

Nevertheless, it is useful to address the Daubert standard since it provides a framework for understanding the strengths and weakness of climate models. In the following, I have paraphrased the Wikipedia summary of the 5 cardinal points of Daubert, and offered some thoughts on each. My apologies in advance for any misunderstanding on my part of the law and legal precedent. (Roy W. Spencer)


Obama has launched the green trade war

The global warming trade war has started—quietly, but just as surely as we knew it would. The Obama Administration is now subsidizing U.S. milk and cheese exports in a way that will punish New Zealand—which depends on its efficient grass-fed dairy exports for close to one-third of its total income. The reason? U.S. corn ethanol mandates have pushed American feed grain prices so high that the Administration felt it had to "give something" to U.S. dairy farmers.

Unfortunately, the dairy export subsidies will make little difference to American dairymen, but they could have harsh impacts on New Zealand's farm-dominated economy. Thus far, New Zealand has escaped the higher grain prices because they feed their cows mainly grass and turnips.

Our excuse on dairy export subsidies is that the EU did it first. But the real dairy problem is that both the EU and the U.S. have jacked up their own dairy production costs by diverting corn and rapeseed from feeding livestock to making biofuels. The ethanol and biodiesel games have doubled world feed grain prices and caused food riots in Mexico and Egypt.

The dairy export payments should be a huge red flag to the world. When push came to shove, the U.S. and the EU immediately fell into the old trap of punishing trade from innocent countries. That's actually how we launched the Great Depression—with the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930.

People have actually been predicting the "green trade wars" for years because developing countries have no obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. All the affluent countries are thus terrified that their carbon-emitting industries will flee to less-developed countries. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu told a Congressional committee in March that America might well consider a "carbon tariff" on imports from China, India, and other developing countries if they "undercut" U.S. manufacturers. (Dennis T. Avery, ESR)


China commentary chides rich nations on climate change

BEIJING - China's official news agency has accused rich countries of shirking their duty to fight climate change and seeking to divide developing countries, warning that negotiations for a new global climate pact face deep disputes.

The commentary by China's state-run Xinhua news agency on Friday comes while negotiations in Bonn seek to foster consensus ahead of a key conference in Copenhagen in December that aims to announce a new international agreement on global warming.

It also comes shortly before the chief U.S. climate change envoy, Todd Stern, arrives in Beijing for talks. China and the United States are the world's top two emitters of the greenhouse gases from human activity that are stoking global warming, and agreement between them is vital for a new pact.

But the official commentary, and earlier remarks by a senior Chinese negotiator, showed much divides Beijing from Washington over actions to contain greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)


Pacific Islands Seek Low-Cost Storm Protection

BONN - Pacific islands are trying low-cost ways to protect crops and coasts from cyclones that are a bigger threat -- for now -- than rising sea levels that could wipe low-lying nations off the map.

Pacific island delegates at June 1-12 talks in Bonn working on a new U.N. climate treaty say that shifting storm patterns linked to global warming are stoking more "king tides" which bring salt water onto farmland and into fresh water supplies.

"Our immediate concern is cyclones," said Ian Fry, representing Tuvalu which is among the most vulnerable with an average height of 2 meters (6 ft 6 in) above sea level.

"We're careful to say that the damage is not happening because of rising sea levels - yet," he said. (Reuters)

Of course they have to be careful not to say it's due to rising sea levels -- because so many of us point out that sea levels are not rising as hysterics love to claim.


EU Eyes Airlines And Shipping For Climate Funding

BRUSSELS - Shipping and airlines could be tapped for money to help poor nations tackle and adapt to climate change, according to draft proposals to be presented to European finance ministers on Tuesday. (Reuters)


EU deadlocked over funding climate change fight in developing world

Brussels - The European Union on Wednesday hit a deadlock over the question of how to fund the fight against climate change in the developing world, EU diplomats said.

The bloc is committed to supporting climate-change mitigation measures in poorer countries as part of a bid to win global acceptance for strict limits on emissions of greenhouse gases at a meeting in Copenhagen in December.

But representatives of the EU's 27 member states meeting in Brussels failed to agree on how their countries should share the bill, diplomats close to the talks told the German Press Agency dpa. (m&c)


Aso, ministers fail to agree on Japan's midterm emissions target

TOKYO, June 5 — Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and five Cabinet ministers concerned failed to reach a consensus Friday on a national midterm emissions reduction target despite the prime minister's plan to announce it next Wednesday.

The differences emerged chiefly between the Environment Ministry's hope to set an ambitious target and the industry ministry's demand for a lower target. (Kyodo)


Australia Carbon Trade Laws Pass Lower House

CANBERRA - Australia's controversial carbon emissions trading laws passed their first parliamentary hurdle on Thursday but the government still faces a near-impossible task to win approval for the scheme in the upper house Senate. (Reuters)


Of course they do: Friends of the Earth Report Condemns Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting will threaten attempts to combat dangerous climate change, Friends of the Earth warned this week.

Climate change will be unavoidable if the UK, EU and USA pursue a policy to increase the use of carbon offsetting to meet their commitments according to the campaign group. In a new report ‘Dangerous Distraction’ Friends of the Earth (FOE) warns that carbon offsetting is ineffective and damaging. (Energy Collective)


Forest Carbon Market Already Shows Cracks

LONDON/NUSA DUA - It could save the rainforests of Borneo, slow climate change and the international community backs it. But a plan to pay tropical countries not to chop down trees risks being discredited by opportunists even before it starts. (Reuters)


New Nukes: Thorium Power and the Nuclear Renaissance

Is it time again to think about thorium as an answer to the nuclear industry’s problems?

Ever since the 1950s, thorium has played second fiddle to uranium as a nuclear fuel, partly as a consequence of the early marriage between civilian and military nuclear programs.
Boy, it is more abundant

Lately, though, interest in thorium is growing by leaps and bounds, primarily because it could address three of the biggest problems plaguing the nuclear industry’s long-awaited renaissance.

To wit: Thorium is more abundant than uranium, and easier to get. It doesn’t present the same long-term radioactive waste problems that uranium and plutonium do. And it has built-in shields against nuclear proliferation.

Thorium’s appeal prompted Senators Orrin Hatch and Harry Reid to pitch legislation twice in the last two years that would put thorium back in the center of the U.S. nuclear-power program, so far to no avail. (WSJ)


Poor countries could be paid to go nuclear

For the first time in eight years, countries are contemplating giving nuclear stations carbon credits in the run-up to the crucial world summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December. This could greatly boost prospects of a global nuclear expansion. (New Scientist)


Brazil Approves Amazon Hydro-Power Dam

BRASILIA - Brazil approved on Wednesday an environmental permit for a hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, an official said on Wednesday, advancing a project the government hopes will shore up power supplies but critics call an ecological disaster. (Reuters)


June 5, 2009

From the "we're really desperate to find something to worry about" files: Government studies playground risks

SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government is reconsidering whether sports fields and playgrounds made from ground-up tires could harm children's health after some Environmental Protection Agency scientists raised concerns, documents show.

The EPA is concluding a limited study of air and surface samples at four fake-surface fields and playgrounds that use recycled tires — the same material used under the Obama family's new play set at the White House.

Although the EPA for years has endorsed recycled-rubber surfaces as a means of decreasing playground injuries, its own scientists now have pointed to research suggesting potential hazards from repeated exposure to bits of shredded tire that can contain carcinogens and other chemicals, according to internal EPA documents.

The scientists cited gaps in scientific evidence, despite other reviews showing little or no health concern, and urged their superiors to conduct a broad health study to inform parents on kids' safety.

Results from the agency's limited study, which began last year, are expected within weeks.

"From everything I've been able to see, I'm not sure there's an imminent hazard but it's something we're investigating," said Michael Firestone, EPA's head of children's health protection. "It's critical to take a look at all the data together."

The government hasn't decided whether broader testing is necessary. (AP)

They're probably on a winner here given the performance history of previous ForTheChildren™ campaigns.


Beware the false RCT

When we hear about a study from a randomized, controlled clinical trial, it’s easy to give the findings more importance than we would correlations derived from an observational study. But a study from a randomized controlled clinical trials isn’t always about a randomized controlled clinical trial. Increasingly, it’s an epidemiological study in disguise.

Even medical professionals get taken by this growing technique. It’s most common when secondary studies use the database from participants in a randomized controlled trial to look for correlations — not to scientifically test a hypothesis, let alone one the original trial had been designed to fairly test. Carefully controlled clinical trials are concerned with causes and effective treatments. In contrast, multivariate analyses of large databases, with their statistical manipulations and regression computer modeling, are statistics. Statistics is about correlations. It’s not biological research. (Junkfood Science)


Irish life expectancy rises by three years in a decade

The Health Status report published by HSE today shows that life expectancy has increased by about three years over the course of a decade. This dramatic improvement brings Ireland from being close to the bottom of the EU league table to above average.

Death rates from coronary heart disease and other circulatory diseases are falling. But the nation is still facing health risks, primarily the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, which pose major challenges to the nation’s long term health. In addition, we continue to have very high consumption rates of alcohol and a stubbornly high prevalence of smoking in the adult population. (Irish Medical Times)

Uh-huh... Irish life expectancies are now among the highest in Europe so obesity and smoking must be a problem...


The Crone approves: A Roadless Law

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has issued what amounts to a one-year moratorium on commercial activity in the most sensitive areas of the national forests. This is a welcome reprieve, but it is only a first step. These areas need the complete and permanent protection that President Bill Clinton had in mind when he signed the so-called roadless rule in 2001.

The rule, one of Mr. Clinton’s most important environmental initiatives, prevented any new road-building in nearly 60 million of largely undeveloped acres of the national forest, providing protection against logging, mining or other forms of commerce.

The Bush administration tried to weaken the rule to favor its friends in the timber, oil and natural gas industries. This led to endless legal battles, created a patchwork of state rules and, more ominously, opened the way for new logging projects in several states.

Mr. Vilsack’s order says that over the next year, no new timber-cutting or road-building projects can proceed in roadless areas without his express approval. He should not give that approval unless a project serves some clear environmental objective, like protecting watershed areas. (New York Times)

Although it is unclear why such misanthropy has any appeal. For the "good of the forest"? Not really, just means more will burn or rot in complete waste. So Ma Nature can entertain her bloodlust with a few more critters in their daily struggle against death in the wild? Seems a strange motivation for a publication that rails against cock and dog fights (rightly so, in my opinion) and even against the ritual contests between bull and matador, does it not? Perhaps not so contradictory considering they happily take money to promote people beating each other to a bloody pulp (maybe they view pugilism as "natural") but the whole "people must be excluded so critters can slaughter each other naturally" has the stink of Disneyesque fakery. Why are they so set against the society and industry that supports them?


Environmentalism exposed: a review of Green Hell

Contemporary environmentalists maintain a respectable popular image. They fashion themselves as citizens of the world who share “a concern for the conservation and improvement of the environment”. This popular image, however, is quite cartoonish and serves as a smokescreen to disguise their often radical socialist ideologies and extreme political ends, according to author Steve Milloy. (Cameron English, El Dorado County Conservative Examiner)


Crank of the Week - June 1, 2009 - Lucy

Here is a sure fire, hit concept for a “news” show: life as we know it comes to an end, our civilization crumbles, leaving only ruins and the inane voice-over narration provided by some of the dimmest minds of our time. And to make it seem au currant, make up a main character—call her Lucy—to give voice to utterances even the most fanatical climate change alarmists would blanch at. To keep costs down, make her a waifish comic book cutout in a vaguely manga style. Lucy leads a charmed life, traveling back and forth across America, always arriving at a new destination just in time for the next horrific man-made ecological disaster. (The Resilient Earth)


Predictable result of the "ozone hole" farce: Almond growers scrape bottom of the methyl bromide barrel - Phase-out leaves fumigants expensive and in short supply

Almond and walnut growers expecting to replant orchards could find the fumigants methyl bromide and Telone in short supply.

The methyl bromide phase-out is continuing as outlined in the Montreal Protocol. State restrictions on applications plus high costs may remove that tool from growers' toolboxes. Telone, an alternative fumigant, has had manufacturing challenges. It is a byproduct of car paint production, and the cuts in auto sales and manufacturing mean fewer cars being built, which mean less Telone is being manufactured, too.

Dave Baker, a grower representative with the almond cooperative Blue Diamond, said growers who want to replant orchards must use some type of soil treatment or face production problems with their trees. Growers still have a critical use exemption for methyl bromide but amounts are limited and growers must demonstrate a need such as severe nematode or disease problems.

Cost for methyl bromide for almond replanting can run from $1,100 to $1,200 per acre. For walnuts, Baker said, the cost can run up to $1,900 per acre. There are new experimental treatments such as steam or other chemicals, he said, but nothing has proven as effective as methyl bromide.

The constraints on supplies and application restrictions have been increasing every year.

"There may not be enough methyl bromide available. This is the first summer almond growers will face that possibility," Baker said. (Capital Press)


Norway To Assess Climate Impact On Markets

OSLO - The Norwegian government said on Wednesday it would assess the impact of climate change on financial markets and urged global investors to join forces.

The finance ministry will undertake the study in its role as owner of Norway's $350 billion sovereign wealth fund which invests the country's oil wealth in overseas stocks and bonds.

"Climate change can have wide-ranging consequences for the world economy and financial markets, Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen told a seminar.

She encouraged other large institutional investors and industry leaders worldwide to join in the project.

"Together we need to develop the tools and critical thinking that are required to understand the financial implications of climate change," she said, announcing the study to be conducted with consulting firm Mercer.

Norway's Government Pension Fund -- Global, commonly known as the "oil fund," is the world's second biggest sovereign wealth fund after that of the United Arab Emirates and says it is the biggest equity investor in Europe. (Reuters)

First there are a few fundamental questions to be answered. Allow us to suggest a few to seed the list:

  1. Is a mean global temperature even a valid metric?

  2. If so, what is the correct/ideal mean temperature for the Earth?

  3. What is the current global mean temperature?

  4. What is the correct methodology for deriving such a temperature?

  5. What is Earth's climate sensitivity to various forcings?

  6. ...

We could continue but you get the idea, gorebull warming hysteria has far overrun what is known about the world and fundamental questions which must be answered first have simply been buried in the blizzard of hand waving and cries to "do something". We think people should stop for a moment and consider whether there is in fact anything to "do something" about.


Short Circuiting The Scientific Process - A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

There has been a development over the last 10-15 years or so in the scientific peer reviewed literature that is short circuiting the scientific method.

The scientific method involves developing a hypothesis and then seeking to refute it. If all attempts to discredit the hypothesis fails, we start to accept the proposed theory as being an accurate description of how the real world works.

A useful summary of the scientific method is given on the website they list six steps

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

Unfortunately, in recent years papers have been published in the peer reviewed literature that fail to follow these proper steps of scientific investigation. These papers are short circuiting the scientific method.

Specifically, papers that present predictions of the climate decades into the future have proliferated. Just a two recent examples (and there are many others) are

Hu, A., G. A. Meehl, W. Han, and J. Yin (2009), Transient response of the MOC and climate to potential melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the 21st century, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L10707, doi:10.1029/2009GL037998.

Solomon, S. 2009: Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print January 28, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812721106

Such studies are even reported in the media before the peer reviewed process is completed; e.g. see in the article by Hannad Hoag in the May 27 2009 issue of Nature News Hot times ahead for the Wild West.

These studies are based on models, of which only a portion of which represent basic physics (e.g. the pressure gradient force, advection and the universal gravitational constant), with the remainder of the physics parameterized with tuned engineering code (e.g see).

When I served as Chief Editor of the Monthly Weather Reviews (1981-1985), The Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences (1996-2000), and as Editor-in-Chief of the US National Science Report to the IUGG  for the American Geophysical Union (1993-1996), such papers would never have been accepted.

What the current publication process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, are the publication of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses.  The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.

This is a main reason that the policy community is being significantly misinformed about the actual status of our understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Climate Change Reconsidered

As Congress debates global warming legislation that would raise energy costs to consumers by hundreds of billions of dollars, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has released an 880-page book challenging the scientific basis of concerns that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects.

In “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso and 35 contributors and reviewers present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals.

The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.

The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCC’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006. (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change)


The new 'good' job: 12 bucks an hour - In the Midwest, communities race to replace dwindling auto jobs with renewable energy ones, but workers will have to sacrifice on their pay.

NEW YORK -- Massive investment in renewable energy could ultimately create 4 million manufacturing jobs. But for the workers in the bottom rung of this movement, the shift to green jobs could very well mean a pay cut of nearly 60%, a trend spreading across the entire manufacturing sector.

Many of the entry-level jobs making green energy components start at $12 an hour, much less than the now extinct $28 an hour job that had allowed high school-educated workers in the auto sector to achieve middle class status.

"Particularly at the lower end, these are not very good jobs," said Philip Mattera, research director at Good Jobs First, a labor-friendly research group, also acknowledging that the renewable energy sector paid wages that were "all over the map." (


Global warming or faulty data?

If fighting global warming may cost the economy $9.6 trillion and more than 1 million lost jobs by 2035, as the Heritage Foundation forecasts, it'd be a good idea to be sure there's a sound basis before making such a massive sacrifice.

We've noted before that climate change is occurring as it always has. Man's contribution to greenhouse gases is minuscule. There are some theories but no convincing proof that increased emissions cause increased temperature.

Now another serious doubt has been raised concerning how much of the 1-degree centigrade increase over the past century allegedly caused by escalating emissions has even occurred.

"We can't know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can't trust the data," said Anthony Watts, veteran broadcast meteorologist, who for three years organized an extensive review of official ground temperature monitoring stations, in conjunction with Roger Pielke Sr., senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and professor emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder. (Odessa American Online)


May 2009 Global Temperature Update +0.04 deg. C

2009   1   0.304   0.443   0.165   -0.036
2009   2   0.347   0.678   0.016   0.051
2009   3   0.206   0.310   0.103   -0.149
2009   4   0.090   0.124   0.056   -0.014
2009   5   0.043   0.043   0.043   -0.168

1979-2009 Graph

May 2009 saw another drop in the global average temperature anomaly, from +0.09 deg. C in April to +0.04 deg. C in May, originating mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics.

A reminder for those who are monitoring the daily progress of global-average temperatures here:

(1) Only use channel 5 (”ch05″), which is what we use for the lower troposphere and middle troposphere temperature products.
(2) Compare the current month to the same calendar month from the previous year (which is already plotted for you).
(3) The progress of daily temperatures should only be used as a rough guide for how the current month is shaping up because they come from the AMSU instrument on the NOAA-15 satellite, which has a substantial diurnal drift in the local time of the orbit. Our ‘official’ results presented above, in contrast, are from AMSU on NASA’s Aqua satellite, which carries extra fuel to keep it in a stable orbit. Therefore, there is no diurnal drift adjustment needed in our official product. (Roy W. Spencer)


Japan Should Shun Option Of 2020 Rise In CO2: U.N.

BONN - Japan should shun a "politically inexplicable" option of a rise in greenhouse gas emissions when it sets a 2020 target in coming days, the U.N.'s top climate change official said on Wednesday.

Yvo de Boer told Reuters he hoped that both Japan and Russia, the two largest industrialized nations which have not yet outlined 2020 goals, would issue goals for cuts during June 1-12 talks in Bonn working on a new U.N. climate treaty.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is to announce by mid-June a choice from six 2020 options outlined by a government advisory panel that range from a rise in emissions of 4 percent compared to 1990 levels to a cut of 25 percent.

"I think it would be politically inexplicable for Japan to take on a target that would amount to an increase in its emissions above its current Kyoto commitment," de Boer said of the weakest goal, which is backed by many industries. (Reuters)

But Japan has to survive in the real world, unlike the UN...


Nurturing forests, peatlands will attack global warming: UNEP

Fixing deforestation, preserving peatlands and ending reckless agricultural methods could be a major weapon in tackling climate change, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Friday. (AFP)

If the sun doesn't crank up its activity we might well want more dark colored forests to help warm the planet but that is not what these dills are on about (they are still claiming to be worried about mythical gorebull warming).


Kyoto Protocol's successor: too much too soon? There's little chance the U.S. will sign on to a global greenhouse gas treaty being prepared at the U.N.

A dozen years ago, most of the countries of the world signed on to an unwieldy attempt to reduce greenhouse gases known as the Kyoto Protocol, which the U.S. Congress declined to ratify. Ever since, Americans concerned about climate change have been hoping that when the successor treaty was negotiated in 2009, the United Nations would come up with something better: a verifiable, enforceable and fair way of assuring that nations curb carbon without ravaging their economies, a global effort that the U.S. could proudly take part in.

Tough luck.

With just six months to go before negotiations culminate in Copenhagen in December, the outlook isn't good. This week in Bonn, Germany, delegates from 182 nations are holding talks in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit, and for the first time they've got the texts of draft agreements to work with. The specifics have yet to be determined, but so far it appears that poor countries are placing such extravagant demands on wealthy ones that no American president, even a strong environmentalist like Barack Obama, could possibly accede. It's not too late to salvage the situation, but given the extraordinary complexity of the treaty and the political challenge of drafting it, Obama should be ready to pursue an alternative strategy.

The negotiating texts for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change look sort of like multiple choice exams. For nearly every provision under consideration, they present a list of possible options ranging from very strong actions to weaker ones. For example, one of the most important provisions is the global emissions goal -- how much will countries cut carbon, and by what date? Under one draft text, developed nations have the option of cutting anywhere between 25% and 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, and between 50% and 85% by 2050.

Those numbers were suggested by the International Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.'s scientific advisors, and are believed to be the minimum cuts necessary to head off the worst effects of climate change. Yet there is no practical way the United States could meet even the minimum 25% goal. Economically and politically, the country is in no position to make the needed changes that quickly. (Los Angeles Times)


Inhofe: Senate Will Not Pass Cap-and-Trade - Oklahoma senator cites recent trend against global warming legislation; dismisses House efforts and claims EPA action to impose it can be stalled.

Not too long ago, global warming activism in the U.S. Capitol made some sort of carbon cap-and-trade legislation seem like a near certainty. But the tide may be turning.

According to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the ranking Republican of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, a key committee needed for passage of a cap-and-trade bill, the trend indicates it can’t pass, at least in the U.S. Senate. He explained that the House, under the leadership of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will pass anything, but it takes both houses of Congress for it to become law. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)


New "Jelly Pump" Rewrites Carbon Cycle

One of the fundamental aspects of Earth's ecological and climate systems is the way carbon moves through the biosphere. From land to air to water, through living organisms and even the plant's crust, carbon—the stuff of life—is always on the move. Scientists thought they had a pretty good understanding of how the carbon cycle works, until now. Recent work with strange, jellyfish like creatures called thaliaceans is causing scientists to re-evaluate the workings of the carbon cycle. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


NASA Goddard study suggests solar variation plays a role in our current climate

NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming

Report indicates solar cycle has been impacting Earth since the Industrial Revolution
From the Daily Tech, Michael Andrews. (h/t to Joe D’Aleo)

Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there’s little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

[NOTE: there is evidence of solar impact on the surface temperature record, as Basil Copeland and I discovered in this report published here on WUWT titled Evidence of a Lunisolar Influence on Decadal and Bidecadal Oscillations In Globally Averaged Temperature Trends - Anthony] (WUWT)


Al Gore / AIT Index: Global temperatures plunge further; have dropped .63°F (.35°C) since Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth


The truth is getting ever more inconvenient for Al Gore.

Once again, as we do each month, GORE LIED has taken significant liberties with Dr. Roy Spencer’s monthly UAH globally averaged satellite-based temperature of the lower atmosphere.  We’ve marked it up with a red marker to more fully illustrate the really inconvenient truth - that temperatures have dropped significantly,  .63°F (.35°C), since Al Gore released his science fiction movie, An Inconvenient Truth at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2006.


RSS MSU: 0.11 °C month-on-month cooling

RSS MSU have released their May 2009 data. The global temperature anomaly has dropped from 0.202 °C in April to 0.09 °C in May. This cooling trend, if (unreasonably) extrapolated to one century, gives 134.4 °C of cooling per century. ;-)

So the world was just less than tenth a degree warmer than the "normal".

This rapid cooling is somewhat unlikely to continue in the coming months because the ENSO index is approaching the El Nino threshold while the solar activity (SC24) starts to show signs of a revival. (Reference Frame)


Eye-roller du jour: Greening the Herds: A New Diet to Cap Gas

HIGHGATE, Vt. — Chewing her cud on a recent sunny morning, Libby, a 1,400-pound Holstein, paused to do her part in the battle against global warming, emitting a fragrant burp.

Libby, age 6, and the 74 other dairy cows on Guy Choiniere’s farm here are at the heart of an experiment to determine whether a change in diet will help them belch less methane, a potent heat-trapping gas that has been linked to climate change.

Since January, cows at 15 farms across Vermont have had their grain feed adjusted to include more plants like alfalfa and flaxseed — substances that, unlike corn or soy, mimic the spring grasses that the animals evolved long ago to eat.

As of the last reading in mid-May, the methane output of Mr. Choiniere’s herd had dropped 18 percent. Meanwhile, milk production has held its own.

The program was initiated by Stonyfield Farm, the yogurt manufacturer, at the Vermont farms that supply it with organic milk. Mr. Choiniere, a third-generation dairy herder who went organic in 2003, said he had sensed that the outcome would be good even before he got the results.

“They are healthier,” he said of his cows. “Their coats are shinier, and the breath is sweet.”

Sweetening cow breath is a matter of some urgency, climate scientists say. Cows have digestive bacteria in their stomachs that cause them to belch methane, the second-most-significant heat-trapping emission associated with global warming after carbon dioxide. Although it is far less common in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it has 20 times the heat-trapping ability. (New York Times)

So, this is a big deal, right?

Actually not by any stretch of the imagination. Methane (CH4) is about 1,800 parts per billion of the atmosphere and, with a gorebull warming potential of 20 times carbon dioxide (CO2), that's equivalent to, um, 3.6 parts per million (ppmv) of CO2. Yup, a little less than 1% of CO2 in the equivalence stakes (3.6/~380) but that is not all. Water vapor (H2O) is hugely more prolific -- up to 40,000 ppmv and H2O almost completely blankets the infrared absorption spectra of CO2, CH4 and nitrous oxide too (N2O, "global warming potential" ~300 times CO2 but only ~0.3 ppmv in the atmosphere so ~90 ppmv CO2 equivalent (~90/~380 or ~24% of CO2's effect and yet it doesn't rate a mention as much more "important" than CH4, wonder why not?)). Water vapor controls Earth's greenhouse effect and the trace gases are insignificant.

What a stupid game this all is.


Thought for the day By The Revd Dr Seymour Trend

I expect that you, like me, often wonder why The Great Creator made the itchiest part of the human body also the least accessible. Well, nothing in creation is accidental. Everything has its purpose. What is revealed to us is related to what we are able to understand.

It is what we New Theologians call the Divine Dilemma. How can the deity reveal unto His people that which they are as yet unable to comprehend? For example, Moses might have come down from the mountain with a tablet upon which was inscribed “Exactly one year before the start of the third millennium flying machines will fall out of the sky because they had forgotten the date.” The children of Israel would have said “Come off it, Moses, you are having us on.” Millennium would have meant nothing to them, as the event that triggered the first one was yet to occur, while the idea of a machine, let alone a flying one, would have been incomprehensible. If Moses had blown his credibility in such a way, the history of the world would be very different.

Indeed, in those days, the transport system was wholly dependent on asses: so different from our own time.

So it was with the greatest sin of all. If one of the tablets had borne the inscription “Thou shalt not emit carbon dioxide” it would have received a similar abrupt dismissal. Such miracles as the periodic table of the elements would not be revealed for thousands of years to come. The greatest revelation would have to wait for the propitious moment.

We are born in sin. Our first action at birth is to inhale, but our second is to emit pollution.

And God created Gore, that His people should know that they are cursed with original sin and must repent, otherwise their cities would be destroyed by floods of boiling water. And The Almighty looked on the works of Gore and saw that they were good and He rewarded him with great riches, undreamt by ordinary mortals. But lesser men were envious and challenged the revelation with specious arguments, encouraging mankind to continue to walk in the pathways of sin. So the New Theology was born and men of Good Will came together that the people should know of the works of Gore. It was equally important, however, that the siren voices of the unbelievers, peddling their so-called science, were silenced. The religious establishment, with its experience in the concepts of blasphemy and proscription, is uniquely qualified to achieve this ideal. Clergy and preachers of all denominations are in a powerful position to ensure that only the Truth is spread among the people, but many of them are backward looking and preoccupied with obsolete religious ideals.

So there is much to do but, meanwhile, remember when you feel that itch and before you reach for that back-scratcher, it might be God’s way of telling you to think about your carbon footprint. (Number Watch)


Figures... Headline: 'Did Global Warming Help Bring Down Air France Flight 447?'

In today's "Why Didn't Al Gore Think of That?" moment, a Russian climatologist is claiming global warming might have played a significant role in bringing down Air France flight 447 on Monday. (Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters)


Another reason to repeal the ESA: Environmentalists plan to sue feds to force decision on listing Arctic seals as endangered

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An environmental group plans to sue the federal government to force a decision on additional protections for Arctic seals.

The Center for Biological Diversity said in a notice of intent to sue sent this week to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that it missed a deadline required by law for an endangered species listing decision on ringed, bearded and spotted seals.

A 60-day notification letter is required before a lawsuit can be filed against the federal government.

The group in May 2008 petitioned to protect the Arctic seals because of threats to their habitat — sea ice — from global warming and petroleum development. (Associated Press)


Who says it's broken? No Climate Change Fix Without New Land Use, Farming Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The world cannot effectively address climate change without altering our relationship with soil, the world’s third largest carbon pool, according to a new report.

Changing the way we manage land and produce food can offset 25 percent of worldwide fossil fuel emissions, putting agriculture and land use near the center of the climate change fight, a report from Worldwatch Institute and Ecoagriculture Partners concluded.

“Mitigating Climate Change Through Food and Land Use” estimates the two sectors are responsible for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions, yet the international science and policy communities have lagged in embracing efforts in these areas. That’s despite the fact that existing practices and innovations can sequester greenhouse gases now present in the atmosphere, while other remedies, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, may only reduce future emissions. (ClimateBiz)


FAO suggests climate change talks should include fisheries

Sixteen international organisations asked that the protection and optimisation of marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture be included in the discussions leading up to the sequel to the Kyoto Protocol. (MercoPress)

What, no obesity or gay rights?


Subsidy farming: Schroders Climate Fund Bets On Wind, Forestry

HONG KONG - Schroders is adding wind power and forestry stocks to its climate change portfolio, saying heightened investor interest in the green theme should support share performances in the second half.

Government spending on green projects and excitement surrounding the climate change treaty due to be signed in Copenhagen in December all boded well for green equities, Simon Webber, manager for Schroder ISF Global Climate Change Equity Fund, told Reuters.

"Climate change is a long-term trend, but it is also working in the short term because governments have put a lot of money in this and regulations weighed behind green jobs and green new deals," said Webber. (Reuters)


but: Renewables Could Take Further Hit: Fund

FRANKFURT - Renewable stocks are likely to give up gains again after having recovered since March, but financially strong companies such as SMA Solar and SolarWorld will be hit less harder than others, according to fund firm Swisscanto.

"It is possible that we will see a further downward move in the renewable sector," said Pascal Schuler, manager of the company's Equity Fund Climate Invest B, with a volume of 189.5 million Swiss francs ($178.3 million).

The solar industry in particular has been hit by a toxic mixture of tighter credit conditions, a lack of project funding and overcapacities, driving down prices for silicon, wafer but particularly modules and cells. (Reuters)


Competitors Behind Palm Oil Slurs: Industry Boss

JAKARTA - Western countries are using climate change as an excuse to constrain palm oil production in Asia because it competes with Western business interests, Indonesia's palm oil industry chief said on Wednesday.

Indonesia and Malaysia produce most of the world's palm oil -- a product used in cooking, chocolate, cosmetics and as a biofuel -- but vast areas of forest have been cleared in both countries since the 1980s to fuel a boom in palm oil production.

Environmental groups including WWF and Greenpeace have called on Indonesia to curb deforestation and palm oil expansion.

However, Joefly J. Bahroeny, head of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers' Association, said that NGOs could be part of a campaign driven by Western business interests in competing commodities such as rapeseed, soybeans and fossil fuels. (Reuters)


Why the Ethanol Debate Isn't Helping Anyone

We’ve entered another ugly battle in the ethanol wars. The EPA released an analysis last month purporting that corn-based ethanol is actually worse for the climate than gasoline on a lifecycle basis, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a ruling that will effectively exclude corn-based ethanol from California’s Renewable Fuels Standard for that reason.

The ethanol industry and its supporters are livid. House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), a longtime ethanol supporter, threw a fit during a recent hearing and now is threatening to block climate legislation over the new rules. "I don't care,” he exclaimed during a hearing over EPA’s draft rule, “Even if you fix this. I don't trust anybody anymore -- I’ve had it." Ethanol opponents are cheering the agencies' decisions and urging them to look at ethanol under worst-case scenarios.

What is sad about this spat is that while everyone is arguing over whether ethanol is bad, no one is talking about how to make it better. The worst impacts of ethanol occur far from Iowa or Washington in the forests that are burned down to respond to added demand for cropland. (Noam Ross, GreenBiz)

Ross is quite wrong. If this argument helps stop gorebull warming legislation then it provides a huge societal service. Beyond that there is simply no upside to burning ethanol.


Toyota Said to Face $1 Billion California Rules Costs

June 4 -- Toyota Motor Corp., ranked as the U.S. market’s most fuel-efficient automaker, may have to spend more than $1 billion to meet California’s requirement for zero- emission cars, said a person familiar with the matter.

Toyota and Honda Motor Co. have the biggest market share in the state and starting with 2012 models must sell the most vehicles that don’t pollute, according to California law. The rule requires 3 percent of unit sales over a three-year period to be non-polluting models. (Bloomberg)


June 4, 2009

Scary headline reports nil risk: Pesticide may seed American infant formulas with melamine

Infant formulas purchased from stores in Canada show widespread tainting with traces of melamine, a toxic constituent of plastics and other materials. In China, the fraudulent use of melamine as a protein replacement in infant formulas resulted in the poisoning of more than 1,200 babies last year, six of whom died. Canada’s widespread contamination, however, appears unintentional and to stem from a very different source.

Chemists with Health Canada in Ottawa report they have yet to identify the source of the pollutant they’ve just turned up in 71 of 94 samples of infant formula. In a report of their findings, however, just published online ahead of print in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Sheryl Tittlemier and her colleagues do finger one key suspect: the insecticide cyromazine. It’s legal for use on food crops and animal forage — and melamine is one of its breakdown products.

“In all instances in which melamine was detected, concentrations observed were below the standard of 0.5 micrograms per gram set by Health Canada for infant formula,” the researchers note. Indeed, levels ranged from 4 to 346 nanograms per gram (or parts per billion) of assayed formula. Based on the concentration present in even the most contaminated product, Tittlemier’s group calculates that a baby’s likely intake of the kidney-toxic chemical would only come to about 1 percent of the allowable intake. (Science News)


Rodent study scares on endocrine disruptors do not pan out for humans

In what is surely disappointing news to doom profiteer scientists like Shanna Swan and Fred vom Saal, who have been capitalizing on the exaggerated fears of synthetic endocrine disruptors for years, an article just published in the Journal of Urology does the epi study, and can't find any effect. [Hypospadias rates in New York State are not increasing—J Urol. 2009 May;181(5):2291-4. Epub 2009 Mar 19]

Swan, vom Saal, and others have posited terrible urogenital consequences, based on in utero exposure of various chemicals in rodents. As has been well established, though, rodents are not humans. Therefore, any rodent results need to be looked at in a good human epidemiological study. And, that's just what Harry Fisch et al. did.

Yes, real scientists looking at real data on real humans have just blown in big hole in the "scientific" basis for the absurd bans of certain phthalates and BPA. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Another disappointment for the fat police: Obesity doesn't worsen asthma

DENVER, June 3 -- Being overweight or obese does not make asthma worse, however, it may affect how the patient responds to asthma medication, U.S. researchers said. (UPI)


US kids at risk of 'recession obesity': report

WASHINGTON — Children in the United States are at risk of "recession obesity" as parents substitute cheap, fast food for healthy meals to try to weather the economic slump, a report published Wednesday showed.

"There is concern with 'recession obesity' apart from the general trend toward an increasing number of obese American children," said Kenneth Land, project director of the Child Well-Being Index, which tracks how American children are faring socially, emotionally, in terms of education and health.

"There is a concern that parents will substitute fast food, high carbohydrate and high sugar-content food, for healthy food and that this will cause an uptick in the rate of overweight children and adolescents," Land, a sociology professor at Duke University, said at the launch of the 2009 report. (AFP)


2009 Childhood Obesity Conference addresses new challenges, approaches to improving children's health

BERKELEY — Focusing on proven strategies to improve children's health and prevent obesity is even more important during times of economic turmoil, according to organizers of the upcoming 2009 Childhood Obesity Conference.

Called "Creating Healthy Places for All Children," the June 9-12 conference in Los Angeles comes amid challenging times when more families are struggling with limited food budgets, and communities have fewer resources. One sign of the increased strain is enrollment in the state's Food Stamp Program, which jumped from 2.2 million people in March 2008 to 2.6 million in March 2009, conference organizers said. (Press Release)


Another NYT eye-roller featuring Jacobson & CSPI: A Healthy Tax

The problem with obesity has become so overpowering in America that no single remedy guarantees a solution. But a proposal now being considered by some in Congress to tax drinks loaded with sugar would certainly help. The idea is that taxes worked to lower tobacco use — a habit far harder to break — so they should help young people limit their intake of soda or other forms of “liquid candy.”

Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, has estimated that for every penny of tax added to a 12-ounce bottle or can of these drinks, consumption of all those empty calories would drop by 1 percent. (New York Times)


The Facts about Air Pollution from Coal-Fired Power Plants

America’s improving air quality is an untold success story. Even before Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, air quality had been improving for decades. And since 1970, the six so-called criteria pollutants have declined significantly, even though the generation of electricity from coal-fired plants has increased by over 180 percent. (Institute for Energy Research)


Navistar challenges EPA diesel regulations

Truck and engine manufacturer Navistar Inc. is challenging U.S. EPA rules aimed at curbing diesel emissions.

Illinois-based Navistar has asked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review EPA's 2001 pollution standard for new motor vehicles' emissions as well as guidance issued in February allowing manufacturers to meet the standard using selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology.

EPA's 2001 rule requires heavy-duty diesel engines to meet an emission standard of 0.20 grams of nitrogen oxide (NOx) per brake horsepower-hour. The rule is slated to be fully implemented by model year 2010. (Greenwire)


George F. Will: Presenting the silliness of being green - A cartoon (today, what else?) satirizes the movement's feel-good psychology.

WASHINGTON - There once was an Indianapolis concert featuring 50 pianos. Splendid instruments, pianos. Still, 50 might have been excessive. As is today's chorus summoning us to save the planet.

In the history of developed democracies with literate publics served by mass media, there is no precedent for today's media enlistment in the crusade to promote global warming "awareness." Concerning this, journalism, which fancies itself skeptical and nonconforming, is neither.

The incessant hectoring by the media-political complex's "consciousness-raising" campaign has provoked a comic riposte in the form of "The Goode Family," an animated ABC entertainment program that airs at 8 p.m. Central on Wednesdays. Cartoons seem, alas, to be the most effective means of seizing a mass audience's attention. Still, the program is welcome evidence of the bursting of what has been called "the green bubble." (George F. Will, Washington Post)


Eco-Terrorists Want a Dirty Bomb?

Today's "WHAT?!?" excerpt via the AP's write-up of Secretary Chu testifying about the accidental disclosure of a list of government and civilian nuclear facilities:

However, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, questioned about the disclosure at a House hearing, expressed concern with respect to a uranium storage facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Y-12 facility in Tennessee. The facility holds large quantities of highly enriched uranium, which if obtained can be used to fashion a nuclear weapon.

"That's of great concern," said Chu, referring to the Y-12 site. "We will be looking hard and making sure physical security of those sites (at Y12) is sufficient to prevent eco-terrorists and others getting hold of that material."

The far-Left wants to nuke American cities??? (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)


Back to the Horse and Sulky? A statement/letter by Mr Viv Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

On World Environment Day 5 June 2009

If environmentalists were really concerned for the environment, they would spend time on World Environment Day worshipping carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, not demonising it.

All life in the bio-sphere depends on the carbon cycle.

The cycle starts when plants using solar energy and photosynthesis extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere converting it into plant sugars and proteins. In that process, plants provide food for all herbivores (and vegetarians) and also for the carnivores that live on them. Plants extract carbon from the carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere for the use of animal life. To complete the carbon cycle, the waste products and decaying bodies of all living things return the carbon to the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is the key element in the cycle of life and worthy of worship on World Environment Day.

Life on earth evolved in times when CO2 levels were about 400% higher than at present. The current level of 386 ppm is not far above the 200 ppm level at which plants stop growing because of carbon dioxide starvation. Nurserymen know this and use gas burners to increase the CO2 level in their greenhouses and plant nurseries to 1,000 ppm or more. If the atmosphere reached this level there would be massive improvement in plant growth, with benefits for the whole environment. There is no danger to humans at this level - the CO2 levels in submarines may reach 8,000 ppm without problems for humans, and our exhaled breath has about 40,000 ppm of CO2.

Warmth, increased evaporation from the oceans, increased precipitation and increased CO2 would be the magic combination for a greener planet. Burning fossil fuel adds CO2 and water to the atmosphere, and helps to return the world to the verdant conditions prevailing when our great coal deposits were formed.

However most environmentalists, in their hatred of humanity and technology, are trying to take us back to the days of the horse and sulky. They extol the simple life where a few lucky people lived in a Garden of Eden with no nasty cars, trains, planes, engines or electricity.

Our pioneering ancestors lived such a life, and one grandmother summarised the feeling of many of them on “The Good Old Days” when she said:

“Thank God the good old days are over.”

For a true story about life on a genuine “green” farm in the horse and sulky days, see:

Viv Forbes
The Carbon Sense Coalition 

Viv Forbes is a geologist, financial analyst, soil scientist and grazier with extensive experience in carbon energy, carbon food and the carbon cycle of the atmosphere, soils, pastures and grazing animals.


The Climate Change Report the UN Failed to Write

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The 2009 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change is the report on global warming the United Nations’ climate panel should have written--but didn’t.

The 880-page report, released today at an international meeting in Washington DC of scientists and policy experts, rigorously critiques the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that harmful global warming “very likely” has been due to human activity in the release of greenhouse gases.

The science behind that conclusion is soundly refuted in Climate Change Reconsidered, coauthored by Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso. In nine chapters citing thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the UN, plus new scientific research that became available after the UN report’s deadline, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) marks a new chapter in the debate over global warming.

Current legislative efforts in Congress to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, backed by the Obama administration, are based on the UN document. (Heartland Institute)


Recycling "it's twice as bad as we thought": Study: climate change odds much worse than previously thought

The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago—and could be even worse than that. (R&D)

By the way, this is their photo showing how clueless they are (wonder how much research money went into to making their "we have no idea but this is a neat toy" guesstimator?). It really is an idiotic prop isn't it?


More eye-rolling: Small islands win U.N. vote on climate change security

UNITED NATIONS - Small Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels won a symbolic victory at the United Nations on Wednesday with the passage of a resolution recognizing climate change as a possible threat to security.

The non-binding resolution, passed by consensus by the General Assembly, may help put climate change on the agenda of the more powerful U.N. Security Council, which deals with threats to international peace and security.

General Assembly resolutions are largely symbolic but can carry moral weight. Several representatives said this one was important as the first to explicitly link climate change to security -- a principle previously resisted by powerful Security Council members including Russia and China, who questioned whether the issue belonged in the Security Council. (Reuters)


Scientists, Economists Challenge Global Warming Alarmism - Third international conference attracts SRO crowd to Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Global warming skeptics, who for a decade have emphasized hard-science evidence to refute doomsday predictions from alarmists, added new ammunition to their arsenal Tuesday at the third International Conference on Climate Change.

Craig Idso, Ph.D., chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and coauthor of Climate Change Reconsidered, addresses the Third International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, DC on June 2.

More than 250 people crowded into Washington Court hotel meeting rooms to hear a dozen elite scientists refute the claim that global warming is either man-made or would have harmful effects on Earth. (Heartland Institute)


Fossil Teeth Hint at Animal Adaptation to Global Warming

Amidst predictions of global warming-driven global extinctions, a dietary analysis of ancient teeth suggests that animals may prove more adaptable than expected.

The tale of the teeth, collected at two sites in Florida and spanning a transition between extreme temperatures during an ice age climate cycle, runs counter to the standard narrative of animals as unable to adjust their behavioral patterns.

“One of the main assumptions is that species niches are conserved. Here we’re showing that the diets vary and change,” said Larisa DeSantis, a Florida Museum of Natural History zoologist. “These niches are not the same. The animals were not doing the same thing constantly through time.”

A prominent study published in Nature in 2004 predicted that about one-quarter of all species would be “committed to extinction” by 2050 if the planet’s temperature increased by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Such an increase falls in the middle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s calculations of global temperature change in the next century.

Some researchers call the one-quarter extinction prediction excessive. Others think it’s conservative. The IPCC says that a rise of several degrees could put a quarter of all species at risk of extinction, with a jump of a few more degrees threatening up to three-quarters of Earth’s animals.

Those predictions, however, are based on models in which creatures don’t alter their habits when weather changes disrupt their traditional food chains. And though the authors of the teeth analysis warned against extrapolating their findings, which documented a gradual shift spanning hundreds of thousands of years, to the fast-warming climate of the present, the research suggests a limit to our own predictions.

“I don’t think you can use this study as a model for what’s going to happen to a given species. But it does say that if we have global warming, then there will be changes to animals, and those changes will be complex,” said study co-author Robert Feranec, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New York State Museum. “It’s hard to understand what global warming is going to do.” (Wired)


Strange political bedfellows unite on black carbon

Barbara Boxer of California and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts are two of the Senate's greenest members, consistent champions of efforts to fight global warming. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the Senate's chief global warming skeptic. But on Earth Day, this unlikely trio, along with Tom Carper of Delaware, introduced a bill directing the Environmental Protection Agency to study a dangerous pollutant that kills millions worldwide and accelerates global warming, particularly in the Arctic.

No, not carbon dioxide, which remains the main cause of global warming. The target of the bill is black carbon, commonly known as soot. (Modesto Bee)


Barrasso warns of reckless EPA policy

Washington, D.C. – Senator John Barrasso, M.D. wants the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop a reckless policy harmful to schools, farms, hospitals, nursing homes and small businesses.

Barrasso announced today that he will introduce legislation to halt detrimental regulations proposed by the EPA.

The EPA announced plans early this year to designate carbon dioxide as a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The finding’s effects will require the EPA to regulate any building, structure, facility or installation that produces a certain amount of carbon dioxide per year.

“Virtually everything produces carbon dioxide. If you’re going to regulate CO2, everyone and everything would have to be regulated. The Clean Air Act was simply never designed for this type of all-consuming regulation,” Barrasso said.

“The EPA admits the Clean Air Act is a bad option. They know it puts our nation in a bind. But they continue to push it forward,” Barrasso said. “It simply does not make sense.”

“My bill will stop digging us into a deeper hole,” Barrasso said. (Little Chicago Review)


Forget the Marine Corps, it's Climate Corps to the rescue

With the world in crisis, forget the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Americore or Job Corps. The Oregon legislature is about to pass a bill creating CLIMATE CORPS. Even though the Oregon general fund is $2 billion short, they are requiring the University of Oregon to create Climate Corps.

This bill has passed the Senate and it moving through the House. Here's the text: (Free Republic)


'Execute' Skeptics! Shock Call To Action: 'At what point do we jail or execute global warming deniers' -- 'Shouldn't we start punishing them now?'

[ Update: 8:44 AM ET: Talking Points Memo (TPM) has removed the article from their website. "The file you are looking for has not been found" - But the url with a portion of the chilling message lingers as evidence: "at-what-point-do-we-jail-or-ex..." - - Climate Depot has also saved a screen shot of the original article. Update: Washington Examiner weighs in: 'Hate sport': Is TPM poster simply lone fanatic? Excerpt: Poster "believes killing those who disagree with him politically is justified." ] (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


ABC's "Earth 2100" Bias Bomb

ABC television dropped a cynical, eco-fringe-biased bomb with its two-hour “Earth 2100” Tuesday night program. The entrenched, partisan environmental lobby has, yet again, shown its dishonesty in this radical piece of Orwellian fear mongering by the mainstream media. Here the climate debate deniers spin apocalyptic scenarios from the musings of climate-crusading spokesmen, the progressive nonprofits and the partisan political vanguard. The rank duplicity and perverse manipulation of Earth 2100 would both shame and honor the propaganda of Gore and Goebbels. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)


Carbon Storage Faces Costly Hurdles

HOUSTON - The CEO of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP said on Tuesday that the pipeline giant will not enter the market to sock away heat-trapping greenhouse gases in underground reservoirs unless the U.S. government settles who is legally liable if the gas leaks out.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which already owns the biggest U.S. pipeline network to transport carbon dioxide, could easily build more pipelines to allow power plants, refineries and other industrial facilities to pipe captured emissions into underground storage, Chief Executive Rich Kinder told the Reuters Global Energy Summit in Houston.

Carbon sequestration could be a key component in U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to put first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions, but there is no proven method of capturing emissions from giant industrial facilities. (Reuters)

Never mind the technical and legal difficulties, CCS is a really stupid thing to do. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a precious biosphere resource. Keeping it from the biosphere through capture and sequestration is a criminal waste. To waste 30-40% of generated energy doing so is so stupid as to defy description.

Think for a moment: we actively mine the carbon these guys want to bury.


The perverse "logic" of climate negotiations: Mexico sees support for U.N. climate finance plan

BONN, Germany, June 3 - A Mexican proposal to raise billions of dollars to fight climate change is winning backing in talks on a new U.N. treaty, paradoxically because no one really likes it, a Mexican official said on Wednesday.

"It has something for everyone, although everyone will dislike part of it. That's the beauty of the proposal," Fernando Tudela, Undersecretary of Planning and Environmental Policy, told Reuters on Wednesday. (Reuters)


Dead wrong: Cap-and-trade plan puts a price tag on pollution

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Look at pollution as pork belly futures.

Or try thinking of "cap and trade" as a game of musical chairs, where the granddaddies of greenhouse gases scramble for dwindling seats.

Another analogy: That AT&T commercial with the mother who doles out tokens of unused cell-phone minutes to her sons? If each token were a permit to pump a ton of carbon dioxide into the air, and the sons were coal-fired power plants ...

Still confused about cap and trade, aren't you? (McClatchy Newspapers)

Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant but rather an essential trace gas. The writer above is worse than merely "confused".


Hopefully she's lashed firmly to it: Pelosi takes reins on climate change

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has quickly taken charge of moving climate change legislation through the House, which will be one of the toughest challenges of her political career.

Earlier this year, Pelosi said she was not involved in the day-to-day happenings on the controversial bill. But now that it has cleared the Energy and Commerce Committee, Pelosi is on a mission to get the climate change bill — her flagship issue — to the House floor. (The Hill)


U.S. House puts climate bill on quick pace for passage

WASHINGTON - Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have put major environmental legislation on a fast-track, boosting chances a climate change bill will pass this month or next, leading lawmakers said on Wednesday. (Reuters)


Farm Bureau Urges U.S. House to Oppose Costly Climate Change Legislation

A committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that would cost American families and farmers thousands of dollars annually and place the U.S. at an economic disadvantage with other countries.

Missouri Farm Bureau President Charles Kruse sent a letter to Missouri members of the U.S. House asking them to oppose H.R. 2454, the so-called cap and trade bill. The text of the letter is as follows: (Missouri Farm Bureau)


US may not be ready with numbers for climate deal

BONN, Germany — The United States may miss a December deadline for committing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but that should not block an international agreement on global warming, the chief U.S. negotiator said Wednesday.

Specific pledges by industrial countries to cut carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change is a key element of a U.N. treaty being negotiated by 190 nations. The talks are due to be completed at a major conference in Copenhagen before the end of the year.

But Jonathan Pershing, the deputy special envoy for climate change, said U.S. climate change legislation may not be completed by then, making it impossible for U.S. negotiators to present a final number for the Copenhagen agreement. (AP)


US role in climate treaty depends on China

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's chief climate negotiator says the United States is not likely to enter into a new international treaty to reduce the emissions blamed for global warming without China and other major greenhouse-gas emitters on board.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that China and other major developing countries are critical to making any international agreement work. He also said the U.S. would not race forward on a new treaty if those countries remained on the sidelines.

Stern travels to China next week with White House science adviser John Holdren and assistant energy secretary David Sandalow. The three officials hope to boost cooperation between the two countries on global warming. (Associated Press)


but: China Syndrome: Will the U.S. Go It Alone on Climate Change?

That question has come to a head this week—and sparked a query from Republican legislators–after U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu vowed the U.S. would be able to sign onto a global climate treaty with or without the cooperation of China, the world’s biggest emitter. Dow Jones Newswires notes:

Mr. Chu told reporters that the U.S. needed to take leadership on the issue and if that meant China wasn’t willing to agree to a global accord then the U.S. should go ahead and commit to binding long-term emission cuts. (WSJ)


They play a really good game: INTERVIEW-China to act on climate, warns of "unfair" demands

BONN, Germany, June 2 - China promised on Tuesday to step up actions to fight climate change and cautioned that "unfair" new demands by rich nations could sabotage a new U.N. treaty due to be agreed in December.

"We will continue to focus on the improvement of energy efficiency, expansion of the use of renewable energy, more use of nuclear power and on reforestation," China's climate ambassador Yu Qingtai told Reuters of long-term plans beyond 2010.

And he said China was already doing a lot.

"We are pretty certain that our track record would not pale against anybody else in the world," he said on the sidelines of June 1-12 U.N. climate talks among 181 nations in Bonn.

He said China, for instance, was seeking to raise efficiency by cutting the amount of energy burnt per unit of economic output by 4 percent a year.

Washington says that China, which by most estimates has overtaken the United States as the top emitter of greenhouse gases, must do more to fight climate change under a U.N. pact due to be agreed in December in Copenhagen.

But Yu accused rich nations of introducing proposals that go beyond a roadmap for U.N. negotiations agreed in Bali in 2007. (Reuters)

Of course this goes beyond what was agreed in Bali -- China was there to make sure developing nations were not required to make any emissions cuts, just rake in conscience money from dopey Westerners.


Why Australia won't implement ETS any time soon: Steve Fielding not convinced carbon emissions linked to climate change

FAMILY First Senator Steve Fielding has declared he is not yet convinced carbon emissions are causing global warming.

The Victorian MP, who branded the Greens "fanatical" believers in climate change, yesterday spent 45 minutes drilling White House climate change adviser Dr Joseph Aldy on the subject during his self-funded trip to Washington DC.

"I wouldn't call myself a sceptic or an extremist," Fielding said after the meeting.

"The Greens are in the extreme camp and like any fanatical group, they're locked into ideology," he said.

"I'm an engineer so when someone asks what is my view, I look at both sides and like many Australians, I've gone along accepting that one side of the story is the complete story," he said.

The influential senator, whose vote could decide the fate of Australia's carbon trading scheme, spent the previous day at a conference of climate change sceptics who believe solar activity, not emissions, are causing the spike in temperatures across the globe. (Herald Sun))


Big business 'failing to disclose climate risks' to investors

Leading companies are offering only minimal information to shareholders on how global warming might affect their bottom line, research shows

The world's major corporations are failing to provide a full account to investors of the risks and potential costs of climate change, a new report said today.

The report, from the Ceres network of green organisations and investors, and the Environment Defence Fund, found companies offered only minimal information to their shareholders last year on how global warming might affect their bottom line. (The Guardian)

That's because their only risk is idiot investors like these and such investors can invest elsewhere if they so wish.


Groups seek more SEC climate disclosure

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Federal regulators have not done enough to ensure that shareholders are aware of material risks to companies from greenhouse gas emissions, according to a pair of studies released Wednesday by environmental and investor groups.

Congress is now debating legislation that would require a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 and 83 percent reduction by mid-century.

Investors need more information about which companies may face greater costs not only because of those laws, but because of potential climate change, according to Ceres and the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a group of 80 institutional investors with $7 trillion in assets.

"What an investor is looking for is adequate information to make smart decisions," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres. (AP)

Great! Here's the information you  need: gorebull warming is a total crock and any politician idiot enough to support gorebull warming legislation will be voted from office as people inevitably get colder. Simple enough for you?

Here's the press release that spawned the above two items: Studies Show Global Companies Still Failing to Report Strategies and Potential Impacts From Climate Change (PRNewswire-USNewswire)


Almost funny: Green Energy Goal To Boost EU Jobs, Economy: Study

BRUSSELS - The European Union will boost economies and create an additional 410,000 jobs if the bloc meets its target of getting one fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, a new report shows.

The 27-country bloc will boost gross domestic product (GDP) by a quarter of 1 percent in the process, the study prepared for the European Commission's energy department said.

The executive Commission introduced its green energy plan last year, with the aim of combating climate change and reducing Europe's dependence on unreliable imports of gas and oil.

But some member states fought bitterly against environmental policies, saying they were unaffordable and put jobs at risk at a time of economic turmoil.

The study appears to change the landscape for renewables by showing the shift will create benefits on all three fronts -- economy, climate and energy security. (Reuters)

Wonder if they believe any of it? Fascinating how they conclude wind is a benefit because industry might be forced to close down if Russia shut off gas supplies (oh fellas, what about industry left powerless when wind power is unavailable?). Not that anyone should expect anything sensible since the report values gorebull warming mitigation (as a plus!).


Automakers See No One Winner In "Green" Car Race

VANCOUVER - No single technology will triumph in the pursuit of a "greener" auto industry. Instead, the future will include a mix of cars powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels, according to the world's biggest car makers.

Gathered together at a hydrogen and fuel cells conference in Vancouver this week, car company executives said it is wrong to characterize their search for the low- or no-pollution vehicles of tomorrow as a battleground of technologies.

"This is nonsense. This is not about picking some winner," said Andreas Truckenbrodt, chief executive of Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC), a company set up by Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co to research fuel cells for vehicles. (Reuters)

Translation: none of these technologies is particularly good nor promising (one good technology would simply swamp all competition but there are none to compare with the fossil-fueled internal combustion engine).


Efficiency codes give heartburn to Realtors, builders

Energy efficiency is often described as the low-hanging fruit in the fight against global warming. Conserving energy is cheaper than building a new nuclear power plant and technologically less challenging than storing a coal plant’s carbon dioxide emissions underground — two other emissions-reduction strategies.

But a provision in congressional climate and energy bills designed to reduce the energy sucked up by commercial buildings and residential homes is getting a poor reception from struggling realty and building sectors, which argue new efficiency codes will raise the costs for homes and commercial properties and have the potential to stall a recovery from the recent market collapse.

The National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders and Commercial Real Estate Development Association were among nine building and realty trade groups that wrote House members last month expressing “strong opposition” to energy-efficiency language in the House climate change measure that was recently adopted by the Energy and Commerce Committee. The word “opposition” was written in bold letters. (The Hill)


June 3, 2009

Study finds antidepressant doesn't help autistic children

Nationwide research finds that citalopram is no more effective than a placebo and that its side effects are twice as bad. About a third of autistic kids take the drug, known as Celexa in the U.S. (Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times)


Cigarettes Without Smoke, or Regulation

FALL RIVER, Mass. — During 34 years of smoking, Carolyn Smeaton has tried countless ways to reduce her three-pack-a-day habit, including a nicotine patch, nicotine gum and a prescription drug. But stop-smoking aids always failed her.

Then, having watched a TV infomercial at her home here, Ms. Smeaton tried an electronic cigarette, which claimed to be a less dangerous way to feed her addiction. The battery-powered device she bought online delivered an odorless dose of nicotine and flavoring without cigarette tar or additives, and produced a vapor mist nearly identical in appearance to tobacco smoke.

“I feel like this could save my life,” said Ms. Smeaton, 47, who has cut her tobacco smoking to a pack and a half daily, supplemented by her e-cigarette.

That electronic cigarettes are unapproved by the government and virtually unstudied has not deterred thousands of smokers from flocking to mall kiosks and the Internet to buy them. And because they produce no smoke, they can be used in workplaces, restaurants and airports. One distributor is aptly named Smoking Everywhere.

The reaction of medical authorities and antismoking groups has ranged from calls for testing to skepticism to outright hostility. Opponents say the safety claims are more rumor than anything else, since the components of e-cigarettes have never been tested for safety. (New York Times)

Australia has banned these devices, although we have exactly zero evidence of harm or any science-based reason for so doing. The sole basis for the ban is a visceral "it's like smoking so it must be bad" and, as such, is very hard to justify.


Medicalizing the well-upholstered: CDC Plans Obesity Conference

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, has scheduled its inaugural conference on obesity prevention and control, Weight of the Nation, for July 27-29 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. Planning for the conference is being done in consultation with the Division of Adolescent and School Health, the Division of Adult and Community Health, the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors, the Directors of Health Promotion and Education, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

The conference objectives are to: highlight strategies that overcome barriers to the primary prevention of obesity for youth and adults in communities, medical care, schools, and workplaces; provide economic analysis of obesity prevention and control efforts (e.g., cost burden of obesity on healthcare system and employers, cost effectiveness of prevention); provide forum to share promising, emerging, and best practices for setting specific policy and environmental initiatives impacting obesity; and highlight the use of law-based efforts to prevent and control obesity (e.g., legislation, regulation and policies). (


Too Much Media May Be Tough on Kids' Health - Expert warns parents to limit access to computers, TV and more

Easy access to a wide variety of media increases a child's risk for numerous health issues, such as obesity, eating disorders, drug use and early sexual activity, according to a U.S. expert.

On average, American children and teens spend more than six hours a day with media such as TV, computers, Internet, video games and VCR or DVD players -- more time than they spend per day receiving formal classroom instruction, says Dr. Victor C. Strasburger of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque. (HealthDay News)


Australia Should Fund Surgery, Healthy Foods to Fight Obesity

Australia, where almost 70 percent of men are overweight, should fund bariatric surgery and healthy foods to fight the “critical” problem of obesity, a parliamentary committee said.

Obesity cost Australia’s A$1 trillion ($810 million) economy some A$58.2 billion in 2008, with the obesity rate increasing for men, women and children, the committee said in a report. (Bloomberg)

Hmm... the figures are not only "staggering" they are also highly dubious. What evidence have they that obesity cost the Australian economy even a single penny? Worse, bariatric surgery is far from risk-free and why should taxpayers foot the bill for harming people to make them conform to an arbitrary cosmetic ideal? Do we even want community conformity police?


Weight-Loss Surgery Options Compared in Super-Obese - Duodenal switch may be more effective than gastric bypass, researchers say

TUESDAY, June 2 -- A technique called duodenal switch surgery may be more effective than gastric bypass surgery for patients with obesity-related medical problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a U.S. study that included 350 super-obese patients who were more than 200 pounds heavier than their ideal body weight.

The findings were presented Monday at Digestive Disease Week 2009 in Chicago. (HealthDay News)


Diet-induced Obesity Prevented In Mice With Engineered Metabolic Pathway

In recent years, obesity has taken on epidemic proportions in developed nations, contributing significantly to major medical problems, early death and rising health care costs. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, at least a quarter of all American adults and more than 15 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

While recent research advances and treatment methods have had little effect in reducing obesity levels, researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, in collaboration with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, may have discovered a completely new way to approach the problem. (ScienceDaily)


Very imaginative: Muzzling the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, a California pollution watchdog

The state's financial crisis is cited for plans to shut the small state office that gets big results -- perhaps too big.

Under the cloak of the budget crisis, the Schwarzenegger administration is proposing to eliminate an office that has effectively taken on some of California's most insidious polluters, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA. This small, independent office of health scientists contained in the state's Environmental Protection Agency is a strange target if the goal is truly to save money. The total taxpayer bill for the scientists is only a few million dollars, which could easily be funded by tapping a small portion of unspent reserves from existing environmental fees.

So why, then, the proposal to eliminate the office? Here's my guess. The scientists at the OEHHA are charged with protecting, as their website puts it, "public health and the environment by scientific evaluation of risks posed by hazardous substances." In the past, that mission has pitted the OEHHA against a variety of powerful interests, including tobacco and chemical companies. In other words, the office has some powerful enemies. (Gina M. Solomon, Los Angeles Times)

Actually they are more likely being dumped as a bunch of zealots with a poor relationship with facts (they never saw a regulation that shouldn't be prohibitively more stringent, nor a chemical that shouldn't be banned, no matter how useful and apparently harmless and arbitrarily declared "secondhand smoke" [environmental tobacco smoke] a carcinogen despite a complete lack of supporting evidence, among other things). They could fairly be described as some of the most extreme zealots in the Left-Coast's wildly out-of-control EPA. That they are a societal or environmental asset is hugely doubtful.


So, these are the gullible dills you should blame: Documentary tells how Quebec town launched anti-pesticide movement

The town of Hudson, Que., glimpsed itself on screen Monday night, depicted as "ground zero" in the battle against the use of lawn herbicides and pesticides.

That's how Paul Tukey, a U.S. television host and author, saw the town that was the first to ban use of these products in its jurisdiction.

"I knew as a journalist that there had to be a good back story," Tukey told CBC News.

"That somebody had to go out on a limb and take on these chemical companies, because the chemical companies, trust me, go to unbelievable lengths to ensure they have the right to sell these chemicals."

Tukey produced and directed the documentary Hudson: A Chemical Reaction to tell that back story, which included fighting chemical companies all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. (CBC News)


FDA Vows to Be More Open to the Public

The Food and Drug Administration, fiercely criticized for its handling of recent outbreaks of contaminated food and defective drugs and medical devices, is vowing to be more transparent in allowing the public and others outside the agency to see more of how the agency operates and how crucial decisions are made.

Today, the FDA announced it is forming a new task force to recommend ways to increase transparency of the agency and inviting the public to a meeting to hear ideas on how the agency can better provide more useful and understandable information to the public. That public meeting is now set for June 24, 2009, the FDA said. (Attorney at Law)


Farm groups counter call for GMO wheat

SASKATOON - Farm and environment groups opposed to genetically modified wheat are countering a call from other farm organizations for biotech companies to commercially develop it.

Fifteen groups in the top wheat-exporting countries of Canada, the U.S. and Australia released a joint statement of opposition to GMO wheat on Monday. It follows the May 14 call by GM wheat supporters in the three countries for synchronized production of GM wheat.

"Genetic engineering for wheat would be a calamity for all wheat farmers," said Julie Newman, a member of the Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia. "Consumers across the world have already rejected the idea of GE wheat." (Reuters)

Gotta love it :-) the "Network of Concerned Farmers in Australia" -- a lobby of um, 8 individuals, I think, mostly organic scrabblers representing well less than one-millionth part of Australia's ag industry by production and value. Definitely a disproportionately squeaky wheel.


Oh dear... Climate Change Equals Thermonuclear War

A group of Nobel laureates met in London last week at the St. James Symposium on Sustainability and crafted yet-another-political-statement-from-scientists. The statement (here in PDF) shows how hard it is to rise above the noise on the climate issue. Kofi Annan and his 315,000 deaths? That’s nothing. Look at what the Nobelists came up with:

The solutions to the extraordinary environmental, economic and human crises of this century will not be found in the political arena alone. Stimulated by the manifesto of Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, the first Pugwash gathering of 1957 united scientists of all political persuasions to discuss the threat posed to civilization by the advent of thermonuclear weapons. Global climate change represents a threat of similar proportions, and should be addressed in a similar manner.

We are seeing an auctioning of promised devastation in an effort to corral attention on this climate issue. However, rather than motivate action via alarm, comparisons of climate change to thermonuclear war are probably going to lead to rolled eyes and a few laughs. Richard Cable at the BBC explains:

The qualitative difference between the two threats is perhaps nowhere better expressed, however inadvertently, than by the convener of the symposium himself, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Where once we had ‘the Cold War notion of mutually-assured destruction,’ he told the Times, ‘Today we have mutually-assured increases in greenhouse gases.’

OK. But while debates around climate change are still qualified by the words ‘might’, ‘could’ and ‘predicted’, it’s probably fair to say that the average person in the street may view the comparison of carbon emissions with things that can vapourise a major city in seconds as unhelpfully alarmist and perhaps just a little bit silly. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Evidence could turn climate legislation on its head

The debate over climate change is gearing up in Congress. According to the Sacramento Bee, Congressman Henry Waxman’s bill, which would institute America’s first cap and trade system, will likely face a vote in the House sometime this summer.

If the evidence has a say in the coming congressional debates, Representative Waxman’s hysteria-driven bill should disappear into obscurity. The data suggesting that the world won’t face climate-induced disaster is mounting, and the global warming proselytizers should soon have to find a new pet catastrophe. (Cameron English, El Dorado County Conservative Examiner)

Maybe but I doubt it -- the gorebull warming fraternity has never had much to do with evidence and I see no reason they would start now.


Energy Price Deceit - Congress tries to hide its cap-and-trade energy price increases

Last month, leading Congressional climateer, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, pushed out a sweeping 1000-page bill that aims to dramatically reshape how Americans will use energy in the 21st century. At the heart of the American Clean Technology and Security (ACES) Act is a cap-and-trade proposal for limiting the emissions of carbon dioxide by American industry and consumers. Carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels and chopping down forests, is building up in the atmosphere where it is thought be the chief cause of man-made global warming. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)


The Costs of Carbon Legislation

[An MP3 audio version of this article, read by Dr. Floy Lilley, is available as a free download.]

In two of his recent op-eds (here and here) for the New York Times, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has challenged critics of the government's intentions to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, and he has even specifically endorsed the pending Waxman-Markey bill which includes a "cap-and-trade" program.Download PDF According to Krugman, the costs of such legislation are no big deal, and in exchange we avert catastrophe. So why all the criticism?

In the present article, I want to show the fragility of Krugman's position. For one thing, the true economic harms of "global-warming" legislation could be much higher than his own cited figures. For another, the benefits of such measures — in terms of averted climate-change damage — are quite negligible, unless other countries follow suit.

Finally, Krugman's strategic position on carbon legislation — "this bill is better than nothing" — is inconsistent with his own views of Obama's "inadequate" stimulus bill and Geithner's plans for revamping the banking sector. In short, if the world really is on the verge of catastrophe — which many alarmists tell us it is, and that's why we need to take immediate action — then why are so many of these same activists supporting legislation that their own models show will do virtually nothing? (Robert P. Murphy, Ludwig von Mises Institute)


Rangel Says Climate Bill Takes Priority in House

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.), chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday that House Democratic leaders want to move climate legislation through the House before taking up a bill to overhaul the U.S. health system.

Mr. Rangel told a meeting of the U.S. Council for International Business that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told him Tuesday, during an hourlong meeting to discuss health care, that she wants to move a climate bill first.

However, Mr. Rangel immediately backpedaled from that statement when queried by reporters following his remarks at the conference. "I may have misspoke, until we say we've got to do climate change," Mr. Rangel said.

"We've got a head of steam with the health bill," Mr. Rangel said. He said the order in which the House considers health, climate, or trade bills is less important. (WSJ)


Possible changes to House climate bill

WASHINGTON - Climate change legislation is advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives and is expected to go through several committees this month.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has already approved the bill to cut industry's greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020. Now, other committees will take their crack at the bill which could result in further changes.

Once the bill lands on the House floor, possibly this month or next, more changes will be sought. For example, some moderate Democrats want a 14 percent goal, instead of 17 percent, for the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.

Senate Democratic leaders say they also want to debate and pass a climate bill this year. But the outlook for one of President Barack Obama's top priorities is more uncertain in the Senate.

The following are scenarios for major changes to the bill that various House committees could attempt: (Reuters)


Portents of Cap and Trade Doom?

Do dust-ups in the blogosphere offer any insight to the fate of real-world policies? On cap and trade, I think the answer is “yes.” Specifically, the travails of Waxman-Markey (W-M) cheerleader number 1 - Joe Romm - provides some insights as to how difficult a pill W-M has come to be for the progressive community. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Updated: Carbon target impasse continues as Bonn talks kick off

US insists that demands for emission cuts of between 25 and 40 per cent by 2020 remain unrealistic (BusinessGreen)


No cash, no deal: INTERVIEW-India says US domestic policy crucial to climate deal

NEW DELHI, June 1 - U.S. domestic policy on curbing carbon emissions is crucial for a global climate deal this year, a top Indian negotiator said on Monday, adding rich countries also had to provide a commitment on funding for poorer nations. (Reuters)


Rich Nations Promise $100 Billion Per Year Aid to Poor Nations in Climate Fight

During one of the many meetings preceding the Copenhagen round of talks scheduled to take place in December, the developed countries have tentatively agreed on a plan to collectively raise $100 billion per year in order to provide financial support to the poor and developing nations as they try to make the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources. (Reuters)


Follow Up to GHF Report Discussion

Last week I was very critical of a report issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum, run by Kofi Annan former Secretary General of the United Nations. Over the weekend I see that Annan described the report as not being a scientific study: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Points for hyperbole: Alarm raised over forest plan to fight climate change

BOGOR, Indonesia — An ambitious plan to fight climate change by making polluters pay to preserve forests has come under a cloud, with some environmentalists calling it unworkable and dangerous.

The plan, known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), is being pushed as a key element for a new global agreement to fight climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

The rationale for the plan is largely uncontroversial. Environmentalists say the world needs forests to absorb the carbon in the atmosphere that is causing climate change.

The world also needs to curtail the rate of deforestation, which through rotting dead trees and burning contributes around 20 percent of worldwide emissions every year -- roughly equivalent to the United States or China.

The basic idea behind REDD is to work out how much carbon can be saved by not cutting down trees, and selling that carbon on the global market for big polluters to offset their own emissions.

Developing countries with vast tracts of tropical forests and high rates of deforestation, such as Indonesia and Brazil, have been pushing REDD and made it a focus of climate talks on the Indonesian island of Bali in late 2007.

But critics have questioned whether a model for REDD that could turn unmolested trees into carbon credits would really reduce emissions, and have even raised the possibility that it could imperil the entire global fight against climate change. (AFP)


"Prediction" or "Projection"? The Nomenclature of Climate Science

A survey among climate scientists is used to examine the terminology concerning two key concepts in climate science, namely, predictions and projections, as used among climate scientists. The survey data suggest that the terminology used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is not adopted, or only loosely adopted, by a significant minority of scientists. Contrary to established guidelines, approximately 29% of the respondents associate probable developments with projections, and approximately 20% of the respondents associate possible developments with predictions. (Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, Science Communication)


Richard Lindzen on climate sensitivity and sensibilities

This is the talk that Dr Richard Lindzen (MIT) just gave in the DC, on the Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC 2009b): (The Reference Frame)


Via CCNet: Climate Change: Science Manipulated - Natural causes of global warming are much more significant than manmade changes

1. The IPCC wants to claim that the global average temperature has unexpectedly and abruptly increased during the 20th century after a gradual cooling from the year 1000, and that this unexpected increase of the temperature is mostly man-made-the greenhouse effect of CO2.

2. For their purpose, the IPCC ignored the fact that the Earth went through a cold period called "the Little Ice Age" from 1400 to 1800.

3. The Earth has been recovering from the Little Ice Age from 1800 to the present. A recovery from a cold period is warming. It is mostly this warming that is causing the present climate change and it is not man-made. If they admit the existence of the Little Ice Age, they cannot claim that the global average temperature unexpectedly increased from 1900.

3a. In addition to the steady recovery from the Little Ice Age, there are superposed oscillatory changes. The prominent one is called the multi-decadal oscillation.

3b. In fact, most of the temperature change from 1800 to 2008 can be explained by the combination of the recovery from the Little Ice Age and the multi-decadal oscillation. If the recovery from the Little Ice Age continues, the predicted temperature rise will be less than 1°C (2°F) by 2100, not 3~6°C.

4. Because the warming began as early as 1800, not after 1946 (when CO2 in the atmosphere began to increase rapidly), the Little Ice Age was a sort of unwanted and inconvenient fact for the IPCC. (In their voluminous IPCC report, the Little Ice Age was mentioned casually only once, referring to it as "the so-called Little Ice Age.")

5. There are a large number of observations that the Earth has been recovering from the Little Ice Age from 1800 on, not from 1946 when CO2 is the atmosphere began to increase rapidly. For example:
* Receding of glaciers in many part of the world
* Receding of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean
* Change in freezing/melting dates of northern rivers and lakes

6. There is no firm observational confirmation that CO2 is really responsible for the warming during the last century. It is simply and assumption or hypothesis that the IPCC has presented as a fact.

7. The IPCC claims that supercomputer studies confirm the hypothesis.

8. Supercomputers cannot confirm their hypothesis, since they can simply "tune" their computer programs so as to fit the observations.

9. Although the IPCC predicted that by the year 2100 the temperature will increase 3~6°C, the temperature has stopped increasing after 2000 and shows even a decreasing sign.

10. Thus, their prediction failed even during the first decade of the present century, in spite of the fact that CO2 is still increasing.

11. This means that their CO2 hypothesis and computer programs are shown to be incorrect, proving that the program was tuned.

12. Why? Because they ignored natural causes of climate change, such as the recovery from the Little Ice Age and the multi-decadal oscillation.

13. The stopping of the warming is caused by the fact that the multi-decadal oscillation, another natural cause, has overtaken the recovery from the Little Ice Age.

14. In fact, the same thing happened in 1940, and the temperature actually decreased from 1940 to 1975, in spite of the fact that CO2 began to increase rapidly in 1946.

15. It was said at that time that a new ice age was coming even by some of those who now advocate the CO2 hypothesis.

16. If the IPCC could include the physical processes involved in the recovery from the Little Ice Age and the multi-decadal oscillation, they could have predicted the stopping of the temperature increase.

17. However, they could not program processes for the recovery from the Little Ice Age and the multi-decadal oscillation, because the causes of the Little Ice Age, or the recovery from it, or the multi-decadal oscillation are not known yet. There are many unknown natural changes, including the Big Ice Ages.

18. Thus, the present state of climate change study is still insufficient to make accurate predictions of future temperature changes. Climate change studies should go back to basic science, avoiding interference from special interest groups, including the mass media.

19. Unfortunately, I must conclude that the IPCC manipulated science for its own purpose and brought the premature science of climate change to the international political stage, causing considerable confusion and advancing the completely unnecessary "cap and trade" argument.

20. What is happening now at many climate change conferences is simply an airing of the struggle between the poor countries trying to seize money from the rich countries, using the term "climate change" as an excuse.

21. We should stop convening useless international conferences by bureaucrats and pay much more attention to environmental destructions under global capitalism. There is no reason to alarm the general public with predictions of catastrophic disasters caused by the CO2 effect; and the mass media should stop reporting premature science results.

22. Basically, what is really needed are effective energy saving efforts by all countries.

Footnote: The hockey stick figure, which played the important role in the IPCC report of 2001, has not officially been withdrawn yet, although it has since been found to be erroneous.

Syun Akasofu
International Arctic Research Center
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK


Apocalypse Sun?

NASA predicts the lowest sunspot activity since 1928. Is a major solar storm in the offing? While we worry about man-made warming, the sun may soon show us who's boss.

It's the sort of news that makes one's eyes glaze over. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," said Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.

Yes, space has weather, in the form of solar radiation that varies with solar activity in the form of sunspots and solar flares. Biesecker heads an NOAA panel that keeps an eye on such things and released this latest report.

But this dry statistic has more significance for the earth and its climate than all of Al Gore's gloom and doom about tailpipe emissions and rising sea levels. Whether the warm-mongers like it or not, the sun rules earth's climate — always has and always will. (IBD)


Nonsense: Climate change threatens Mideast stability: study

DAMASCUS - Climate change could spark "environmental wars" in the Middle East over already scarce water supplies and dissuade Israel from any pullout from occupied Arab land, an international report said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Like there's be no conflict if we stopped producing CO2


Scientists Return from Expedition to Drill Beneath Frozen Russian Lake

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - A team of scientists from the United States, Germany, Russia and Austria has just returned from a six-month drilling expedition to a frozen lake in Siberia: Lake El'gygytgyn, "Lake E" for short.

Lake E was created 3.6 million years ago when a meteor more than a half-mile wide hit Earth and formed an 11-mile wide crater.

There, the researchers collected the longest sediment core samples retrieved in the Arctic region. Information contained in the cores, say the scientists, is of unprecedented significance for understanding climate change in the Arctic.

Cores collected from three holes drilled under the frozen Lake E are more than 30 times longer than cores from the Greenland Ice Sheet, according to geoscientist Julie Brigham-Grette of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the lead U.S. scientist on the project.

... The continuous record collected in this unique lake "offers us a way to look at the glacial/interglacial climate change of the past," Brigham-Grette says.

"Earth's warm and cold cycles over the past one million years varied every 100,000 years at times. Before that, however, climate change, especially in high latitudes, varied over 41,000- and 23,000-year cycles. The record from Lake E will show the ramp up to that type of change in the Earth's climate." (infoZine)


New Paper Now Available “Changes In The Asian Monsoon Climate During 1700–1850 Induced By Preindustrial Cultivation” By Takata Et Al 2009

The significant new paper on the role of human caused landscape change on the climate system is now available (I weblogged on this paper on April 24 2009; see). There is also an excellent news article on this paper published June 1 2009 by Sid Perkins on Science News.

The article is Kumiko Takata, Kazuyuki Saitoa and Tetsuzo Yasunari, 2009: Changes in the Asian monsoon climate during 1700–1850 induced by preindustrial cultivation PNAS published online June 1, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas.0807346106. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Giant trees decline in Yosemite: climate change may, or equally may not be to blame

A new study has concluded that very large, old trees in California's Yosemite National Park are declining in numbers in all types of forest by an average of 24%. This is alarming news if you consider that this is one of the most environmentally protected areas in the world, let alone the US.

Climate change is clearly in the frame: '.. it is quite a surprise that recent conditions are such that these long-term survivors have been affected ... we certainly think that climate is an important driver,' said one of the study's authors, James Lutz of the University of Washington: 'The decline in large-diameter trees could accelerate as climate in California becomes warmer by mid-century.'

yosemite226x226.jpgThat's one possible conclusion, yes, but scientifically-speaking there's nothing in the research that would lead you to stress climate over other possible causes. (Note: this link takes you to a .pdf presentation of the findings, rather than the scientific paper itself.)

Lutz, his Washington colleague Jerry Franklin and Jan van Wagtendonk of the Yosemite Field Station of the US Geological Survey drew their conclusions from a comparison of two Yosemite tree surveys; one conducted from 1932 - 1936 and the other from 1988 to 1999.

The two surveys used different methodologies. The Wieslander survey of the 1930s was seven years shorter than the 'modern' survey, but looked at nearly 10,000 more trees. The Weislander also took in many more locations across a much wider distribution, covering very large areas where the modern surveyors feared to tread. Arguably, we're not really comparing like with like. (Richard Cable, BBC)


Feeding the fantasy: Carbon 'Pedometer' Helps Volvo Cut Commute's Footprint

Using a mobile phone-based software program has enabled a test group of Volvo employees to cut the greenhouse gas emissions of their daily commute by more than 30 percent.

The company this week unveiled a prototype of their CO2 pedometer project, which Volvo IT developed as part of a collaboration with the city of Göteborg, Sweden, to try and improve the economic and environmental efficiency of the city's commuting structure.

After registering with a website through the mobile-phone pedometer software, employees were notified about the CO2 footprint of their daily travels. In order to cut their emissions, members of the test group switched their commute schedules, using public transit or bicycles instead of driving. (GreenBiz)


Canada oil group cheers U.S. oil sands stance

CALGARY - Canada's top energy producers association cheered the Obama administration on Tuesday for signaling support for Alberta's oil sands, a growing source of crude supply to the United States that is widely criticized by environmental groups for contributing to global warming.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu's comments to the Reuters Global Energy Summit this week showed the administration understood the national security benefits of importing oil from its northern neighbor.

"As we read that, we found his comments very, very positive, explicitly, or maybe more implicitly, in talking about all the advantages of doing business with Canada," said Tom Huffaker, CAPP's vice-president of environment and policy. (Reuters)


The big American gas-guzzler: Down but not out

HOUSTON - Even though U.S. pump prices are nearly half the $4 per gallon ($1.06 per litre) levels of a year ago, the legions of American fans of gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks don't have much to celebrate.

President Barack Obama's White House has unveiled new fuel-efficiency rules that will push auto companies into making more small cars and General Motors and Chrysler -- both heavily associated with large vehicles -- have sunk into bankruptcy.

But don't expect many dents in the Sport Utility Vehicle fan club. (Reuters)


SSP: a spherical architecture

Space solar power (SSP) is gradually beginning to take flight. Enterprising SSP ventures, such as Solaren Corp. and Space Energy, Inc., are in the midst of developing initial projects to supply energy from space. Solaren Corp. of California has recently reached an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric, a California utility, to supply 200 megawatts of energy beginning in 2016, while Space Energy, Inc., a Swiss based company, is producing a prototype demonstration satellite that will help it close purchase power agreements with entities it is currently in discussions with. But while these pioneering companies in the vanguard of a nascent industry are surmounting many technical and economic obstacles, significant barriers remain before the dissemination of energy from space can become truly widespread.
The greatest challenge for producing meaningful amounts of energy for competition in terrestrial energy markets continues to be the ability to establish extremely large photovoltaic surface areas in space.

As SSP advocates are painfully aware, the high expense of launching numerous payloads into space for the assembly of satellites large enough to transmit meaningful amounts of energy to Earth is cost prohibitive. While very large structures in space are theoretically within the realm of the technically possible for legitimate SSP interests, the launch costs associated with the construction of a satellite a few kilometers in length, as would be necessary for large scale energy transmission, are exorbitant. Additionally, the expense of space systems and operations—robotic technologies and the supporting space and Earth-based infrastructure—are extremely high and must be dramatically reduced. While proponents hope that large-scale space infrastructure projects will achieve certain economies of scale that will bring down the cost of each individual launch, component, and support system, the prevailing price tag for the whole of such a project would doubtless be enormous, making it very difficult to compete in the broader energy marketplace.

Accordingly, SSP has been criticized for requiring large numbers of breakthroughs to become feasible. It has long been held that before a critical mass of interest from the private sector can be forthcoming there must be drastic improvements in space transportation, on-orbit construction techniques, and power transmission capabilities. The common wisdom has traditionally been that these developments must be attained before SSP can become commercially viable and competitively brought to energy markets en masse. (Trevor Brown, Space Review)

Who knows? SSP may one day be a viable option -- once we've used up about 1,000-year's supply of fossil fuels...


Ethanol's Grocery Bill - Two federal studies add up the corn fuel's exorbitant cost.

The Obama Administration is pushing a big expansion in ethanol, including a mandate to increase the share of the corn-based fuel required in gasoline to 15% from 10%. Apparently no one in the Administration has read a pair of new studies, one from its own EPA, that expose ethanol as a bad deal for consumers with little environmental benefit.

The biofuels industry already receives a 45 cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol produced, or about $3 billion a year. Meanwhile, import tariffs of 54 cents a gallon and an ad valorem tariff of four to seven cents a gallon keep out sugar-based ethanol from Brazil and the Caribbean. The federal 10% blending requirement insures a market for ethanol whether consumers want it or not -- a market Congress has mandated will double to 20.5 billion gallons in 2015.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last month that Americans pay another surcharge for ethanol in higher food prices. CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008 "the increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the rise in food prices." Ethanol raises food prices because millions of acres of farmland and three billion bushels of corn were diverted to ethanol from food production. Americans spend about $1.1 trillion a year on food, so in 2007 the ethanol subsidy cost families between $5.5 billion and $8.8 billion in higher grocery bills.

A second study -- by the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality -- explains that the reduction in CO2 emissions from burning ethanol are minimal and maybe negative. Making ethanol requires new land from clearing forest and grasslands that would otherwise sequester carbon emissions. "As with petroleum based fuels," the report concludes: "GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions are associated with the conversion and combustion of bio-fuels and every year they are produced GHG emissions could be released through time if new acres are needed to produce corn or other crops for biofuels." (WSJ)


June 2, 2009

Abnormal penises not on the rise, says new study

It has become an article of faith among the ‘plastics are poisoning us’ posse that exposure to one or several members of the phthalate family can lead to abnormal genital development in babies. But now a major new study of children in New York state by researchers at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center has looked to see whether hypospadias rates have actually increased. The result?

Hypospadias rates have not changed in New York State from 1992 to 2005. Additionally advanced maternal age continues to be a risk factor for hypospadias. Combined with previous studies that demonstrate sperm counts are not declining, these data suggest that the testicular dysgenesis syndrome described in animal models may not be evident in humans.

Remember all those news stories warning that genital deformities may be caused by phthalates in cosmetics and plastic toys? So far, not a single mainstream media publication has reported on the new study. (STATS)


 Hispanic children in US at greater risk for obesity than other ethnic/racial groups

Culturally appropriate nutritional intervention needed, according to nutrition experts

St. Louis, MO, June 1, 2009 – The prevalence of overweight in the US population is among the highest in Mexican-American children and adolescents. In a study of 1,030 Hispanic children between the ages of 4 and 19, published in the June 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine found less than optimal diets in both overweight and non-overweight participants. (Elsevier Health Sciences)


Putting people at risk on the public purse? Lapband surgery to be publicly funded

TAXPAYERS could soon be funding the cost of weight loss surgery for thousands of obese Australians who are too poor to pay for the operations themselves.

Only a fraction of lapband surgery is performed in public hospitals and a parliamentary inquiry has heard many overweight Australians were missing out on treatment because they could not afford to pay $15,000 in a private facility.

A parliamentary report released on Monday night urged the Federal Government to recognise obesity as a chronic disease and give the overweight greater access to taxpayer-funded treatments. (Courier-Mail)


The “PhD Effect” and scientific prediction - Randi’s Theory of PhDs

One of my personal inspirations to look at the Universe through scientific eyes is not a scientist at all, but a conjurer, escape artist and illusionist called James “The Amazing” Randi.

Randi (as he is frequently called) is now semi-retired from show business, but is fully engaged in making speeches and writing books on the paranormal, upon hucksters and scam–artists, on fake psychics like Uri Geller and Sylvia Browne and all sorts of flim-flam that causes gullible people to be separated from their money. He does this through his own charitable Foundation, the James Randi Educational Foundation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Now many people are beguiled into thinking that Randi is some mere conjurer. He most certainly is much more than that. Randi is a genius of first rank and a highly original thinker whose persistence has infuriated many counsels of the “great and the good” including that most precious of elites, the PhD scientists of academe.

It’s not that Randi is against PhDs or the people that have PhDs. He is a blessed and trusted friend to many people who possess those qualifications and more. He was a great friend of Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman.

Its simply that in his long observation of PhD scientists that some of them are peculiarly blind to their own deficiencies as observers, thinkers or even experimenters, and can be fooled by simple trickery or deluded by chance or human error into believing the most preposterous of nonsenses. (Things I don’t understand)


The Corruption of Science

Academic pressures and political ideology are corrupting the integrity of the modern science establishment.

Our modern world is dependent on the quality and veracity of science. Where once Mankind looked to religion for guidance, the modern world looks to science to answer questions and guide our behavior. Public policy is predicated on the findings of the scientific community, and the integrity of that community is vitally important if we are to maintain our civilization and way of life. But can we rely on science in this hyper-partisan world, where Liberals seek to subvert any “good crisis” to gain a political advantage? Can we rely on what the oracles are telling us, or have they been compromised? (Timothy Birdnow, American Daily Review)


Natural Resources Defense Council hit by scientific criticism it overstates risk to public

The conventional wisdom is that environmental groups are  hip, on the side of the angels and, generally, are opposed only by fat, greedy capitalists, who cannot pass a pristine river or pastoral habitat without snickering – “ah, somewhere to dump the filth from my dark and lucrative satanic mill.”  So it apparently came as a bit of shock to Linda Greer Ph.D, a toxicologist who has spent 28 years advocating for environmental causes, that her colleagues in toxicology – even those working in academia – thought her employer, the Natural Resources Defense Council, was  polluting public debate with unwarranted panic over toxic chemicals.

Upon reading survey results which found that 79 percent of  toxicologists familiar with the NRDC’s work thought it overstated chemical risks, Dr. Greer stood up and said the survey should not have been made public. It was, she averred, “very unscientific” to present the results of a survey  before acceptance by a  peer reviewed publication -  a position, which if generally held,   would delay the publication of every electoral and political poll or opinion survey until their findings were long out of date. This is possibly why the National Council on Public Polls has never issued such a requirement.

When Dr. S. Robert Lichter, President of STATS, responded by pointing this out and  asking whether the NRDC ever released data before peer-review, Dr. Greer dodged  “we’re an advocacy group and we don’t hold ourselves out as scientific researchers.”  (Video of the exchange below).

Such is the logic of advocacy – we can say whatever we want about the science, but if scientists in a survey criticize those statements as inaccurate, they must be held to a higher (and in the case of survey data, erroneous) standard of accuracy before their criticism can be released to the public.  How… um… convenient.

Still, it was obvious why Dr. Greer went on the offensive,  the NRDC is urging the Obama administration to take action on a host of chemical threats; if it became widely-known on Capitol Hill that the NRDC, along with Greenpeace, Environmental Defense, and the Environmental Working Group, were widely regarded as inaccurate by scientists specializing in toxicology, their legislative recommendations might not seem so compelling. (STATS)


They are relentless: Groups ask EPA to ban lead tire weights

The federal government should ban the use of lead weights, those fingertip-size chunks of metal that balance the tires of cars and trucks, says a petition filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week.

While the federal government has banned lead in paint, gasoline and plumbing, among other products, the EPA has ignored an estimated 3.5 million pounds of lead weights that drop off tire rims and onto U.S. roads every year, according to a coalition of environmental groups that filed the petition.

Once the lead weights hit the road, they can be picked up by children or eaten by wildlife. They are run over by other vehicles and broken down into dust, which can be inhaled or end up in runoff that taints water and wetlands, the groups say. (Jane Kay, SF Chronicle)


10 Worst Eco-Group Causes

Today, eco-groups punish prosperity by exploiting government regulations, unsettled science, gullible media and your green guilt. Elite green groups are nonprofits that profit as lawyers writing and lobbying costly eco-laws, awarding lavish grants to green-biased researchers, and suing government and industry for excessive regulations and monetary judgments with citizen standing in federal courts. Environmentalists pose in virtuous green rhetoric, but are never held accountable for their damage if measured against the critical criteria of economics, national security and scientific rigor. Eco-groups must now take responsibility for the destructive social and economic impacts of their myopic and ideologically-driven causes. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)


Penguin poo stains expose emperors' icy homes

BONN, Germany - Ten new colonies of emperor penguins have been found in Antarctica after satellite photos showing brownish stains on the ice turned out to be the excrement of thousands of birds.

The findings, revealed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on Tuesday, will help understand penguin populations and the vulnerability to global warming of the breeding colonies which are on sea ice.

"We now reckon there are 38 colonies in Antarctica, 10 of them previously unknown," Phil Trathan, a BAS penguin ecologist, told Reuters of the study in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography.

"That's potentially a massive change in the population." (Reuters)



Dear Benny,

The measured global temperature record which started around 1856 shows that the Earth was in a warming cycle until around 1880. The CO2 record shows that CO2 was increasing by about 0.21ppmv/year over this period.

During the cooling cycle which followed from 1880 to 1910, the CO2 concentration increased at a rate of about 0.30ppmv/year.

The next warming cycle from 1910 to 1942 saw a dramatic increase in global temperature, but the rate of increase in CO2 concentration only grew to 0.33ppmv over this time period.

The well documented global cooling period from 1942 to 1975 that had the world concerned about an impending return to the equivalent of the Little Ice Age, had a contemporaneous rise in atmospheric CO2 that equated to 0.63ppmv/year; almost twice the increase in CO2 of the precious warming cycle.

During the warming that took place from 1975 to 1998, the rate of CO2 increase took another dramatic jump to 1.54ppmv/year, but this was followed by an increase to 1.91ppmv/year that we are currently experiencing during the present ongoing cooling cycle.

Each successive cooling cycle has had an increase in the rate of CO2 growth over the previous warming cycle, indicating that there is no possible correlation of CO2 with global warming.

In 1988 Hansen et al published a paper "Global Climate Changes as Forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies Three-Dimensional Model" in the Journal of Geophysical Research that introduced a "CO2 forcing parameter".

This parameter had no actual physical basis, but was merely based on the assumption that a 100ppmv increase in CO2 was directly and primarily responsible for the measured increase in global temperature of 0.6 °C that had been observed over the past century.

This assumption ignored the fact that over this time period there was both cooling and warming concurrent with rising CO2 concentration, and considering that this paper was published just 13 years after a 33 year cooling trend that also had a concurrent increase in CO2 concentration there is no possible valid rational for this assumption. Essentially in the 46 year period from 1942 to when the paper was published in 1988, there were 33 years of cooling and only 13 years of warming concurrent with increases in CO2, yet the models used a forcing parameter that directly related only warming to CO2 concentration increases.

With no basis in fact, this parameter is entirely a fabrication, and the projections of climate models that are based on this fabricated parameter are also meaningless fabrications.

In addition to the fabrication, there is a bit of scientific fraud in the creation of this CO2 forcing parameter.

The Earth had been warming since the Little Ice Age at a rate of about 0.5 °C/century. The temperature value that went into determining the CO2 forcing parameter was 0.6 °C, with the difference from the 0.5 °C/century value likely due to the urban heat island effect. Even if this difference was directly due to CO2 increases, the difference between the observed temperature and the natural warming since the Little Ice Age is only 0.1 °C but the full 0.6 °C was used to fabricate the forcing parameter.

It seems that one fabrication leads to another, and when it became obvious that the natural warming of 0.5 °C/century since the Little Ice Age demonstrated the obvious deficiency in this forcing parameter of the climate models, the MBH98 temperature proxy also known as the "hockey stick" was fabricated to remove the Little Ice Age and allow the full 0.6 °C temperature increase to be related to CO2 increases.

Considering that the climate models are the only support for the AGW premise, and the AGW premise is the only support for the climate models, exposing this simple fabrication is all that needs to be done to put an end to this circular argument that forms the basis for the entire climate change lunacy.

Norm Kalmanovitch
Calgary Canada


The Age of the Age of Stupid

It is telling that parts of the environmental movement attempt to ram home their message by telling the rest of the world that they are stupid for not getting it.

As we have shown here on Climate Resistance, some argue that psychological mechanisms might be to blame for our failure to respond to climate change, and devise techniques that might ‘encourage’ us to behave ‘responsibly’. Others claim that the feckless public’s scepticism and denial are the result of conspiracies to distort science’s message, or that a ‘balance’ of views in the media gives a credibility to false ideas. Some even say that the issue of climate change is just too serious and big an issue for democracy to cope with - we vote selfishly, and our sinful minds cannot possibly understand the enormity of the tragedy that we are making. What fools we are.

But the last thing those who make such claims ever look at to explain their failure is their own argument. So who are they calling stupid?

All of us, it seems. One such case is ‘The Age of Stupid’ - a film that points its big pointy finger at the people of the world, and damns them for their stupidity. (Climate Resistance)


'Mystery' climate case might become issue in Sotomayor confirmation

A complex climate lawsuit dating to former President George W. Bush's first term remains among the unfinished business on the docket of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

At issue is a lawsuit filed by eight states, New York City and environmental groups against the nation's five largest electric utilities in 2004, alleging that the companies had created a public nuisance with greenhouse gas emissions that must be reduced to counteract the effects of global warming.

Sotomayor and two other judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case nearly three years ago -- the anniversary is Sunday, June 7 -- but have yet to issue an opinion.

"It's just a big mystery," said Matthew Pawa, a Massachusetts-based private attorney who helped file the lawsuit on behalf of the Open Space Institute and Audubon Society of New Hampshire.

The global warming case goes to the heart of a question that opponents are expected to raise during Sotomayor's confirmation: whether she is willing to issue opinions that create new law. (Greenwire)


The Political--Academic--Climate Complex

“The reason universities are so full of knowledge is students come with so much and they leave with so little.” Marshall McLuhan
Business is business.

Bjorn Lomborg criticized businesses for taking advantage of the ‘green’ opportunities available because governments have bought the message that human CO2 is causing global warming. He talks about a “Climate-Industrial Complex” comparing it with the “Military-Industrial Complex” that President Eisenhower warned about.

I partially agree with Lomborg’s concern that, “Spending a fortune on global carbon regulations will benefit a few, but dearly cost everybody else.” Why partially? His use of the word carbon is scientifically incorrect, and I don’t agree with his belief global warming or climate change are problems. I have no sympathy with his claim that some businesses are exploiting Cap and Trade opportunities. Of course they are. Almost every business is taking advantage of the green hysteria; it is what business is all about. Business is about making money and I have no difficulty with that. What angers me is the hypocrisy of businesses that claim they’re acting to stop warming or save the planet. Rubbish, they’re doing it for profit. They couldn’t do it for long if they lost money. (Government bailouts aside.)

Business is not the problem, except when exploited for personal gain by politicians like Al Gore. The real threat is the Political - Academic - Climate Complex. Climate research funded by taxpayers is being exploited by academics to advance their careers with virtually no accountability and all within unassailable mostly taxpayer funded institutions. (Tim Ball, CFP)


Update: Scientist who boasted he could 'slaughter' skeptics in debate backs off...'I certainly will not schedule some political show debate in front of a non-scientific audience' - Warming Promoter Backs Off After Numerous Scientists Accept Debate Challenge

Professor Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, a prominent proponent of man-made global warming fears, appears to be backing off of his boast that he could "slaughter" skeptical scientists in a global warming debate. In a May 24, 2009 interview, Schneider publicly boasted any skeptical scientist would be "slaughtered in public debate" against him.

But after many dissenting scientists happily took up the debate challenge, it now appears Schneider is shying away from any such debate.

"I certainly will not schedule some political show debate in front of a non-scientific audience," Schneider told the San Francisco Examiner in a follow up June 1, 2009 article.

"A presidential like debate format with shallow staccato jibes and no nuanced arguments, no--confusion only in that style. I never do those anymore," Schneider explained. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)


Climate Claims Are The ‘New Asbestos,’ Swiss Re Suggests

Lawsuits related to climate change could expand faster than the explosion of asbestos claims and have significant impact on insurers, Swiss Re is warning in a new report.

The Zurich-based firm, in an examination of the consequences of globalization of class actions on insurers, said, “We expect, however, that climate change-related liability will develop more quickly than asbestos-related claims and believe the frequency and sustainability of climate change-related litigation could become a significant issue within the next couple of years…”

The company advised, “Given the potential implications of this shift for the insurance industry, developments need to be monitored closely.”

At the moment, the report noted, while a legal basis has been established in the case of a climate change-related lawsuit against a public entity, there had not been a similar standing against a private entity through 2008.

But because it expects this could change, Swiss Re said it has “included climate change-related litigation in its emerging risks framework in order to systematically monitor developments, quantify risks and define mitigation measures.”

As class-action suits or “collective action” systems are “increasingly being adopted by countries around the world,” Swiss Re said insurers should be ready to lobby governments and lawmakers “to help strike a balance between the positive aspects of collective redress systems and some of the unforeseen developments witnessed in the U.S.”

Misuse of class actions, Swiss Re said, has contributed to civil litigation costs reaching more than $250 billion. (National Underwriter Property & Casualty.)


Bad enough with imaginary problems now but this? A Push to Stop Crimes Against the Future

The World Future Council, a group of 50 activists, politicians and thinkers from around the world, is focused on finding ways to prevent today’s actions from constraining tomorrow’s choices. The group just wrapped up a two-day symposium in Montreal at which more than 100 experts in international law explored ways to use legal tools, most of which are oriented toward doling out justice among those alive now, to avert what amount to crimes against the future.

These include such actions as driving species to extinction and adding long-lived greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in ways that have few impacts now, but could disrupt climate patterns, ocean ecosystems and coastal settlements in decades to come. In a news release, the council said that world leaders, through decades of statements on sustainable development, have pledged to balance current needs with the obligation to avoid impoverishing the future. “But the legal enforcement of these agreements is still very limited,” it noted. (Andrew C. Revkin, NYT)

Better refer it to the office of pre-crime. (See short story by Philip K. Dick: The Minority Report)


Meanwhile, this could go to the office of current crime: The great carbon credit con: Why are we paying the Third World to poison its environment?

In the fields around this giant chemicals factory in Gujarat, the barren soil smells of paint stripper and the water from the well makes you gag. So why has it been given tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer-funded UN ‘green reward points’, which are traded hungrily on the financial markets at huge profit? (Daily Mail)


Check out some the hijinks at adjix: NEW GLOBAL WARMING SECRETS REVEALED

How the Top People in Global Warming Are Quietly Making $100,000 to $48 Million a Year” (And How You Can Do The Same – Or Maybe Even Better)

Let me take you on an exciting guided tour of what’s working – and not working – in the Global Warming Carbon Credit Market today. I’ll maneuver around the pitfalls… and there are lots of pitfalls! And we’ll journey through some of the most inspiring, dynamic, real opportunities available right now. (Carbonventures)


And elsewhere: California forests hold one answer to climate change

The state is a leader in setting up a program to offset heat-trapping emissions by investing in woodlands. (Margot Roosevelt, LA Times)


INTERVIEW - Forest-CO2 Scheme Will Draw Organised Crime: Interpol

NUSA DUA - Organised crime syndicates are eyeing the nascent forest carbon credit industry as a potentially lucrative new opportunity for fraud, an Interpol environmental crime official said on Friday. (Reuters)


Rich Nations Likely To Miss Carbon Targets - US

OSLO - Rich nations as a group are unlikely to reach the deep 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions urged by developing nations as part of a new UN climate treaty, the top US climate envoy said on Friday. (Reuters)


EU On Track For Climate Goal, Despite Spain, Italy

BRUSSELS - Warm weather in 2007 helped the European Union towards its target of cutting global warming gases under the UN Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change, but Spain, Italy and Ireland remained way off track. (Reuters)


Business Divided Over Australia's Carbon Trade Laws

CANBERRA - Divisions between Australia's mining and manufacturing sectors emerged on Friday over Australia's emissions trading scheme (ETS) and the need to pass enabling laws this year to give business more certainty.

The government wants carbon trading to start in July 2011 and parliament to endorse the plan by the end of June this year, but the conservative opposition is promising to block a vote until after December's global climate talks in Copenhagen. (Reuters)


Explanation For BBC Science News Webpage’s Climate Change Policy

Having carefully watched the BBC “Science & Environment” news web page for several weeks now, I am inclined to identify the following as their underlying “Climate Change” reporting policy:

  1. No day shall pass without at least one climate-change-related link somewhere on that page
  2. Reporting on scientific articles supporting AGW will be strictly confined to a slight change of the original press release with the smallest and most inconsequential of doubt and criticism in the results
  3. Whatever Prince Charles or any other environmental celebrity has to say will be considered worthy of publication
  4. No such luck for anything not supporting AGW, however authoritative the source.
  5. Point 4 will not apply once a quarter or so, in order to demonstrate “balanced reporting”
  6. No climate change link will be considered too trivial to report
  7. There will be links to Richard Black’s blog
  8. There will be no link to the BBC’s own “Climate Change – The Blog of Bloom” blog. After all, it does make fun of AGW

And so there goes my licence money at work supporting the fight against the destruction of the world by evil SUV drivers… (OmniClimate)


So many stops on the gravy train... Leaders called to special climate talks

Unprecedented number of summits as world struggles to hammer out agreement before vital meeting in December (The Independent)


Sheesh! CLIMATE CHANGE: Four Tough Nuts To Crack

BONN, Jun 1 - The world is on track towards negotiating a solid deal in Copenhagen at the end of this year, Yvo de Boer, the UN's top climate change official, told reporters at the opening of a 12-day conference in Bonn Monday.

"The political moment is right to reach an agreement," said De Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC). "There is no doubt in my mind that the Copenhagen climate conference in December is going to lead to a result."

If the world has learnt anything from the financial crisis, he said, "it is that global issues require a global response." He added, however that "there are some tough nuts to crack" and that success in Copenhagen requires "delivery on four political essentials."

The four essentials, as he termed them, are: clarity on how much industrialised countries would reduce their emissions up to 2020; clarity on what developing countries would do to limit the growth of their emissions; stable finance from industrialised nations for the developing world to mitigate climate change and adapt; and a "governance regime". (IPS)


UN climate talks grudgingly accept treaty draft

BONN, Germany, June 1 - Rich and poor countries criticised a first draft text of a new United Nations climate treaty on Monday but grudgingly accepted it as the basis for six months of arduous negotiations. (Reuters)


U.S. climate bill best bet to take enviro lead: Chu

WASHINGTON - The U.S. climate change bill making its way through Congress is the best legislative bet to help the country take the lead in tackling global warming on the world stage, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday. (Reuters)

Look, if these guys are really so exercised about gorebull warming Steven has the power to eliminate it right now, and fairly cheaply too -- just mandate a minimum amount of sulfur that must be burned with coal (and for good measure a minimum quantity in transport fuels) such that sulfate particulate will always "mask" gorebull warming, just as modelers insist warming was "hidden" from us in the past.


Cap-and-Trade: All Cost, No Benefit

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats have proposed a major cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists agree that CO2 emissions around the world could lead to rising temperatures with serious long-term environmental consequences. But that is not a reason to enact a U.S. cap-and-trade system until there is a global agreement on CO2 reduction. The proposed legislation would have a trivially small effect on global warming while imposing substantial costs on all American households. And to get political support in key states, the legislation would abandon the auctioning of permits in favor of giving permits to selected corporations. (Martin Feldstein, Washington Post)

Martin Feldstein, a professor of economics at Harvard University and president emeritus of the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984.


Impact on Poor of Global Warming Debated

WASHINGTON - A panel of environmental and energy specialists explored ways to keep minority communities from being disproportionally affected by pollution and global warming. John Atcheson from the U.S. Department of Energy said 30,000 people who died in Europe's 2003 heat wave were "overwhelmingly the poor and the old."

Atcheson used the example to explain how pollution and global warming are harming the poor more than others. He pointed to air conditioning and the ability to move to higher ground as a rich person's advantage, saying, "The rich can buy their way out." (CN)

The obvious answer is development and wealth generation, two things idiotic efforts to "address gorebull warming" specifically inhibit.


Pelosi's Chinese Climate Change - Carbon reduction trumps human rights.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi took her climate crusade to China last week, urging that "we must work together" to address what she called this urgent challenge. Her junket won't change many Chinese minds but it does speak volumes about her party's changing priorities.

Back when Mrs. Pelosi was a rising liberal star her signature issue was human rights in China. In 1991, she famously unfurled a pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square. During the Clinton Administration, she argued against normalizing trade relations with China unless linked to human-rights progress. Yet throughout last week's China tour Mrs. Pelosi said nothing of note about human rights -- despite the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre this week. (Wall Street Journal)


The Politics of Climate Change

The battle over global warming and low-carbon policies will not be decided over scientific issues. It will be determined by governments and law-makers on the basis of hard-nosed national and economic interests. This is where the green utopia for a low-carbon transition in the near future is likely to crash into the buffers.

As we get closer to the Copenhagen conference, the chances of a global climate agreement are fading rapidly. In fact, the probability of a Kyoto-style treaty with legally binding emissions targets are now close to zero as the gap between the developed and the developing nations has been growing ever wider. (Benny Peiser)


New Zealand may go bust over Global Warming

CHURCHVILLE, VA—No country in the world would risk as much for “global warming” as New Zealand if it goes ahead with the cap-and-trade energy taxation installed by Helen Clarke’s now-departed Labour Government.

New Zealand’s economy is almost completely dependent on its farm exports: lamb, dairy products, beef and high-end white wines. Half of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from cattle and sheep. If New Zealand taxes its cows and sheep hundreds of dollars per animal for methane emissions and manure handling fees, Argentina would almost immediately displace New Zealand’s farm exports. Argentina has more grass, more cattle, the potential for more lambs, a surging wine industry—and no Kyoto obligations.

Based on U.S. and Australian “discussions,” a 500-cow dairy might have to pay $250,000 per year for cattle emissions and manure handling permits, plus a hefty increase in its costs for low-carbon electricity and diesel. An Argentine dairy would pay none of these increased costs—and every dollar of cost differential would be a further incentive for Argentine dairymen to expand their exports at the expense of New Zealand.

That would leave Kiwi cities like Auckland and Christchurch without visible means of support. (Dennis Avery, CFP)


Risk Too High For Non-State Carbon Capture - Statoil

MONGSTAD - Industry refuses to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects without strong state support because of a lack of clarity on future emissions rules, Norway's StatoilHydro said on Friday.

Norway's biggest oil and gas producer StatoilHydro is one of the world's most active companies in CCS, with two field facilities offshore Norway, one in Algeria and an experimental CO2 capture project at its biggest oil refinery, Mongstad.

"CCS has to be part of the climate battle. What is the alternative?" Executive Vice President Jon Arnt Jacobsen told reporters on a visit to Mongstad on Norway's North Sea coast. (Reuters)

Actually the alternative is to be sensible and rational -- do nothing, in other words. Depriving the biosphere of a desperately needed resource which we produce as a simple byproduct human activity is frankly insane.


Airborne Bacteria Discredit Climate Modeling Dogma

The formation of low-level clouds—clouds that have a cooling effect on Earth's climate—has vexed climate scientists for years. Current climate models treat cloud cover simplistically and make the assumption that cloud cover decreases as temperatures rise. New data from a cloud sampling experiment indicates that biological material—bacteria, spores and plant material—may account for 1/3 of the airborne material involved in cloud formation. Furthermore, biological material can form clouds at much warmer temperatures than mineral dust. These new discoveries indicate that modelers have the effects of temperature on low cloud cover backwards, placing all model predictions in doubt. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


Tell us again about our "unprecedented contemporary climate change"... History may help us survive climate change

British scientists say history might help people mitigate the worst effects of climate change by teaching how our ancestors adapted to similar occurrences.

Research led by the University of Leicester suggests people today and in future generations should look to the past to determine how our ancestors coped with the dangers of rising sea levels, crop failures and extreme weather conditions.

Jago Cooper of the university's School of Archaeology and Ancient History led researchers from Britain, Cuba and Canada in studying the archeology of climate change in the Caribbean.

"Populations in the Caribbean, from 5000 BC to AD 1492 successfully lived through a (16-foot) rise in relative sea levels, marked variation in annual rainfall and periodic intensification of hurricane activity," Cooper said.

"This research examines the archaeological lessons that can inform current responses to the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean," Cooper added. "A key focus of the research has been to investigate past mitigation of the impacts of climate change through the analysis of changes in settlement structures, food procurement strategies and household architecture."

The research is detailed in New Scientist magazine. (UPI)

Hmm... so these similar occurrences, they were caused by what? Don't tell us, we'll guess:

1. methane emissions from vast herds of grazing animals not yet decimated by planet-cooling people?
2. reduced planetary albedo of all those nasty solar emission-absorbing dark forests we hadn't cleared for agriculture yet?
3. the rise of bean-eating cultures among pre-Industrial Revolution peoples?
4. some combination of natural events?


New Paper “Arctic Air Temperature Change Amplification” By Chylek Et Al 2009

An excellent new paper is “in press” for Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) which documents the major role of regional atmospheric/ocean circulation pattern changes on regional multi-decadal climate variability (e.g. see What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?).

This paper supports the finding that long term variations in atmospheric/ocean circulations (such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, ENSO, etc)  cause regional changes in temperatures over this time period, and that these changes have a significant natural cause. Such a perspective supports the views of Joe D’Aleo (see); Bill Gray (see); and Roy Spencer (see). [also see].

The paper is Chylek Petr, Chris K. Folland, Glen Lesins, Manvendra K. Dubeys, and Muyin Wang: 2009: “Arctic air temperature change amplification and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation”. Geophysical Research Letters (in press). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


This tedious nonsense, again: Cut emissions or acidity will kill coral reefs, scientists say - 'Underwater catastrophe' is imminent without action

Rising acidity in oceans is leading to a global catastrophe that would be unparalleled in tens of millions of years, according to the national science academies of 69 countries which want governments to take the issue more seriously in the run-up to the December climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The rate at which the oceans are turning acidic because of rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is faster than at any other time since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, the scientists said in a joint statement issued today in advance of this week's pre-Copenhagen conference on climate change in Bonn. (The Independent)

Do you suppose they will ever realize corals evolved in a period when atmospheric carbon dioxide was 10-15 times higher than levels experienced today?


From CO2 Science this week:

The Ocean Acidification Fiction: Reconstructions of mid- to late-Holocene oceanic pH suggest that the climate alarmists' ocean acidification crisis is no more supported by real-world data than is their climate crisis.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 710 individual scientists from 414 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Southern Finland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Solar Influence on Temperature (Miscellaneous): Does the sun play a significant role in driving earth's ever-changing temperature from one extreme to another?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Chapman Oak (Seiler et al., 2009), Myrtle Oak (Seiler et al., 2009), Sand Live Oak (Seiler et al., 2009), and Scots Pine (Alberton and Kuyper, 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Adaptation to Ocean Acidification: Living organisms can do amazing things.

Coral-Virus Interactions: They may not all be bad. In fact, a new review of the coral-virus relationship suggests that viruses could well be very helpful to corals in a rapidly changing environment.

Maldivian Reefs: Fighting Back from Near Oblivion: How have they fared in the wake of the devastating bleaching episode of 1998?

Sea Urchin Responses to Ocean Acidification and Warming: The two conjectured threats to the echinoderms' survival may not be quite the "death sentence" that climate alarmists have pronounced upon most sea life.

CO2-Enriched Seawater: A Menace to Marine Meiofauna?: Climate alarmists claim CO2 is a menace to most everything else, as does the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So why not throw in meiofauna too? (


Starfish defy climate change gloom

A SPECIES of starfish has confounded climate change doom-mongers by thriving as sea temperatures and acidity increase - a scenario that is likely as the world gets warmer.

Most studies have concluded that sea animals with calcified shells or skeletons, such as starfish, will suffer as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels dissolves in the sea, making the water more acidic and destroying the calcium carbonate on which the creatures depend.

But the sea star Pisaster ochraceus may ride out the climate storm. Rebecca Gooding and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, exposed sea stars to rising temperatures and water acidity. They thrived in temperatures of up to 21 °C and atmospheric CO2 concentrations of up to 780 parts per million - beyond predicted rises for the next century (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811143106). (New Scientist)


Back in the virtual realm: Study finds climate change boosts Texas storm flood risk

HOUSTON - Climate change over the next 20 to 70 years can be expected to increase hurricane flooding in Corpus Christi, Texas, home of three U.S. refineries, according to a study by Texas A&M University sponsored by the National Commission on Energy Policy released on Monday. (Reuters)


Funny: The seldom-seen devastation of climate change

A NASA climatologist explains why global warming is more than starving polar bears, and skeptics are simplistic. (Peter Dizikes, Salon)


Technology seen key to oil sands: Chu

WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday he believes technology can solve environmental problems associated with Canada's oil sands and that the huge nearby resource contributes to U.S. energy security. (Reuters)


Self-defeating Environmentalism: The Case of Nuclear Energy Technologies

More than 70% of contracts for new nuclear power plants were cancelled between 1970 and 1990. Nuclear energy has proven to be by far too expensive, partly the outcome of meager investment in research and development. But why didn't this promising industry seek efficiency and productivity gains? Why didn't it increase its capacity to remove production bottlenecks (for instance of containment vessels)? Why did the entire civilian nuclear sector capitulate even in the face of volatile oil prices which should have rendered it more of an attractive energy option? The short answer is: the malignantly romantic (not to mention highly lucrative) cult known as "environmentalism".

Nuclear energy is a prime example of how environmental hype and spin can and does become self-defeating. Chernobyl aside, nuclear power is by far the safest and cleanest of sustainable energy sources. Yet, instead of embracing it wholeheartedly, well-paid and self-promoting activists used a lethal cocktail of data - both wrong and misinterpreted - to derail its deployment with scare tactics and apocalyptic, headline-grabbing "analyses", sometimes even maliciously or erroneously conflating nuclear power with atomic weapons! (Sam Vaknin, American Chronicle))


Ethanol Industry Seeking More Transparency from EPA

After conducting a full review of the RFS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from EPA, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) says they have some very serious concerns. Namely, the RFA says many of the models, data sets, and other pertinent pieces of information used by EPA for its lifecycle analysis are not publicly available, preventing third parties like the RFA from replicating and validating EPA's work. "Such transparency is absolutely critical so that constructive comments and peer reviews can be completed effectively," says the group. (Pro Farmer)


June 1, 2009

How many scientists fabricate and falsify research?

It's a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research. (Public Library of Science)


What’s behind today’s epidemic of epidemics?

A spookily timely book, published just as the swine flu panic kicked in, does a brilliant job of exposing the social factors behind our dread of disease and encouraging healthy scepticism towards claims of ‘epidemics’. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)



There are certain words and phrases that are flags, indicating that you are about to be regaled by nonsense. They include The Planet, model, according to scientists and the perennial might, may and could. (Number Watch)


Seeing the evidence: Tighter control of blood sugars in type 2 diabetics

Mainstream media paid little attention to this study, even though it provided a comprehensive look at the clinical trial evidence to date on whether keeping tighter control over blood sugars benefits people with type 2 diabetes. The facts could have extraordinary impact on support for population HbA1c surveillance programs with obligatory diabetes management that are being enacted by growing numbers of government health departments, health plans and employee wellness programs. It could also be important information for people with type 2 diabetes. But facts that few people hear about can’t help many people. (Junkfood Science)


And yet WHO panders to the anti-chemical cranks: Preventable Deaths

These are hard times everywhere. But developed countries must not overlook the particular vulnerability of the world’s poor. A new report by the World Health Organization shows that far too many people are still dying of preventable causes in the poorest countries.

The good news is that in 2007, only nine million children died before their fifth birthday — 3.5 million fewer than in 1990. The under-5 mortality rate has fallen 27 percent since then, to 67 deaths per 1,000 live births. The numbers are still too high. And they are short of the aspirations of the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration of 2000, which set a goal of slashing mortality rates of children under 5 to 31 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015.

In some countries, mostly in Africa, the trend is going the wrong way. In Congo, the child mortality rate rose by about 25 percent, to 125 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Other health statistics are also troubling. (New York Times)


Are Chemicals Killing Us?

That was the teaser question for a press conference this morning organized by the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University, and the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) think tank. The groups were reporting the results of a recent Harris poll of full members of the Society of Toxicology that aimed to determine the collective judgments of toxicologists on chemical health risks. In addition, the survey asked toxicologists how well they thought environmental advocacy groups, industry, government and media do in explaining chemical risks to the public. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)


Toxicologists say media, activists overstate chemical threats

As toxicologists see it, our chemical world is neither as dangerous as portrayed by the mainstream media and environmental groups, nor as safe as the American Chemistry Council and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) would have us believe.

That’s according to a survey of 937 members of the Society of Toxicology in early 2009. The survey, released Thursday, was administered by Harris Interactive and conducted by the nonprofit Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) and Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University.

“This survey suggests that the public doesn’t get a full and balanced picture of chemical risk,” said Dr. Robert Lichter, the survey director. (Green Right Now)


What do real scientists think about the dangers of common chemicals?

Most people on the rational side of the environmental field clamor for more science and less emotion to be used in setting policy. Who could argue with that?

The problem is that many of the scientists don't actually believe in science—according to the results of a recent survey. A sampling of toxicologists was asked to complete an online questionnaire, and it was clear from the responses that many of them were just as susceptible to media hype as the lay public.

A toxicologist friend of mine, who also participated in the survey, was not surprised. He noted, cynically, that the results reflect the "diversity" of the membership, and was confident that many of the respondents who bought into the popular mythology on chemicals—including the absurd use of the precautionary principle, even if tons of data is available on a chemical—were probably from academia or the EPA.

Even worse are situations whereby certain chemicals are actually being regulated down to levels LOWER than they occur in nature, because that is what the regulators' computer models calculate.

He lamented the fact that in the sister field of pharmacology, science has far more respect. He has no idea why there should be such a difference between these quite similar disciplines.

As I told him, almost no decisions in real life are dictated by reason. Rather, with the exception of some very few people, emotion trumps all. Or, to put it another way, it's always limbic, never cerebral.

Check out my HND piece on this topic. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Surveying The Experts On The Dangers Of Common Chemicals: Some Surprising Findings Emerge

Have you ever wondered what real scientists think about the seemingly endless parade of bad news regarding chemicals in the environment? So did Dr. Robert Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) at George Mason University. To get answers, CMPA teamed up with the Society of Toxicology, and presented an online questionnaire to 3,562 of its members.

While 1136 members did respond, the findings—released on May 21, 2009—were based on the responses of those 937 members who answered every question. (Michael D. Shaw,


Are chemicals killing us?

A groundbreaking study conducted by STATS, and The Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University, shows how experts view the risks of common chemicals - and that the media are overstating risk.

Download a PDF of the full report here (S. Robert Lichter, STATS)


A Simple Smooch or a Toxic Smack?

THE debate seems to resurface every few years. Do some lipsticks contain lead? If so, is the amount so negligible that consumers have nothing to be concerned about? Or will all those years of applying lipstick several times a day add up to a worrisome accumulation of a dangerous substance? (New York Times)


This nonsense again: Cleaning Up Baby Products

IN March, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported finding formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, a trace contaminant of some chemicals used in cosmetics, detergents and shampoos, in 55 children’s personal-care products. The chemicals are listed as probable human carcinogens by the Environmental Protection Agency. Seventeen of them — including Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo — contained both chemicals.

Last month, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced legislation called the “Safe Baby Products Act,” asking for the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the chemicals in children’s toiletries. “As a mother, and as a parent, when I read the list of these products, I was highly concerned because many of the products on this list were literally in my bathroom,” she said in a conference call.

Trevor Butterworth, the editor of, had reservations about the report. “When you look at the extremely low levels the report found, it turns out that we are exposed to these chemicals every day in food, air and even in shower water, all without apparent ill effect,” he said in an e-mail message. “The research linking these chemicals to cancer is based on ingesting or inhaling (but not absorbing) huge quantities in industrial or laboratory settings — and even then, the links are weak.”

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson, which manufactures many of the items tested, said, “All our products meet or exceed the regulatory requirements in every country where they are sold.” (New York Times)


This looks like history by the victors: A Rogue Industry

As the Senate prepares to vote on legislation to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products, its members would be wise to consult a recent appeals court decision. The decision makes it clear that the tobacco companies have engaged in deceitful and harmful behavior for many decades and cannot be trusted to reform on their own. Regulatory oversight is the best chance to rein them in.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld major elements of a 2006 lower court decision that found big tobacco companies guilty of racketeering and fraud as part of a prolonged campaign to deceive and addict the public. That 1,742-page opinion, rendered by Judge Gladys Kessler, laid out in painstaking detail how the tobacco companies made false statements and suppressed evidence to deny or play down the addictive qualities and the adverse health effects of smoking.

Judge Kessler found that the companies manipulated the design of cigarettes to deliver addictive doses of nicotine, falsely denied that secondhand smoke caused disease and falsely represented that light and low-tar cigarettes presented fewer health risks.

The Crone and Judge Kessler may be convinced but the evidence on harm from second hand smoke is frankly laughable and companies were under federal mandate to produce those same light and low tar cigarettes. Did tobacco companies promote their product through all available means? I have no doubt they did (and would do so again) but I don't see any distinction between them and the outright falsehoods of the organic mob, the holistic medicine cranks, the diet cartels... Are the extravagant claims of deaths by tobacco realistic? No they aren't, they are based on virtually any death of anyone who even saw a cigarette smoked in a movie being included in really dodgy statistics.

Do organics and veganism "save" lives? No they don't, they literally kill people through infection and poor nutrition, although probably far fewer than naturopaths and the worst of the lot, the diet industry. If you really want an example of a lethal fraud go after the anti-vaccination ratbags responsible for killing children and endangering society by corrupting herd immunity -- they are genuinely criminal.

Make no mistake, deliberately inhaling combustion smoke is not good for you, never was, never will be but it is people's choice and while smokers might (do, in my opinion) smell bad but that doesn't make them a threat to bystanders.

The government has run wars on fat, salt, tobacco and cancer, inter alia, but evidence they've done any good is extremely scarce. The war on fat, with aid from the assaults on salt and tobacco, appear strongly contributive to societal weight gain, leading now to a, you guessed it, war on obesity. The health pogrom against tobacco is wildly disproportionate and here's a final point to ponder: smokers are far less likely to be obese.


We tried to warn them niche fads always end in tears: Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad

RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. — When Ken Preston went organic on his dairy farm here in 2005, he figured that doing so would guarantee him what had long been elusive: a stable, high price for the milk from his cows.

Sure enough, his income soared 20 percent, and he could finally afford a Chevy Silverado pickup to help out. The dairy conglomerate that distributed his milk wanted everything Mr. Preston could supply. Supermarket orders were skyrocketing.

But soon the price of organic feed shot up. Then the recession hit, and families looking to save on groceries found organic milk easy to do without. Ultimately the conglomerate, with a glut of product, said it would not renew his contract next month, leaving him with nowhere to sell his milk, a victim of trends that are crippling many organic dairy farmers from coast to coast.

For those farmers, the promises of going organic — a steady paycheck and salvation for small family farms — have collapsed in the last six months. As the trend toward organic food consumption slows after years of explosive growth, no sector is in direr shape than the $1.3 billion organic milk industry. Farmers nationwide have been told to cut milk production by as much as 20 percent, and many are talking of shutting down.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone organic if I knew it would end this way,” said Mr. Preston, 53. (New York Times)

Let me state unequivocally, there is no premium value in organics, no health value, nothing but illusion and myth -- it's a waste of money and resources.


A Methodological Embarrassment

I am quoted in today’s NYT on a new report issued by the Global Humanitarian Forum which makes the absurd claim that 315,000 deaths a year can be attributed to the effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations. Here is what I said:

Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who studies disaster trends, said the forum’s report was “a methodological embarrassment” because there was no way to distinguish deaths or economic losses related to human-driven global warming amid the much larger losses resulting from the growth in populations and economic development in vulnerable regions. Dr. Pielke said that “climate change is an important problem requiring our utmost attention.” But the report, he said, “will harm the cause for action on both climate change and disasters because it is so deeply flawed.”

Strong comments I know. Shoddy work on disasters and climate change is the norm, unfortunately, and something I’ve been closely following for well over a decade. I have no illusions that this latest concoction will be repeatedly cited regardless.

Below are my comments to the NYT upon reading the report (cleaned up and formatted). Caution, strong views ahead. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)


Lawrence Solomon: Enron's other secret

In the climate-change debate, the companies on the ‘environmental’ side have the most to gain. First in a series. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)


Dunce Cap-and-Trade - The Waxman-Markey global-warming bill cannot survive cost-benefit analysis.

Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce potential future harm from human-caused climate change, and the vehicle is a climate-and-energy bill commonly referred to as Waxman-Markey. But the reasoning behind this proposal is innumerate, even if we accept the scientific and economic assumptions of its advocates. (Jim Manzi, National Review)


Cap, trade charade - Canada unfazed by fact that scheme is a costly failure in Europe

As long as politicians keep misleading us about what a cap-and-trade carbon market is -- yesterday it was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Environment Minister John Gerretsen -- I'm going to keep calling them on it.

And this isn't just about Ontario. Canada is going to implement cap-and-trade. So is the U.S. It's coming no matter where you live. (Lorrie Goldstein, Edmonton Sun)


Who's That at the Back Door?

Today's E&E News (subscription required) has an intriguing story — supporting prior musings in this space about the Obama administration seeking an end-run around the Constitution in order to impose a legally binding Kyoto II on you — entitled "Negotiations: A new treaty? An amendment to a protocol? Or an 'implementing agreement'?" (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)


Media Myth: Networks Ignore Trillion-Dollar Price Tag of Climate Cap Bill - Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill leaves committee while ABC, CBS, NBC remain silent.

The media love to fret over global warming, but now that a trillion-dollar scheme to address global warming could be just around the corner the networks have been curiously quiet.

On May 21, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill to cap carbon emissions and create an artificial trading market. The network news media didn’t mention it, but critics say the legislation would be a “huge threat to American prosperity and freedom.”

The Heritage Foundation estimates that this bill, known as Waxman-Markey, would cost $9.6 trillion in GDP loss and over a million jobs by 2035, but the network news media ignored the bill and almost never explained the cap-and-trade policy it seeks to enact.

ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t mention passage of the Waxman-Markey bill or discuss cap-and-trade over Memorial Day weekend, despite a global summit about climate change that took place in Copenhagen May 24-26. That summit was in preparation for a December U.N. convention to create a global plan of action regarding climate change.

The three networks have mentioned cap-and-trade in only 13 stories between Jan. 20 and May 25 even though it is a top priority for Obama, who said in November “few challenges” are “more urgent than combating climate change.” Nearly all (9 out of 13) instances were on the Sunday talk shows which have much smaller audiences than evening newscasts. (Julia A. Seymour, Business & Media Institute)


Obama's Corporatism Strategy Might Advance Cap-and-Trade

President Obama and Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) have found big business to be a crucial ally in their quest for a national cap-and-trade law to limit carbon emissions.

Corporate backing greatly enhances the global warming bill’s prospects of passing, but it also reveals a key feature of Obama’s political strategy: a new era of special interest politics in which major corporations work in concert with liberal politicians and advocacy groups to advance the left-wing agenda.

Obama already is using the power and prestige of his office to drive cap-and-trade. In February, through an executive order, he created the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) to provide “an independent voice on economic issues.”

In reality, PERAB will serve as a platform to trumpet business support for Obama’s energy policy. For instance, following its first meeting on May 20, PERAB circulated a memorandum endorsing cap-and-trade as “…the most important step in a coherent strategy for curtailing emissions.” (Tom Borelli, Townhall)


Well duh! Bold targets set for global warming experts pose threat to action

Achieving a workable international deal to tackle climate change successfully is being threatened by overambitious targets set for the world conference on global warming this year, experts said yesterday.

Anxieties over whether a viable and effective agreement to combat global warming can be secured in Copenhagen in December will be fuelled by the concerns voiced yesterday at the annual Munich Economic Summit, supported by The Times.

Carlo Carraro, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Venice, led warnings that overly demanding goals set by governments worldwide for the Copenhagen gathering could doom to failure any deal struck there. (The Times)


<chuckle> US Government puts climate saving deal at risk: Greenpeace

Amsterdam, International — As government representatives head for the next round of UN climate talks in Bonn starting Monday, hopes for an agreement that would avert catastrophic climate change are being seriously undermined by the developed world in two key areas: targets for emissions cuts and finance for developing world mitigation and adaption, Greenpeace said today.

Developing countries – such as China - are showing the willingness to take real action, provided that industrialised countries show leadership.

However, a small group of rich countries are placing the climate in peril because of their lack of commitment to make dramatic cuts in emissions. Most notable is the US, closely followed by Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“If the US doesn’t strengthen its position significantly, President Obama will put a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen at risk,” said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace International.

Kaiser warned, however, that the weak US position should not be used as an excuse for inaction by other developed countries.

“The leaders of Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand should be calling on President Obama to lift his ambitions rather than using them as an excuse to lower their own. The goal here is to keep global temperature rise to well below two degrees C. You can’t change the science, the politics can and must be changed.” (7th Space)


Dopey buggers... Hopes pinned on finance at U.N. climate talks

OSLO - About 170 nations will meet in Germany next week to work on a new United Nations climate treaty with hopes for progress pinned most on ways to raise billions of dollars to help poor nations cope with global warming.

The June 1-12 talks between senior officials in Bonn will be the first to review formal draft texts about a sweeping U.N. deal due to be agreed in Copenhagen in December to involve all countries in fighting global warming.

Over 120 pages of draft texts indicate deadlock between rich and poor nations on a core dispute over how to share out curbs on greenhouse gases, released mainly by use of fossil fuels.

To avoid that standoff, finance could be an area to build confidence. (Reuters)

The one thing the gorebull warming farce is guaranteed to do is reduce funding available for poverty reduction. Sheesh!


Eye-roller: Forests and the Planet

A major shortcoming of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change was its failure to address the huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the destruction of the world’s rain forests. A proposal that rich nations be allowed to offset some of their emissions by paying poorer counties to leave their rain forests intact was shot down after European environmental groups objected. They argued that it would allow rich countries to buy their way out of their own obligations. The planet has been paying for that colossal blunder ever since.

Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — about the same as China’s emissions, more than the emissions generated by all of the world’s cars and trucks. And the world is doing far too little to stop it. An estimated 30 million acres of rain forest disappear every year, destroying biodiversity and pouring billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (New York Times)


Cool seasons & poor crops warning: New Solar Cycle Prediction

May 29, 2009: An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots.

"If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. (Science @ NASA)


Blast from the past: Scientists Issue Unprecedented Forecast of Next Sunspot Cycle

This is an official NCAR News Release (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Apparently, they have solar forecasting techniques down to a “science”, as boldly demonstrated in this press release. – Anthony (WUWT)


Cooler decades ahead, researcher says

Syun-Ichi Akasofu has a forecast for the average global temperature during the next few decades-cool.

Akasofu, the former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center, was known as an aurora expert for most of his career. Now, people are citing his opinions on global warming. Rush Limbaugh and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas recently mentioned Akasofu, who thinks it's likely that the planet will cool down until about 2030, and then warm slightly thereafter. That notion is contrary to the prediction of steadily increasing warmth made by members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Unlike those scientists, Akasofu thinks natural forces affect climate much more than carbon dioxide, which warms the globe by trapping heat. (Ned Rozell, SitNews)


A Layman’s Explanation of Why Global Warming Predictions by Climate Models are Wrong

I occasionally hear the complaint that some of what I write is too technical to understand, which I’m sure is true. The climate system is complex, and discussing the scientific issues associated with global warming (aka “climate change”) can get pretty technical pretty fast.

Fortunately, the most serious problem the climate models have (in my view) is one which is easily understood by the public. So, I’m going to make yet another attempt at explaining why the computerized climate models tracked by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – all 23 of them – predict too much warming for our future. The basic problem I am talking about has been peer reviewed and published by us, and so cannot be dismissed lightly.

But this time I will use no graphs (!), and I will use only a single number (!!) which I promise will be a small one. (Roy W. Spencer)


New Scientist Article “Land Clearances Turned Up The Heat On Australian Climate”

There is a news article on the recent excellent MacAlpine research group papers

McAlpine, C.A., J. Syktus, J.G. Ryan, R.C. Deo, G.M. McKeon, H.A. McGowan, and S.R. Phinn, 2009:A continent under stress: interactions, feedbacks and risks associated with impact of modified land cover on Australia’s Climate. Global Change Biology, in press. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01939.x

Deo, R. C., J. I. Syktus, C. A. McAlpine, P. J. Lawrence, H. A. McGowan, and S. R. Phinn, 2009: Impact of historical land cover change on daily indices of climate extremes including droughts in eastern Australia, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08705, doi:10.1029/2009GL037666.

which have been weblogged on at Climate Science (see and see).

The news article in New Scientist on May 16 2009 is titled Land clearances turned up the heat on Australian climate and reads

“DEFORESTATION by European settlers may be to blame for making Australia’s drought longer, hotter and dryer than it would be otherwise.

The “big dry”, Australia’s 11-year drought, has been blamed on greenhouse gases and natural variability. To see if deforestation played a part, Clive McAlpine of the University of Queensland in Brisbane and colleagues used a climate model to simulate Australian conditions from the 1950s to 2003. They then compared the impact of today’s fragmented vegetation, obtained from satellite images, with that of 1788, prior to European settlement.

Over much of south-east Australia, where the drought has hit hardest, less that 10 per cent of the original vegetation remains. The team’s model showed that this land clearance has increased the length of droughts in the area by one to two weeks per year. In years of extreme drought, the loss of vegetation caused the number of days above 35 °C to increase by six to 18 days, and the number of dry days to increase by five to 15 days (Geophysical Research Letters, in press).

“Land clearing may be having a similar impact on the drought as greenhouse gases,” says McAlpine. Reforestation could minimise future droughts, he adds.

“It’s a nice piece of work,” says Andy Pitman of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, but he adds that the modelling needs to be confirmed.”

This excellent article highlights the role of land use change as a first order climate forcing. This climate forcing was inadequately reported on in the recent IPCC and CCSP climate assessments. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Global Carbon Markets in Discord as Emissions Projections Rise

Just as the United States warns that global carbon dioxide emissions may rise 39 percent by 2030, there appears to be discord as to whether the U.S. and the European Union will be able to integrate carbon trading markets.

With demand from non-developed countries like China and India using a presumed 73 percent more energy between 2006 and 2030, global energy demand could jump 44 percent, according to reports from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Environmental Leader)


Exxon Mobil Says Transition From Oil Is Century Away

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest refiner, said the transition away from oil-derived fuels is probably 100 years away.

Petroleum-based fuels including gasoline and diesel, as well as hydrocarbons such as coal and natural gas, will remain the dominant sources of energy for factories, offices, homes and cars for decades because there are no viable alternatives, Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson told reporters today after Exxon Mobil’s annual shareholders meeting in Dallas.

In the U.S., which burns a quarter of global oil supplies, consumers probably face higher fuel prices if lawmakers impose greenhouse-gas rules that inflate fuel-production costs, Tillerson said. A plan introduced by Democrats this month would allocate a limited number of emission credits to refiners and electricity producers, with the aim of curbing greenhouse gases.

“The oil-gas-refining side of the business received a very, very small amount of the allocations, which means that sector will bear more of the costs more immediately,” Tillerson said. “If we’re going to place a price on carbon, let’s do that in the most efficient way. A carbon tax is more efficient than a tax that’s applied by way of a cap-and-trade mechanism.”

Tillerson, 57, said lawmakers are hurrying to restrict greenhouse gases when many scientific questions surrounding the global warming issue remain unresolved. (Bloomberg)


All we need is a hundred-fold reduction in price... Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting

To change the bulbs in the 60-foot-high ceiling lights of Buckingham Palace’s grand stairwell, workers had to erect scaffolding and cover precious portraits of royal forebears.

So when a lighting designer two years ago proposed installing light emitting diodes or LEDs, an emerging lighting technology, the royal family readily assented. The new lights, the designer said, would last more than 22 years and enormously reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions — a big plus for Prince Charles, an ardent environmentalist. Since then, the palace has installed the lighting in chandeliers and on the exterior, where illuminating the entire facade uses less electricity than running an electric teakettle.

In shifting to LED lighting, the palace is part of a small but fast-growing trend that is redefining the century-old conception of lighting, replacing energy-wasting disposable bulbs with efficient fixtures that are often semi-permanent, like those used in plumbing.

Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years; in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use. A recent report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling global warming using existing technology.

LED lighting was once relegated to basketball scoreboards, cellphone consoles, traffic lights and colored Christmas lights. But as a result of rapid developments in the technology, it is now poised to become common on streets and in buildings, as well as in homes and offices. Some American cities, including Ann Arbor, Mich., and Raleigh, N.C., are using the lights to illuminate streets and parking garages, and dozens more are exploring the technology. And the lighting now adorns the conference rooms and bars of some Renaissance hotels, a corridor in the Pentagon and a new green building at Stanford.

LEDs are more than twice as efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs, currently the standard for greener lighting. Unlike compact fluorescents, LEDs turn on quickly and are compatible with dimmer switches. And while fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which requires special disposal, LED bulbs contain no toxic elements, and last so long that disposal is not much of an issue.

“It is fit-and-forget-lighting that is essentially there for as long as you live,” said Colin Humphreys, a researcher at Cambridge University who works on gallium nitride LED lights, which now adorn structures in Britain. (New York Times)

Incandescent bulbs are 40 cents at my local store -- LEDs well north of $100 and lighting energy costs are not high in the average home, with energy payments spread over long timeframes. These price disparities mean it is not likely to make sense to consumers to pay big bucks up front to save pennies a month.