As the Obama Administration’s allies are gearing up to spend $125 million over the next five years to sell the health overhaul law to the public, including seniors, there has been a noticeable vacuum in the discussion over the impact on younger adults. This topic was in the spotlight at a recent event sponsored by the CATO Institute: “How Will Obamacare Affect Young Adults?”
While the President received one of the largest margins of support from 18-29 year old voters during the 2008 election, there is growing skepticism over the President’s handling of health care and the final version of the bill signed into law. Under the overhaul, Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, says that flawed policies are used to fix other flawed policies. For example, for price controls to work, an individual mandate is required; but for a mandate to work, more taxpayer subsidies are necessary. But what happens when the central planners’ calibrations are off? Younger and poorer adults who stay in the health insurance market will be cross-subsidizing the premiums of older and wealthier Americans not yet eligible for Medicare. From the “have nots” to the “haves”—a new social policy. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
The Food and Drug Administration urged farmers on Monday to stop giving antibiotics to cattle, poultry, hogs and other animals to spur their growth, citing concern that drug
overuse is helping to create dangerous bacteria that do not respond to medical treatment and endanger human lives.
WASHINGTON - The human body makes rare antibodies effective against all flu viruses and these might be boosted to design a better universal flu treatment, researchers
reported on Monday.
I hate bans but this has merit: Ban homeopathy from NHS, say doctors
Members of the British Medical Association call for homeopathic remedies to be taken off pharmacy shelves designated for medicines (The Guardian)
Oh boy... Summer silliness in full swing: Junk food and obesity: Taking a cue from tobacco control
That means strict measures to reduce consumption of what's bad for us, and aggressive public education campaigns.
Given the success of the anti-smoking movement in establishing government control over tobacco, it’s no surprise that trial lawyers and other self-anointed “food cops” consistently cite the movement as the blueprint for their attacks. That’s because the agenda of these anti-food activists requires wide-ranging and invasive government controls on a completely private matter: what we eat and drink. Today the latest salvo comes from Los Angeles Times business columnist David Lazarus, who muses: “What to do about the obesity epidemic? Here's a thought: Substitute ‘tobacco’ for ‘junk food.’” Lazarus is surprisingly honest about what this could mean down the road, writing that eventually our nation’s food zealots will seek a ban on “junk food” in all workplaces.
Hold on to your candy bowls.
What Lazarus fails to note about his approach is that the parallels between “junk food” and tobacco are pretty much limited to the Big Brother goals of activists. For one, there’s no such thing as “second-hand obesity.” You can quit smoking, but you can't quit food. And there’s no convincing evidence that food is addictive—unless tasting good is the determinant.
And just about any kind of food can be part of a healthy diet, including the occasional “sinful” indulgence. Moderation is the key. That’s why the American Dietetic Association, which represents 70,000 nutrition professionals, rejects the whole idea of a “good” food, “bad” food dichotomy. The ADA writes that “total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of a healthful eating style. All foods can fit within this pattern, if consumed in moderation.”
It’s curious to see one UCLA health sciences professor remark that the privacy-invading anti-obesity strategy “doesn't seem at all draconian” when, in fact, it calls for the government to try to make personal decisions for all of us. Considering the ultimate goal of the movement is “to make healthy eating unavoidable,” that necessarily means that the government will be taking choices away from consumers.
Are cookies and chips so hazardous to the public that you should have to show proof of ID to buy them? Let’s put the food-is-tobacco theory where it belongs: in the ash heap. (Center for Consumer Freedom)
Think of a number
Banner headline on the front page of the Daily Telegraph:
40,000 deaths a year due to junk food, says health watchdog Nice
So hamburgers kill twenty times as many people as road vehicles. Ordinary people with no scientific expertise are openly laughing at the extravagance of the latest claim, but they do not matter: it is aimed at the ruling class of Oxford PPE graduates, who are much more credulous. At least the old-fashioned, scare-mongering, control-freakish zealots, such as the CDC and the EPA, paid us the respect of going to the trouble of developing elaborate statistical frauds to justify their assertions. This lot, arrogant on their lofty perch way above the seething masses they seek to hold inescapably in their grasp, just think up a number double it (several times) then publish it as the scary truth.
NICE is a socialist construct – a committee that is given power of life and death (and pain) over its fellow citizens. It exercises arbitrary and haphazard control over the work of skilled clinicians. Two years ago it banned drugs for certain sufferers from rheumatoid arthritis, only to reverse its decision recently. Two years of pain to no purpose. Some think that their growing intrusions into private lives constitute mission drift or simply extending their remit, but there is also an element of displacement activity to distract attention from the general opinion that they are doing a lousy job. They are part of that insidious socialist framework of controllers, who aim to achieve command over every aspect of the citizen’s private life: and they have made great strides in this direction over the past decade. Imagine the outcry there would have been twenty years ago if snoopers were to demand control over children’s school lunch boxes. Now it is officially accepted as quite normal, though not by some parents who still hold onto the delusion that they live in a free country.
There is no such thing as junk food. Diets are either varied and balanced or they are poor. There is, however, plenty of junk statistics, especially in the world of epidemiology. Most of the food health scares come from small observational studies without controls and randomisation. The worst of them come from data dredges and a leading source for quack dietetics is the Harvard Nurses Health study. With their debased standards (particularly levels of significance) epidemiologists can produce results to order. Remember how saturated fats were the deadly enemy? Now they are almost forgotten as the diet fashionistas move on to trans-fats. The diet industry maintains momentum by creating an atmosphere of hysteria. A huge army of officials, journalists, advisors etc live off the ever changing fads and fashions. Something is arbitrarily designated a wonder food or a deadly poison by some "expert" and immediately there is an outpouring of almost identical articles across the media.
Naturally, the salt fanatics are to the fore. Despite the existence of a mass of contrary evidence compared with their own paltry efforts, they have hawked their arbitrary and totally unjustifiable “recommended limit” with such zest that the political and media establishment accepts it without demurral.
Now here’s a funny thing. All those 2,000 odd victims of road crashes had names, addresses and post-mortem reports, yet none of the putative 40,000 victims of politically incorrect diets have any of those things. Epidemiology is strikingly successful and consistent in maintaining the anonymity of its victims.
The recent decline of the Telegraph has been dispiriting. The turgid wittering of Geoffrey Lean is given great prominence and space, while Louise Gray constantly digs up scares of past and present. There are still a couple of fine writers of the sceptical persuasion, but Christopher Booker tends to get downplayed and James Delingpole is largely confined to the blog section. Time was when scientists and journalists shared a commitment to scepticism, but both have largely abandoned this in conformity with the norms of the new establishment. Nevertheless it is astonishing that a once respected newspaper can make a front page banner feature of such self-evident twaddle, allying itself to the fascistic would-be controllers of the minutiae of everyday life of the citizenry.
A child who has an innocent bag of potato crisps in its lunch box is now likely to have it confiscated. The makers of these crisps are marketing an illusion. They sell what are basically sealed bags of air with a small amount of potato cut into very thin plates, fried and hence randomly shaped in such a way as to make the pack look full. A typical small pack contains about 35 grams of edible material. A potato tuber about the size of a tennis ball weighs of the order of 250 grams, though water content varies greatly between varieties. The second most important ingredient is sunflower oil, once a favourite of the dietary zealots, which represents about a third of the total weight. The remainder is seasoning, which comprises things like milk lactose, citric acid from sugar beet molasses, yeast extract and various (often unconvincing) flavourings. All pretty harmless, indeed beneficial, though the salt zealots will rear up in horror at the half gram of salt, which is a vital nutrient and a major contributor to pleasantness of taste (evolution’s way of ensuring that we get enough and homeostasis takes care of any surplus).
A hamburger with onions is a highly nutritional food item as part of a varied diet. Of course, if you ate nothing but hamburgers or crisps you would become ill, but the same would happen if you ate only apples or cabbage. The snoopers into children’s lunch boxes and other dietary matters are simply looking for symbolic deviations from the latest dietary fads and fancies. They are among the storm troopers of authoritarian socialism. Children, bless their hearts, simply save their eating for pleasure for after school hours, while the majority of adults, being perversely untrendy, ignore the peremptory command “You vill obey orders at all times!” and make up their own minds.
Long live the human spirit! (Number Watch)
CHICAGO - Obesity rates climbed again last year with 28 U.S. states reporting adults are fatter now than a year ago, two advocacy groups said on Tuesday.
Energy Policy: The administration plans to use sleight-of-hand politics to sneak through an economy-killing tax on energy as necessary to save the Earth. Make no mistake: Cap-and-trade is a tax every American will pay in every aspect of his or her life. (IBD)
Standoff suggests Senate would give up on climate change law that would result in far more limited proposals
(Source: Stateline.org) WASHINGTON _ A few weeks ago, 10 Northeastern states held an unusual sort of auction. What the states were selling was credits for carbon emissions.
The buyers were electric utilities, who purchased the credits either to allow themselves to send carbon dioxide out the smokestacks of their own power plants, or to re-sell
those credits to other utilities.
Committee on Climate Change says policies required within next year to reform electricity market and home efficiency (The Guardian)
The new Government should conduct a bonfire of nine low-carbon quangos and instead hand them to a planned green investment bank if Britain is to fulfill its commitments to
create a low-carbon economy and catch up with its European partners, a report yesterday urged.
The Independent has published some optimistic
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
A new study shows the Arctic climate system may be more sensitive to greenhouse warming than previously thought, and that current levels of Earth's atmospheric carbon
dioxide may be high enough to bring about significant, irreversible shifts in Arctic ecosystems.
New Zealand's failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions has left taxpayers staring down the barrel of a Kyoto Protocol liability of at least $1 billion and possibly more than
$5 billion, according to a book analysing National's emissions trading system.
By Steven Goddard,
The headline reads “NASA Satellites Detect Unexpected Ice Loss in East Antarctica“
ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2009) — Using gravity measurement data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, a team of scientists from the University of Texas at Austin has found that the East Antarctic ice sheet-home to about 90 percent of Earth’s solid fresh water and previously considered stable-may have begun to lose ice.
Better move to higher ground! NASA also reported :
“Antarctica has been losing more than a hundred cubic kilometers (24 cubic miles) of ice each year since 2002” and that “if all of this ice melted, it would raise global sea level by about 60 meter (197 feet).“
Continue reading (WUWT)
After nearly 50 years of acceptance, the theory that a great ocean “conveyor belt” continuously circulates water around the globe in an orderly fashion has been dismissed by a leading oceanographer. According to a review article in the journal Science, a number of studies conducted over the past few years have challenged this paradigm. Oceanographers have discovered the vital role of ocean eddy currents and the wind in establishing the structure and variability of the ocean’s overturning. In light of these new discoveries, the demise of the conveyor belt model has been become the new majority opinion among the world's oceanographers. According to M. Susan Losier, of Duke University, “the conveyor-belt model no longer serves the community well.”
The idea that the ocean conveyor belt transports cold, dense water from the subpolar North Atlantic along the “lower limb” of the conveyor belt to the rest of the global ocean, where the waters are upwelled and then transported along the “upper limb” back to deepwater formation sites, has been supported by the majority of oceanographers for decades. This circulating flow was assumed to operate along western boundary currents in the deep ocean and provide a continuous supply of relatively warm surface waters to deepwater formation sites. While it was thought to be vulnerable to changes in deepwater production at high latitudes, with significant injections of fresh water capable of disrupting the smooth operation of the system, under normal conditions the conveyor belt was thought to function constantly and consistently. Now it seems that opinions within the oceanographic community have shifted, and the great ocean conveyor belt model has fallen from grace.
As detailed in an eye opening article by Dr. Losier, the conveyor belt has been found wanting and dismissed as the dominant ocean overturning paradigm. Losier is Professor of Physical Oceanography and Chair of the Earth and Ocean Sciences Division at Duke, and is an expert in large-scale ocean circulation, water mass distribution and variability. The article, “Deconstructing the Conveyor Belt,” begins with a short history of the conveyor belt theory's development. According to Losier, our modern idea of the ocean’s overturning, and our understanding of its importance to Earth's climate, developed as a result of the work of two prominent oceanographers:
The abyssal flow field, as theorized by Stommel in 1958.
The second important oceanographer was the eminent Wallace S. “Wally” Broecker, Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and a scientist at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Arguably one of the world’s greatest living geoscientists, for more than half a century, Broecker has investigated the ocean’s role in climate change. He was among the pioneers in using radiocarbon and isotope dating to track historical climate change, and the influence of climate change on polar ice and ocean sediments. It was Broecker who coined the term “ocean conveyor belt.”
According to Losier, work by Broecker and colleagues suggested that the ocean’s overturning was responsible for the rapid climate fluctuations experienced during Earth’s last glacial period. “Though the importance of the ocean’s overturning to Earth’s climate had previously been understood, Broecker’s work essentially cemented the role of the conveyor belt as an agent of climate change,” states her review. “Thus, just as Stommel’s work gave spatial structure to the overturning, Broecker’s provided a temporal context.” So what has changed oceanography's mindset enough to proclaim the conveyor belt—arguably the most important discovery in the history of oceanography—an idea whose time has past?
Since its proposal, oceanographers have understood that the conveyor model is an oversimplification of the way ocean overturning actually takes place. But it was believed to be a useful simplification, capable of providing an overall model of the ocean's transportation of heat energy, if not the exact details. But now it seems that some major features of the conveyor belt have been called into question. Here is a list of recent discoveries that have shaken the foundation of the conveyor belt theory.
When all of these observations are combined, they indicate that the conventional conceptual model of ocean overturning needs revamping. As Dr. Losier put it: “In sum, the impact of eddies on our concept of a continuous lower limb for the ocean’s overturning has evolved from an understanding that eddies can detrain and entrain fluid along the DWBC to the recognition that the DWBC can, at certain locales and perhaps certain times, be a series of migrating eddies, to the realization that eddy-driven flow provides an alternate pathway for deep waters to spread globally.”
In other words, it doesn't work as simply as we thought. Losier is in a good position to make such a judgment, since it is partly due to her work that scientists are revisiting the conveyor belt model. As noted on this blog in “Conveyor Belt Model Broken,” work by Losier and Amy Bower of Wood’s Hole, using RAFOS float data, showed that there was something fundamentally wrong with how the ocean's overturning flow was being modeled.
By analyzing the divagating float paths, it was discovered that ocean currents did not behave as expected. Reported back in May of 2009, their discovery had the potential to affect both short term and long term climate change. This is because ocean currents not only redistribute surface warmth, the oceans themselves are a vast reservoir for heat and carbon dioxide. I concluded that this finding invalidated the IPCC's GCM climate model predictions, because the models were based on incorrect behavior of the ocean overturning currents.
At the time, Dr. Losier took exception to my supposition, stating in an email, “the climate models care first and foremost about the return of the surface waters and our research has no bearing in the slightest on those waters.” I disagreed, saying that the discovery of significant eddies changed the assumptions on how the deep sea currents flow, which must change the boundary conditions between different masses of water. This cannot help but alter the long term reaction of the ocean to the energy flowing through it.
More recently, variations in continuous data measurements from cable-moored instrument arrays identified large and unexpected yearly fluctuations in conveyor flow. As additional discoveries have unfolded, it was also found that there are large reservoirs of CO2 stashed away in the deep ocean, again previously unexpected. As the evidence has piled up, Dr. Losier has been forced to admit that there are implications for climate change and the way the Earth system is modeled. In her own words:
This reinforces the claim that previous climate models—which are highly dependent on the coupling between ocean and atmosphere and, hence, the ocean circulation models they contain—cannot be considered accurate reconstructions of Earth's climate system. I repeat my earlier assertion: if the conveyor belt model is wrong then none of the IPCC's model results can be taken seriously. This point is underscored by recent work that found small changes in high latitude insolation, driven by Earth's orbital cycles, can trigger significant changes in lower latitude ocean and atmospheric circulation. The circulation of Earth's oceans is now known to be much more complex and nuanced than even a decade ago, which has significant implications for climate modeling.
This spate of recent discoveries serves to underline a fundamental tenet of science—that no theory, no matter how elegant or widely believed, is sacrosanct. As the great philosopher of science, Karl Popper, stated, science progresses by moving from one false theory to another, still false theory that is nonetheless closer to the truth. There is nothing wrong with dismissing the conveyor belt model for another, more correct model. In fact, a scientist incapable of realizing that a cherished, comfortable old theory is false and must be discarded is not capable of doing good science at all. Keeping that in mind, here is Losier's summary of the case against the conveyor belt:
So, after very logically and methodically making the case for dismissing the conveyor belt model, Dr. Losier claims we should not discard it because it is a gross oversimplification, but because it “no longer serves the community well.” I would call any theory that ignores the intricate mechanics and crucial structures of the thing is is attempting to describe as worse than a gross oversimplification—I would call it wrong. It seems that Dr. Losier just cannot bring herself to say the words, “this theory is false.”
Regardless, oceanography is in the process of moving on to new, hopefully less false theories. Some period of grief and denial is probably to be expected from those who literally grew up with the conveyor belt theory. Now, if climate science would only face up to the falseness of the gross oversimplification they have promoted over the past few decades—anthropogenic global warming.
The failure of anthropogenic global warming is not only tied to the recent discoveries in oceanography, but to scores of other scientific advances in biology, geology, atmospheric physics and Earth sciences. The fiction that human generated CO2 is responsible for climate change, and that our continued emission of that greenhouse gas will damage this planet's ecosystem is as gross an oversimplification as has ever been postulated.
While simplicity is generally considered a good thing, and it is no sin for a scientist to invent a theory which proves to be false, it is a great sin to refuse to recognize a theory's falseness. Only by dismissing old false theories can science move on to new, more correct ones. Climate science has damaged its credibility, and the reputation of all science, by clinging to this outdated, failed theory. It is time for the climate science community to prove that they are real scientists by openly pronouncing anthropogenic global warming a false theory.
Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
There’s only one thing more satisfying than being right. That’s when a shrill buffoon you utterly despise dedicates an entire column in a newspaper you loathe to
accusing you of being wrong, working himself up into an almost masturbatory lather of slobbering indignation, macheting himself to ever greater heights of ecstatic fervour like
some Shi’ite penitent during Ashura, giggling at his jokes, crowing at his own cleverness, earning all sorts of smarmy plaudits from his coterie of sorry eco-fascist brown-nosers
– and it turns out, after all that, you’re still entirely right and the buffoon – let’s call him Moonbat – has emerged looking an even bigger prat than ever.
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 26: 30 June 2010
Subject Index Summary:
Elevated CO2 Boosts Iron's Positive Impact on Phytoplanktonic Productivity: ... and it appears to do so by "acidifying" the ocean.
CO2- and Climate-Induced Effects on Terrestrial Plant Production: What does one of the most detailed mechanistic models project for the next ninety years?
A Seven-Decade History of the Water-Use Efficiency of a Swiss Alpine Grassland: How was it obtained? ... and what did it show?
The Long-Term Response of Plant Photosynthesis to Elevated CO2: Does it decline over time?
Plant Growth Database:
Warm Period Project:
by Robert Bradley Jr.
[Editor note: Part I in this series examined praise for BP and Enron from the Worldwatch Institute. Part III on Thursday will examine a Harvard Business Review article linking BP's 'beyond petroleum' strategy to special government favor, including drilling on government domain.]
For more than a decade, Left environmentalists and trendy business ethicists have touted BP’s “beyond petroleum” mantra as an example of public-interested corporate progressivism.
For example, Joe Romm in Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Island Press: 1999) devotes several pages near the end of the book to “climate leadership at British Petroleum.”
Romm refers to John Browne’s “remarkable May 1997 speech at Stanford University” (p. 206) before describing this episode:
Romm continues: “One of the primary messages of this book [is what] Browne has learned… ‘It is clear how frequently environmental logic and commercial logic coincide” (p. 207).
But now we know what happens when a corporation gets distracted and tries to be all things to all people. It happened to Ken Lay and Enron, and it happened to BP.
Tony Hayward cut back BP’s renewables push, which put pressure on the company’s ‘beyond petroleum’ greenwash. But evidently Hayward did not or could not do enough to reverse the unfocused corporate culture toward safety and true environmentalism. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
We live in the age of video. As a writer, particularly one who writes books, that fact is rather painful. But the reality is that television, and increasingly, video on the Internet – think YouTube, Hulu, etc. – is the dominant medium of our time. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)
While BP continues to struggle, three British oil explorers saw their shares soar after one of the biggest North Sea finds in years. (TDT)
During the campaign, Barack Obama promised to bankrupt any new coal-burning plants in the US through his global-warming policies. Congress has followed suit with a cap-and-trade bill that Harry Reid keeps promising to revive. One firm in Wisconsin shows exactly what happens when politicians intervene to attempt to conduct social engineering in the energy sector. Bucyrus just lost a $600 million project for a new coal-burning electricity plant in India, thanks to a decision by the Congressionally-funded US Export-Import Bank to deny the Wisconsin firm credit, based in part on Barack Obama’s policies:
This decision won’t stop one carbon molecule from hitting the air. In fact, it will likely make carbon emissions worse. India will look for other vendors to supply the equipment, probably from neighboring Russia or China, as they will continue to build and operate the plant. Both nations compete in the same marketplace as Bucyrus, but they don’t work as cleanly as the American company does, which means the end result will be lower efficiency and more pollution. (Hot Air)
For a country that is still heavily dependent on coal power, news of a more efficient (read: lower-carbon-emitting) coal plant should be greeted with roaring applause from the environmental community. Unfortunately, under the Obama Administration, the U.S. Export-Import bank can’t see past the black and white idea that coal and other fossil fuels are the enemies of the environment, and only renewables can save it. This mentality creates double standards, as when White House denied a $250 million Ex-Imp Bank loan to a coal power plant in India equipped with exceptional carbon-cutting technology.
President Obama was right to reject the subsidy but he did so for the wrong reasons. The Obama administration should get out of the loan guarantee business altogether. These credit subsidies are little more than financing mechanisms that allow Washington to pick energy winners and losers. Instead, energy projects should compete for capital on their own merit. If the plant cannot be built without the subsidy, it should not be built. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Households are typically being charged more than £80 a year in hidden taxes to help combat the impact of climate change, research suggested today.
The Isle of Eigg off the west coast of Scotland was hailed as the green future, when islanders installed a solar, wind and hydroelectric power solution to power their homes.
All renewables, all the time. The green energy wet dream in action.
When Eigg won a share in a £1 million prize in January for its devotion to green, the judges declared:
So how’s that working out, exactly? Not so well: Power rationed on ‘green island’ Eigg:
Green energy is great, as long as you don’t mind going without power when the weather doesn’t cooperate. If Eigg was touted as the ideal place for renewable power and it doesn’t work, what hope is there for the rest of the world’s renewables efforts?
UPDATE: The UK mainland has the same reality to deal with as energy from renewables dropped 7.5%. Try selling more bird shredder farms on the back of that performance. (Daily Bayonet)
College Park, MD (June 29, 2010) -- Wind turbines may be one of the best renewable energy solutions, but as turbines get larger they also get noisier, become more of an
eyesore, and require increasingly larger expanses of land. One solution: ocean-based wind turbines. While offshore turbines already have been constructed, they've traditionally
been situated in shallow waters, where the tower extends directly into the seabed. That restricts the turbines to near-shore waters with depths no greater than 50 meters -- and
precludes their use in deeper waters, where winds generally gust at higher speeds.
With job creation in the U.S. basically at a standstill aside from some government hiring of temporary census workers, even after a trillion-plus in stimulus spending, Hillary Clinton's answer for more growth and more jobs is to remove even more money from the people who earned it and hand it over to the federal government. (Ralph R. Reiland, IBD)
LONDON - There is no evidence that prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins to patients at risk of heart disease reduces their chances of premature death in
the short term, scientists said on Monday.
Tantalizing evidence that America's epidemic of childhood obesity might be starting to subside was presented Sunday by researchers who also found that the trend could be
speeded up through school programs.
DINNER plates are growing at the same rate as Australians' bulging waistlines, according to a UK obesity expert.
Take a model that purports to predict the future and just run it back to the past. The result are sometimes salutary. Ross McKitrick of Guelph (celebrated for his role in
trashing the warmist’s Hockey Stick) has done that with a model from the Canadian Medical Association.
CHURCHVILLE, VA—I can’t help but praise Michael Specter’s new book: Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our
Lives. Specter warns that we live in a world where the leaders of African nations prefer to let their citizens starve to death rather than import genetically-modified food
grains. Childhood vaccines have proven to be the most effective public health measure in history, yet people march on Washington to protest their use. Fifty years ago
pharmaceutical companies were regarded as vital supports for our good health and lengthening life spans; now they are seen as callous corporate enemies of health and the
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—University of Michigan aquatic ecologist Donald Scavia and his colleagues say this year's Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" is expected to be larger
than average, continuing a decades-long trend that threatens the health of a $659 million fishery.
Second Amendment: In the "living Constitution" era, the Supreme Court rediscovers original intent and rightly rules that the right to bear arms applies to all
Americans just as the rest of the Bill of Rights does.
After helping to strike down the Chicago handgun ban, the winners in today’s Supreme Court decision promised, in an exclusive interview with the Heritage Foundation, that more such cases would be coming in the next few weeks. Alan Gura, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, promised, “There will be future cases, I will be bringing cases in the days and weeks to come.” When asked about the decisions impact, he said, “We will see laws that serve no useful purpose other than to annoy gun owners struck down and others that are actually critically necessary for public safety upheld.”
This morning, the Court sided with Gura and his client, 76 year old Otis McDonald. Otis had pursued the lawsuit after feeling that the city’s ban left him defenseless. In our interview, Gura, McDonald and Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb shared their thoughts on the freshly minted decision and explained the impact it will have on Chicago and the rest of the country. Earlier this year, after the case was argued before the Court, Gura and Gottlieb sat down for an interview describing their strategy and hopes for the Court’s decision. Much of their prediction came true in today’s victory.
Elsewhere on the Foundry, Heritage scholars have provided their analysis of the Court’s decision and the ramifications it should have on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (The Foundry)
In what is probably the most important Second Amendment case in Supreme Court history, the Court today held that the “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” cannot be infringed by the states. In 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Court for the first time held that the right to bear arms was an individual right. But that decision, which struck down a virtual ban on handguns and a requirement that rifles and shotguns had to be kept “unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock” in the District of Columbia, applied only to the federal government because the District is a federal enclave. What had never been decided before today’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago was whether the protection of the Second Amendment is incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause to apply to state and local governments.
In a long-awaited decision on the final day of the Supreme Court’s term, a 5-4 majority of the Court in an opinion written by Justice Alito overturned the City of Chicago’s regulations on firearms. These regulations included a ban on handguns, a requirement that other guns be registered prior to their acquisition (which is impractical in many cases), a burdensome annual reregistration requirement and annual fee, and a punitive provision that would bar the reregistration of a gun once its registration expired. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that the Second Amendment to the Constitution means that individual Americans have a right to bear arms, what can
Moments ago, the Supreme Court announced that, Yes Virginia, the Second Amendment does in fact apply to the states, and thereby struck down Chicago’s complete ban on handgun possession. But this decision (and the Court’s prior decision in Heller) raises still other questions which will likely have a substantial impact on what that Second Amendment right functionally means. For example, what constitutes a reasonable regulation on firearms under the Second Amendment?
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is wasting no time. Before the Supreme Court even issued its opinion, he said that he was poised to immediately pass legislation to regulate guns if Chicago’s ban is struck down. If anyone doubts how reasonable his regulations will be, it is apparent that he is seeking to limit guns as severely as possible, based upon his judgment that “guns don’t solve problems in homes [or] on streets. They kill people.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Posted by Ilya Shapiro
Toronto - The leaders of the world's 20 most powerful developed and developing states (G20) on Sunday dropped a pledge to invest in climate-friendly energy generation from
their final summit statement.
Have your say and help us to improve the World Environment News for your chance to win a $100 Amazon Voucher. Just click here to complete a quick survey and enter the draw.
Whaddya know? Moonbat really is that stupid! It's war! - by Richard... Monday, June 28, 2010
responds to this - and I don't think he's consulted his lawyers - they would not allow
him to be so stupid:
I cannot say "with pleasure" ... life is too short and I have better things to do with it. But, if you insist ... and I do hope you remember that you were offered the easy way! Everything you do now, everything you say, will make it harder for yourself.Having gone through the tedium of having to respond to PCC complaints, and likewise having dealt with more than a few libel cases (from both sides of the fence - some may recall that I was an expert witness in the MacLibel case), I know they are extremely hard work. I would not wish that on anyone, even Monbiot. But, as I have warned him, each stage up the chain that he forces the issue, the harder it gets to deal with and the more work involved. This is not a threat ... it is a simple statement of fact.
Thus, I am still minded to resolve this issue informally and to that effect am preparing a letter to send to the newspaper. This is clear enough from my posting on Monbiot's site, but to my latest post he responds: "Woohoo! I'm quivering with fear." This really needs little comment - it largely speaks for itself. This is the calibre of person we are dealing with.
Nevertheless, the plan remains as stated. I will make a formal complaint in writing to the newspaper (I will post that up when it is ready). If I don't get satisfaction from that, I will go to the PCC and from there I have to option to go to law. I am keeping that open but no one should under-estimate my determination to see this through to the bitter end.
Interestingly, Daniel Nepstad has joined the fray on the Monbiot comments section, once again demonstrating how important the Amazon is to the warmists. Needless to say, his "contribution" confuses rather than clarifies the issues.
And someone should teach him about paragraphs - it is amazing how many "scientists" do not seem to understand their value, or how to use them. Then, presentation is about thinking of the reader, and seeking to communicate ideas as clearly as possible. By their poor use of English and their lazy presentation shall we know them. (EU Referendum)
June 28, 2010 – 4:46 pm
“Newspapers Retract ‘Climategate’ Claims, but Damage Still Done,” reads the headline in Newsweek this weekend, in a column over the latest controversy in the global warming debate. The headline, and the article beneath it, are so inaccurate that Newsweek should retract them.
For starters, no newspaper that the column describes retracted any claims about Climategate, the scandal that hit the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last November when private emails showed, among other things, that all of the IPCC’s temperature data was suspect. The newspaper retractions – all two of them, by the UK’s Sunday Times and a much earlier change of heart by a small German daily — dealt with Amazongate, one of the many scandals that followed Climategate.
Next, the Newsweek column states that “In perhaps the biggest backpedaling, The Sunday Times of London, which led the media pack in charging that IPCC reports were full of egregious (and probably intentional) errors, retracted its central claim—namely, that the IPCC statement that up to 40% of the Amazonian rainforest could be vulnerable to climate change was ‘unsubstantiated.’ … The Times‘s criticism of the IPCC—look, its reports are full of mistakes and shoddy scholarship!—was widely picked up at the time it ran, and has been an important factor in turning British public opinion sharply against the established science of climate change.”
The Times article was hardly pivotal in turning British public opinion against the climate alarmists. For one thing, public opinion had turned against climate alarmism months earlier, even well before Climategate, so much so that the British government took out paid TV ads in 2009 in an explicit attempt to win back public opinion. For another, the retracted Times article did little to publicize Amazongate – by the time the Sunday Times article appeared, Amazongate was old news, having been covered by hundreds if not thousands of media outlets around the world. Here’s the timeline.
On January 25, the British blog site, EUReferendum broke the Amazongate story. The press coverage began the same day, with a London Telegraph headline announcing “After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate: Amazongate.” Between then and January 31, when the Sunday Times article appeared in print, Amazongate became firmly established as an another example among many of shoddy, error-filled scientific work by the IPCC. None of the other articles published in that week have seen a need to retract. Even the Sunday Times’ retraction came only after months of litigation, indicating that some felt there was no need to retract. The basic thrust of the Amazongate stories remains valid, even if one of the many media outlets that covered Amazongate decided it had stepped over the line in its presentation of the story.
One thing the Newsweek column got right. The damage to the reputation of the IPCC has been done.
they go again, a bevy of the
so-called experts, making predictions about the climate which they cannot possibly justify.
by Robert Bradley Jr.
[Editor note: Part II tomorrow will examine why BP made its ill-fated “Beyond Petroleum” push. Part III on Wednesday will examine a Harvard Business Review article linking BP's climate alarmism/energy transformation strategy to special government favor, including drilling on government land.]
Just imagine if John Browne had used the time and resources BP spent on climate alarmism and ‘beyond petroleum’ on real safety and environmental issues.
BP might still have a capitalization of $150 billion and not face a potential worst-case scenario of bankruptcy and ruin. And more importantly, the U.S. Gulf would not be in an environmental crisis.
Just imagine if Enron’s Ken Lay had used the time and resources spent on climate alarmism and forced energy transformation on accounting, risk control, and the real things that promote business sustainability. (Lay was a big Christopher Flavin/Worldwatch fan too.)
Enron might still be with us today.
Diverted management attention has an opportunity cost. Left environmentalists lobbied and praised BP and Enron for putting form over substance. A few shouted ‘greenwashing’, but most applauded their coveted split within the fossil-fuel industry on climate and energy.
Enron is no longer around. Instead it has become the poster child of political capitalism run amuck. And the Deepwater Horizon accident–for which, in an effort to save about $5 million, BP will pay tens of billions of dollars–may sink BP as an independent company.
What an irony: fake environmentalism driving out real environmentalism. Climate and energy reality, anyone?
Palo Alto, CA— One proposed emergency fix to halt global warming is to seed clouds over the ocean to make them more reflective, reducing the solar radiation absorbed by
the Earth. But the scheme could also change global rainfall patterns, raising concerns of water shortages on land. A new study by the Carnegie Institution, in collaboration
with the Indian Institute of Science, suggests that altered atmospheric circulation under the scheme in fact could increase monsoonal rains and cause the continents to become
wetter, not drier, on average.
paper on the Fourth Assessment Report which included a short section on the IPCC's use of Judith Lean's paper:
Click to read more ... (Bishop Hill)
After our government claimed that we did not need or could not obtain larger ships to skim the Gulf oil spill, a giant-capacity skimming ship has arrived in U.S. waters. Yet our government has us wondering whether it will permit the ship to join the cleanup effort.
The problem is not simply the Jones Act; it’s also that our Environmental Protection Agency may squelch the ability to use this giant ship.
The S. S. A-Whale is not like the mere 4,000-barrel-a-day vessels we’ve been using. Its owners say this ship, a converted oil tanker, can gather 500,000 barrels a day. By comparison, say the owners, the entire fleet our government has authorized for BP has only gathered 600,000 barrels—TOTAL—in the 70 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion. (NOTE: 500,000 barrels equals 21-million gallons.)
The A-Whale is the essence of an international ship—built in South Korea, modified in Portugal, owned by Taiwanese and flagged in Liberia. And that is part of the problem. Even if it stays farther offshore than the 3-mile limit of America’s Jones Act, it still requires approval by the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency before BP can hire the A-Whale and put it to work. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
When is President Obama going to deal with the real pollution? How much longer can he essentially ignore the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico? How many times can he
repeat the scientific falsehood about carbon pollution causing global warming? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says CO2 is the cause not carbon. An
increase in atmosphere carbon would result in cooling. Carbon from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons is called soot and that blocks sunlight. CO2 is not a pollutant but a
natural gas essential to life. In a speech to Congress Obama linked the falsehood with his goal. He asked them “to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on
carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”
Have your say and help us to improve the World Environment News for your chance to win a $100 Amazon Voucher. Just click here to complete a quick survey and enter the draw.
From the department of wishful thinking: Natural Gas as Panacea: Dubious Path to a Green Future
Many energy experts contend natural gas is the ideal fuel as the world makes the transition to renewable energy. But since much of that gas will come from underground shale, potentially at high environmental cost, it would be far better to skip the natural gas phase and move straight to massive deployment of solar and wind power. (Daniel B. Botkin, e360)
by Marlo Lewis
The custom-designed $600 toilet seat for P-3C Orion antisubmarine aircraft — often depicted as the epitome of government waste — is an urban legend. The “seat” was actually a plastic molding that fitted over the entire seat, tank, and toilet assembly, for which the contractor charged the Navy $100 apiece. However, in the subsidy-driven world of biofuels, government can flush lots of your tax dollars down the gurgler. DOD’s Quadrenniel Defense Review Report (QDR) crows that in 2009, the Navy “tested an F/A-18 engine on camelina-based biofuel” (pp. 87-88). Camelina is a non-edible plant in the mustard family. On Earth Day 2010, an F/A-18 taking off from the Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, became the first aircraft to ”demonstrate the performance of a 50-50 blend of camelina-based biojet fuel and traditional petroleum-based jet fuel at supersonic speeds,” enthuses Renewable Energy World.Com. At the event, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said: “It’s important to emphasize, especially on Earth Day, the Navy’s commitment to reducing dependence on foreign oil as well as safeguarding our environment. Our Navy, alongside industry, the other services and federal agency partners, will continue to be an early adopter of alternative energy sources.” Renewable Energy World also reports that the Navy ordered 200,000 gallons of camelina-based jet fuel for 2009-2010 and has an option to purchase another 200,000 gallons during 2010-2012. Sounds impressive, but let’s put those numbers in perspective. In just three months in peacetime, the flight crew of a single vessel — the USS NASSAU, a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship – flew more than 2,800 hours and burned over 1 million gallons of jet fuel. Neither Renewable Energy World nor the QDR mentions how much camelina-based jet fuel costs. Hold on to your (toilet) seat! According to today’s ClimateWire (subscription required), the price is $65.00 per gallon. That’s about 30 times more expensive than commercial jet fuel. Those who wonder why government can’t just mandate a transition to a ”beyond petroleum” future should contemplate those numbers. (Cooler Heads)
European officials are either using science fiction to divert attention away from the block’s institutional disarray or they’ve simply lost touch with reality in their Brussels bunker. [Read More] (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)
“I’ve been working to dismantle Obamacare,” declared Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “We have to fight this terrible law that’s a threat to liberty itself.”
These comments came during a June 21st blogger conference call held by Sen. Hatch in which he sought to rally support for two bills aimed at representing “a strategic attack on the central tenants of Obamacare.”
The American Liberty Restoration Act (S. 3502) would strike forthcoming individual mandates from the current law, while the American Job Protection Act (S.3501) would repeal what Hatch calls, a “job-killing employer mandate.”
Individual and employer mandates represent two of the most focused-upon issues on which Americans are challenging both the effectiveness and constitutionality of the health care law, signed by President Barack Obama in March. Indeed, Hatch cited that “there are now 20 states, including Utah, challenging this which the President signed into law.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Posted by Ilya Shapiro
With all the property rights news coming out of the Supreme Court and New York Court of Appeals in the last week, I almost missed Wednesday’s fifth anniversary of the dreadful Kelo v. New London decision. Justice Stevens’s opinion in Kelo sanctioned a transfer of private property from homeowners to a big company in the name of (promised but, as we’ve seen, never realized) job creation and increased tax revenue.
This was a Pyrrhic victory for eminent domain abusers, however, given:
(Cato at liberty)
Say what? Mobiles 'too dangerous' for children
CHILDREN have been warned to text, rather than talk, on their mobile phones by the federal Government's radiation safety watchdog.
NEW YORK - A taste of cow's milk during the first two weeks of life may protect a child from later developing an allergy to the milk's protein, a new study suggests.
LONDON - European drugs regulators have launched an investigation into the possible increased risk of cancer in patients taking common blood pressure medicines known as
angiotensin-receptor blockers or ARBs.
NEW YORK - Teenagers who have snacks throughout the day are less likely to be overweight or obese than their peers who limit themselves to larger meals, a new study
NEW YORK - A Danish study hints that air pollution from car exhaust might trigger strokes, although much more study is needed to confirm this, the study team notes.
CHICAGO - Two U.S. teams have taken major strides in developing lab-engineered lung tissue that could be used for future transplants or testing the effects of new drugs.
WASHINGTON - Stretches of DNA known as "jumping" genes are far more common than anyone thought, and almost everyone has a unique pattern of them, U.S. researchers
reported on Thursday.
Yesterday, the House passed the DISCLOSE Act, making good on the President's promise to ignore the Supreme Court's ruling and pass laws that abridge the freedom of speech. In Citizens United, the Supremes ruled that laws banning any group of citizens from engaging in political speech is unconstitutional. That includes unions, corporations, and interest groups both big and small. (Stossel)
In truth, misanthropists shafting honest working people: Losing the Owl, Saving the Forest
MET in person, the northern spotted owl seems an unlikely casus belli. Last Friday, the Woodland Park Zoo here allowed me a private audience with its three captive owls, a
mating pair and a lone elderly female, each of whom resembled a miniature, flecked-brown overcoat of Harris tweed. Their eyes — unlike the eyes of most owls, which are bright
yellow — were the color of dark chocolate. Blinking slowly, rooted to their perches, they looked more wistful than wise, dreaming, perhaps, of flying squirrels, on which they
like to dine in the wild, or of extinction, which still appears their likeliest fate.
The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice
the normal rate.
Otis McDonald, a lead plaintiff in a Supreme Court gun case, on why he's fighting to legally own a gun in Chicago. (Stossel)
Well, the "no regrets" part is right, at least: Researchers Call for 'No-Regrets' Approach to Climate Warming
The strategy, detailed in the journal Science, prepares people for a hotter and drier Southwestern U.S. through water conservation and the continued development of ways to
harness energy from the sun, wind and Earth.
Over the past year, the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of climate change mitigation policy has been pretty much halted in its tracks, at least for the time being. There
are two primary causes, both rooted in the complexities (or perhaps better seen as simplicities) of human behaviour. One is the failure of some governments to agree to
disadvantage their own citizens for what is presented as the sake of future generations across the world. The other may best be described as scientific hubris.
Those expecting Gillard to sweep Australia into ETS are destined for disappointment: How Abbott found an unexpected ally over climate change in the Gang of Four
IN THE inner sanctum, Julia Gillard had urged that the Rudd government not honour its election commitment for an emissions trading scheme unless the opposition's Tony Abbott
agreed to one.
Just as Rudd wanted to consult, the axe suddenly fell, writes Tom Arup.
In December, delegates from 193 countries took part in the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen in an attempt to form an agreement on how to
combat global warming beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.
Regulation: An initiative to suspend California's draconian climate law has qualified for the November ballot. The people can now choose between jobs and junk science and
fight hot air at the ballot box.
The story of the IPCC's claims about threats to the Amazon rainforest takes another bizarre turn, says Christopher Booker
The Amazongate story looks as though it may run for a considerable time. We have had, in rapid succession, a crowing article from George Monbiot, a fighting response from Delingpole and now articles from Booker in the Telegraph and North on EU Referendum.
It seems clear that the Sunday Times withdrew its article without a adjudication being made - it's not on the PCC's list of cases adjudicated and Monbiot says that the ST withdrew the article in order to avoid an adverse ruling. Strangely though, the case doesn't appear in the list of cases resolved - i.e. negotiated settlements - either. (Bishop Hill)
That's her. She's cute, isn't she?
But that's not the point here.
Judithgate: IPCC relied on one solar physicist (autom. transl. to EN, klimaskeptik.cz, Thursday)and it went viral. Judithgate has joined the dozens of similar scandals revealing the true character of the IPCC activities. By the way, Sean Carroll has hid his head in the sand and he decided that the ClimateGate has evaporated. Congratulations to your solution to the problem, Sean, but don't get suffocated!
The situation is even more awkward because the IPCC really relied on a single paper - and Ms Lean is a co-author
Lean J., Roltmann G., Harder J., Kopp G.: Source contributions to new understanding of global change and solar variability, Sol. Phys., 230, 27-53, 2005- to claim that the solar activity didn't rise when the global climate was heating up a little bit in the recent decades. There were no other solar physicists or astrophysicists in the IPCC.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
Still running the tired old "it's worse than we thought" line: Dire climate change warning to Australia
AN international conference on the Gold Coast this week will hear Australia will be one of the hardest hit developed countries when climate change starts to bite.
A globally endangered butterfly is making a comeback in Britain thanks to climate change.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 25, 2010 — Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are planning a large-scale, long-term ecosystem experiment to test
the effects of global warming on the icy layers of arctic permafrost.
Without aggressive action to reduce soot emissions, the time table for carbon dioxide emission reductions may need to be significantly accelerated in order to achieve
international climate policy goals such as those set forth in last December's Copenhagen Accord, according to "Assessing the climatic benefits of black carbon
mitigation," a study published online June 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
A chain of past natural events may hold lessons for the future
Guest Weblog Post By Antonis Christofides
If you gave me the following paper after replacing the author’s examples of econometric and energy models with climate models, I could not have told it had been written in 1981.
Ascher, W. (1981). The forecasting potential of complex models. Policy Sciences, 13(3), 247-267. doi:10.1007/BF00138485
Here are some extracts.
On the contrast between bad performance record and large volume of research:
Unless forecasters are completely ignorant of the performance record, or are attracted solely by the promotional advantages of the scientific aura of modeling, they can only be attracted to its potential benefits not yet realized.
On the difficulty of retrospective evaluation of model performance when there are competing scenarios:
When no scenario is designated as most likely, the scenarios must be regarded as exogenous factors, whose likelihoods are not at issue in the modeling exercise. The model produces a set of projections, each posited as correct if the corresponding condition or scenario were to hold, but without implying that any particular one will hold or that some are more likely than others. In this case, the retrospective evaluation of forecast accuracy must proceed by first establishing which condition actually prevailed, and then measure the discrepancy between the projection tied to that condition and the actual level of the predicted trend. If it is still too early to evaluate a set of conditional forecasts retrospectively, the spread of conditional forecasts of the same trend for the same year can be used as one indication of uncertainty or minimum error, but only if the conditional is the same for every forecast of the set.
On using model consensus to judge model validity:
[E]ven the agreement across models need not be an indication of validity; they could all be wrong. For example, all energy models predicting the 1975 levels of U.S. electricity, petroleum, and total energy consumption projected these levels higher than they actually turned out to be. This confident consensus was no guarantee that the models were correct then; any consensus among models’ predictions in the future may be equally misleading.
… [S]imilar models undergoing similar judgmental censorship by modelers holding similar outlooks on the future can so easily reassure all parties that the future is seen with certainty.
On using the fact that models are physically based as an argument for model correctness:
Complex models are formulated by specifying assumptions and hypothesized relationships as explicit, usually mathematical propositions. While this procedure is often very helpful in uncovering inconsistency and vagueness in the initial ideas or verbal formulations, it cannot establish the correctness of the model’s propositions. Models express assumptions, but do not validate them. If the modeler tries to ensure the validity of the model’s propositions by focusing on disaggregated behavior of presumably greater regularity, the problem of reaggregating these behaviors to model overall patterns becomes another potential source of error. If the modeler only includes relationships proven by past experience, there is no guarantee they will hold in the future. There is no procedure or format of model specification that guarantees the validity of this specification.
On the effort required:
Since rigorous, elaborate analysis [of models and their outputs] is time consuming and expensive, there has been a natural tendency for forecasters to pour their efforts into grand, once-and-for-all projects, carried out only infrequently and yet used long after they are produced because the immense effort makes them seem definitive.
On the likelihood of modelers to reconsider:
[A]fter the modeler has spent years developing optimization routines, apparent violations of … assumptions are more likely to be accommodated by patchwork modifications, or disregarded altogether as short-term aberrations, than they are to trigger the abandonment of the model altogether.
… [M]odel revision, which seems to the cynic to be an ad hoc effort to keep a fundamentally misspecified model more-or-less in line with reality, is often regarded by the model builder as the normal routine of science.
(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
The idea to sequester carbon is gaining support as a way to avoid global warming. For example, the European Union plans to invest billions of Euros within the next ten years
to develop carbon capture and storage whereby CO2 will be extracted at power plants and other combustion sites and stored underground. But how effective is this procedure and
what are the long-term consequences of leakage for the oceans and climate? A Niels Bohr Institute researcher has now cast light upon these issues. This research has just been
published in the scientific journal, Nature Geoscience.
In what passes for debate about climate change one of the most tiresome allegations is that skeptics are lavishly funded by big oil. As a result of this funding, so the
argument goes, the public has been confused by those who'll say anything in exchange for a paycheck.
The Obama administration’s efforts to suspend deepwater oil drilling were dealt another setback in court on Thursday when the federal judge who struck down the
administration’s six-month moratorium refused to delay the decision’s effects. .
U.S. Coast Guard
The BP oil-rig explosion. The U.S. turned down an offer of Dutch technology that might have reduced the spill’s impact.
June 25, 2010 - 9:06 pm
How U.S. labour and environmental rules blocked Dutch spill-cleanup technology
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. “Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour,” Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn’t capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana’s marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.
Read More (Financial Post)
June 25, 2010 – 9:05 pm
Liberals look at capitalist enterprise as a carcass to be hacked up
A “soft-spoken” American BP executive, Bob Dudley, is to take over the political ducking stool from CEO Tony Hayward, while also attempting to deal with the Gulf oil spill. Mr. Dudley knows something about political risk. One of his previous jobs was as head of BP’s Russian joint venture, TNKBP. Mr. Dudley was forced to leave Russia under physical threat during a dispute with BP’s state-backed oligarch partners.
Another example of oil politics, Russian style, is in the news. Former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is already serving eight years for alleged tax evasion, is on trial in a glass cage in Moscow, charged — somewhat improbably — with stealing 350 million barrels of oil. His real offence was to challenge the authority of then Russian president — now Prime Minister — Vladimir Putin.
Yet another reminder of the dangerous world of multinational oil came this week from Venezuela. There the government of Hugo Chavez, whose hero is dictator Fidel Castro, announced the nationalization of 11 oil rigs belonging to a U.S. company, Helmerich & Payne. It seems that Helmerich was part of a plot to undermine the government by making extraordinary demands — such as that Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA might pay its bills.
BP too has had experience with Mr. Chavez, who three years ago nationalized the company’s operations in the Orinoco region, then “persuaded” them to be a minority partner.
Read More (Financial Post)
From finger-pointing at the Copenhagen climate summit to a flurry of new project approvals, 2010 started with a bang for the Canadian oil sands industry.
A judge found Syncrude Canada Ltd, Canada's largest oil sands producer, guilty on Friday in the deaths of 1,600 ducks that landed on a toxic Northern Alberta tailings pond
in 2008, ruling the company should have had deterrents in place.
I’ve been looking through the International Energy Agency's new forecast for medium term oil and natural gas markets, issued yesterday. In contrast to the IEA’s warnings of last summer concerning an imminent oil supply crunch, the agency now sees ample supplies to accommodate the level of demand growth it anticipates for the next five years. Yet while this scenario does not envision a peak in global oil supplies before 2015, its components offer ample cause for concern about the growing market power of OPEC and the risk of geopolitical disruptions. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)
by Robert Bryce (Guest Blogger)
Making fun of T. Boone Pickens is easy. But give him his due: he’s right about using more natural gas in the transportation sector. That concept makes economic sense for many fleet operators.
But – and it’s a big but – Pickens has grossly exaggerated the ability of the U.S. to make a quick transition to natural gas fueled vehicles. On the Pickens Plan website (PickensPlan.com), the billionaire claims that using more wind power and “increasing the use of our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years.”
That’s an easy claim to make. But Pickens can’t do it. And he can’t do it even if he were somehow able to manage a 100-fold increase in the number of natural gas-fueled vehicles in the U.S. and do so in just ten years. Building a large fleet of natural gas vehicles – and more importantly, the refueling infrastructure to support them – will take decades, not years. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
WASHINGTON — Natural gas will provide an increasing share of America’s energy needs over the next several decades, doubling its share of the energy market to 40 percent,
from 20 percent, according to a report to be released Friday by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
by Robert Bradley Jr.
The smartest guys in the electricity room believe that a path to energy efficiency and environmental goodness is to hook up so-called smart meters for us little users. The smart machines would signal (jolt?) us to use less power in peak times when the price is high and to use power more when the price is low.
But the very concept has problems aplenty. First, time-of-use pricing for residentials (versus commercial and industrial customers) is a nice ‘green’ theory, not fact. Some states like California do not want or allow such residential pricing because of equity concerns.
Second, so-called smart meters are all about government (taxpayer) and class ratepayer subsidies, not stand-alone economics between willing buyers and sellers.
Third, there is the hassle factor (called transaction costs) of setting up appliances with time-of-day usage. Relatedly, (in)flexibility costs are incurred.
And last but not least, smart meters are intrusive. Big Environmental Brother lurks behind each smart meter to tell you what to do and when to do it. Civil libertarians take note of this government-dependent machine.
Smart meters as ENERGY POLICY appear to be penny-wise and pound foolish. But members of an eco-energy elite want to individually pay by the pound to impress the neighbors and save the world, let them be ‘early adopters’. And perhaps these special users should also pay the costs of utility manpower in setting up time-of-day pricing to leave nonusers whole. Such is life under public utility regulation.
Make no mistake: smart meters are not a ‘let-the-market decide’ proposition. If they were, utility customers could decide individually and on a stand-alone basis whether or not to buy and install the meters. This should be an individual demander-to-provider proposition without other ratepayers or taxpayers involvement.
One final point: the federal budget is in horrendous deficit. Smart-meter money earmarked for Maryland should not be redistributed by the Department of Energy to other states as planned. The monies should be axed from the budget, reducing the deficit on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
And by removing this component of the program, the broader Smart Grid investment concept, which has all the earmarks of a rate base perversity as explained by Robert Michaels, can be given a reality check as well.
The recent explosions in Massey’s Upper Big Branch coal mine and on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig highlight the tragedy of workplace fatalities. Though improvement in statistical averages do little to lessen the loss of those whose loved ones have died, the American workplace has gotten safer which means fewer will be grieving. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reached a record low in 2008: 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers. Yet with the recent noted losses in the oil and coal industries, some might think that workplace fatalities could be reduced even more by moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The facts suggest the opposite.
The largest source of new renewable energy is wind power, which accounts for 62 percent of renewable electricity generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t publish accident data specifically for the wind-power industry, but the Caithness Windfarms Information Forum (CWIF) has created a list of fatalities for the wind industry worldwide. The list is compiled from news reports and is unlikely to be comprehensive. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
The Commonwealth Fund released yet another misleading study yesterday pretending to show that America has a worse healthcare system than six other countries, including Britain and Canada…which just happen to be the poster children of national healthcare.
The sycophantic media have already churned out more than 250 articles on the “study.” Time headlined it: "US spends more, but gets less”.
Democracy: It's an awful thing in a country when its people no longer believe the government protects them and their rights. Yet, a new poll shows that's exactly where
Americans are headed right now.
CHICAGO - Nine out of 10 Americans eat too much salt with most of them getting more than twice the recommended amount, according to a survey by U.S. government researchers.
They won't like this then: More than a pinch of salt to breathe easier
NEW YORK, - When Svetlana Dushin's mother told her to take her six-year-old daughter who was suffering coughing spells to a salt room she had no hesitations.
According to a Eurobarometer survey, a majority of people don't trust scientists. The only way to reverse this trend is for academics to step up their efforts to communicate with the public, writes Eoin Lettice (The Guardian)
NEW YORK - Stroke rates among women in their late 30s to early 50s have tripled over the past two decades and researchers suspect a parallel rise in obesity may be playing a
NEW YORK - People with the skin condition atopic dermatitis may be at greater risk of getting cancer than those without it, new research hints.
Monica Scott The Grand Rapids Press
Update: State Senate calls for EPA to change rule classifying cow’s milk as oil
GRAND RAPIDS — Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.
But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.
The former VP is all over the news today. Not just because a masseuse accused him of "unwanted sexual contact," but because he has vague plans for
LONDON - The 10-year-old Human Genome Project has only just begun to bring to fruition its promise to transform medicine, its founders said on Thursday.
Large corporations, not small-scale farmers, are now the major forces behind the destruction of the world’s tropical forests. From the Amazon to Madagascar, activists have been directing their actions at these companies — so far with limited success. (Rhett Butler, e360)
A battle is under way in the British countryside to fight off plans for massive factory farms that would house thousands of animals in industrialised units without access to
traditional grazing or foraging.
A restaurant in Mesa, Arizona is selling lion meat burgers. Enter the animal rights activists:
But why? Lions are listed as “threatened.” The best way to save threatened and endangered species is to…eat them.
President Obama's speech to the nation last week about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico followed a predictable script. Whenever a problem confronts this administration,
the president's answer is sure to include one of a trio of his 2008 campaign initiatives: health care reform, action to address climate change or education reform.
California environmentalists opened fire on Wednesday on a measure approved for the state's November ballot that would roll back a landmark law regulating greenhouse gas
The EU policy on CO2 emissions has turned into a mindless, obsessed monster that cares not about climate, people or the planet. And it is getting its hands dirty with the lives of those it refuses to save.
In fact: the EU Commission has just let everybody know that the wholly preventable, daily killing of more than 4,000 people by black carbon (soot) is not a “top priority” and “should not divert attention away from carbon dioxide“.
It gets worse.
The reason for dismissing any attempt at limiting black carbon? It’s because “more research must be carried out to ascertain its impact more accurately“. Impact on what? On global warming. Yes: because, according to Frank Raes, head of the climate change unit at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), black carbon is “‘likely’ to contribute to climate change” but “the regional impacts of black carbon may be even more significant than its global warming effect” (my emphasis). Also, “the existence of both black and white aerosols, with warming and cooling impacts, makes it less straightforward to make a case for political action on black carbon“.
Talk about choosing the wrongest path.
Reduction of black carbon emissions is by far the easiest, clearest, fastest way to solve a lot of issues, in a win-win scenario that would include Himalayan glaciers and the rescuing of little children from certain death via easily-approved legislation:
Even the “EU policymakers speaking in Brussels” on 22 June say as much. According to EurActiv.com, “the health implications of particulate pollution make a compelling case for tackling black carbon, speakers agreed. Like other small particulates, it causes premature death and respiratory disease, they claimed“.
2. Mainstream science agrees: black carbon contributes to warming.
The IPCC AR4 reported the radiative forcing of black carbon as a total of +0.3 W/m2, not far from methane’s. And “given black carbon’s relatively short lifespan, reducing black carbon emissions would reduce warming within weeks“. Why, “tackling black carbon [may] have a beneficial impact on the climate only 5-10 years after its emissions are cut“.
3. Black carbon is also an issue that could be tackled immediately.
Seventy percent of it comes from “Open biomass burning (forest and savanna burning)“, “Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies” and “Residential coal burned with traditional technologies“. In South-East Asia, “the majority of soot emissions [...] are due to biofuel cooking“. There isn’t anything particularly difficult preventing drastic reductions, and in fact “developed nations have reduced their black carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources by a factor of 5 or more since 1950“. Sometimes, all it takes is a new stove, and access to better fuel than dessicated cow dung.
4. By dealing with black carbon, an example of future emission-related interventions could be set.
Policy-wise, the reduction of black carbon emissions is extremely easy: there is no “black carbon skeptic”, no “black carbon is natural” blog, no “alternative consensus on black carbon” international conference. No fossil-fuel-industry lobbyst has ever pushed against limiting black carbon emissions, and anybody and everybody can be easily convinced that there is something wrong in freeing up in the atmosphere notoriously unhealthy particulates.
Black carbon should be the “motherhood and apple pie” of environmental policy, and legislation and aid organization and distribution regarding the reduction in black carbon emissions could be in place in weeks.. Have a look at this video (from here):
And still…since black carbon may contribute to regional instead of global warming (as if anybody cared about the difference), plus it might or might not have cooling impacts in the form of “white aerosols”, then the cabinet of the EU Climate Action Commissioner simply does not want “the black carbon discussion to distract from the EU’s focus on cutting CO2 emissions“.
In other words: current EU policy is to cut CO2 emissions, rather than to do anything to the climate, or the well-being of anybody on this planet.
The monster of AGW/CO2 obsession is now fully in action.
ps What if the EU ”is already dealing with the problem under its air quality legislation“? Well, so much for the global focus of climate action…also, somebody should be made aware of how far black carbon can travel from where it has been emitted…
pps Is any AGWer suggesting that black carbon emissions could be a good thing, regarding their cooling impacts, and who cares about dying children?
ppps Bastards! (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)
JULIA Gillard has made no concrete commitment on when to put a price on carbon emissions, despite former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urging his party to try passing an
emissions trading scheme after the election.
June 24, 2010 – 11:35 am
In her first speech as Australia’s new prime minister, Julia Gillard assured her nation that she will not be rushing in any climate change policies, and certainly not carbon taxes, because there is no consensus on the need for carbon taxes. Gillard is known for her strong support of unions and tepid support of action on climate change.
Gillard replaces Kevin Rudd, a fellow Labour party member and sitting prime minister who was unceremoniously bounced by his party, in part for his global warming position. The ruling Labour Party is staring at defeat against the opposition Liberal Party under Tony Abbott, who last year led a revolt against his own pro-global warming leader. As has the Australian public, the Liberal Party has turned against the conventional wisdom on global warming.
While affirming her support for renewable energy and other emerging technologies, and her belief that man contributes to climate change, Gillard shelved any notion that Australia would be seeing carbon taxes any time soon. Instead, she implied that Australia wouldn’t even argue for carbon taxes until the global economy recovered and until Australia’s economy could afford them. At that point, she implied, her advocacy of carbon taxes would be global in scope, implying that Australia wouldn’t go it alone by adopting its own carbon scheme:
“If elected as Prime Minister, I will re-prosecute the case for a carbon price at home and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve and as our economy continues to strengthen,” she explained.
How long is she prepared to wait before implementing carbon taxes? Maybe forever.
“First, we will need to establish a community consensus for action,” Gillard told reporters after her election as Labor leader. Then, she explained, she would take “as long as I need to” to win over the community.
is an 95-year-old Australian scientist who helped to eradicate smallpox. He wrote a 3.5-kilogram book on it, too.
He also believed that humanity's impact on earth is much worse than the ice age and even a comet's hitting on the planet. Without science and carbon dioxide, ancient people could live for 40 to 50 thousands of years, but current human being cannot make it any more.You could have guessed one culprit: it's global warming (and carbon dioxide), of course, However, the other villain is science itself. Good job, Mr Fenner.
However, this conclusion indicates that there exist two things that are worse than global warming and science, namely senility and gullibility.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
SAN DIEGO -- Tell us what you don't know.
Judge Lance Ito lost control of the O. J. Simpson trial when he allowed speculation without a shred of evidence. Defense counsel Johnny Cochrane was able to sow seeds of doubt by his speculations and it found fertile ground in the jury’s mind. The entire Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) structure and work was designed to convince the public either with no facts or falsely created ones. Once these were established the speculation of impending doom could begin.
Structure of the IPCC begins with Working Group I outlining an unproven speculation that academics call a hypothesis, which is defined as, “a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.” In this case they proposed that CO2 is a gas that causes global temperature to rise and it will continue to increase in volume in the atmosphere because human activity, particularly energy production, will continue to expand.
As evidence accumulated it showed the hypothesis was not proven. Indeed, nobody has produced a record that shows a CO2 increase preceding a temperature increase.
Despite this, Working Group II assumes global warming is occurring and speculates on the impact it will have. It is a meaningless exercise and the area where much of the incorrect information was used and many of the non peer-reviewed articles are cited.
Working Group III take the speculations of Group II and propose strategies for offsetting them to achieve the goals of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This is stated in the introduction of the 2007 Report as, “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” So they come full circle as they claim to have proved scientifically what was necessary to achieve their original goal. The hypothesis was not proved, nonetheless, the speculation of impact ensued and totally inappropriate recommendations presented. Policy based on speculation that is a product of speculation is frighteningly normal in this Age of Speculation. (CFP)
Poor ol' moonbat, screwed the pooch, again: A Moonbat too far
Now that the IPCC has been vindicated, its accusers, North first among them, are exposed for peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood. Ashes to ashes, toast to toast.And while I am very much in favour of open debate, even I tend to draw a line at being accused on the website of a national paper of "peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood."
This is not debate. It is libel. Booker's advice on these things tends to be to avoid getting into a fight with a chimney sweep – for obvious reasons – but this is also a case of Moonbat going too far. And, since he is so keen on the PCC, I thought that this would be a good place to start. (Richard North, EU Referendum)
One season of Australian bushfires can cause as much CO2 as the annual emissions of 5 million Australians or 50 million Chinese people (The Guardian)
Klimaskeptik.cz, a Czech climate skeptic blog, has posted today an interesting article "Judithgate: The IPCC was only one Solar Physicist" (google rough translation). Her name is Judith Lean (photo at right). On the basis of this "consensus of one" solar physicist, the IPCC proclaimed solar influences upon the climate to be minimal. Objection to this was raised by the Norwegian government as shown in the AR4 second draft comments below (and essentially dismissed by the IPCC): "I would encourage the IPCC to [re-]consider having only one solar physicist on the lead author team of such an important chapter. In particular since the conclusion of this section about solar forcing hangs on one single paper in which J. Lean is a coauthor. I find that this paper, which certainly can be correct, is given too much weight"...:
Klimaskeptic.cz continues [google translation + editing]: "As I wrote elsewhere (article on pmode ACRIM), Judith Lean, along with Claus Frohlich, are responsible for the scandalous rewriting of graphs of solar activity. Satellites showed that the TSI (measured in watts) between 1986 and 96 increased by about one third. Judith Lean and Claus Frohlich (authors of the single study noted above) "manipulated" the data. People who were in charge of the satellites and created the original graphs (the world's best astrophysics: Doug Hoyt, Richard C. Willson), protested in vain against such manipulation. Wilson: "Fröhlich has made changes that are wrong ... He did not have sufficient knowledge of (satellite) Nimbus7 ... pmode composites are useful for those who argue that global warming may be primarily due to anthropogenic causes." [cautionary note English->Czech->English translation of Wilson]
...Since the appropriate questions were not asked, the IPCC knows little about the sun. While the rest of the IPCC AR4 is rich in graphics, there is not a single graph of cosmic radiation, solar cycle lengths, or geomagnetism - which is very strange because they are important indicators of solar activity. The IPCC reports should be a comprehensive, complete summary of current scientific knowledge. It's due to the fact that these indicators say what alarmists don't want to hear. These indicators of rising solar activity 1970-1990s show global warming (in whole or in substantial part) can be explained naturally and is not the fault of humans. The IPCC deliberately hid these graphs from readers under the principle of hide the decline."
The graphs the IPCC didn't want you to see:
Earth temperature correlated to solar activity. The blue line is a reconstruction of solar activity. (Jones 1993).
Black is the Northern hemisphere temperature (Jones 1993).
Graph from IPCC AR4 showing global temperatures in black and modeled temperatures in blue assuming no anthropogenic forcing. The graph allegedly proves that anthropogenic greenhouse emissions must be the cause of global warming, but since the increase in solar activity 1970-1990 seen in the graph above is not taken into account, the blue model is inadequate and proves nothing. (added: The models also fail to account for the huge influences of ocean oscillations.)
The IPCC conclusion about human influence on climate - and plans for reworking the entire energy economy on the basis of the carbon footprint - stands and falls with the question of how significant is the influence of solar activity. Yet the IPCC devoted only a few paragraphs to this essential topic, and based the "consensus" on a single astronomer, who agreed with herself. (The Hockey Schtick)
(The Daily Bayonet)
But it could get bad, honest! Sea ice in the Arctic does not recover
Researchers from German Alfred Wegener Institute and KlimaCampus present forecasts on September minimum
Anaerobic manure treatment lagoons may release more methane that current rules allow
Another "tipping point" scare story invalidated: Higher wetland methane emissions caused by climate warming 40,000 years ago
No clathrate gun
by Des Moore
Human-driven changes in the earth's atmospheric composition are likely to alter plant diseases of the future. Researchers predict carbon dioxide will reach levels double
those of the preindustrial era by the year 2050, complicating agriculture's need to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population.
What follows is the text of the speech I gave at Townhall Magazine’s 100 Americans Most Hated by the Left awards dinner that I attended last night in Washington, DC.
There were 96 recipients (95, actually) who spoke before me, and most were well worth listening to. I will briefly review a few of the highlights….
Glenn Beck went first, being Townhall’s pick for the coveted, #1 Most Hated spot. His was also the longest acceptance speech. Glenn could have left the blackboard at home, but I admit I did learn some American history.
Rush Limbaugh, who took the #3 spot, could not attend due to a prior commitment. The rumor was that he was flying oil-soaked pelicans, his favorite bird, in his private jet from Louisiana to his Palm Beach mansion, where he was washing them off with Dawn in the swimming pool.
And, no, Dawn is not the name of his new wife. That’s Kathryn.
Everyone was snickering as Ms. Number 5, Ann Coulter, approached the podium. Before the start of the dinner, everyone in the first row of tables was secretly given a whipped cream pie to throw at her. Just as Ann approached the mic and opened her mouth, about ten people rushed the lectern with arms raised.
Ann deftly ducked, weaved and, miraculously, every last pie missed her. “I’ve had lots of practice”, she quipped.
After 4 hours and 92 recipients later, there were only about a dozen people left in the dining hall: Numbers 98, 99, 100, myself, and eight Townhall staff. All of the magazine staff had either passed out, or simply fell asleep…I couldn’t tell which.
Those remaining perked up, though, after I announced there might be a pop quiz following my speech if they didn’t pay attention.
So, here’s how it went down…
“Wow, thank you! Thank you so much!! Thank you!..(applause subsides)…I must say, this was a total surprise to me. There are so many people who are so much more deserving of being hated by the Left in this country. But Townhall has graciously included me….and I am deeply grateful…”
“…There are many people to whom I owe thanks for making me so despised. But I am most indebted to all of those who do not want global warming to be due to Mother Nature. They want it to be our fault. In their zeal to make energy too expensive for the poorest of the world to afford, they continually criticize my research, research which has exposed the shoddy science underpinning the theory that climate change is caused by your SUV and your incandescent light bubs.”
(still more applause)
“Yes, it has been a long road. But for those of us who dare to utter alternative hypotheses to explain climate change, we will continue to blaze a new trail for future scientists!”
“Scientists who will no longer have to twist their research results just to get funding, or to get papers published!”
“Scientists who will dare to follow where the evidence leads them! Scientists who, someday, might not be pressured to stay with the herd any longer. Who can stop thinking inside the box, and who no longer have to bow to the wishes of politicians who are heavily invested in the carbon trading market!”
(still more applause)
“As I stand upon the shoulders of those scientists who came before me, who dared to change the direction of science, I will continue to suffer the slings and arrows from the Deniers of Natural Climate Change!”
“I ACCEPT this honor which Townhall Magazine has bestowed upon me! Thank You!”
There was then a standing ovation as I smoothly and confidently strode from the podium!
(OK, so I made that part up. I tripped and almost fell.)
By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that I was overheard offering Chris Field a couple of signed books if he could get me into the Top 50 on next year’s list.
Tapes and mp3’s of all 99 presentations can be bought wherever they are sold. (Roy W. Spencer)
With each passing day, as more news reports explain what happened aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the hours before the accident, it becomes ever clearer that BP’s mismanagement of the Macondo well was responsible for the disastrous blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)
One of the reoccurring questions surrounding the Gulf oil spill is why there wasn’t better technology in place to cap the leak and contain the slick. Although the rigs are equipped with a blowout preventer, which failed, many are wondering why other preventative mechanisms were not readily available. Technologies that typically take months or even years to develop were being tested and implemented within weeks. Part of the problem, unsurprisingly, was the government underestimating the environmental effects of a spill. The Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson and Neil King Jr. write:
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
The future of BP’s offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico has been thrown into doubt by the recent drilling disaster and court wrangling over a moratorium.
The author of a damning study about the failure of Spain's "green jobs" program — a story broken here at PJM — received the threatening package on Tuesday from solar energy company Thermotechnic.
June 24, 2010
Spain’s Dr. Gabriel Calzada — the author of a damning study concluding that Spain’s “green jobs” energy program has been a catastrophic economic failure — was mailed a dismantled bomb on Tuesday by solar energy company Thermotechnic.
Dr. Calzada contacted a terrorism expert to handle the package. The expert first performed a scan of the package, then opened it in front of a journalist, Dr. Calzada, and a private security expert.
The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:
Dr. Calzada added:
The bomb threat is just the latest intimidation Dr. Calzada has faced since releasing his report and following up with articles in Expansion (a Spanish paper similar to the Financial Times). A minister from Spain’s Socialist government called the rector of King Juan Carlos University — Dr. Calzada’s employer — seeking Calzada’s ouster. Calzada was not fired, but he was stripped of half of his classes at the university. The school then dropped its accreditation of a summer university program with which Calzada’s think tank — Instituto Juan de Mariana — was associated.
Additionally, the head of Spain’s renewable energy association and the head of its communist trade union wrote opinion pieces in top Spanish newspapers accusing Calzada of being “unpatriotic” — they did not charge him with being incorrect, but of undermining Spain by daring to write the report.
Their reasoning? If the skepticism that Calzada’s revelations prompted were to prevail in the U.S., Spanish industry would face collapse should U.S. subsidies and mandates dry up.
As I have previously reported at PJM (here and here), Spain’s “green jobs” program was repeatedly referenced by President Obama as a model for what he would like to implement in the United States. Following the release of Calzada’s report, Spain’s Socialist government has since acknowledged the debacle — both privately and publicly. This month, Spain’s government instituted massive reductions in subsidies to “renewable” energy sources.
Dr. Calzada is a friend of mine, kindly writing a blurb for the jacket of my latest book: Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America. My book details the Spanish “green jobs” disaster uncovered by Dr. Calzada, plus similar “green” economic calamities occurring in Germany and Denmark — also programs Obama has praised — as well as in Italy and elsewhere.
As I detail in Power Grab, they felt Spain would be in a dire position without the U.S. playing the role of sucker. With today’s revelation, now we know just how far the “green energy” lobby will go to keep the money flowing.
(Click here for coverage on this incident from Spanish media.)
Christopher Horner is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and author of the recently-published Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America. (PJM)
by Mary Hutzler
Wind is not a new technology. It was one of our principal sources of energy, along with wood and water, prior to the carbon era. But the use of renewables in the pre-carbon age was very different from the current use of renewables. Today, people rely on energy being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, regardless of whether the sun shines, the wind blows, or there are high or low water levels. We now have over 1,000 gigawatts of generating plants, and a large and elaborate electrical grid that requires great coordination among system operators to avoid disruptions.
Also, in the pre-carbon energy era, when renewables were the sole source of energy, there were no coal-fired or natural-gas fired power plants to provide back-up power. Studies have found that the efficiency of those carbon-based plants is affected by incorporating wind energy into the system. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne will today champion the Coalition Government’s ‘Green Deal’, pledging a “radical overhaul” of the country’s
The European Union is considering 12 more years of state aid for coal, a draft European Commission document showed, even as the Group of 20 prepared to discuss phasing out
fossil fuel subsidies this weekend.
Health Care: The White House unveiled Tuesday its patients' bill of rights. It is grossly misnamed. Though some of its provisions might help a few sick Americans, conditions
will be far worse for most.
Posted by Michael F. Cannon
LONDON - British scientists who conducted the largest study yet into cell phone towers and childhood cancers say that living close to one does not increase the risk of a
pregnant woman's baby developing cancer.
Wow! Even The Guardian published it: No link to child cancer from phone masts, finds study
Imperial College London researchers dismiss link between living near mobile phone masts while pregnant and risk of cancer among children (The Guardian)
NEW YORK - Asthmatic children with relatively low vitamin D levels in their blood may have a greater risk of suffering severe asthma attacks than those with higher levels of
the vitamin, a new study suggests.
In the previous post, I looked at the first of Martin Rees Reith Lectures. The President of the Royal Society believed that there is ‘a 50 percent chance of a setback to
civilisation as bad as a nuclear war, or some consequence of 21st century technology equally serious’ occurring before this century is out. On this view, the dangers we have
created for ourselves are so great that the notion of citizenship has to be rethought. Science is no longer limited to laboratories. It has transformed the human condition. It
has created previously inconceivable possibilities of liberation, but also created the possibility of our annihilation. All it would take is one bad egg…
by Bill Muehlenberg
Common sense these days has been thrown out the window, so we must reaffirm and defend basic truths. One such truth is that of human exceptionalism – humans are special
and unique. But that truism is under attack today from various quarters, including the animal liberation brigade.
Medical research would be materially impeded. There would be no more fishing fleets, cattle ranches, leather shoes, steak barbecues, animal parks, bomb-sniffing or Seeing Eye dogs, wool coats, fish farms, horseback riding, pet stores... Millions of people would be thrown out of work, our enjoyment of life would be substantially diminished. Our welfare and prosperity reduced.
Indeed, all domestication of animals would be taboo. There goes the family pet. And there goes human uniqueness and dignity. All in the name of a fanatical ideology which will even resort to threats of murder to achieve its aims. This book carefully documents the ideology, the tactics and the fanaticism of this growing movement. (Quadrant)
Hickman gives Strong another free pass: Maurice Strong: Ignore Glenn Beck – I don't want to rule the world
What I do want, says the man self-labelled 'the planet's leading environmentalist', is for nations to co-operate fully on issues they cannot deal with alone (The Guardian)
Increased mortality is linked to chronic diseases with a 70 percent increased mortality risk among those with the highest level of exposure
Discoveries about tropical coral reefs are expected to be invaluable in efforts to restore the corals, which are succumbing to bleaching and other diseases at an unprecedented rate as ocean temperatures rise worldwide. The research gives new insights into how the scientists can help to preserve or restore the coral reefs that protect coastlines, foster tourism, and nurture many species of fish. The research, which will be published in the journal PLoS One, was accomplished by an international team whose leaders include Iliana Baums, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State University. (ScienceDaily)
"After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that
everything in the universe is merely ideal. I observed that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the
alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it - ‘I refute it thus.'" Life of
Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell
OTTAWA--The Canadian government said Wednesday it will invest an additional C$400 million this fiscal year to help with international climate-change efforts, an announcement
that comes just days before the country hosts the G-8 and G-20 Summits.
June 23, 2010 – 11:14 pm
Prentice’s coal plan another reason to think cap and trade is dead
Scrubbing Canada clean of dirty coal-powered electricity generation was Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s announced objective yesterday — all part of the Conservative government’s attempt to turn Canada into a “clean energy superpower.” To that end, Ottawa is going to use the blunt instrument of regulation. In early 2011, Environment Canada said it will issue directives to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.
For coal, that means shutting down 33 coal-fired generating units from Alberta to Nova Scotia. “Our regulation will be very clear,” said Mr. Prentice. “When each coal-burning unit reaches the end of its economic life, it will have to meet the new standards or close down.” Coal industry people say this is mostly old news, and may be more related to putting a green face on Canada in the run-up to the G8/G20 summits and to appease activists who portray Canada as a climate change policy laggard.
Climate scientist giving evidence for the Plane Stupid defence says 80% target will not prevent 'dangerous' climate change
A shameful day in the history of science. The once esteemed National Academy of Science is reduced to pagan witchcraft: point the bone at the blacklist, count the tea-leaf-citations, put on your funny hat and make a prophesy about the weather.
Some critics are saying the survey is flawed because it uses artificial groupings. Artificial be damned — the survey is flawed because it’s a waste-of-time work of anti-science for even existing. Science is not a democracy. Natural laws don’t form because anyone says so, and the only way to find out the answer is to … look at the evidence. Doh.
This adulation of individuals and tests of character, “success”, or popularity is the anti-thesis of what the great brains-trust of science ought to do. In science all minds test their theories against the universe, and only the real world matters. The petty world of human reputations is steeped in bias and conflicts of interest with personality defects and political power grabs, not to mention the corrupting influence of money. Science achieved vast success for civilization by freeing us from exactly this cess-pool of complexity, to rise above the posturing and consider only impartial observations.
Which Doctor or Witchdoctors?
Since the dawn of time tribal witchdoctors have been forecasting storms and asking us to pay tribute to their idols. The NAS has descended into abject farce. Argument by authority is the disguise of the witchdoctor — Trust me, I am the chosen one. More » (Jo Nova)
A new study published in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences has compared the qualifications and publication histories of climate change skeptics to
those of Anthropogenic global warming proponents.
A recent peer-reviewed paper "Expert credibility in climate change" was published in the PNAS, apparently demonstrating the computer illiteracy of it's authors and PNAS reviewers. Their "results" were obtained by searching Google Scholar using the search terms: "author:fi-lastname climate". By default Google Scholar is set to search both "articles and patents" yet no mention of searching only for articles is in the paper. So why were they searching for climate patents and how is a patent that contains the search word "climate" a relevant "climate publication"? (Popular Technology)
GENEVA — The U.N. science body on climate change, accused of ignoring its critics and allowing glaring errors to creep into its work, announced Wednesday that a broader
range of experts will write its next report on global warming.
Drawing conclusions from really short term trends is not very smart: Climate Change May Favor Couch-Potato Elk
Heading for the hills every spring appears worse than staying put
For almost three decades, oceanographers have been puzzled by the ability of microscopic algae to grow in mid-ocean areas where there is very little nitrate, an essential algal nutrient. In this week's issue of Nature, MBARI chemical oceanographer Ken Johnson, along with coauthors Stephen Riser at the University of Washington and David Karl at the University of Hawaii, show that mid-ocean algae obtain nitrate from deep water, as much as 250 meters below the surface. This finding will help scientists predict how open-ocean ecosystems could respond to global warming. (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)
What do glaciers indicate? Much more than the local (or maybe even global!) temperature trends. In fact, read what The Register reports about the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in Antarctica:
As luck has it, around three years ago I did myself some research about the Upsala glacier in Patagonia, used by The New York Review of Books to illustrate an article by Bill McKibben. The juxtaposition of photographs of Upsale taken respectively in 1928 and 2004 was captioned along the lines of “most of the glacier [has] melted“.
As usual, it didn’t take much to find out how wrong the caption was – most of the Upsala glacier has not melted at all (a correction was published by the NYRB a few weeks later).
More interestingly though, what I did find were scholarly references attributing the glacier’s retreat to mechanical rather than climatic stresses, just as now for Pine Island’s. In other words, an understanding of glaciers like of everything else can’t be confined to quick glances at photographic “evidence”. Without a proper field study, and without a complete analysis of the situation, “global warming” has becoming the ultimate refuge for the climate (scientific) scoundrels.
Let’s hope the one thing that will come out of all these years of blacklists, tricks, and less-than-sincere “peer” review is a meme about the true complexity of the planet, to be studied with care and maybe even awe instead than in order to support one’s pet political project.
Indeed: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)
While there has been considerable discussion of errors in other working group reports of the 2007 IPCC assessment, there has been little discussion of errors in the WG1 report. I have documented obvious errors of omission (i.e. see) but in this post, I want to highlight a specific error in Figure caption [an e-mail exchange with Marcel Crok encouraged me to report on this]. I have identified this error in the past (e.g. see), but it is worth repeating here.
The erroneous IPCC text is in the caption to Figure SPM.2 (see);
IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
The figure caption reads [where I have highlighted the error in bold font]
While the footnote corrects this error; i.e.
the WG1 report leaves an erroneous impression in terms of how they present the radiative forcing estimates in figure SPM.2. Indeed, since some of the radiative forcing since 1750 presumably has equilibrated with an increase in global heat content, the actual 2005 radiative forcing must be less than the 1.6 Watts per meter squared that is presented in their figure.
I have reproduced below comments by James Annan and Gavin Schmidt on this subject that appeared in my January 4 2008 post.
A challenge for the next IPCC assessment, and for climate research in general, is what is the current (now 2010) global average radiative forcing? While there has been considerable discussion of the radiative imbalance (e.g. see) this imbalance includes both the radiative forcing and the radiative feedbacks.
This subject needs discussion in the next IPCC WG1 assessment, as well as a figure like SPM.2 but with the best estimate of the current radiative forcing. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
In perusing some of these papers, I find that the issue has been made unnecessarily complicated and obscure. I think part of the problem is that too many investigators have tried to approach the problem from the paradigm most of us have been misled by: believing that sensitivity can be estimated from the difference between two equilibrium climate states, say before the Pinatubo eruption, and then as the climate system responds to the Pinatubo aerosols. The trouble is that this is not possible unless the forcing remains constant, which clearly is not the case since most of the Pinatubo aerosols are gone after about 2 years.
Here I will briefly address the pertinent issues, and show what I believe to be the simplest explanation of what can — and cannot — be gleaned from the post-eruption response of the climate system. And, in the process, we will find that the climate system’s response to Pinatubo might not support the relatively high climate sensitivity that many investigators claim.
Radiative Forcing Versus Feedback
The simple model can be expressed in words as:
[system heat capacity] x[temperature change with time] = [Radiative Forcing] – [Radiative Feedback],
or with mathematical symbols as:
Cp*[dT/dt] = F – lambda*T .
Basically, this equation says that the temperature change with time [dT/dt] of a climate system with a certain heat capacity [Cp, dominated by the ocean depth over which heat is mixed] is equal to the radiative forcing [F] imposed upon the system minus any radiative feedback [lambda*T] upon the resulting temperature change. (The left side is also equivalent to the change in the heat content of the system with time.)
The feedback parameter (lambda, always a positive number if the above equation is expressed with a negative sign) is what we are interested in determining, because its reciprocal is the climate sensitivity. The net radiative feedback is what “tries” to restore the system temperature back to an equilibrium state.
Lambda represents the combined effect of all feedbacks PLUS the dominating, direct infrared (Planck) response to increasing temperature. This Planck response is estimated to be 3.3 Watts per sq. meter per degree C for the average effective radiating temperature of the Earth, 255K. Clouds, water vapor, and other feedbacks either reduce the total “restoring force” to below 3.3 (positive feedbacks dominate), or increase it above 3.3 (negative feedbacks dominate).
Note that even though the Planck effect behaves like a strong negative feedback, and is even included in the net feedback parameter, for some reason it is not included in the list of climate feedbacks. This is probably just to further confuse us.
If positive feedbacks were strong enough to cause the net feedback parameter to go negative, the climate system would potentially be unstable to temperature changes forced upon it. For reference, all 21 IPCC climate models exhibit modest positive feedbacks, with lambda ranging from 0.8 to 1.8 Watts per sq. meter per degree C, so none of them are inherently unstable.
This simple model captures the two most important processes in global-average temperature variability: (1) through energy conservation, it translates a global, top-of-atmosphere radiative energy imbalance into a temperature change of a uniformly mixed layer of water; and (2) a radiative feedback restoring forcing in response to that temperature change, the value of which depends upon the sum of all feedbacks in the climate system.
1) ERBE (Earth Radiation Budget Experiment) measurements of the variations in the Earth’s radiative energy balance, and
2) the change in global average temperature with time [dT/dt] of the lower troposphere from the satellite MSU (Microwave Sounding Unit) instruments.
Importantly — and contrary to common beliefs – the ERBE measurements of radiative imbalance do NOT represent radiative forcing. They instead represent the entire right hand side of the above equation: a sum of radiative forcing AND radiative feedback, in unknown proportions.
In fact, this net radiative imbalance (forcing + feedback) is all we need to know to estimate one of the unknowns: the system net heat capacity, Cp. The following two plots
show for the pre- and post-Pinatubo period (a) the ERBE radiative balance variations; and (b) the MSU tropospheric temperature variations, along with 3 model simulations using
the above equation. [The ERBE radiative flux measurements are necessarily 72-day averages to match the satellite's orbit precession rate, so I have also computed 72-day
temperature averages from the MSU, and run the model with a 72-day time step].
As can be seen in panel b, the MSU-observed temperature variations are consistent with a heat capacity equivalent to an ocean mixed layer depth of about 40 meters.
So, What is the Climate Model’s Sensitivity, Roy?
Again, I will emphasize: Modeling the observed temperature response of the climate system based only upon ERBE-measured radiative imbalances does not require any assumption regarding climate sensitivity. All we need to know was how much extra radiant energy the Earth was losing [or gaining], which is what the ERBE measurements represent.
Conceptually, the global-average ERBE-measured radiative imbalances measured after the Pinatubo eruption are some combination of (1) radiative forcing from the Pinatubo aerosols, and (2) net radiative feedback upon the resulting temperature changes opposing the temperature changes resulting from that forcing– but we do not know how much of each. There are an infinite number of combinations of forcing and feedback that would be able to explain the satellite observations.
Nevertheless, we do know ONE difference in how forcing and feedback are expressed over time: Temperature changes lag the radiative forcing, but radiative feedback is simultaneous with temperature change.
What we need to separate the two is another source of information to sort out how much forcing versus feedback is involved, for instance something related to the time history of the radiative forcing from the volcanic aerosols. Otherwise, we can not use satellite measurements to determine net feedback in response to radiative forcing.
Fortunately, there is a totally independent satellite estimate of the radiative forcing from Pinatubo.
SAGE Estimates of the Pinatubo Aerosols
There are monthly stratospheric aerosol optical depth (tau) estimates archived at GISS, which during
the Pinatubo period of time come from the SAGE (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment). The following plot shows these monthly optical depth estimates for the same period of
time we have been examining.
Note in the upper panel that the aerosols dissipated to about 50% of their peak concentration by the end of 1992, which is 18 months after the eruption. But look at the ERBE radiative imbalances in the bottom panel – the radiative imbalances at the end of 1992 are close to zero.
But how could the radiative imbalance of the Earth be close to zero at the end of 1992, when the aerosol optical depth is still at 50% of its peak?
The answer is that net radiative feedback is approximately canceling out the radiative forcing by the end of 1992. Persistent forcing of the climate system leads to a lagged – and growing – temperature response. Then, the larger the temperature response, the greater the radiative feedback which is opposing the radiative forcing as the system tries to restore equilibrium. (The climate system never actually reaches equilibrium, because it is always being perturbed by internal and external forcings…but, through feedback, it is always trying).
A Simple and Direct Feedback Estimate
Now we have sufficient information to estimate the net feedback. We simply subtract the SAGE-based estimates of Pinatubo radiative forcings from the ERBE net radiation
variations (which are a sum of forcing and feedback), which should then yield radiative feedback estimates. We then compare those to the MSU lower tropospheric temperature
variations to get an estimate of the feedback parameter, lambda. The data (after I have converted the SAGE monthly data to 72 day averages), looks like this:
The slope of 3.66 Watts per sq. meter per degree corresponds to weakly negative net feedback. If this corresponded to the feedback operating in response to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, then doubling of atmosphere CO2 (2XCO2) would cause only 1 deg. C of warming. This is below the 1.5 deg. C lower limit the IPCC is 90% sure the climate sensitivity will not be below.
The Time History of Forcing and Feedback from Pinatubo
Note that at the end of 1992, the Pinatubo aerosol forcing, which has decreased to about 50% of its peak value, almost exactly offsets the feedback, which has grown in proportion to the temperature anomaly. This is why the ERBE-measured radiative imbalance is close to zero…radiative feedback is canceling out the radiative forcing.
The reason why the ‘indirect’ forcing estimate looks different from the more direct SAGE-deduced forcing in the above figure is because there are other, internally-generated radiative “forcings” in the climate system measured by ERBE, probably due to natural cloud variations. In contrast, SAGE is a limb occultation instrument, which measures the aerosol loading of the cloud-free stratosphere when the instrument looks at the sun just above the Earth’s limb.
Unfortunately, even though this hypothetical case has formed the basis for many investigations of climate sensitivity, this exception never happens in the real climate system
In the real world, some additional information is required regarding the time history of the forcing — preferably the forcing history itself. Otherwise, there are an infinite number of combinations of forcing and feedback which can explain a given set of satellite measurements of radiative flux variations and global temperature variations.
I currently believe the above methodology, or something similar, is the most direct way to estimate net feedback from satellite measurements of the climate system as it responds to a radiative forcing event like the Pinatubo eruption. The method is not new, as it is basically the same one used by Forster and Taylor (2006 J. of Climate) to estimate feedbacks in the IPCC AR4 climate models. Forster and Taylor took the global radiative imbalances the models produced over time (analogous to our ERBE measurements of the Earth), subtracted the radiative forcings that were imposed upon the models (usually increasing CO2), and then compared the resulting radiative feedback estimates to the corresponding temperature variations, just as I did in the scatter diagram above.
All I have done is apply the same methodology to the Pinatubo event. In fact, Forster and Gregory (also 2006 J. Climate) performed a similar analysis of the Pinatubo period, but for some reason got a feedback estimate closer to the IPCC climate models. I am using tropospheric temperatures, rather than surface temperatures as they did, but the 30+ year satellite record shows that year-to-year variations in tropospheric temperatures are larger than the surface temperatures variations. This means the feedback parameter estimated here (3.66) would be even larger if scaled to surface temperature. So, other than the fact that the ERBE data have relatively recently been recalibrated, I do not know why their results should differ so much from my results. (Roy W. Spencer)
by Michael Lynch
The current oil spill, like the financial crisis before it, has given ammunition to those who believe that the free market is dangerous and that deregulation leads to crises. President Obama, in his June 15, 2010, address to the nation, specifically blamed the lax oversight of BP’s operations on a “failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility — a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.”
This gets to a core debate between Left and Right but overlooks the real nature of the problem. For many on the Right, government is the problem, while many on the Left see government as the solution. (This holds true in many different policy areas, from health care to industrial policy, among others.) But a major part of the problem is not government bias or objectivity, but rather government competence, which is not being addressed by most commentators.
Without a doubt, the ‘anti-government’ ideology that has been trumpeted by many on the Right is flawed. There are many things that government should not do, some of which are promoted by those on the Left. The failure of the Mineral Management Service to oversee the safe operation of the Deepwater Horizon (and other operations presumably) in an appropriate manner certainly highlights the fallacy of the belief that industry can regulate itself.
No doubt, this attitude amongst political appointees in the agency put in place by the Bush Administration played a role in creating this shortcoming, and the recent revelations about cozy relations with industry (including sex and drugs, even better than money!) have been repeatedly cited to confirm this. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
America needs decisive leaders who understand what government can (and cannot) do to stop the Gulf gusher, clean up the mess, and get business, jobs and prosperity back on track. Instead, President Obama sounds like an anti-business Community Organizer in Chief – pointing fingers, making baseless claims about ending our “addiction to oil,” and leaving no crisis unexploited to promote job-killing cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy policies. His June 15 “vision” raised more questions than it answered. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)
Government: After President Obama's dramatic BP address to the nation, there was reason to think federal red tape would be cut to save the Gulf Coast. Silly us. Bureaucrats
are back at it, halting Louisiana's sand berms.
We need all the international help we can get to clean-up the Gulf of Mexico, but an Associated Press account seems to gripe that the help is not free.
After almost two months of delay, the U.S. last week agreed that foreign oil spill response vessels (but not other foreign ships) can join the effort. Our official government finding says, “there are an insufficient number of specialized oil skimming vessels in the U.S. to keep pace with the unprecedented levels of oil discharges in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Rather than analyzing why we took so long to allow foreign help, the AP issued a story that it headlined, “Cleanup Aid from Overseas Comes with a Price Tag,” bemoaning that the helpers expect to be paid.
Of course they do. So do the army of American workers, boat owners, and relief vessels working in the Gulf. And, as President Obama loves to remind us, “BP will pay.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)
June 23 - The Obama administration on Wednesday appealed a court ruling that blocked its six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling after a judge said it was not
adequately justified despite the crude oil spill from BP Plc's leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.
While the U.S. seeks to ban drilling in 500 feet of water, Brazil's Petrobras plans to go much deeper to tap oil and gas in a large area off the... View Enlarged Image
"For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. ... Time and time again, the path forward has been
blocked — not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor." -- President Obama, June 15 address on the BP oil spill
New gas rules needed to stimulate investment
By Steve G. Snyder
TransAlta supports the need to lower emissions from Canada’s power sector. The aggressive plan for older coal plants proposed by the federal government accomplishes that goal. It’s a bold plan and as such it means there is also a lot of work yet to be done to ensure the proposal is effective and fair to consumers and investors. A critical requirement will be to maintain the reliability and affordability of our electricity infrastructure to ensure Canada — and Alberta — remain economically competitive.
Under Ottawa’s proposal, power companies would have to close their coal-fired facilities at 45 years of age, or the end of their power purchase arrangement, if that were later. Companies would be prohibited, under the “cap and close” regulation, from making investments to extend the lives of those plants unless greenhouse gas emission levels can be reduced to the equivalent of those of natural gas combined cycle plants.
The opportunity exists to replace older coal plants with natural gas generation as well as through investments in renewable and clean coal technologies. Our goal is to physically cut CO2 emissions while continuing to provide our customers with long-term reliable supply without price shocks.
Read More (Financial Post)
THE new "green energy" biomass plant proposed for Leith would take at least 40 years to become carbon neutral, according to a new study.
Scientists and international health organizations from around the world called on Europe's food safety watchdog on Wednesday to regulate against exposure to a potentially
harmful chemical found in plastic containers.
Farmers launch AGSense.org to fight false claims and shoddy science against atrazine use
We keep hearing about the epidemics of type 2 diabetes and obesity. There is also a tendency to link the two. Certainly, obesity is a risk factor for type 2, but the link is nowhere near as straightforward as you might think.
My latest HND piece takes a hard look at this, and reports a few interesting things...
There is also a big glitch in the classical "thrifty gene" explanation of how the Pima Indians became diabetic, once they moved from Mexico to Arizona.
In short, beware of simple explanations, when applied to something as incredibly complex as human metabolism.
Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)
CHICAGO - A new software program that enhances the quality of CT images allowed doctors to cut in half the radiation dose needed for a colon scan and still produce clear
images, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
NEW YORK - Despite a lot of initial excitement, B vitamins turn out not to lower the risk of a second heart attack in people who've already survived one, according to a
large study that experts say closes the issue.
Pretty silly data dredge: Coffee may cut risk of head and neck cancers
NEW YORK - Coffee might stave off more than just sleep, according to research showing that those who chug a lot of java have a lower rate of head and neck cancers.
Here is the stereotype: White-haired senior driver poking nervously along the highway, frustrating younger drivers in a rush to get past.
This nonsense again: Ban trans fats and cut salt, demands UK health body
LONDON - Britain's influential health cost watchdog called on Tuesday for major changes in food production and marketing and said drastic cuts in fat and salt levels were
needed to halt the scourge of heart disease.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who breathe in a lot of other people's tobacco smoke are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those exposed to lower levels of
"secondhand" smoke, a new study suggests.
LOS ANGELES - A consumer group wants McDonald's Corp to stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants and has threatened to sue if the world's biggest
hamburger chain does not comply within 30 days.
Consumers shouldn't assume that, because a product is organic, it's also environmentally friendly.
Lots of room for activist mischief: Toxicity Pathway-Based Risk Assessment: Preparing for Paradigm Change: A Symposium Summary
In 2007, the National Research Council envisioned a new paradigm in which biologically important perturbations in key toxicity pathways would be evaluated with new methods
in molecular biology, bioinformatics, computational toxicology, and a comprehensive array of in vitro tests based primarily on human biology. Although some considered the
vision too optimistic with respect to the promise of the new science, no one can deny that a revolution in toxicity testing is under way. New approaches are being developed,
and data are being generated. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects a large influx of data that will need to be evaluated. EPA also is faced with
tens of thousands of chemicals on which toxicity information is incomplete and emerging chemicals and substances that will need risk assessment and possible regulation.
Therefore, the agency asked the National Research Council to convene a symposium to stimulate discussion on the application of the new approaches and data in risk assessment.
Another "problem" that never was: Acid rain: An environmental crisis that disappeared off the radar
You can tell an environmental problem has gone off the radar screen when Friends of the Earth don't have anybody tracking it, and that's the case with acid rain. There is currently no acid rain campaigner at FoE in London (although they will cheerfully point you in the direction of an expert). (The Independent)
That's not stopping the misanthropic enviroratbags having another go though: Car fumes raise spectre of 1980s revival nobody wants...acid rain
Thirty years ago it was one of the great environmental issues, along with the hole in the ozone layer and CFC chemicals. Now acid rain may be making a comeback – but this
time, there's a change in the chemicals responsible.
Animal activists are boycotting Duchy Originals in protest at the Prince of Wales's calls to kill grey squirrels.
Bees are being fitted with tiny radio ID tags to monitor their movements as part of research into whether pesticides could be giving the insects brain disorders, scientists
This would be excellent, if only The Guardian didn't confuse faith with science: Science: Beyond reason
Tomorrow's problems will not be solved by abandoning science, but by embracing it, and applying it for the good of all (Editorial, The Guardian)
Study raises concerns for agriculture
FBN's John Stossel argues the right to carry a concealed gun would reduce crime.
John Kerry has been the most aggressive advocate of climate change legislation in the Senate this year — so aggressive that it’s rubbed some of his colleagues the wrong
Barack Obama will today make a renewed push to spur the US Senate into action on climate change, saying the BP oil spill underlines the urgency for the country to lessen its
dependence on fossil fuels.
WASHINGTON--As U.S. Senate lawmakers attempt to determine the fate of energy legislation, an influential Democrat is boosting efforts to suspend a controversial
greenhouse-gas rule passed earlier this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The battle over the initiative, launched by Texas oil giants Valero and Tesoro, will pit that industry against environmentalists and the state's clean-tech businesses.
The U.K. situation has improved slightly: Osborne shuns low-carbon agenda in non-green Budget
Climate change and green economy barely mentioned as chancellor delays reform to aviation tax and skates over plans for green bank
The use and abuse of a single graph to justify action on climate change shows the need for healthy scepticism.
An Albermarle County judge has stayed Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's civil investigative demand to the University of Virginia for documents related to a former university
climate scientist, pending the outcome of a legal challenge to the request.
A new analysis of 1372 climate scientists who have participated in major climate science reviews or have signed statements in support or opposition to their main conclusions confirms what many researchers have said for years: Those who believe in anthropogenic climate change rank much higher on the scientific pecking order than do those who take issue with the idea. (Science Insider)
A new “study” has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) which has examined the credentials and publication records of climate scientists who are global warming skeptics versus those who accept the “tenets of anthropogenic climate change”.
Not surprisingly, the study finds that the skeptical scientists have fewer publications or are less credentialed than the marching army of scientists who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 20 years to find every potential connection between fossil fuel use and changes in nature.
After all, nature does not cause change by itself, you know. </SARCASM>
The study lends a pseudo-scientific air of respectability to what amounts to a black list of the minority of scientists who do not accept the premise that global warming is mostly the result of you driving your SUV and using incandescent light bulbs.
There is no question that there are very many more scientific papers which accept the mainstream view of global warming being caused by humans. And that might account for something if those papers actually independently investigated alternative, natural mechanisms that might explain most global warming in the last 30 to 50 years, and found that those natural mechanisms could not.
As just one of many alternative explanations, most of the warming we have measured in the last 30 years could have been caused by a natural, 2% decrease in cloud cover. Unfortunately, our measurements of global cloud cover over that time are nowhere near accurate enough to document such a change.
But those scientific studies did not address all of the alternative explanations. They couldn’t, because we do not have the data to investigate them. The vast majority of them simply assumed global warming was manmade.
I’m sorry, but in science a presupposition is not “evidence”.
Instead, anthropogenic climate change has become a scientific faith. The fact that the very first sentence in the PNAS article uses the phrase “tenets of anthropogenic climate change” hints at this, since the term “tenet” is most often used when referring to religious doctrine, or beliefs which cannot be proved to be true.
So, since we have no other evidence to go on, let’s pin the rap on humanity. It just so happens that’s the position politicians want, which is why politics played such a key role in the formation of the IPCC two decades ago.
The growing backlash against us skeptics makes me think of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, which started in the 12th Century. Of course, no one (I hope no one) will be tried and executed for not believing in anthropogenic climate change. But the fact that one of the five keywords or phrases attached to the new PNAS study is “climate denier” means that such divisive rhetoric is now considered to be part of our mainstream scientific lexicon by our country’s premier scientific organization, the National Academy of Sciences.
Surely, equating a belief in natural climate change to the belief that the Holocaust slaughter of millions of Jews and others by the Nazis never occurred is a new low for science as a discipline.
The new paper also implicitly adds most of the public to the black list, since surveys have shown dwindling public belief in the consensus view of climate change.
At least I have lots of company. (Roy W. Spencer)
William R. L. Anderegg - a Stanford
ecology grad student ;-) -, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider (an AGW and new ice
age prophet) published a bizarre paper in PNAS,
Expert credibility in climate change (full text PDF, abstract)The authors have reached an incredibly surprising conclusion: the climate heretics are less enthusiastically worshiped by the AGW cult than the AGW cultists! What a surprise.
For example, the average number of papers accepted for publication that were written by the AGW cultists exceeds the analogous number for the "climate deniers", which is the #2 keyword of the article, by a factor of two. (Naomi Oreskes has claimed that the ratio was infinity rather than two.)
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
climate black lists matter? Or are they just tribalism at worst and fun and games on the internet at
best? Surely, such lists couldn't be used to affect someone's career, could they?
Dear Colleagues,What I understand this to mean is that a search committee for a new faculty hire could be required to ask about the candidates' views on "environment, energy and global warming" as a matter of obtaining their political views, which presumably would be factored into a hiring decision to achieve some sort of "political and intellectual balance." Now I can't speak for anyone else, but I find this to be stepping on a slippery slope. I will strongly object to any such "oaths of allegiance" as a condition of or factor in hiring faculty on our campus.
Let me also relate a related personal story (one of several that I could share). Several years ago I was invited by Republican staff to testify before a congressional committee. My general policy on such requests is that when I am invited by government to present my views I will do so regardless of those doing the asking, so long as I can present my views unaltered and directly. After all, my salary and research funds are from the public and I see it as my responsibility to participate in the political process whenever asked. I have in the past testified at the request of both Democrats and Republicans.
At the time I was invited a few liberal bloggers made a big deal about me having been invited by Republicans and posted on it on their blogs. Subsequently, a number of climate scientists contacted my Chancellor's office to complain that my association with the Republicans was unhelpful (because I am perceived to be credible) and asked if anything could be done about it.
A high-up university official (who will go unnamed but who sat in the direct chain of command between my chair and the Chancellor) asked me to lunch, told me about the messages that had been received by the Chancellor's office and warned me in no uncertain terms that I should think carefully about testifying for the Republicans because my career could suffer. The message that I heard was that I had better not testify or else my career might suffer. I took this as a direct threat from an official with influence on my career at the university and I said so on the spot. I was shocked to be in such a conversation. I immediately protested via email to my chair and institute director, invoking academic freedom and tenure. At that point the university official backed down and apologized, claiming a misunderstanding.
Did I actually feel threatened? Not really. I have tenure and a strong academic record. I was more angry with and disappointed in my university. Was the experience a window into how politicized the climate issue is in academia? You bet. Had I not had tenure, been earlier in my career with more decisions to come before higher-ups in my future or been a bit more sensitive to such things I can see how it would be enormously chilling to an academic to have such an experience.
So do black lists of people espousing certain views on climate science trouble me? Yes. It is easy to connect the dots between a university considering "loyalty oaths" -- black lists -- and a hyper-politicized academic environment to see what can result. Such lists are particularly troubling when they are advanced and endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, which is a quasi-government entity receiving considerable public funds, while my own university is debating an oath of allegiance on climate change as a possible condition of employment.
So, is invoking the specter of McCarthyism going too far? For me it is not. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
A new, purportedly scientific report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is claiming that more “top” environmental scientists believe in global warming. Moreover, the report also claims that the scientists who do believe in global warming—now re-labeled anthropogenic climate change (ACC)—have higher credibility than those who do not. All of this is based on an “extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data.” Citing such data is like saying “most of the people who write for conservative magazines are conservatives.” In other words, the study is devoid of factual significance and possibly purposely misleading. More propaganda from the sinking global warming ship. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
Are there really no depths to which ManBearPig-worshippers will not stoop in order to shore up their intellectually, morally and scientifically bankrupt cause?
June 22, 2010 – 3:20 pm
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has utilized a non-expert to write an analysis entitled “Expert credibility in climate change.” This analysis judges the climate science credentials of scientists who have taken a position in the climate change debate, and disqualifies those who are not expert enough in climate science for its choosing.
The non-expert writer of this analysis of credibility, James W. Prall at Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto, is not only not an expert in the field of climate change, he is also not an expert in electrical and computer engineering, at least not in the sense that some might assume from his University of Toronto affiliation. Mr. Prall is an administrator who looks after computers at the university, not a scientist or even a lowly researcher in the field. If it strikes you as odd that an editor at the National Academy of Sciences would accept someone with a life-long service and programming career in the computer field to judge the academic credentials of scientists, it gets odder.
Private forecaster Weather Services International (WSI) said on Tuesday its latest forecast called for a more active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.
Jones; Mann; Schmidt and; Trenberth, inter alia... all still trying to downplay natural variation: El Niño explanation for global warming flawed
About every 4 years, faltering easterly trade winds over the tropical Pacific Ocean cause warm waters to linger, generating an anomalously warm wet period in the eastern
Pacific for about 6 months. During these times the western Pacific becomes cooler and drier. A few years later, a reversal of these conditions occurs when trade winds amplify,
pushing warm waters even farther west, leading to unusually cool waters across a broad expanse of the equatorial Pacific.
Thirty new 100-year records of glacier surface mass balance, accumulation and melt in the Swiss Alps are presented. The time series are based on a comprehensive set of field
data and distributed modeling and provide insights into the glacier-climate linkage. Considerable mass loss over the 20th century is evident for all glaciers, but rates differ
strongly. Glacier mass loss shows multidecadal variations and was particularly rapid in the 1940s and since the 1980s. Mass balance is significantly anticorrelated to the
Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index assumed to be linked to thermohaline ocean circulation. We show that North Atlantic variability had a recognizable impact on
glacier changes in the Swiss Alps for at least 250 years.
Soil found in the Arctic stores half of the world's soil organic carbon (SOC) and twice as much carbon as is in the atmosphere. Rising temperatures in the Arctic are thawing
the permafrost; some of the soil carbon then degrades into greenhouse gases that are remobilized into the carbon cycle, exerting positive feedback on global warming.
The interaction of aerosol and clouds is one significant uncertainty in studies of anthropogenic forcing of climate. To learn more about the effects of fine aerosols on
cloud microphysics, Constantino and Bréon perform a multisensor analysis of the atmosphere off the coast of Namibia and Angola. The authors chose this particular area because
it is often affected by smoke from burning biomass. The aerosol particles from this smoke are transported by trade winds into the atmosphere, where they come in contact with
low-level stratocumulus clouds.
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 25: 23 June 2010
Subject Index Summary:
British Coastal Temperature Anomalies of the Last Millennium: What do they suggest about the nature of late 20th-century warming?
Ischemic Heart Disease and Recent Climate Change in Canada: How has the former responded to the latter?
Tropospheric Ozone Trends Around the World: Are they positive or negative? ... and what are the implications for the CO2-induced greening of the earth phenomenon?
Woody Plant Encroachment and Groundwater Recharge: How does the former affect the latter? ... and what does the answer have to do with CO2?
Plant Growth Database:
Warm Period Project:
There was one particularly striking moment in President Obama's widely panned June 15 speech on the gulf oil disaster. About midway through his talk, Obama acknowledged that
he had approved new offshore drilling a few weeks before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20. But Obama said he had done so only "under the assurance that it
would be absolutely safe."
Our own government has quietly admitted that America needs foreign help to handle the oil spill — almost two months after pushing that help away.
Far more oil could have been intercepted before it fouled the Gulf Coast. So why hasn’t our government apologized?
By refusing foreign assistance, we banned both the latest technology and cleanup vessels that far exceed the capacity of America’s oil spill response vessels (OSRV’s). We rejected ships with ten times the capability of the vessels we used instead.
In a quiet announcement on June 18, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) finally agreed that we need help, describing a conclusion reached two days before:
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Willie Sutton robbed banks because that's where the money is. And oil companies venture into deep waters for exploration because that's where the oil is.
The White House choices seem to have made up their minds.
Energy: Citing serious flaws, a federal judge overturned President Obama's six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling projects. It's a good decision, one that puts
reason and the law before populist politics.
The order by a federal district court in Louisiana overturning President Obama’s six-month general moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates many of the mistakes the administration has made in handling this environmental disaster. From the unjustified 24-hour ban imposed by the Coast Guard on the barges that were pumping oil out of the water to check on whether they had fire extinguishers and life vests on board to the Army Corps of Engineers’ delays in allowing Louisiana to build berms and sand barriers to protect its wetlands, the administration has acted more like the Keystone Cops than a competent and effective government.
The order by Judge Martin Feldman paints quite a stark picture of both political over-reaction and a lack of sound judgment and expertise. The plaintiffs include several companies that provide services and equipment for deepwater explorations, everything from ships to shipyards, and they employ over 10,000 people. They sued Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar under the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which authorizes a federal court to overturn the actions of a federal agency when they are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with the law.” The court concluded that, in fact, the plaintiffs established a likelihood of successfully showing that “the Administration acted arbitrarily and capriciously in issuing the moratorium.”
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
SAN FRANCISCO/CHANDELEUR ISLANDS, La., June 23 - The White House stepped up its legal battle on Wednesday over a key part of its response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill
after a U.S. judge blocked its six-month ban on offshore drilling.
Say it's not so, Joe -- that you're actually sorry for mussing up the Obama administration over its treatment of BP.
Alaska, a significant contributor of oil spill-fighting gear to the U.S. Gulf cleanup, could be left vulnerable to its own environmental crisis if it ships away much more
equipment, officials warn.
Overwhelmingly, Americans think the nation needs a fundamental overhaul of its energy policies, and most expect alternative forms to replace oil as a major source within 25
years. Yet a majority are unwilling to pay higher gasoline prices to help develop new fuel sources.
Amid the other news this week, including the President's address to the nation on the Gulf Coast oil disaster and his meeting with BP officials yesterday, the announcement on Monday of the five remaining members of the Presidential Commission to assess the ''environmental and safety precautions...to ensure an accident like this never happens again'' seems to have sunk without a trace. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)
by Donald Hertzmark
In a raft of articles on this blog and elsewhere, the surge in U.S. gas production–due mostly to rapidly increasing output from shale formations–has been touted as a key savior of domestic drillers and consumers.
At the same time shale gas has been more than a headache for LNG exporters and pipeline monopolists, for some it threatens to become a nightmare – softening prices, competing with pipeline supplies, driving LNG demand to spot markets – generally making a pain of itself, from the viewpoint of the gas industry’s would-be GOPEC.
By providing a plentiful alternative source of supply for the world’s largest gas market, the U.S., shale gas has reduced wellhead netbacks throughout the Atlantic Basin. International reverberations have been dramatic. Even the Russian Bear, feeling the hot breath of the market, is softening its pricing terms for international gas sales.
“A Republic, if You Can Keep It”
At the close of the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787 a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, as he was leaving what we know as Constitutional Hall: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” For natural gas, we can paraphrase Mr. Franklin – a market, if you can live with it.
In the U.S. and throughout the world the bounty of shale gas has created significant opportunities for consumers to save money on energy, and clean energy at that. Most of these benefits are available only to countries where the market determines gas prices. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Germany's first offshore wind park was dealt a blow with the failure of two turbines due to inferior materials. The rough patch has energy executives scurrying to reassure
Berlin and banks scrutinizing their billions in offshore wind energy investments.
The growing popularity for converting old water mills and weirs back to producing electricity has led to a six fold increase in hydropower in England and Wales over the last decade. (TDT)
The legal world has been focused on a constitutional property-rights case before the Supreme Court. Last week the Court handed down its decision, and disappointed those waiting for this decision by deferring the big question to a future case. So it remains unclear whether courts can take your property without compensating you. (Ken Klukowski, Townhall)
WASHINGTON - Upgrades to a wastewater treatment plant in Colorado helped filter out gender-bending chemicals that were affecting fish, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.
Charles Duhigg's 'Toxic Waters' series went no deeper than an environmentalist press release.
POPULAR sugar-free foods and drinks can be so acidic they are as likely to damage teeth as sugar-filled products, a consumer group warns.
Grassed waterways including compost filter socks reduce soil erosion and herbicide concentrations from fields
Studies show that modern farming techniques — reviled by environmentalists — not only saved billions from starvation, but are tremendously more eco-friendly than "organic" farming practices. (Dennis T. Avery, PJM)
Activists unite with industrialists to oppose World Bank study into project to transport water from Red Sea (The Guardian)
President Barack Obama, who meets with lawmakers at the White House this week to discuss energy legislation, may have to abandon a pollution-reduction program for the whole
U.S. economy and push instead for new laws that target the electricity-producing companies.
The latest trial balloon for passing climate change legislation appears to be just as explosive as the others.
June 21, 2010 – 1:10 pm
Stanford University’s Jon A Krosnick, a communications guru and advisor to the global warming camp, scored a coup in a New York Times oped last week that discredits polls by firms such as Gallup and Pew Research Center. The highly cited oped, entitled “The Climate Majority,” claims that these pollsters and others have it backwards and that “huge majorities of Americans still believe the earth has been gradually warming as the result of human activity and want the government to institute regulations to stop it.” For example, Krosnick’s own poll shows, “When respondents were asked if they thought that the earth’s temperature probably had been heating up over the last 100 years, 74% answered affirmatively. And 75% of respondents said that human behaviour was substantially responsible for any warming that has occurred.”
Krosnick, an expert in questionnaire design, produces studies geared to explaining why people answer the way they do, and how to get them to answer differently. One recent paper dealt entirely with one of the biggest embarrassments to the global warming camp, Gallup’s classic “Most Important Problem” question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?”
Read More (Financial Post)
Poor Leo: Why don't we trust climate scientists?
New study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals huge disparities in the 'relative scientific credibility' of the opposing sides of the climate change debate. (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)
Little did I know it, but I am intimately associated with the world's most accomplished "climate skeptic." But he is not actually a skeptic, because he believes that humans have a profound influence on the climate system and policy action is warranted. More on that in a second. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
In the wake of the failed Copenhagen summit, prospects for cutting global CO2 emissions are worse than they’ve been in years. With talk of mandated cuts now fading and with countries exploiting loopholes, the world appears headed toward a flawed agreement based not on science but on politics. (Fred Pearce, e360)
Our CSIRO is supposed to serve the people of Australia to impartially help advise them of the risks and benefits of different actions with the latest science but oopsie, the team who picked the new Chairman clean forgot. Instead of someone who speaks in sage tones about uncertainties, they pick a former banking Mergers and Acquisitions Chief who’s an avowed advocate and activist, and happy to admit he’s got a predetermined agenda science-wise.
Should the CSIRO ever (accidentally) discover that the climate models were all based on an error cascade and a guess that went wrong, Mr McKeon will jump up and down to see that those results are pursued, funded, promoted issued in press releases and put into education campaigns for kids and journalists, err… right? I mean, he’s our man isn’t he — making sure the Australian citizens he serves are not ripped off by trickster scientists who “can’t account for the lack of warming” and who “hide declines”.
What were they thinking? More » (Jo Nova)
von Storch files a report from an IPCC meeting on seal level rise in Malaysia, indicating that not much really has changed at the intersection of climate science and
climate politics (emphasis added):
Among the interesting details were introductory talks by political officials – who welcomed the presence of the conference in the capital of Malaysia, and demonstrated the importance of the topic by pointing to the evidence of climate change, which would become obvious by all kind of extreme weather, mostly related to typhoons and flooding. It seems that also in this part of the world the view has firmly be established among politicians that all extreme weather is due to anthropogenic climate change – which would imply that "stopping" Global Warming would go along with the end of weather extremes.How scientists, politicians and the media treat the issue of disasters and climate change provides an interesting bellwether, simply because the science of the issue is so straightforward and misrepresentations easy to identify. All indications are that the IPCC has not learned much and is returning to business as usual. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
Tim Flannery is a top Australian
AGW activist. Andrew Bolt, a professional and bright journalist, has interviewed him:
Of course, they didn't come true. It's interesting - although expected - to observe Flannery how he denies most of his previous big claims. These people are deliberately spreading lies and extremely unlikely speculations, hoping that people would absorb them by osmosis. And some people have done so, indeed.
Whenever these people are confronted, however, they pretend that they have never said any of these things. They have either forgotten everything they said, or they're sure it had to be a collection of typos, or they must have been misunderstood, or they have other ways to argue that they were not quite serious.
Except that they're always trying to pretend that they're damn serious whenever they want others to believe all these catastrophic insanities. This is the kind of flagrant intellectual dishonesty we know from other double-faced people, such as Lee Smolin, too. (The Reference Frame)
by Chip Knappenberger
A new study has concluded that shifting climate is leading to shifting vegetation patterns across the globe.
My response to this announcement was “Terrific! The biosphere was responding the way it should to changing conditions.”
To my surprise, this enthusiasm wasn’t shared by the study’s authors. In fact, lead author Patrick Gonzalez seemed downright glum:
A very negative spin on what should be cause for celebration.
Despite how much we, humans, have sliced and diced the landscape, natural systems are still doing their best to respond to climate changes—just like they always have.
The only way to see this in a negative light would to hold the belief that everything that humans do to the world is bad. This seems like an odd philosophy, for more than likely the holder of such a philosophy wouldn’t exist today had it not been for everything that humans have done to make the world a better place and vastly improve our health and welfare. Just 150 years ago, as the industrial revolution was set to take off, the population of the world was about 5 times less than now and the average human lifespan was about 30 years.
I am not saying that there aren’t some negatives for some species when the climate changes. Of course there are. But what I am saying is that there are plenty of positives as well. And it takes no more imagination to come up with positives than it does for negatives. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
An article has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider:, 2010: Expert credibility in climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. June 21, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107.
The abstract of the paper reads
This paper is yet another example of the attempt to marginalize and “bin” scientists who differ from the IPCC perspective (except for those such as Jim Hansen who are more alarmist in their viewpoint) as my son has posted on in A New Black List.
There is an insightful well-balanced news article on the Anderegg et al PNAS paper by Eli Kintisch titled
I recommend readers of my weblog read Eli’s article. His news article includes an interesting statement by one of the authors of the PNAS article. It reads
I have served as Editors of several professional journals (e.g. Chief of the Monthly Weather Review; Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of Atmospheric Science) and can categorically state that any Editors who have “formed a resistance to outside points of view” should not serve in the capacity of an Editor. This is a clear example of the type of prejudice that needs to be avoided in order to preserve the integrity of the scientific process.
John Christy is correct in his statement in the news article that there is “black listing” and my son’s post effectively summarizes this issue.
The blacklisting occurs in the review process of papers as John and Pat Michaels describe, in proposals for funding (e.g. see) and in the IPCC and CCSP assessment process (e.g. see). This “black listing has even occurred in surveys as we found out when Fergus Brown, James Annan and I sought to publish a survey of climate scientists in the American Geophysical Union publication EOS; see
My e-mail to Eli with respect to the PNAS article reads
The Anderegg et al paper is another in a set of advocacy articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (see and see). This paper illustrates more generally how far we have gone from the appropriate scientific process. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
EEF says a single levy based on energy use would encourage businesses to move towards cleaner energy
The gulf oil spill is bad but it could become much, much worse and soon. The threat is a hurricane moving over the spill. If a hurricane’s violent winds track over the spill, we could witness a natural and economic calamity that history has never recorded anywhere or anytime. We will literally be in oil-soaked waters. We will have witnessed the first oilicane. [Read More] (Art Horn, Energy Tribune)
When companies adhere to the rituals of risk-aversion, they lose sight of how to deal with real emergencies. Now we can see the consequences.
First there was Hurricane Katrina, then there was the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal now says that the newest threat to the economy of his state is President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deepwater drilling.
Jindal today joined in support of oil service companies who are suing to halt the six-month ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, issued by the Minerals Management Service on May 30. A federal district court judge is hearing arguments on the lawsuit today and will rule no later than Wednesday.
In an amicus brief filed with the court, Jindal argues that the moratorium is disastrous to his state’s economy:
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
The troubles of behemoth BP PLC now threaten the small oil and gas companies that helped unlock the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater business.
"For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. . . . Time and time again, the path forward has been
blocked -- not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor."
Obama is using the oil spill in the Gulf as an emotional lever to push his cap and trade policy. The spill is a disaster, but exploiting it is truly despicable. It is made far worse when the alternative energies solutions don’t work. Increased costs will damage the economy and negatively impact the people he claims to represent. We’re in this predicament because of exploitation by politicians and environmental groups who deliberately ignore scientific evidence and corruption in climate science. Options were dramatically reduced by campaigns of fear against nuclear power creating legislation so that it now takes up to 14 years to construct a nuclear power plant. (Tim Ball, CFP)
The oil-addiction theorists are really disgusted by the desires of stupid, greedy, uppity consumers.
American politicians are falling over themselves to enact new energy legislation before the Gulf oil leak gets plugged. The sad fact is, the US is dragging its feet on the one proven source of reliable, emissions free power: nuclear energy. With some environmentalists likening the oil disaster to Three Mile Island—the nuclear accident that destroyed the US atomic energy industry—the Obama administration has given nuclear power little more than lip service in recent months. Now comes news that a New Mexico-based company that is doing pioneering work in miniature atomic power plants has signed a deal to manufacture small, modular nuclear reactors in China. Political indecision and agitation by green activists is once again conspiring to turn the US into a second rate technological nation. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
FP Comment’s 12th annual Junk Science Week comes to a triumphant close with today’s 2nd annual Rubber Duck Awards to recognize the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks who each year advance the principles of junk science. Junk Science occurs when scientific facts are distorted, when risk is exaggerated or discounted, when science is adapted and warped by politics and ideology to serve another agenda. The Rubber Duckies are named in honour of Rick Smith, president of Environmental Defence Canada and co-author of a remarkable piece of junk science literature, the 2009 Slow Death by Rubber Duck. In the book, Mr. Smith perpetrated a science scam over the Bisphenol A and established himself as Canada’s leading scaremonger and distorter of science. Let this year’s awards begin!
The award winners (Financial Post)
June 18, 2010 – 8:18 pm
This year’s media Rubber Duckie goes to a swath of the American media that is in the grip of chemophobia, the unfounded fear of chemicals. CNN recently served up specials entitled Toxic America and Toxic Childhood. The New Yorker had a piece fretting about the “Plastic Panic.” The President’s Cancer Panel anguished about all the untested environmental chemicals — many designated by them as carcinogens — in our air, water and food. And there are more frightening (but scientifically baseless) chemical health scares to come.
For example, radical environmental activists now have the widely used herbicide atrazine on their radar screens. For them, new regulatory controls — or an outright ban on the herbicide — would be their dream come true. Why? Because as a May Wall Street Journal editorial put it, “if [they] can take down atrazine [they] can get the EPA to prohibit anything.”
Read More (Financial Post)
The press can’t get enough of Tyrone Hayes, the Berkeley researcher who claims that his studies show that the common herbicide atrazine causes abnormalities in frogs (and
by implication, in people as well). Hayes is all over the press while he tours the state legislatures of the Midwest, selling his scare stories.
HONG KONG - A study has found that eggs from free-range chickens in industrialized Taiwan contain almost six times more cancer-causing dioxins than eggs from caged chickens.
The Rubber Duckie for bias and missing the point of one’s own research goes to the massive Interphone cellphone study. Released earlier this year, it dismissed its own work because it failed to prove what researchers were looking for, namely, evidence of adverse effects of cellphones. Also rejected was evidence in their research that showed cellphones may reduce brain-tumour risk. As Lawrence Solomon reports below, the Interphone researchers may well have missed the real story in their work because they didn’t want to see it.
Cellphones can cause cancer and other medical problems, one whack of studies says. Cellphones are safe, says another batch.
Which is it? Both sets of studies can’t be right.
The definitive study that many expected would settle the controversy, a multi-year, 13-country effort organized by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, came out last month. To its researchers’ surprise, the data indicated that cellphones can be both safe and dangerous, and that cellphone use can even reduce the risk of cancer. It all depends on how much cellphones are used.
NEW YORK - Even without treatment, only a small minority of men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer die from the disease, Swedish researchers reported Friday.
June 18, 2010 – 8:25 pm
The Junk Science Week Rubber Duckie Killjoy award goes to a radio commentary broadcast on Toronto’s 680News by restauranteur extraordinaire Rose Reisman. Based on the dubious science from the long-standing food war against fun foods such as beef — and especially barbecued steaks — Ms. Reisman issue a warning. Just as the summer grilling season is about to hit its peak, she proposed adopting cooking techniques that, if adopted, could somewhat compromise the season:
NEW YORK - Older adults with relatively low intakes of vitamins B6 and B12 may have a higher risk of developing depression than those who get more of the nutrients, a new
The assault on soda - and choice - continues: US obesity rates could fall if soda pop prices rise
CHICAGO - Raising the price of sugary soft drinks will likely prompt thirsty consumers to seek out cheaper, healthier beverages, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.
Demonstrating once again that advertising only influences children between different brands of things they like anyway and no amount of promotion will make brussel sprouts taste better than candy: Shrek lures kids to sugary snacks, not carrots
Children can be influenced to eat sugary snacks that carry stickers of cartoon characters such as Shrek, Scooby-Doo or Dora the Explorer, but not healthier foods like carrots with similar stickers, according to a new Yale University study. (Chicago Tribune)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition's Neill Franklin and Fmr. Bush Drug Czar Paul Chabot argue whether drug prohibition does more harm than good. (John Stossel)
Number Watch has frequently made scathing remarks about the application of elaborate mathematical equations to economic data that are too diffuse to justify them and has often been lambasted for it: see here, for example. But our adverse comments do not apply to the Laffer curve, which is highly relevant at the moment.
The Laffer curve is not just a hypothesis that can be, as some left wing commentators suggest, debunked: it is a mathematical necessity. (Number Watch)
DAKAR - In a slow-motion disaster predicted months ago by aid agencies, Africa's Sahel region is lurching towards a food crisis which the world has only weeks left to avert.
Quote from Catalyst: Mark Horstman: “Since the 1970s, the south-western corner of Western Australia has
suffered a dramatic decline in their winter rainfall, so rapid and so extreme that it’s like, somewhere, a giant tap is being turned off.”
This ABC online news item from Perth caught my eye, “Water prices up 40 per cent: Labor”. With Eric Ripper the Labor opposition leader saying, “Of course in a dry
climate there is pressure on water prices..”
The folly of O's oil-spill 'fix'
President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.
The climate is always
changing. Fortunately, the climate of the climate reporting is changing, too. News that would fill the front pages of all the newspapers just a year ago are ignored by the
And they "calculate" that the probability of the Armageddon is 99 percent if the APA is rejected and only 25 percent if it is approved. It's a great conclusion because it effectively identifies APA with non-Armageddon :-) and it was published by a "powerful" institution whose administrator has the right gender as well as the right race ;-) so it would surely be promoted by the media during the peak days of the AGW era.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
The InterAcademy Council (IAC) committee conducted an independent review of the procedures and processes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on June 15 at McGill University in Montreal.
John R. Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Director, Earth System Science Center and Alabama State Climatologist at University of Alabama in Huntsville gave a presentation on his experience with the IPCC process.
His presentation starts with
The entire presentation including John’s appendices can be read here. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
The Rubber Duck award in the climate category goes to Lord Oxburgh, who gave “peer review” a whole new meaning in rushing out the first whitewash of the Climategate scandal. He headed an inquiry into the scientific integrity of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, from which the emails emerged, and concluded in record time that there was nothing to see here. Move along please.
Lord Oxburgh’s skimpy survey — which was carried out by a group distinctly free of skeptics — found in the CRU little more than a “small group of dedicated if slightly disorganized researchers.” His Lordship found the CRU’s “loss” of data infinitely excusable, as also was its lack of statistical sophistication, even though its field was “fundamentally statistical.”
Millard Public Schools will stop using a children's book about global warming -- but only until the district can obtain copies with a factual error corrected.
Oh dear! Media makes major blunder because: British Newspaper Apologizes to Climate Scientist
In 2007, the top United Nations climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the Amazon was vulnerable to drought as a result of trends linked to
I became the owner of a visually
appealing book written by David Archibald that is endorsed by "four professors and one head of state" :-).
Recommended. (The Reference Frame)
What utter nonsense: Changing clocks 'would reduce carbon emissions'
Changing the clocks to give another hour of daylight throughout the year would save the same amount of energy as taking 200,000 cars off the road, according to a new survey. (TDT)
The European Union has adopted a regulation that will ban the construction of ordinary family houses, starting from 2020. Only the so-called passive
houses will be allowed:
iDNES.CZ (autom. transl. into EN), EU Business, EU Parliament, Euractiv, Panda.ORG, The Energy Collective;
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
SUNSPOTS come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to
fade away again after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.
Painting rocks on Chalon Sombrero (Image: BBC)
File this in unrealized parody. The BBC beats the Onion.
The World Bank has awarded a Peruvian inventor $200,000 to paint rocks white. They hope if they make them the right colour the glacier will come back…
If you had $200,000 to gift to Peru, a place where the GDP per capita is less than $5,000, would you spend it on a program to paint black rocks white in the hope of storing water and changing the local weather?
Reader John P points out that if you check the World Glacier Monitoring Service you will see that the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) of glaciers in the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca is above 4900 m, that means that snow falling below that altitude does not remain over the whole year and melts. Even if it falls on the glacier ice, much less on whitewashed rocks. Besides, the impact of a few hectares of rock is minimal when compared with the atmospheric circulation or the impact of surrounding terrain. More » (Jo Nova)
Here's Ove off with the ocean sprites again: Ocean changes may have dire impact on people
The first comprehensive synthesis on the effects of climate change on the world's oceans has found they are now changing at a rate not seen for several million years.
Findings released during the annual Goldschmidt Conference at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Give us more money: Oceanographers Call for More Ocean-Observing in Antarctica
Rutgers’ Oscar Schofield and five colleagues from other institutions have published in Science, calling for expanded ocean-observing in the Antarctic, particularly in the
Western Antarctic Peninsula, or WAP.
Gorebull warblers will not be happy: New research sheds light on Antarctica's melting Pine Island Glacier
New results from an investigation into Antarctica's potential contribution to sea level rise are reported this week by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey in the
journal Nature Geoscience
The deuterium excess records of EPICA Dome C and Dronning Maud Land ice cores (East Antarctica) (click for full text PDF)by B. Stenni and 14 European co-authors - which was published in Quaternary Science Reviews 29 (2010) -, new high-resolution ice core data from two sites in eastern Antarctica show temperature proxies more than 4 °C higher during the last interglacial (~130,000 years ago) than the present interglacial. The high resolution data provides more accurate determination of the temperature proxies, shown at lower left of each graph above.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
As part of an `interview’ with me, New Scientist published a critique by five scientists of two pages of my book The Rational Optimist. Despite its tone, this critique only confirms the accuracy of each of the statements in this section of the book. After reading their critiques, I stand even more firmly behind my conclusion that the threats to coral reefs from both man-made warming and ocean acidification are unlikely to be severe, rapid or urgent. In the case of acidification, this is underlined by a recent paper, published since my book was written, summarising the results of 372 papers and concluding that ocean acidification `may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century’. The burden of proof is on those who see an urgent threat to corals from warming and acidification. Here is what I wrote (in bold), interspersed with summaries of the scientists’ comments and my replies. (Rational Optimist)
DURHAM, N.C. – For decades, oceanographers have embraced the idea that Earth's ocean currents operate like a giant conveyor belt, overturning to continuously transport
deep, cold polar waters toward the equator and warm equatorial surface waters back toward the poles along narrow boundary currents. The model held that the conveyor belt was
driven by changes in the temperature and salinity of the surface waters at high latitudes.
Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) measured by the AMSR-E instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite continue their plunge as a predicted La Nina approaches. The following plot,
updated through yesterday (June 17, 2010) shows that the cooling in the Nino34 region in the tropical east Pacific is well ahead of the cooling in the global average SST,
something we did not see during the 2007-08 La Nina event (click on it for the large, undistorted version):
To give some idea of what is causing the global-average SST to fall so rapidly, I came up with an estimate of the change in reflected sunlight (shortwave, or SW flux) using
our AMSR-E total integrated cloud water amounts. This was done with a 7+ year comparison of those cloud water estimates to daily global-ocean SW anomalies computed from the
CERES radiation budget instrument, also on Aqua:
At this pace of cooling, I suspect that the second half of 2010 could ruin the chances of getting a record high global temperature for this year. Oh, darn. (Roy W. Spencer)
Some of the questions I receive from the public tend to show up repeatedly. One of those more common questions I receive arrived once again yesterday, from a airplane pilot, who asked “If greenhouse gases are such a small proportion of the atmosphere,” (only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules are CO2), “how can they heat or cool all the rest of the air?”
The answer comes from the “kinetic theory of gases”. In effect, each CO2 molecule is a tiny heater (or air conditioner) depending on whether it is absorbing more infrared photons than it is emitting, or vice versa.
When the radiatively active molecules in the atmosphere — mainly water vapor, CO2, and methane — are heated by infrared radiation, even though they are a very small fraction of the total, they are moving very fast and do not have to travel very far before they collide with other molecules of air…that’s when they transfer part of their thermal energy to another molecule. That transfer is in the form of momentum from the molecule’s mass and its speed.
That molecule then bumps into others, those bump into still more, and on and on ad infinitum.
1) there are 26,900,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules in 1 cubic meter of air at sea level.
2) at room temperature, each molecule is traveling at a very high speed, averaging 1,000 mph for heavier molecules like nitrogen, over 3,000 mph for the lightest molecule, hydrogen, etc.
3) the average distance a molecule travels before hitting another molecule (called the “mean free path”) is only 0.000067 of a millimeter
So, there are so many molecules traveling so fast, and so close to one another, that the radiatively active molecules almost instantly transfer any extra thermal energy (their velocity is proportional to the square root of their temperature) to other molecules. Or, if they happen to be cooling the air, the absorb extra momentum from the other air molecules.
From the above numbers we can compute that a single nitrogen molecule (air is mostly nitrogen) undergoes over 7 billion collisions every second.
All of this happens on extremely small scales, with gazillions of the radiatively active molecules scattered through a very small volume of air.
It is rather amazing that these relatively few “greenhouse” gases are largely responsible for the temperature structure of the atmosphere. Without them, the atmosphere would have no way of losing the heat energy that it gains from the Earth’s surface in response to solar heating.
Such an atmosphere would eventually become the same temperature throughout its depth, called an “isothermal” atmosphere. All vertical air motions would stop in such an atmosphere, which means there would be no weather either.
Now, I will have to endure the rash of e-mails I always get from those who do not believe that greenhouse gases do all of this. But that issue will have to be the subject of a later FAQ. (Roy W. Spencer)
There is an excellent summary of NOAA CPC forecast of an pending La Niña and its interrelationship with other regional atmospheric-ocean circulation features on the website of the National Weather Service Office in Grand Forks North Dakota. It is
As I have emphasized many time on my weblog and in research papers, it is the regional atmospheric-ocean circulations that are a dominate influence on climate variability and change. Until the IPCC multi-decadal global climate models can skillfully predict the variations and change in these circulations on a multi-decadal time scale, policymakers and others should be very skeptical in their use as definitive skillful forecasts. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
UPDATE: more edits & enhancements for clarity made at 3:35 CDT, June 17, 2010.
Here I use a simple forcing-feedback model, combined with satellite estimates of cloud changes caused by the PDO, to demonstrate the ability of the model to explain the temperature variations. This time, though, I am going to use Jim Hansen’s (GISS) record of yearly radiative forcings of the global climate system since 1900 to demonstrate more convincingly the importance of the PDO…not only for explaining the global temperature record of the past, but for the estimation of the sensitivity of the climate system and thus project the amount of future global warming (er, I mean climate change).
What follows is not meant to be publishable in a peer-reviewed paper. It is to keep the public informed, to stimulate discussion, to provide additional support for the claims in my latest book, and to help me better understand what I know at this point in my research, what I don’t know, and what direction I should go next.
The Simple Climate Model
I will simply assume these forcings are correct, and will show what happens in the model when I use: (1) all the GISS forcings together; (2) all GISS forcings except tropospheric aerosols, and (3) all the GISS forcings, but replacing the tropospheric aerosols with the satellite-derived PDO forcings.
Internal Radiative Forcing from the PDO
We have estimated the radiative forcing associated with the PDO by comparing yearly global averages of them to similar averages of CERES radiative flux variations over the Terra CERES period of record, 2000-2009. But since the CERES-measured radiative imbalances are a combination of forcing and feedback, we must remove an estimate of the feedback to get at the PDO forcing. [This step is completely consistent with, and analogous to, previous investigators removing known radiative forcings from climate model output in order to estimate feedbacks in those models].
Our new JGR paper (still awaiting publication) shows evidence that, for year-to-year climate variability at least, net feedback is about 6 Watts per sq. meter per degree C.
After removal of the feedback component with our AMSU-based tropospheric temperature anomalies, the resulting relationship between yearly-running 3-year average PDO index
versus radiative forcing looks like this:
This internally-generated radiative forcing is most likely due to changes in global average cloud cover associated with the PDO. If we apply this relationship to yearly
estimates of the PDO index, we get the following estimate of “internal radiative forcing” from the PDO since 1900:
The model has 7 free parameters that must be estimated to not only make a model run, but to then meaningfully compare that model run’s temperature “predictions” to the observed record of surface temperature variations. We are especially interested in what feedback parameter, when inserted in the model, best explains past temperature variations, since this determines the climate system’s sensitivity to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.
Given some assumed history of radiative forcings like those shown above, these 7 model free parameters include:
While the net feedback in the real climate system is likely dominated by changes in the atmosphere (clouds, water vapor, temperature profile), the model does not have an atmospheric layer per se. On the time scales we are considering here (1 to 5 years an longer), atmospheric temperature variations can be assumed to vary in virtual lock-step with the upper ocean temperature variations. So, the atmosphere can simply be considered to be a small (2 meter) part of the first ocean layer, which is the amount of water that has the same heat capacity as the entire atmosphere.
The last parameter, a temperature offset for the observed temperature record, is necessary because the model assumes some equilibrium temperature state of the climate system, a “preferred” temperature state that the model “tries” to relax to through the temperature feedback term in the model equations. This zero-point might be different from the zero-point chosen for display of observed global temperature anomalies, which the thermometer data analysts have chosen somewhat arbitrarily when compiling the HadCRUT3 dataset.
In order to sweep at least 10 values for every parameter, and run the model for all possible combinations of those parameters, there must be millions of computer simulations performed. Each simulation’s reconstructed history of temperatures can then be automatically compared to the observed temperature record to see how closely it matches.
So far, I have only run the model manually in an Excel spreadsheet, one run at a time, and have found what I believe to be the ranges over which the model free parameters provide the best match to global temperature variations since 1900. I expect that the following model fits to the observed temperature record will improve only slightly when we do full “Monte Carlo” set of millions of simulations.
All of the following simulation results use yearly running 5-year averages for the forcings for the period 1902 through 2007, with a model time step of 1 year.
The above “best” model simulation preferred a total ocean depth of 550 meters, 10% of which (55 meters) was contained in the upper layer. (Note that since the Earth is 70% ocean, and land has negligible heat capacity, this corresponds to a real-Earth ocean depth of 550/0.7 = 786 meters).
The offset added to the HadCRUT3 temperature anomalies was very small, only -0.01 deg. C. The heat diffusion coefficient was 7 Watts per sq. meter per deg. C difference between the upper and lower ocean layers. The best initial temperatures of the first and second ocean layers at the start of the model integration were the same as the temperature observations for the first layer (0.41 deg. C below normal), and 0.48 deg. C below normal for the deeper layer.
What we are REALLY interested in, though, is the optimum net feedback parameter for the model run. In this case, it was 1.25 Watts per sq. meter per deg. C. This corresponds to about 3 deg. C of warming for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (2XCO2, based upon an assumed radiative forcing of 3.7 Watts per sq. meter for 2XCO2). This is in approximate agreement with the IPCC’s best estimate for warming from 2XCO2, and supports the realism of the simple forcing-feedback model for determining climate sensitivity.
But note that the above simulation has 2 shortcomings: 1) it does not do a very good job of mimicking the warming up to 1940 and subsequent slight cooling to the 1970s; and (2) other than the major volcanic eruptions (e.g. Pinatubo in 1991), it does not mimic the sub-decadal temperature variations.
CASE #2: All GISS Forcings except Tropospheric Aerosols
This reveals that the addition of the tropospheric aerosols in the first run improved the model fit by only 3.2% compared to the run without tropospheric aerosols. Yet, what is particularly important is that the best fit feedback has now increased from 1.25 to 3.5 Watts per sq. meter per deg. C, which then reduces the 2XCO2 climate sensitivity from 3.0 deg. C to about 1.1 deg. C! This is below the 1.5 deg. C lower limit the IPCC has ‘very confidently” placed on that warming.
This illustrates the importance of assumed tropospheric aerosol pollution to the IPCC’s global warming arguments. Since the warming during the 20th Century was not as strong as would some expected from increasing greenhouse gases, an offsetting source of cooling had to be found – which, of course, was also manmade.
But even with those aerosols, the model fit to the observations was not very good. That’s where the PDO comes in.
CASE #3: PDO plus all GISS Forcings except Tropospheric Aerosols
Using the satellite observed PDO forcing of 0.6 Watts per sq. meter per unit change in the PDO index, the RMS error of the model fit improves by 25.4%, to 0.0588 deg. C; this can be compared to the much smaller 3.2% improvement from adding the GISS tropospheric aerosols.
If we ask what PDO-related forcing the model “prefers” to get a best fit, the satellite-inferred value of 0.6 is bumped up to around 1 Watt per sq. meter per unit change in the PDO index, with an RMS fit improvement of over 30% (not shown).
In this last model simulation, note the smaller temperature fluctuations in the HadCRUT3 surface temperature record are now better captured during the 20th Century. This is evidence that the PDO causes its own radiative forcing of the climate system.
And of particular interest, the substitution of the PDO forcing for the tropospheric aerosols restores the low climate sensitivity, with a preferred feedback parameter of 3.6, which corresponds to a 2XCO2 climate sensitivity of only 1.0 deg. C.
If you are wondering, including BOTH the GISS tropospheric aerosols and the PDO forcing made it difficult to get the model to come close to the observed temperature record. The best fit for this combination of forcings will have to wait till the full set of Monte Carlo computer simulations are made.
It is clear (to me, at least) that the IPCC’s claim that the sensitivity of the climate is quite high is critically dependent upon (1) the inclusion of very uncertain aerosol cooling effects in the last half of the 20th Century, and (2) the neglect of any sources of internal radiative forcing on long time scales, such as the 30-60 year time scale of the PDO.
Since we now have satellite measurements that such natural forcings do indeed exist, it would be advisable for the IPCC to revisit the issue of climate sensitivity, taking into account these uncertainties.
It would be difficult for the IPCC to fault this model because of its simplicity. For global average temperature changes on these time scales, the surface temperature variations are controlled by (1) radiative forcings, (2) net feedbacks, and (3) heat diffusion to the deeper ocean. In addition, the simple model’s assumption of a preferred average temperature is exactly what the IPCC implicitly claims! After all, they are the ones who say climate change did not occur until humans started polluting. Think hockey stick.
Remember, in the big picture, a given amount of global warming can be explained with either (1) weak forcing of a sensitive climate system, or (2) strong forcing of an insensitive climate system. By ignoring natural sources of warming – which are understandably less well known than anthropogenic sources — the IPCC biases its conclusions toward high climate sensitivity. I have addressed only ONE potential natural source of radiative forcing — the PDO. Of course, there could be others as well. But the 3rd Case presented above is already getting pretty close to the observed temperature record, which has its own uncertainties anyway.
This source of uncertainty — and bias — regarding the role of past, natural climate variations to the magnitude of future anthropogenic global warming (arghh! I mean climate change) is something that most climate scientists (let alone policymakers) do not yet understand. (Roy W. Spencer)
Often a target for environmentalists and global warming alarmists alike, intensive modern agriculture has been demonized as the cause of many types of pollution, including those dreaded greenhouse gases. A study, soon to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reveals that highly productive modern agriculture actually reduces net greenhouse gas emissions when compared with using croplands less intensively. Furthermore, expansion of agriculture, needed to feed mankind's ever growing numbers, can help reduce future increases in CO2 emissions. Looks like the doomsayers got it backwards again, more intensive agricultural is a good thing for the environment. In fact, agriculture reduced total human carbon emissions from 1850 to 2005 by 34%.
Agriculture is generally considered a source of greenhouse gas emissions, not a possible tool for GHG mitigation. In recent years, fears over the impact of increasing agricultural production have centered on accelerated release of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), as well as CO2. Even the pesky weed kudzu has been pointed to as contributing to global warming. Fortunately, kudzu is no longer planted for erosion prevention or as fodder for animals, at least in the US.
Just a year ago, the EU issued a press release that proclaimed “global greenhouse emissions are currently increasing, and agriculture accounts for between 5 and 26 per cent of EU Member States’ total emissions.” The ministers stressed the importance of reducing the impact of agriculture on the climate, both globally and at EU level. Combine feeding humanity with growing concerns about future shortages of freshwater and public concern over climate change has greatly receded. Even so, the impact of global farm activity remains a concern. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
If President Obama intends to use President Roosevelt’s leadership during World War II as his model for handling the BP oil spill, he has it exactly backward.
I have been watching our TV news from the US reporting on the BP oil spill – and have been surprised that so often the US seems to be whining about what BP has done
without seeming to understand that oil exploration is a partnership.
In addition to the fishermen and hoteliers whose livelihoods have been devastated by BP’s hemorrhaging undersea oil well, another group of Gulf Coast residents is
beginning to suffer: the tens of thousands of workers like Ronald Brown who run the equipment or serve in support roles on deepwater oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Politics: Rep. Joe Barton says what everyone knows is true and his own party threatens to kick him out of his committee seat. We expected cynical political opportunism from
Democrats, but not from Republican leaders.
Back in 2006, George W. Bush declared that the US is “addicted to oil.” Since then, that phrase has been repeated ad nauseum by politicos on both the Left and the Right. But on Tuesday night, President Obama took the addiction meme to an entirely new level of inanity by saying “For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels.” [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)
Hands up who thinks BP’s public image has been improved as a result of pumping upwards of half a million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, ravaging eco-systems,
depriving fishermen of their livelihoods, incurring the pantomime wrath of President Obama and the undying hatred of half America?
by Robert Bradley Jr.
Then BP CEO John Browne’s speech at Stanford University in May 1997 marked the beginning of the company’s “green” (or to critics, greenwashing) approach to product differentiation and corporate governance. Left environmentalists applauded heartily–and would continue to do so until the Deepwater Horizon accident of April 2010.
Browne’s speech began by begging the question and proceeded to a non sequitur. It begged the question by assuming that anthropogenic global warming was bad and it leapt to the conclusion that corporations and for governments must fight it. In Browne’s make-believe world, there was no such thing as analytic failure or government failure–just market failure.
Today, we know what John Browne did not want to know 13 years ago. We know that the climate is far too complex to pretend to ‘stabilize’ through marginal changes in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. We know that government mitigation policies are all pain and no gain. We know that oil, gas, and coal are the real deal–and wind and solar are pretend, press-release energies that might even be CO2 positive.
We also know that the global warming issue resulted in incalculable intellectual fraud, grotesque corporate rent-seeking, and the waste of the environmental dollar (there are real, here-and-now ecological issues that deserve the global warming buck).
We also know, painfully, that BP put form over substance and took their eye off the ball. Beyond Petroleum was a failed corporate strategy that resulted in heedless, dumb cost-cutting that put profits losses ahead of people and the environment.
Reality can be a harsh mistress. BP went after an environmental fad, basked in the glow of the Left environmental movement, and now may have destoyed itself in the process. As with Enron, another ‘progressive’ ‘green’ company, the Left environmentalists got what they deserved.
If only John Browne had given a Lee Raymond-type speech and had conducted BP’s business in the manner of its more reality-grounded brethren. The blame for the fatal attraction goes deep, and it lands at the doorstep of the mainstream environmental movement that got BP into greenwashing.
John Browne’s speech follows verbatim.
The world in which we live is no longer defined by ideology. The old spectrums of left to right and radical to conservative are still with us, but ideology is no longer the ultimate arbiter of analysis and action. Governments, corporations, and individual citizens have all had to redefine their roles in a society no longer divided by an Iron Curtain. A new age demands a fresh perspective on the nature of society and responsibility. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
The FT reminds us that there is a lot of ocean out there beyond the Gulf of Mexico:
(Roger Pielke Jr.)
by Robert Michaels
Just as as the polls start finding that nobody thinks global warming matters much, and just as hockey stick predictions of catastrophe fall apart in a scientific scandal, guess who turns up at the White House?
Bill Gates! And the billionaire wants your money to federally fund research on “breakthrough” energy technologies to cope with carbon, an increase between $3 billion and $16 billion a year, possibly forever. The Wall Street Journal apparently lost its secret decoder ring and quotes him: “It’s the only way you’re going to get to the goal of not driving extreme climate change without extreme pain.”
In a video clip he says that ten years of research would mean that by 2030 “we’d be in a position to change the transportation infrastructure to zero carbon,” and likewise for electricity. Red ink in Washington a problem? No problem with “a modest energy tax,” or “cutting subsidies to fossil fuels.”
Subsidies? The U.S. Energy Information Administration defines them and finds that in 2007 coal got $932 million and gas and petroleum liquids got $2.1 billion. Even if your Congressman votes to kill them totally, that’s still only $3 billion. But before even hoping for any of this recall that your Congressman is the person who put the subsidies in place. Since $3 billion is rock bottom in Bill’s wish book, we are probably talking taxes or bonds for the rest.
Meet the New Energy Experts
U.S. environmental regulators said testing on higher ethanol blends in motor fuels will not be finished until September, a delay ethanol groups said would hurt jobs and
worsen a supply glut.
Cuts announced last week to finance castings needed for nuclear reactors were deeply revealing of the Coalition’s priorities, writes Christopher Booker.
Britain's biggest wind farm companies are to be paid not to produce electricity when the wind is blowing.
Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview
HONG KONG - The H1N1 swine flu virus has been spreading quietly in pigs in Hong Kong and swapping genes with other viruses, and researchers said the findings support calls
for tighter disease surveillance in pigs before new bugs can emerge and infect people.
June 16, 2010 – 8:01 pm
Alternatives for polycarbonate bottles are available, but have not been tested as extensively as bisphenol A.
Replacing products with low levels of bisphenol A with less-studied materials will have unknown effects
By Julie E. Goodman
There has been much concern recently that bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic bottles and metal can linings may leach into food, leading to increased health risks to pregnant women, fetuses, infants and children. This concern is not supported by the science. Levels of BPA that leach into food are far below levels that are widely considered safe, and eliminating BPA from these products will not likely lead to any health improvements. To the contrary, this action may actually lead to unintended health effects from other chemicals used in its place.
Whenever a material comes in contact with food, some level of it will migrate into the food. Be it BPA or another chemical, a few questions must be addressed to determine whether the migration will cause health risks. How much leaches into food? Is this amount sufficient to cause harm? If replaced with another chemical, will this likely result in harm?
In the case of BPA, these questions have been studied extensively. Scientists have determined the amount of BPA to which people are exposed in two ways: by estimating levels based on the amount measured in food, and by back-calculating exposures based on BPA measured in urine. Results from both types of analyses have produced similar results. Even assuming worst-case scenarios, including infants drinking from polycarbonate baby bottles, human exposures are exceedingly low, about a million-fold lower than levels shown to be without health effects in comprehensive studies in laboratory animals. These levels are also well below the safety levels set by government bodies around the world.
In a recent blog, I outlined some of the big money behind the activist assault on modern agricultural technology, particularly the safe and effective herbicide, atrazine.
Much of that money probably flows directly from trial lawyers through activist “laundering” operations such as the Tides Foundation (specifically set up so that the
billions they distribute to activists can’t be traced to its source).
We can only hope: Homeopathy Awareness Week: Is this the homeopaths' last stand?
It's Homeopathy Awareness Week, but the alternative medicine may be about to face a final deadly assault from critics, writes Edzard Ernst (The Guardian)
PETER Dingle had a choice when his wife, Pen, finally learned she had rectal cancer.
Would the professor push her to have the operation that would most probably cure her?
Or would he keep pushing the mad faith in alternative medicine that has since made him, as he modestly advertises, a “renowned author, juggler, media personality and Murdoch University academic”?
Ah. Tough choice.
You see, Dingle, an “environmental toxicologist” at this Perth university’s school of Health and Environment, has spent the past 20 years getting rich and kinda famous by demonising the very kind of medicine that could spare a woman like Pen from what a surgeon told a Perth coroner this week was “one of the most painful diseases you could possibly get”.
Indeed, even last month, after all that he - or rather, his wife (below) - had gone through, Dingle was still spruiking his wares that have made him a minor celebrity in this new age of unreason.
“Perhaps the most dreaded of all diseases is cancer,” he wrote in his newsletter.
“There is no miracle cure for cancer, nor will there ever be ... Only a few minor cancers are treated effectively with modern techniques yet we still keep doing it.”
In fact, he’s protested, “modern medicine cannot be given credit for increasing life expectancy at birth”.
Yes, I think you suspect already how this story plays out, and how ugly it gets.Continue reading 'Column - Our deadly culture of unreason' (Andrew Bolt)
June 17, 2010 – 7:09 pm
How activists, money and manipulated science hijacked the B.C. fish farm industry
There’s a national science battle underway over salmon. It is a battle over the fate of one part of the salmon industry, salmon farms, and the work of activists who claim to have scientific evidence that fish farms are killing wild salmon and are a threat to the very existence of wild salmon, ocean fisheries and ecosystems.
The science conflict, steeped in politics and green activism, has been raging for the better part of a decade. It has many facets, but it reached a climax of sorts in December, 2007, when researchers at the Centre for Mathematical Biology (CMB) at the University of Alberta published a paper that claimed sea lice from fish farms in British Columbia were contaminating wild pink salmon. In a sensational press release at the time, the University of Alberta’s public relations crew declared the coming collapse of wild salmon: “Fish Farms Drive Wild Salmon Populations Toward Extinction.” The release claimed the study — headed by fisheries ecologist Martin Krkosek and including eco-activist Alexandra Morton — proved that pink salmon populations have been rapidly declining for four years.
“The scientists expect a 99% collapse in another four years or two salmon generations, if the infestations continue.”
Britain could face widespread power blackouts and be left without critical communication signals for long periods of time, after the earth is hit by a once-in-a-generation “space storm”, Nasa has warned. (TDT)
Senators Wrestle With Competing Proposals After President Renews Call to Reduce Nation's Reliance on Fossil Fuels
Inhofe a Guest on the Steve Malzberg Show
President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Washington have a new plan to try and pass their global warming cap-and-trade agenda, Senator Inhofe warned today
on the Steve Malzberg show.
UPDATED at 6:55 p.m. with comment from White House spokesman Ben LaBolt.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch said today on CNBC that:
1. Obama should be focusing on the gulf oil spill “not new energy plans”; and
2. Our “pretty good economy” should not be “damaged” with “carbon taxes.”
“Let’s get [the economy] going,” he said.
Ironically, GE CEO Jeff Immelt and other USCAP CEOs will be pushing the climate bill on Capitol Hill tomorrow at a luncheon prior to the Democratic caucus meeting.
Welch built GE into the largest and most valuable company in the world. Immelt, in contrast, brought GE to the verge of bankruptcy, requiring a $140 billion federal bailout.
Click to watch the three-minute CNBC clip. (Green Hell)
The Environmental Protection Agency released its economic analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman cap and trade legislation, the latest cap and trade bill to be released in the Senate. The result was nearly the same as the EPA’s analysis of the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill passed in the House of Representatives last year: postage stamp per day costs. Instead of $176 per household for Waxman-Markey, Kerry-Lieberman would cost households $146 by 2050. Unfortunately for Americans, nothing substantial in the EPA analysis has changed; it is still unreasonable, faulty, and fragile. The reality remains that cap and trade is a substantial energy tax that will cause trillions of dollars in economic damage and kill jobs.
Inappropriate Use of Discounting
Most misleading in the EPA analyses of cap and trade is the use of discounting. A discount rate is an interest rate used to find present value of an amount to be paid or received in the future. In other words, present value analysis answers the question: How much would I have to have today in order to meet my financial obligations or pay certain costs in the future? Discounting is a legitimate tool in finance and for cost-benefit calculations. But discounting can give a much distorted view of costs, as is done by those misrepresenting the EPA analysis. Here’s an example to help clarify:
Continue reading... (The Foundry)
China advances while the West is paralyzed by weather superstition: Security Tops the Environment in China’s Energy Plan
BEIJING — When President Obama called this week for a “national mission” to expand the use of clean energy and increase American energy independence, Chinese officials
might have nodded knowingly.
UK study predicts increased floods and droughts will continue for decades after global temperatures are stabilised (The Guardian)
June 16, 2010 – 6:07 pm
On Sunday, I wrote a blog about an IPCC insider who stated that the IPCC had been disingenuous in claiming that 2500 scientists had endorsed the view that humans are responsible for global warming. By Monday, my blog had gone viral, appearing in thousands of locations in the blogosphere and garnering perhaps hundreds of thousands of hits. Earlier today, Hulme provided a convoluted response on his own blog site, in an attempt to counter my blog.
He should instead take his own advice, which he had given to the IPCC in his paper: Don’t be disingenuous, because it makes you vulnerable to criticism.
Let me dissect Hulme’s rebuttal (which you can see in full, here).
Hulme says: Various newspaper and internet blogs are reporting me as saying that the IPCC has ‘misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming’ whereas in fact only ‘a few dozen experts’ did so. … I did not say the ‘IPCC misleads’ anyone.
Solomon responds: Hulme stated in his paper that the IPCC had been “disingenuous” in making claims “such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’” when the correct number was “only a few dozen experts.” Seems clear to me that misleading has been going on. You can read Hulme’s paper here (pages 10 and 11 have the quotes in question) and decide for yourself.
Hulme says: it is claims that are made by other commentators, such as the caricatured claim I offer in the paper, that have the potential to mislead.
Solomon responds: Hulme is correct in noting that the caricatured claims that “2500 scientists” endorsed the man-made global warming potential have the potential to mislead. Indeed, that caricature has arguably misled more people than any other claim in human history. However, the source of that caricature, which for so long so thoroughly fooled the majority of the press and public, was the IPCC itself – in the IPCC`s own public relations documents. Hulme’s paper correctly identifies the IPCC as the source of this misinformation at the top of page 11, when he identifies it and other misleading claims as coming from “IPCC reports.” To see the IPCC touting its 2500 scientists, look here.
Judging from the reactions on the blogosphere, Hulme has embarrassed himself and his climate change colleagues, leaving him with two broad choices.
To minimize further embarrassment for his colleagues, he can simply do what other scientists have done when they’ve felt the pressure of the climate change establishment: Recant.
Alternatively, to minimize further embarrassment for himself, he can stop digging himself deeper into the hole in which he finds himself.
slide above comes from the presentation of Hans von Storch to the InterAcademy Review of the IPCC,
presented earlier this week in Montreal. The slide references the
misrepresentation of the issue of disasters and climate change by the IPCC. von Storch is very clear in his views:
IPCC authors have decided to violate the mission of the IPCC, by presenting disinformation.Not only did the IPCC misrepresent the science of disasters and climate change, but went so far as to issue a highly misleading press release to try to spin the issue and put an unprepared IPCC WG2 chair on the BBC to try to defend the undefensible. I was promised a response from the IPCC to my concerns, a response that has never been provided.
A former head of the IPCC, Robert Watson, says the following in the context of the 2035 glacier issue, but could be equally applied to the disaster issue:
To me the fundamental problem was that when the error was found it was handled in a totally and utterly atrocious manner.The IAC Review of the IPCC is fully aware of this issue, and it will be interesting to see what their report says on the topic. Meantime, the IPCC is continuing its preparations for its next assessment in business-as-usual fashion. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is fighting back against the University of Virginia’s request that a judge “set aside” the attorney general’s subpoena for documents
related to the research activities of a former climate scientist.
Code of conduct and rapid communication are key, scientists tell review panel.
There's still money and baubles for climate loons: UK government's environment adviser wins major international green award
Professor Bob Watson, science adviser to the environment ministry, chosen alongside Nasa's James Hansen
Today, the George C. Marshall Institute published a reply to the book, Merchants of Doubt, which attacks the integrity of the Institute and its founders. The reply is available here (.pdf, 85Kb, 9pp).
WE humans are about to be wiped out in a few decades. The grandchildren of many of us will not live to old age.
Hear it from Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University and the man who helped eradicate smallpox.
“Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years,” he told The Australian this week.
“It’s an irreversible situation.” Blame global warming.
But here’s the odd thing. Just three paragraphs into this report announcing the - Oh My God! - end of the world, the reporter and Fenner were off talking about rabbits, Fenner’s writing habits, his bookshelves, his student days, his war service and the weight of the book he wrote on smallpox - 3.5kg, actually.
Oh, and did he ever tell how he used to study skulls with Norman Tindale?
Now, you’d think when a reporter had just been told that thousands of years of human history were about to come to a screaming halt - with their own loved ones among the dead - that rabbits and recollections of Norm would be the last thing they’d want to discuss.
Back up a bit, they’d cry. Run that by me again: you mean, all human life on this planet is going to be exterminated? My grandchildren are doomed?
But, no. So used are we to sandwich-board doom-mongering from global warmists that we hurry them on to cheerier topics, like tales of old Norm and his skulls.
It’s not that Fenner is a joke. He may now be 95, but he’s a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society. And his views on the end of the world, however boring, were still deemed serious enough to publish in The Australian’s prestigious Higher Education supplement.
This curious disconnect between prediction and reception happens relatively often now. Four years ago another warmist, Prof James Lovelock, creator of the influential Gaia theory of an interconnected Earth, was every bit as apocalyptic as Fenner.Continue reading 'Column - The boring end of the world' (Andrew Bolt)
Lindsay Graham changes his mind about global warming science, wind farms increase CO2 emissions, hippies unwitting unleashed a molepocalypse and electric cars cannot save the planet. It’s another busy week, handily rounded-up for you. (Daily Bayonet)
I have always been amazed at how easy it is to find AGW believers ready to casually toss the accusation of “denier!” to everybody and anybody not following their “party line” of impending human-cause planetary doom to be avoided via some unprecedented social and economic revolution (“denier” meaning of course all sorts of nasty insults).
The more the term is spread around, the less meaningful it becomes. Still, what are the effects of such a silly behavior? (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)
While we were busy, the Royal Society’s diktats on climate change got the world’s oldest scientific academy into the news, again. Back when we started this blog in 2007, we found the language used by those in and around the RS to be perhaps the most peculiar expression of the confusion of science and politics in the climate debate. The RS’s erstwhile president, Robert May had declared that the society’s motto was best translated as ‘respect the facts’ – a revision of ‘on the word of no one’ that looked like a desperate inversion of its ethic. May wasn’t beyond making up his own facts, as we revealed after he accused Great Global Warming Swindle director, Martin Durkin of having produced a three-part series of films denying the link between HIV and AIDS. Roger Harrabin has recently decided to remember that May had once told him that “I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over”. (Harrabin has only now decided to recall the incident, but it would surely have been more interesting to publicly challenge his arrogance while he was president, back then.) And it wasn’t just May using the authority that science itself had bestowed on him. The RS’s then communications director, Bob Ward busied himself by speaking on behalf of science, writing open letters to anyone seemingly daring to challenge any aspect of climate change politics, and any editor of a publication that dared to host unorthodox opinion. The Royal Society is now feeling the effect of certain of its members’ aggression and contempt, and challenges to its authority now come from within. (Climate Resistance)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Increasingly, the Earth's climate appears to be more connected than anyone would have imagined. El Nino, the weather pattern that
originates in a patch of the equatorial Pacific, can spawn heat waves and droughts as far away as Africa.
UPDATE: more edits & enhancements for clarity made at 3:35 CDT, June 17, 2010.
Here I use a simple forcing-feedback model, combined with satellite estimates of cloud changes caused by the PDO, to demonstrate the ability of the model to explain the temperature variations. This time, though, I am going to use Jim Hansen’s (GISS) record of yearly radiative forcings of the global climate system since 1900 to demonstrate more convincingly the importance of the PDO…not only for explaining the global temperature record of the past, but for the estimation of the sensitivity of the climate system and thus project the amount of future global warming (er, I mean climate change).
What follows is not meant to be publishable in a peer-reviewed paper. It is to keep the public informed, to stimulate discussion, to provide additional support for the claims in my latest book, and to help me better understand what I know at this point in my research, what I don’t know, and what direction I should go next. (Roy W. Spencer)
There is a new paper which further documents the major role of regional circulation features on weather and climate. It is
Kossin, J. P., S. J. Camargo, and M. Sitkowski, 2010: Climate modulation of North Atlantic hurricane tracks. J. Climate, 23, 3057-3076
The abstract reads
The documentation of the major role that
closely fits with the conclusions I have reported in my past posts; e.g. see
What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures? (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
Thursday, 17 June 2010 14:25 Dr. David Whitehouse
Glaciers have been in the news a lot recently after the IPCC mistakenly claimed that those in the Himalayas would disappear by 2035. Despite this it has often been reported in the mainstream media that the Earth’s glaciers are retreating in response to man-made global warming. A new study shows, as is often the case with such sweeping claims, that the reality is more complicated with mankind’s influence probably not the major factor.
With the possible exception of the glaciers in Scandinavia the glaciers on the Alps are the most well observed on Earth. For more than 100 years the Swiss glaciers have been observed, new topographic maps compiled, aerial photographs taken and measurements made.
According to researchers at least half of the loss of the Aletch glacier in Switzerland, which has receded by 2,000 metres in the past century, is due to natural climatic variability. The researchers, from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, say that their findings are generally true for the majority of glaciers worldwide. The research has been described as the first detailed scrutiny of the many forces that affect the behavior of glaciers.
It is possible to use historical data to make some judgment of the influence of natural variations on glacier size although such data are rather sparse compared to the measurements obtained in the last century or so. It is worth noting that during the Roman Warm Period Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps shows that 2,200 years ago the glaciers were much smaller than they are today. (GWPF)
Findings released during the annual Goldschmidt Conference at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
I watched Tuesday's hearing on offshore drilling operations and safety by the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and want to highlight a few things that stood out in the testimony of the assembled chiefs of the largest oil companies in the US. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, Energy Tribune)
FOR over a month, Barack Obama watched the oil spill spread over the Gulf of Mexico with the same powerless horror as other Americans. Finally, lampooned by his countrymen
for his impotence, he was spurred into action. He attacked the only available target—BP—and, to underline the seriousness with which he takes this problem, he gave his
first Oval Office address on the subject.
June 17, 2010 – 7:05 pm
The one narrative that won’t hunt is that BP took a calculated risk
President Obama’s forcing BP to cut its dividend and commit US$20-billion to an escrow fund for Gulf victims seems more like something Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez might have pulled off. “We will make BP pay,” said the President in his Oval office speech this week. But BP has already said very clearly that it is prepared to pay. The company’s CEO, Tony Hayward, repeated this commitment yesterday while being roasted before a House committee in Washington.
BP still has a great many questions to answer about culpability for the Gulf disaster, but the company is being made to look as if it might put shareholders ahead of victims. All this fits nicely into President Obama’s anti-Big Oil/anti-corporate/pro-Big Government agenda.
In his speech, President Obama used the Gulf spill in an attempt to kick start flagging energy legislation. His clean energy obsessions (which are rooted in the likely non-problem of man-made global warming) could prove extremely damaging for the U.S. economy (and that of Canada) although we might take some comfort in the fact that cap and trade didn’t get a mention in Tuesday’s speech.
FROM THE Oval Office on Tuesday, President Obama argued that the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico underscores the need for America to transition from fossil
fuels. But even as he attempted to rally Americans by invoking heroic American achievement in World War II and in space, the president didn't talk much about what could make
such a transition happen.
Of course... Film Challenges Safety Of U.S. Shale Gas Drilling
A new documentary purporting to expose the hazards of onshore natural gas drilling illustrates its point with startling images of people setting fire to water flowing from
faucets in their homes.
Environment: Our growing addiction to alternative energy was killing aquatic life in the Gulf long before the Deepwater Horizon spill. Abandoning oil will kill more and also
release more carbon dioxide into the air.
Too stupid for words: Gas power stations 'should have carbon capture'
Climate committee calls for measure in order to meet target to cut emissions by 80%
Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi, ex-CEO of Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, maintains major investments in "green" companies that benefit directly from her decisions. (Christopher Horner, PJM)
As utilities seek to build new nuclear power plants in the U.S. and around the world, the latest generation of reactors feature improvements over older technologies. But even as attention focuses on nuclear as an alternative to fossil fuels, questions remain about whether the newer reactors are sufficiently foolproof to be adopted on a large scale. (Susan Q. Stranahan, e360)
by Jerry Graf
[Editor’s note: Mr. Graf’s cash flow analysis of wind power projects is presented as another view of the inappropriateness of planned public policy in the electricity sector. The economics of wind power is a broad topic; previous posts at MasterResource are listed at the end of this post. For general problems of industrial wind, see here.]
There are many arguments to be made against government subsidization of industrial wind power, some objective and others subjective. We hear about noise, shadow flicker, disruption of wildlife, lack of consistent energy output (intermittency), questionable performance with respect to pollution reduction, and undesirable aesthetic appearance.
It occurs to me, however, with regard to subsidies for energy ventures and technology, three things must be kept in mind:
It is obvious that any good investment must be made in worthwhile ventures that can show a reasonable return; and I believe it is fairly apparent that placement of wind turbine power generation technology in my home state of Ohio, vast areas of the eastern or mid-western United States, and indeed in most places in the continental United States, is not worthwhile.
Given the average annual wind speed limitations in most areas, and the relative inefficiency of wind turbines to transform wind into useful electrical power, the wind turbine technology we are subsidizing cannot produce enough electricity to be competitive with other more viable forms of generation, even when a generous allowance for future inflation of electricity costs is considered. The investment is being wasted; with no hope of a reasonable return, and without large subsidies from government entities to offset the investment losses and artificial increases in the cost of electricity, a viable business case for implementation of wind turbine power generation cannot be made.
To illustrate the economic shortcomings, I can point to specific high profile wind development projects I have analyzed in the past several months, including the Great Lakes Wind Energy Pilot Project in Ohio, the Highland Wind Farm expansion in Pennsylvania, and the Glacier Hills Wind Farm in Wisconsin. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Heard a great story the other day from Matt Ridley, author of the absolutely essential The Rational Optimist.
June 16, 2010 – 8:54 pm
Speaking of fake lakes, do you think the federal government and Ontario should build a $2.4-billion state-of-the-art photovoltaic solar cell manufacturing plant and hand over the keys, free of charge, to a national champion producer in that industry? Does that sound maybe a little implausible? Not if you believe the cost-benefit analysis presented recently in the journal Energy Policy by two researchers in Queen’s University’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
In fairness, the cost-benefit analysis they used is typical of lots of cost-benefit analysis in this area, i.e., a little junky. What are the benefits? They don’t actually calculate the all-in social benefits and costs, which are often hard to estimate but are what should really determine the decision. Instead, they calculate the “government return,” the cash return the government makes on its $2.4-billion investment. What form does the return take? Income taxes, corporate taxes, sales taxes and health and environmental costs saved because the solar cells the plant produces replace polluting coal-fired electrical plants. When the Queen’s researchers estimate all these future flows of income to the government it ends up their present value at plausible interest rates exceeds the $2.4-billion investment.
OK, so what’s wrong here?
June 16 -- Spain’s government will cut the revenue of most existing solar-power plants by 30 percent, a move that may bankrupt hundreds of companies that produce
electricity using photovoltaic panels, a local trade group said.
June 17, 2010 – 11:43 am
Solar may be a renewable technology but government subsidies to it aren’t, Europe’s solar industry is learning.
In Spain, under a 2007 law that guaranteed 25 years of way-above-market prices to solar power developers, industry invested $22-billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Spain the solar showcase of the world. Now that Spain is flirting with bankruptcy, the government is planning to rescind those guarantees, the Spanish press reports.
Under the government’s expected change of mind, the revenue of most existing solar-power plants would be cut by 30% and for new ground-based photovoltaic generators by 45%. The government would rescind fewer subsidies for roof-mounted panels: 25% cuts for large roofs and 5% for small roofs. The result, according to Tomas Diaz, director of external relations at the Photovoltaic Industry Association in Madrid, would be bankruptcy for most of the country’s 600 photovoltaic operators.
In Italy, the government plans to scrap guaranteed prices paid to owners of so-called green certificates, which represent greenhouse-gas-free power. Without those guarantees, says the head of the Association of Foreign Banks in Italy, solar and wind companies that obtained some $6.8-billion in loans may be unable to make their loan payments, leading to widespread default. About two-thirds of Italy’s green loans come from outside the country. More loans to the sector are now in doubt.
In Germany, prospects have also dimmed for the renewable industry, with the government scaling back its renewable power incentives. The UK has already announced a review of renewable subsidies, leading Denmark’s Dong Energy, which accounts for a third of UK offshore wind capacity, to say future investments may dry up.
The exit of governments from the renewable subsidy field follows a collapse in public support for the theory that manmade global warming is a serious problem. Because the public no longer buys it, the politicians no longer fund it.
You may never have never heard of Patricia Woertz, or Archer Daniels Midland. Woertz is the CEO of ADM, America’s 27th largest company, and it’s the largest company headed
by a female in the US. The reason you ought to care is that Woertz and ADM have the power to make your life more expensive – much more expensive. And they have been
aggressively exercising that power for over 30 years.
ADM is the largest primary food processor in the country – it turns corn and soybeans (among other products) into a host of consumer products: corn flakes, cornstarch, corn syrup, corn meal, popcorn, and hundreds of other items. One of those other items is ethanol. Ethanol is a pure grain alcohol that, when blended with gasoline, yields gasohol – the E10 or E85 blends. Ethanol has long been touted as a path to energy independence, the way to reduce, or even eliminate, oil imports.
More accurately, though, ethanol is the latest incarnation of snake oil. It is an inferior product in every facet, and the entire ethanol industry would disappear overnight if the federal government would perform its intended function – the service and protection of its people – and end ethanol subsidies once and for all. (Energy Tribune)
Posted by Michael F. Cannon
House Republicans say they will force a vote to repeal ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which will subject nearly all Americans to fines and/or imprisonment if they do not purchase a government-designed health insurance plan. They are soliciting public feedback on their America Speaking Out website, which explains:
I’d rather see the entire law repealed — including the price controls on health insurance, the trillions of dollars in health insurance subsidies, the CLASS Act, etc.. Why not do it all at once, just so you don’t miss anything important?
But this vote is unlikely to succeed, so I suppose there will be time for votes repealing the whole thing. (Cato at liberty)
In the never-ending fiasco that started in 1965 when the Feds entered health care in earnest, you can always count on a few things:
1. Each successive bit of regulation will further erode the doctor-patient relationship.
2. No money will ever be saved. On the contrary, costs will only rise.
3. Honest docs will get squeezed, crooked ones will game the system.
4. No matter what changes are made, insurance companies and big pharma will benefit more than any other players.
5. Patients will get increasingly dissatisfied with their care.
My latest HND piece deals with vaccine purchasing contracts, also known as "compliance contracts." On the surface, they look like a way for struggling pediatricians to control costs, but looks can be deceiving.
Instead, they reward the already federally-subsidized vaccine giants, and stifle innovation. Or, as I describe it:
Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)
Repeated claims of thousands of victims fail basic statistical tests
By Peter Shawn Taylor
Air pollution cuts a deadly but invisible swath through Canada. We know this because the Canadian Medical Association says there were 21,000 deaths from exposure to air-borne pollutants in 2008. Of these, 2,682 Canadians were instantly struck down by the acute effects of pollution. By 2031, 710,000 people will have been slain by this unseen killer.
The evidence on this epic death toll is chillingly precise. According to the Ontario Medical Association, exactly 348 people died from air pollution in Waterloo Region in 2008. In Hamilton, 445 lives were cut short. And Manitoulin Island tragically lost 14 residents due to pollutants that year.
In Toronto, the Big Smoke of Canada, the figures are appropriately larger. Calculations by Toronto Public Health claim air pollution kills 1,700 people annually and sends 6,000 to the hospital. Ten percent of all non-trauma deaths in Toronto are directly attributed to air pollution.
And the news gets worse. Consider what happens when you take Toronto’s computer model and use it to determine the death toll in previous eras, when the air was far more polluted than today. For example, average sulfur dioxide levels in downtown Toronto were more than 100 parts per billion in the mid-1960s. It’s now less than 10 ppb. No surprise then, that the death toll was much greater in the bad old days. Across the 1960s, half of all non-trauma deaths were the direct result of air pollution, according to Toronto’s model. And in February 1965, more than 100% of all deaths were due to pollution!
Never mind that literally thousands of studies have given the chemical BPA a clean bill of health. Yale "scientist" Hugh Taylor has a new angle, and this was covered by Reuters.
The way we are exposed to the chemical is via ingestion. That is, we either eat foods that have been packaged in cans lined with BPA, or drink liquids from plastic containers containing the chemical in minute amounts.
Hack scientist Fred vom Saal has made a career of studying BPA and other so-called endocrine disruptors. No one can repeat his results, but since it is apparently PC to attack chemicals, he's made this work. Let's be kind and say that vom Saal's reputation among his peers is something less than stellar.
You should know that one of the biggest research frauds in modern history, in which the once-respected journal Science published supposedly revolutionary results, only to have to retract them later, also involved endocrine disruptors.
But even vom Saal would not have done something as absurd as Taylor. One of the images in the slide show accompanying the article shows Taylor INJECTING pregnant mice with BPA. For those keeping score, this sort of incredible junk science grotesquely magnifies the exposure level when compared to ingestion, which of course must go through the digestive system.
Think of what your blood alcohol level would be if the ethyl alcohol were directly injected into your veins, instead of you drinking it in a beverage. Do you think it would be lots higher, maybe even lethal?
30 years ago, this sort of thing would have been laughed out of any journal in the world, and now it is indicative of "research" at an Ivy League School. God help us.
As an added bonus, since no article about BPA would be complete without mentioning her name, Prof. Shanna Swan, who has an even worse reputation among her peers than vom Saal, is also cited.
After World War II, the public was all starry-eyed about what science would bring us. Disease would be cured, hunger would be eliminated, and energy would be cheap and plentiful. Instead, we got napalm and Hugh Taylor. Last time I checked, the public isn't so starry-eyed anymore. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)
In April, the National Resources Defense Council issued an update in its all-out campaign to demonize and ban the herbicide atrazine. The scope of its attack shows that the
NRDC has learned a thing or two from the 1980s, when it ginned up a successful campaign to demonize the apple growth regulator, alar.
WASHINGTON - People who got vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu virus may also be protected against the strain of influenza that killed 50 million to 100 million people in
1918, researchers reported on Tuesday.
PC claim of the moment: Cleared forests lead to rise in malaria in Brazil
WASHINGTON - Clearing forests in the Amazon helps mosquitoes thrive and can send malaria rates soaring, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.
Left-coast loons: San Francisco tentatively OKs cellphone radiation law
San Francisco is close to enacting a law that would require retailers to post signs stating how much radiation is emitted from cellphones.
BATON ROUGE – On March 20, Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano woke from its nearly 200-year slumber to change the way the world viewed volcanoes forever. Bringing almost all transatlantic air travel to a halt for the first time in modern history, this volcano reminded humanity of the powers these forces of nature contain – and of our relative inability to understand them. Associate Professor Huiming Bao of LSU's Department of Geology & Geophysics has published research in the journal Nature about massive volcanic eruptions and their atmospheric consequences in the past in North America. (Louisiana State University)
Chemicals that helped solve a global environmental crisis in the 1990s — the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer — may be making another problem — acid rain —
worse, scientists are reporting. Their study on the chemicals that replaced the ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) once used in aerosol spray cans, air conditioners,
refrigerators, and other products, appears in ACS' Journal of Physical Chemistry A, a weekly publication.
WASHINGTON - More Americans are exercising but rates of obesity and smoking have not changed, according to the latest government data.
SCIENTISTS believe obesity, junk food and increased meat consumption could be responsible for a growing number of girls reaching puberty before the age of ten.
BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers voted on Wednesday to strengthen controversial draft rules on food labelling that aim to fight rising levels of obesity in Europe.
World class nutritionist Jo-Ann Heslin takes down some food myths by bringing some logic and right reason to the notion of "processed foods."
How's this for an opening paragraph?
As she notes:
She also puts a stake through the heart of the cliché of the "evil" food companies. After all, if people didn't buy various less-than-healthful products, they wouldn't be offered for sale, would they? Jo-Ann is too kind to say outright that if we want someone to blame, we should be looking in the mirror.
Reducing how much we can legally drink before driving is an imposition on our freedom that makes little difference to safety.
I'm confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone,
and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old
boy — for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.
Last week, George Mason University economics professor Daniel Klein wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed summarizing an study he did for Econ Journal Watch: “Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.”
Some of the questions Klein et al asked included: “1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).” Continue reading... (The Foundry)
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Researchers have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in seven species of sharks and redfish captured in waters off Belize, Florida, Louisiana and
Massachusetts. Most of these wild, free-swimming fish harbored several drug-resistant bacterial strains.
spiked’s editor joined the population-control lobby in a posh church in London as they quaffed ‘luxury’ drinks and fretted about overbreeding.
“We landed on St. Matthew Island early on a cold gray August morning, and judge our astonishment at finding hundreds of large polar bears . . . lazily sleeping in grassy
hollows, or digging up grass and other roots, browsing like hogs.”
Ominous words are emanating again from the president on climate change and energy independence, this time as "a response" to the Gulf oil catastrophe. Somewhere
between the war rhetoric and comparisons to the moon landing, President Obama last night (vaguely) told Congress to pass the energy legislation that’s been languishing there
since last summer.
Climate Bill: Sen. Joe Lieberman believes American households are "willing to pay less than $1" a day to stop global warming. The Connecticut independent needs a
lesson in the history of government program costs.
Terrorism. Nuclear weapons. Corrupt and oppressive regimes.
months ago, Rajendra Pachauri became our skin care & beauty adviser.
They are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder – I hope that they apply it to their faces every day – and people who say that the only way to deal with HIV/AIDS is to screen the population on a regular basis and isolate those who are infected.However, the InterAcademy Council's (IAC) review of the IPCC is underway. They must have told the atrocious man the self-evident fact that his job is no longer sustainable. All of us hope that such an inevitable cosmetic change won't be the only result of the IAC's investigation.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
The InterAcademy Council is reviewing the work of the
(Download WM plugin for Firefox/Chrome if you don't have it.)
John Christy (02:11:55 - 02:43:15 in the file embedded above, 31 minutes in total; questions begin on 02:24:08) has explained how the climate scientists (and especially IPCC lead authors) have become gatekeepers and their community has become a victim of groupthink, exaggerations, Hollywood movies; how his papers and opinions were deliberately ignored by the process; how good an idea it is to listen to Steve McIntyre; how unpredictable the climate is - especially the regional one; and how cruel it may be to make electricity less accessible, especially in the third world, so you should be damn certain about your assumptions (and you should better have several reasons to implement a far-reaching policy).
There are many other cool things that have been said.
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
by David Henderson
Over the past 22 years, governments everywhere and a great many outside observers have put their trust in the official expert advisory process as a whole and the IPCC process in particular.
I have come to believe that this widespread trust is unwarranted. But it is not just the IPCC process that is in question here. The basic problem of unwarranted trust goes further: it extends to the chronically biased treatment of climate change issues by responsible departments and agencies which the Panel reports to, and in nationally-based organizations which they finance.
Here is what I recently submitted to the InterAcademy Council.
I am Chairman of the Academic Advisory Council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. On 26 May the InterAcademy Council invited the Foundation to submit written comments to the independent Review Committee. At the suggestion of the Director of the Foundation, Dr Benny Peiser, I am submitting herewith my own comments. While this submission is personal, it has been endorsed by the GWPF.
I am an economist, not a climate scientist. I became involved with climate change issues, by accident not design, towards the end of 2002. Up to that time, I had formed no considered views on the subject, and had seen no reason to question the work and role of the IPCC. I was an uninvolved spectator.
To begin with, my main involvement was limited to some economic and statistical aspects of this huge and complex array of topics. Over time, however, my interests and concerns have broadened in ways that I had neither planned nor anticipated. Increasingly, and unexpectedly, I have become critical of the way in which issues of climate change have been viewed and treated by governments across the world. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Below is my response to a set of questions from the InterAcademy Council Review of the IPCC – An evaluation of the procedures and processes of the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see)
What role(s), if any, have you played in any of the IPCC assessment processes?
I have had a long experience with the IPCC assessment process starting in about 1992.
Below I have listed some of my experiences and documentation of the IPCC process. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
The past six months has seen a series of unprecedented setbacks for the cause of catastrophic man-made climate change: the collapse of the Kyoto process; the release of incriminating Climategate emails; the discovery of the shoddy standards of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the mounting evidence that a job-creating green industrial revolution is a fantasy; and the growing suspicion by the public that it has been sold a bill of goods.
The British Royal Society recently released a statement that “Any public perception that the science is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect,” thus contradicting its own former president, and true believer, Lord May. And if the science isn’t settled, there can hardly ever have been “consensus” on the issue.
A forthcoming paper by Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia, from which the Climategate emails emerged, admits that the actual group involved in the “consensus” that “human activities are having a significant influence on the climate” was in fact “only a few dozen,” rather than the thousands invoked by the IPCC.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has told a judge that his request for documents related to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann
should be granted because neither academic freedom nor the First Amendment "immunizes" a person from a fraud investigation.
The late Natalie Grant Wraga once wrote, "Protection of the environment has become the principal tool for attack against the West and all it stands for. Protection of the environment may be used as a pretext to adopt a series of measures designed to undermine the industrial base of developed nations. It may also serve to introduce malaise by lowering their standard of living and implanting communist values." (Wes Vernon, Renew America)
By Hynek Fajmon, a
member of the European Parliament
» Don't Stop Reading » (The Reference Frame)
Leading academics discuss how to build case for action to tackle climate change (Tom Young, BusinessGreen)
To the Editor:
the Washington Post's Capitol Weather Gang, Andrew Freedman
grapples with how to discuss climate change in the context of flash floods over the past few weeks:
. . . the question of whether to raise climate change in discussions of flash floods (and other extreme events) constitutes more than a quibble over semantics. The media has a responsibility to report what the science says, even in the context of a breaking news story, such as a flood event or heat wave. The science has become clearer, although by no means certain, that local precipitation extremes may be connected to climate change. Yet, to date, the mainstream media has shied away from raising climate change in extreme event coverage. This is unfortunate, because it constitutes a missed opportunity to make climate change relevant to people in the here and now, rather than an abstract concept in the distant future.In contrast, Andy Revkin who blogs at the New York Times suggests caution in making connections between a few events and larger climatic patterns.
As the graph above shows (from data of the NWS), there is no evidence for an increase in flood disasters. In fact, there has been a marked decrease. I have also shown on numerous occasions(e.g., PDF) that there is no evidence of an increase in flood disasters in terms of economic damage either, once adjusted for growing wealth at risk.
So what is the thing for journalists to say about climate change and recent flood disasters? Easy. There is presently no evidence for a signal of climate change (human-caused or otherwise) leading to an increase in flood disasters. If there is any signal, it is far too small to see and it will take many decades for such a signal to emerge.
It seems like it would be easy and straightforward to simply say what the science shows, but making climate change connections with disasters seems to be like catnip for journalists and advocates alike. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
The Tuesday night meeting in Brisbane on the WUWT Australian tour had a bit of unexpected fireworks courtesy of Aussie reef scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. The meeting started off with some protestors outsides holding placards with the tired old messages claiming “funding by big oil”, etc.. Ove actually incited this on his blog, saying that “The Climate Shifts crew and other scientists will be there en masse to record and debunk the lies that will be told.”
The “en masse” was about 5, maybe 6 people by my count. Ove is the one at right below.
I’ve never met Ove, never corresponded with him, and after watching his behavior firsthand, I’m not sure I would have wanted to. His behavior left me with the impression that he was the antithesis of a professional person. At least the lady from Oxfam and the fellow in the green shirt who came up to me afterwards had manners, even though they disagreed with me, and I thank them for that. Ove never made the effort to say hello.
Andrew Bolt and his readers explain it far better than I could:
Continue reading (WUWT)
Oh boy... Whale poop fights global warming
Click here to watch the video. NOT
Southern Ocean sperm whales are an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,000 cars each year in their faeces, a study shows.
The cetaceans have been previously seen as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common greenhouse gas.
But this is only a part of the picture, according to the paper, published in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In a heroic calculation, Australian biologists estimated that about 12,000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean each defecate around 50 tonnes of iron into the sea every year after digesting the fish and squid they hunt.
The iron is a terrific food for phytoplankton – marine plants that live near the ocean surface and which suck up CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
As a result of faecal fertilisation, the whales remove 400,000 tonnes of carbon each year, twice as much as the 200,000 tonnes of CO2 that they contribute through respiration.
Continue reading (WUWT)
File this under short term trends matter when we say they matter.
Iceberg in the Hudson Strait off the coast of Baffin Island. Photograph by: Sergeant Kevin MacAulay, DN
BY RANDY BOSWELL, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE
Arctic Ocean ice cover retreated faster last month than in any previous May since satellite monitoring began more than 30 years ago, the latest sign that the polar region could be headed for another record-setting meltdown by summer’s end.
The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center had already warned earlier this spring that low ice volume — the result of repeated losses of thick, multi-year ice over the past decade — meant this past winter’s ice-extent recovery was superficial, due mainly to a fragile fringe of new ice that would be vulnerable to rapid deterioration once warmer temperatures set in.
And, driven by unusually hot weather in recent weeks above the Arctic Circle, the polar ice is disappearing at an unprecedented rate, reducing overall ice extent to less than that recorded in May 2007 — the year when a record-setting retreat by mid-September alarmed climatologists and northern governments.
Continue reading (WUWT)
Geophysicist Christian Haas, of the University of Alberta, and a colleague pose with the "bird" they towed along on a cable below the plane which flew 100 metres above the ice. Photograph by: Christian Haas/University of Alberta, Photo Handout Read more
An electromagnetic “bird” dispatched to the Arctic for the most detailed look yet at the thickness of the ice has turned up a reassuring picture.
The meltdown has not been as dire as some would suggest, said geophysicist Christian Haas of the University of Alberta. His international team flew across the top of the planet last year for the 2,412-kilometre survey.
They found large expanses of ice four to five metres thick, despite the record retreat in 2007.
“This is a nice demonstration that there is still hope for the ice,” said Haas.
The survey, which demonstrated that the “bird” probe tethered to a plane can measure ice thickness over large areas, uncovered plenty of resilient “old” ice from Norway to the North Pole to Alaska in April 2009.
Continue reading (WUWT)
by Steven Goddard
Looking at the June 14 satellite photo above, you see the view which the Sun sees of the North Pole.
Well not exactly, because the elevation of the Sun at its peak (mid-June) is actually fairly low in the sky. At the Pole, it is only 23.5º above the horizon. The video below shows what the earth would look like now, viewed from perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic. Note that the region north of 66.5º is in perpetual light. The image of the Sun is from the days when it used to have sunspots.
Continue reading (WUWT)
(NOTE: minor edits made at 10:00 a.m. CDT, June 15, 2010)
As summer approaches, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Gulf of Mexico increase in response to increased solar insolation (intensity of sunlight). Limiting the SST increase is evaporation, which increases nonlinearly with SST and approximately linearly with increased wind speed. It is important to realize that the primary heat loss mechanism by far for water bodies is evaporation.
By late summer, SSTs in the Gulf peak near 86 or 87 deg. F as these various energy gain and energy loss mechanisms approximately balance one another.
But yesterday, buoy 42040, moored about 64 nautical miles south of Dauphin Island, AL, reported a peak SST of 96 deg. F during very low wind conditions. Since the SST measurement is made about 1 meter below the sea surface, it is likely that even higher temperatures existed right at the surface…possibly in excess of 100 deg. F.
A nice global analysis of the day-night cycle in SSTs was published in 2003 by members of our NASA AMSR-E Science Team, which showed the normal range of this daytime warming, which increases at very low wind speed. But 96 deg. F is truly exceptional, especially for a measurement at 1 meter depth.
The following graph shows the last 45 days of SST measurements from this buoy, as well as buoy 42039 which is situated about 120 nautical miles to the east of buoy 42040.
The approximate locations of these buoys are shown in the following MODIS image from the Aqua satellite from 3 days ago (June 12, 2010); the oil slick areas are lighter colored patches, swirls and filaments, and can only be seen on days when the MODIS angle of view is near the point of sun glint (direct reflection of the sun’s image off the surface):
The day-night cycle in SSTs can be clearly seen on most days in the SST plot above, and it becomes stronger at lower wind speeds, as can be seen by comparing those SSTs to the measured wind speeds at these two buoys seen in the next plot:
Since buoy 42040 has been near the most persistent area of oil slick coverage seen by the MODIS instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, I think it is a fair supposition that these very high water temperatures are due to reduced evaporation from the oil film coverage on the sea surface.
OIL SLICK IMPACT ON GULF HURRICANES?
As any hurricane approaches, higher winds will rapidly break up the oil on the surface, and mix the warmer surface layer with cooler, deeper layers. (Contrary to popular perception, the oil does not make the surface of the ocean darker and thereby absorb more sunlight…the ocean surface is already very dark and absorbs most of the sunlight that falls upon it — over 90%.)
Also, in order for any extra thermal energy to be available for a hurricane to use as fuel, it must be “converted” to more water vapor. Yes, hurricanes are on average strengthened over waters with higher SST, but only to the extent that the overlying atmosphere has its humidity enhanced by those higher SSTs. Evidence of reduced evaporation at buoy 42040 is seen in the following plot which shows the atmospheric temperature and dewpoint, as well as SST, for buoys 42040 (first plot), and 42039 (second plot).
Despite the elevated SSTs at buoy 42040 versus buoy 42039 in recent days, the dewpoint has not risen above what is being measured at buoy 42039 — if anything, it has remained lower.
Nevertheless, I suspect the issue of enhanced sea surface temperatures will be the subject of considerable future research, probably with computer modeling of the impact of such oil slicks on tropical cyclone intensity. I predict the effect will be very small. (Roy W. Spencer)
The world is a cooler, wetter place because of flowering plants, according to new climate simulation results published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The
effect is especially pronounced in the Amazon basin, where replacing flowering plants with non–flowering varieties would result in an 80 percent decrease in the area covered
by ever–wet rainforest.
Cyclical changes in atmospheric pressure and sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean affect drought in the Sahel region on the southern Sahara rim. This has been revealed in an international study carried out by researchers from the University of Haifa, the French National Meteorological Service, Columbia University and the University of San Diego. The study was published recently in the scientific journal Atmospheric Science Letters (Royal Meteorological Society). (University of Haifa)
There is finally movement by the National Academies to broaden out the assessment of the role of climate variability and change with respect to other significant risks from other environmental and social threats. This is seen in the Committee that has been assembled for
The Workshop was held in January 2010 to discuss this broader perspective and the agenda can be read at Meeting Information.
Not all of the talks represent a broader view but others do. Some of the broader topics highlighted at this meeting were
The specific breakout sessions is where the broader view becomes particularly evident. The specific question posed that has this much-needed view is
Research into the above question is very much needed as we emphasized in our article
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
New research led by University of Exeter suggests climate change increases hazard risk in alpine regions
No presentation on global warming is complete without images of some major wildfire – from day one, the global warming alarmists have insisted that a warmer world will generate more wildfires thereby devastating ecosystems from sea to shining sea. It is an easy sell – higher temperatures will increase potential evapotranspiration, forests dry out, and therefore become far more susceptible to fire. Recall that the entire global warming issue became front-page news back in 1988, and 1988 was the summer Yellowstone Park and much of the western United States suffered severe forest fires. Ever since, every major fire somehow gets linked to global warming. We searched the internet for “Fires and Global Warming” and found literally thousands of websites claiming that global warming will cause more fires, fires are causing global warming, and of course, global warming leaders should be fired! (WCR)
There have been arguments made for increased plant growth due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels, while others have argued against it. Now it seems that green plants and ocean algae are not the only forms of life involved. Opportunistic microorganisms are stepping in to sop up excess carbon. A new report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has identified soil fungi as a major player in accelerating CO2 absorption. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have been identified as an intermediary between plants and other bacterial and fungal populations, acting as a buffer for other soil-borne communities. Existing organisms are not just working harder, new communities are developing to take advantage of increased CO2 levels, demonstrating that nature possesses self-regulation mechanisms science did not anticipate and has yet to discover. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 24: 16 June 2010
Subject Index Summary:
Breeding Birds and Wind Farms: Are the two compatible?
The Demise of the Monteverde Golden Toad: The story continues.
The Thermal Preferences of Ecuadorian Butterflies of the Amazon: They mostly like it -- relatively speaking -- hot.
Insect Herbivores, Insectivores and Detritivores in a Scrub-Oak Ecoystem: How are they all affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment?
Plant Growth Database:
Warm Period Project:
Energy Policy: President Obama says the oil disaster proves the need to get off fossil fuels. But before we save the planet, let's save the Gulf and stop exploiting crises
to deny America the energy it needs.
Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become the world's leading oil producer in 2009, while global oil consumption fell the most since 1982, BP has said. According to the oil giant's latest Statistical Review of World Energy, Russia increased oil production by 1.5% in 2009, claiming a 12.9% market share. (Merco Press)
Famous CEOs plead for more energy cash from Washington.
Richard Nixon had an enemies list. And now, so, too, do the corn ethanol scammers.
#10: Business Week/Ed Wallace (Bloomberg)
#8: “Big Oil”
#7: Grocery Manufacturers Association
#6: David Pimentel
#5: Robert Rapier
#4: Tim Searchinger
#3: Wall Street Journal (editorial board)
#2: California Air Resources Board
#1: Time Magazine (Michael Grunwald)
Of course, Waterman can write whatever he likes, but the fact that the ethanol boosters would produce a list of enemies is indicative of just how paranoid the ethanol scammers are getting. And their nuttiness appears to be rising along with their efforts to vacuum up yet more taxpayer subsidies in the wake of the BP blowout. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)
CANTON, I LL . -- A mile down an unpaved road on the outskirts of Canton, Ill., population 14,500, stands a shuttered ethanol plant.
With the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico emboldening all the denizens of the eco-underground, some voices are once again calling for increased production of biofuels—ethanol and biodiesel—and accelerated research into clean coal. Ignoring the fact that biofuels take as much energy to produce as they provide and that they are only competitive with heavy government subsidies, biofuel boosters are again trying to sell their snake-oil to the public. But the single most damning aspect of biofuel production is the exorbitant amount of water it takes to cook-up a gallon of the stuff. Now it appears that the other great energy scam, clean coal, will also increase water usage—by a whopping 80%. With the world facing a real water crisis in the near future, the last thing any government should be doing is wasting their citizens' money on are “green” energy scams that are really just subsidies for coal companies and big agribusiness conglomerates. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
by John Droz Jr.
In yesterday’s post, Scientists versus Lobbyists: Looking for a Winning Strategy Against Big Wind, I promised to share with readers a citizens’ letter I received from Eric Bibler. Consider his piece, which has been condensed to meet format and space requirements, as Part II of my post. Mr. Bibler is focused on Massachusetts, but his experience and advice apply across the Northeast and across the nation where grassroots opposition to industrial wind turbines is growing apace.
This post summarizes a group discussion about how to counter Massachusetts’s Wind Energy Siting Bill.
Would it be more politically pragmatic (and therefore advisable) to avoid any argument against the fundamental viability of wind energy (which continues to be an article of faith held by many legislators), and instead to focus exclusively on the flaws specific to the bill?
In other words, in order to seem “reasonable” to lawmakers, should we argue against a poor implementation of the technology, rather than to question wind energy’s fundamental value?
The argument was that doing the latter may be too steep a hill to climb, plus it might lead lawmakers to reject opponents as “extremists” whose opinions were not worthy of serious consideration.
Pragmatism or Purity?
In my view, not focusing on the fundamental question of whether wind energy actually holds any promise as a solution to our energy and environmental problems is a terrible mistake for the simple reason that adopting such a “pragmatic” course makes us co-conspirators in the process of enabling a Big Lie.
While congratulating ourselves on our political acumen, we are sacrificing our credibility and our integrity. It is one thing to forgive people who support a bad idea because they don’t know any better – and most supporters of this technology admittedly have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. But our task is to educate and persuade any of those who are willing to keep an open mind.
But we typically reserve our deepest scorn for those who DO know better, or SHOULD know better, but who nonetheless promote wind energy, sometimes quite cynically, without regard for its bad consequences or for its ultimate futility.
We do know better. And I, for one, do not want to be in the second category of knowing better, yet pretending not to, as one of the enablers of a big lie – even if I think it may be expedient for me over the short term.
The pro-wind argument proceeds directly from a host of assumptions that are demonstrably false; all of these projects, therefore, are built upon foundations of sand. That is the truth that needs to be the basis of citizens’ responses. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
June 16 -- Nuclear power can play a key role in the U.K.’s future energy mix, Minister Charles Hendry told executives from Electricite de France SA, Centrica Plc and other
Conventional wisdom is that U.S. pharmaceutical companies made out well under the Obama health plan by bargaining with the White House. That wisdom is wrong.
It seems every day there are more calls for government intervention to relieve us from the infliction and anguish caused by our current economic woes. Those who call for more government centralization and planning reason that doing so can dispel hardship and decline. Yet rarely do they consider that central planning doesn’t work precisely because it counters the variable paramount to guide societal and economic complexities: freedom.
In his indispensable 1944 classic, The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich von Hayek imparts his sage insight:
At the height of the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration was excoriated by AIDS activists for the plodding pace at which it reviewed new drug
candidates. The sense of urgency — even panic — surrounding AIDS led to a laundry list of reforms that sped up the FDA's reviews of new drugs and helped revolutionize AIDS
June 14, 2010 – 7:53 pm
Welcome to our 12th annual Junk Science Week event, dedicated to exposing the scientists, NGOs, activists, politicians, journalists, media outlets, cranks and quacks who use junk science to achieve their objectives. Our standard definition is that junk science occurs when scientific facts are distorted, risk is exaggerated and the science adapted and warped by politics and ideology to serve another agenda.
That definition needs to be refined. It was shaped by the idea that junk science is strictly the bailiwick of scaremongers. The warped science and media coverage surrounding Bisphenol A, pesticides, smog deaths, and scores of chemicals are mostly generated by people who — for whatever reason — aim to promote political and economic interventions. The escalating focus on salt in our diets — dismissed as unsubstantiated science by Dr. David McCarron in this week’s opening contribution — fits the scare mongering definition.
But science can also be warped to promote the opposite of fear. Unscientific hope mongering may be just as prevalent as scare mongering. In some ways, the role of the media in hope mongering is more important than in scare mongering. In the hands of journalists bent on doing what they think is socially beneficial work making people aware of new developments, even good science can be twisted, distorted and exaggerated for political purposes.
Read More (Financial Post)
NEW YORK - High levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol - a.k.a. "good cholesterol" -- may be linked to lower risks of cancer as well as heart attacks, new
By David McCarron
Eat less salt. That’s been various governments’ directive for decades, and yet few individuals adhere to it. Currently the U.S. government seems to be on a mission to increase the pressure on this issue further.
Rather than moving in lockstep, Canadians should bring some reason to this process and demonstrate that public health nutrition policy must be based upon science and not political expediency.
Why the current push in the States? The view of the Obama administration’s top public health expert and the solution he proposes may provide an insight into whether the nation’s health care in the future will be based upon opinion or evidence. According to an editorial in a March issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, says the problem is American’s food. He believes that it is laced with too much salt. Earlier as New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Frieden determined that if New Yorkers could not make the choice to lower salt intake on their own, he would make it for them. Dr. Frieden’s “low salt for all New Yorkers” legacy now threatens all Americans and by extension Canadians. Frieden is employing an approach he championed in New York where his office chose to use “public pressure …and publicity” rather than available science.
IT IS considered the holy grail in burns treatment - living, fully functioning skin grown in a lab that will transform the lives of burns victims.
CHICAGO - A widely used class of blood pressure drugs may slightly increase the risk of cancer, U.S. researchers said on Sunday, and they are calling on U.S. regulators to
take a closer look.
NEW YORK - A senator on Sunday called on the FDA to reveal findings on a possible link between a chemical found in most sunscreens and skin cancer.
LONDON - Men with certain genetic variations who were exposed to some toxic pesticides which are now largely banned run an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease,
French scientists said on Monday.
MOSCOW - Russia has confirmed its first death from polio in more than a decade, the country's top public health official said on Sunday, Interfax news agency reported.
by Carlo Stagnaro
(with Luciano Lavecchia)
Tradeoffs: if you chose this, you can’t chose that. In economics this is called opportunity cost, which is the next-best alternative to what is actually chosen.
The proverb in popular culture for this is “you can’t have the cake and eat it, too.” The Italian translation is “you can’t have a full barrel and a drunk wife.”
Apparently, politicians are less familiar with such a everyday-life concept. To some extent, they are right: they can get a full barrel and a drunk wife at the same time, provided that taxpayers and/or future generations will pay for it. Yet, even politicians are subject to constraints. That is particularly true in a period of crisis like now: shrinking public budgets and a slowing economy force even the politicians to make choices.
This brings us to the crisis of climate politics in Europe where most EU countries are considering cuts to the green subsidies.
The Socialist government in Spain dwarfed its support to solar power, causing a collapse in investments and thousands people to lose their jobs. In Germany, the conservative chancellor Angela Merkel proposed a similar reduction and is facing a huge Parliamentary opposition.
Italy decided as well to pare green incentives. How is that possible? After all, virtually every official EU document claims that the “green deal” will make us not just more sustainable, but also economically better off.
We will not deal with the environmental side of the issue in this post, leaving it to the wise words of Dr Gwyn Prins, for example, and perhaps a future post.
But what about the claim that renewable energy sources (RES) are good for the economy?
There is no spaghetti on this plate. If green sources are really cheaper than fossil fuels, there is no need to subsidize them, because households and businesses would have a built-in economic incentive to rely on RES, rather than on supposedly dirty, more expensive, energies. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
New EPA regulations have some Northern Michigan dairy farmers crying over spilled milk.
'IPCC for biodiversity' approved after long negotiation
The past two days I've looked at the UN's interim TEEB report and found several errors in the first chapter. I was going to write a post about how this pseudo-science spreads, but after looking at several TEEB documents I decided to write on a new topic.
The TEEB isn't a scientific body, it exists to influence policymakers. This isn't a contentious claim, they say so on their webpage:
They obtain these goals by attempting to instill fear in their audience. Once the fear is instilled, they recommend new taxes to solve the problem. (Climate Quotes)
Palo Alto, CA— The Green Revolution of the late 20th century increased crop yields worldwide and helped feed an expanding global population. According to a new report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it also has helped keep greenhouse gas emissions at bay. The researchers estimate that since 1961 higher yields per acre have avoided the release of nearly 600 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. (Carnegie Institution)
Research finds little to no transport of microbes from cow pastures into groundwater
Scientists develop application of rare earth elements to control phosphorus runoff from livestock manure
by Marlo Lewis
Although Sen. Murkowski fell four votes short of achieving a legislative victory, she nonetheless won an important political victory.
During the past four-plus months, despite vicious attacks by eco-pressure groups and preemptive cringing by the subsidy dependent auto industry, Sen. Murkowksi worked patiently, calmly, and indefatigably to clarify the real issues, which are: (1) “The sweeping powers being pursued by EPA are the worst possible option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions”; (2) “politically accountable members of the House and Senate, not unelected bureaucrats, must develop our nation’s energy and climate policies”; and (3) ”those policies must be able to pass on their own merits, instead of serving as a defense against ill-considered regulations.”
Read the full story (Cooler Heads)
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies plan a major new push for a broad global warming bill, fueled in part by public outrage over the BP disaster, according to
Senate Republicans failed to block the Obama administration from using existing law to regulate greenhouse gases, although they won enough votes to damage Democratic hopes of passing a bigger pollution-reduction plan this year. (Bloomberg)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called his Thursday meeting with committee chairmen and other senior Democrats on energy legislation a “productive step”
toward action on a broad energy package this year.
Scammers scamming? Well, gosh! Firms abusing Kyoto carbon trading scheme: watchdog
Firms participating in a Kyoto Protocol carbon scheme are abusing it by artificially inflating their greenhouse gas emissions, thereby allowing rich nations' emissions to rise significantly, a watchdog said on Saturday. (Reuters)
The Financial Times has a realistic and sobering article on the state on international climate negotiations:
The New York Times has a similarly realistic perspective on prospects for US domestic action:
The fact that the international process is going nowhere fast and the US is not going to cap emissions is not news to anyone who has been paying attention. What is news is that the FT and the NYT have adopted perspectives on the issue of climate policy that might enable alternative conceptions of climate policy to find a place in the broader discussion. (Roger Pielke Jr.)
If you were planning to do a spot of DIY over the weekend you may encounter a problem – an acute shortage of whitewash in your local store, as it may have been
appropriated for more urgent purposes. The estimable Bishop Hill is reporting he has heard on the grapevine that the publication of the review into the Climategate emails
conducted by Sir Muir Russell is “imminent”. The prospect seems to have provoked an acute absence of hysterical excitement.
Margaret Thatcher was the first leader to warn of global warming - but also the first to see the flaws in the climate change orthodoxy (Christopher Booker)
What a difference a year makes. This time last year the environmental movement was gearing up for a major breakthrough at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. With a combination of "doom and gloom" soothsayers — Ban ki Moon, Al Gore, Prince Charles, James Hansen, David Suzuki — and optimistic negotiators, it was clear that Copenhagen was being positioned as "the last chance" we had to save the planet. (Stephen Murgatroyd, Troy Media)
by Viv Forbes
Trying to save an outstanding fundraiser: Scientists want clear message on climate
REPRESENTATIVES of scientific organisations, including the CSIRO and the Bureau Of Meteorology, will meet today to discuss better communication of the science behind
man-made climate change as the political and public consensus on global warming crumbles.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts,” he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.
“Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.”
Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia – the university of Climategate fame — is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters.
Hulme’s depiction of IPCC’s exaggeration of the number of scientists who backed its claim about man-made climate change can be found on pages 10 and 11 of his paper, found here.
Kevin Rudd tells yet another lie to justify his global warming policies:
Mick Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia and an IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author, corrects the record:
Just a few dozen scientists, not Rudd’s “4000”. The man is utterly shameless.
But this raises the question: how easy is it for such a small group to become slaves of group think - or, indeed, to become intoxicated with their enormous and flattering influence on geo-politics?
In 2006, Professor Edward Wegman raised this very fear in his report, commissioned by the United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to examine the IPCC’s discredited “hockey stick”, devised by Michael Mann, which purported to show unprecedented warming last century:
Note those names again: Michael Mann, Scott Rutherford, Phil Jones, Tim Osborn, Keith Briffa, Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes are all climate scientists implicates in the Climategate scandal.
And Rudd not only fell for it, but lied for it. (Andrew Bolt)
The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a warning, conservationists say, of what could happen in the Arctic as melting sea ice opens the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas drilling. Many experts argue that the time has come to adopt an Arctic Treaty similar to the one that has safeguarded Antarctica for half a century. (Ed Struzic, e360)
Europe, North America and east Asia can expect more cold, moist and snowy winters such as the one just passed, a top scientist said Friday. (AFP)
Freshwater flow dominated by monsoon rains rather than glacier run-off.
BOULDER—As turboprop and jet aircraft climb or descend under certain atmospheric conditions, they can inadvertently seed mid-level clouds and cause narrow bands of snow or
rain to develop and fall to the ground, new research finds. Through this seeding process, they leave behind odd-shaped holes or channels in the clouds, which have long
fascinated the public.
Advances in high-yield agriculture over the latter part of the 20th century have prevented massive amounts of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere – the
equivalent of 590 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – according to a new study led by two Stanford Earth scientists.
There are vast cubic kilometers of cold water in the depths of the ocean. The temperature transition from warm to cold is rapid.
Ever wondered how the whole planet could suddenly “get warmer” during an El Nino, and then suddenly cool again? William Kininmonth has the answer. As I read his words I’m picturing a major pool of stored “coldness” (bear with me, I know cold is just a lack of heat) which is periodically unleashed on the surface temperatures. The vast deep ocean abyss is filled with salty and near freezing water. In years where this colder pool is kept in place we have El Ninos, and on years when the colder water rises and mixes up near the surface we have La Ninas. The satellites recording temperatures at the surface of the ocean are picking up the warmth (or lack of) on this top-most layer. That’s why it can be bitterly cold for land thermometers but at the same time the satellites are recording a higher world average temperature, due to the massive area of the Pacific.
In other words, just as you’d expect, the actual temperature of the whole planetary mass is not rising and falling within months, instead, at times the oceans swallow the heat on the surface and give up some “coldness”. At other times, the cold stays buried deep down and the heat can collect and loll about on the surface.
William Kininmonth was chief of Australia’s National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology from 1986 to 1998. Below, he describes how a vast pool of cold water filled the deep ocean abyss over 30 million years, and why this water and the currents that shift it have a major impact our climate. The so-called Bottom Layer is not just pockets or pools, it forms around Antarctica, then sinks and flows along the bottom all the way across the equator and into the Northern Hemisphere. Bear in mind the average depth of the ocean is around 4 kilometers, and yet almost all the water below a depth of 1000 m is around 4°C or colder. The Antarctic Bottom Water itself is close to 0°C. The equivalent heat energy of the entire atmosphere is stored in just the top few meters of water. It gives us all some perspective on the relative importance of different factors affecting the climate. His thoughts are in response to the latest debate essay from Dr Andrew Glikson, so the figures 1 and 2 come from that article.
Kininmonth points out that small changes in the rate of the Thermohaline Circulation (also known as the Ocean’s Conveyor Belt) makes a huge difference to all corners of the globe, and that the climate models make large assumptions about the flow of energy. Since the cold bottom layer was created by a kind of “Antarctic Refridgerator” (set into play by the circumpolar current) this colossal cold pool of water will presumably hang around until the continents shift. That’s quite a few election cycles.
More » (Jo Nova)
An article has appeared in Nature on May 13 2010 titled
Peter A. Stott and Peter W. Thorne, 2010: How best to log local temperatures? Nature. doi:10.1038/465158a, page 158 [thanks to Joe Daleo for alerting us to this] which perpetuates the myth that the surface temperature data sets are independent from each other.
The authors know better but have decided to mislead the Editors and readers of Nature.
This is deliberately erroneous as one of the authors of this article (Peter Thorne) is an author of a CCSP report with a different conclusion. With just limited exceptions, the surface temperature data sets do not use different sources of data and are, therefore, not independent.
As I wrote in one of my posts
Moreover, as we reported in our paper
Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.
Peter Stott and Peter Thorne have deliberately misled the readership of Nature in order to give the impression that three data analyses collaborate their analyzed trends, while in reality the three surface temperature data sets are closely related. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
The big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad enough in itself. But politics can make anything worse.
by Hans Bader
Crucial offers to help clean up BP’s oil spill “have come from Belgian, Dutch, and Norwegian firms that . . . possess some of the world’s most advanced oil skimming ships.” But the Obama administration wouldn’t accept the help, because doing so would require it to do something past presidents have routinely done: waive rules imposed by the Jones Act, a law backed by unions.
“The BP clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico is hampered by the Jones Act. This is a piece of 1920s protectionist legislation, that requires all vessels working in U.S. waters to be American-built, and American-crewed. So . . . the U.S. Coast Guard . . . can’t accept, and therefore don’t ask for, the assistance of high-tech European vessels…
Read the full story (Cooler Heads)
Yesterday on the BBC’s flagship news analysis programme Newsnight Britain’s gravest, most distinguished and hard-hitting political interviewer Jeremy Paxman asked the
vital questions an eager world most wants to hear: Cthulu – Are we worshipping him enough? Will it be necessary to sacrifice our children to appease him? Or will he be
content if we just all erect a shrine to him, perhaps involving candles and teddy bears and Jo Malone scented oils?
Two hundred million barrels of oil is a drop in the ocean compared to the reservoir that produced the voluminous gusher of BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is just 120 days’ worth of consumption in the UK or a mere 10 days of US consumption. But Rockhopper Exploration’s announcement in May that it had struck oil in the North Falklands region at the first drilled well threatens a bitter-sweet drama of its own for David’s Cameron new British administration. [Read More] (Peter C. Glover, Energy Tribune)
As the new BP Statistical Review shows, coal, which last year’s report pointed out was the fastest-growing source of energy, was the only major source of fossil fuel energy that didn’t fall last year. It remained flat, while oil and natural gas consumption fell; total primary energy consumption was down 1.1 per cent. (Financial Times)
In the Bizarro world of Socialists: Green and fair economic growth with more expensive fossil fuels
Why are the international climate negotiations moving so slowly? Because countries have so far been unable to define what global fairness really is, says Thomas Sterner,
Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg. Sterner and several other prominent economists including several recipients of the Nobel Prize in
Economics spoke at the World Bank conference on development economics in Stockholm recently.
by Tom Quirk
Wind turbines are a poor way to harness energy - but a very good way to generate public subsidies, says Andrew Gilligan. (TDT)
by John Droz Jr.
My hope as a physicist is that our representatives make energy and environmental policy decisions based on sound science. So far that has not been the case. The main reason for this is that we are engaged in an epic battle between scientists and lobbyists for those with financial or political agendas.
Right now the scientists–the group with the better case for sound public policy–are losing.
I used to think that trying hard and being right was enough. Foolish me! Everything today is really about public relations. The Internet has spawned the perfect storm. Within a few minutes we can now send messages that are read by millions of people. At the other end, recipients are in overload, due to a steady bombardment of these messages. It is very hard for almost everyone to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tilting Against Big Wind
What this says is that properly phrasing the message and getting it to the right people is critical. Scientists are not good at this, while this is a lobbyists forte — which is a big reason why scientists are losing. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
American society is addicted to safety. For some reason the country decided that the highest and best priority as a nation is to avoid the risk associated with life.
Everywhere a person looks they are surrounded by innumerable safety devices to protect themselves from the evils of modernity.
The "precautionary principle" sounds reasonable on first glance. The effect of adopting it, however, is paralysis.
On March 4, 2003, the Bay Area Working Group on the Precautionary Principle (BAWG) celebrated what they termed their first victory when San Francisco passed the “San Francisco Precautionary Principle Resolution.” Just over two years later, in June of 2005, San Francisco passed the Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance. This law requires the city to consider environmentally “safer” alternatives to everything from toilet paper to computers. Literally anything the city purchases must be examined first according to the “precautionary principle” before it can be purchased.
The precautionary principle basically says if an action or policy might cause harm to the environment, then even if there is no proof the action will cause harm the burden of proof is on those advocating the action to prove the action would not be harmful.
BAWG, incidentally, defines itself as:
The attendant article on Wikipedia states:
In the European Union, the application of this principle has been made a statutory requirement.
There are a few problems with this approach where environmental policy is concerned. First, it is impossible to prove a negative. You cannot, for example, prove that something does not exist, only that it does or that it has not been observed. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the principle is generally used to deny an action, but rarely is it used to examine the converse. That is, would more harm be caused by not taking the proposed action than would be caused by taking it? The biggest issue, of course, is that the principle is more often than not used for ideological purposes rather than actual scientific ones. (PJM)
Well, that's the theory, anyway.
Posted by Sallie James
An interesting article in Slate today about the social psychology of “sin taxes” and how people in general resent being told what to do. They may, in fact, react by consuming even more of the sinning item than before the nannies intervened, just to prove a point.
Unfortunately, the point of the article seems to be how to implement sin taxes — in this case, a soda tax – without annoying people to the point where the tax is counterproductive. Something about “refram[ing]” the tax so it doesn’t tip people off as to its real purpose. The author concludes with this gem:
To end on a positive note, many of the comments are striking a distinctly libertarian tone. (Cato at liberty)
NEW YORK - The growing number of full-time working moms in the past few decades could be one of the factors contributing to the concurrent rise in childhood obesity, new
So much for the "obesity bomb": U.S. heart attack rates declining: study
BOSTON - Heart attack rates fell 24 percent in California between 2000 and 2008, probably because of better care, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.
LONDON - Scientists have found three genetic differences that affect a person's risk of being deficient in the "sunshine" vitamin D and say their work helps
explain why sunlight and a good diet aren't always enough.
Posted by Walter Olson
For the 13th year, Bob Dorigo Jones has compiled the finalists for his annual Wacky Warning Label contest. Another, on a Bluetooth unit: “use of a headset that covers both ears will impair your ability to hear other sounds.” A few years back Jones compiled some of these into an amusing book entitled Remove Child Before Folding (from a stroller warning). For many more examples, check my blog Overlawyered, including warnings on not putting birthday candles in your ears, using your cocktail napkin for navigation, and ironing clothes while you’re wearing them.
Although regulatory agencies account for some of it, the main driving force behind over-warning is the “failure to warn” branch of modern product liability law, and the uncertainty it creates through its inability to generate clear guidance on what will and will not be considered adequate warning. Rather than invite suit — with its attendant risk of encountering a paternalistic, sympathy-driven or redistributionist judge or jury — most companies would rather include a silly or overbroad warning on the product, even at the cost of numbing consumers to the occasional warnings that really do deserve their attention. (Cato at liberty)
Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell
There’s an article today in the Wall Street Journal showing how already-established companies and their union allies will use the coercive power of government to thwart competition. The article specifically discusses efforts by less competitive supermarkets to block new Wal-Mart stores. Not that Wal-Mart can complain too vociferously. After all, this is the company that endorsed a key provision of Obamacare in hopes its hurting lower-cost competitors. The moral of the story is that whenever big business and big government get in bed together, you can be sure the outcome almost always is bad for taxpayers and consumers.
(Cato at liberty)
Tobacco-tax-hiking politicians have created a situation in which lighting a cigarette is like igniting the fuse on a bomb.
Peter Singer, writing in the New York Times, asks whether a world without people wouldn’t be a better place. His argument is simple. If nobody is alive then nobody’s human rights can be violated. “Have you ever thought about whether to have a child? … But very few ask whether coming into existence is a good thing for the child itself.”
The ultimate act of altruism, he argues, may be a conscious choice to be the last generation on earth. In that way there would be no one left to suffer the depredations of capitalism such as climate change. “Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. … But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.” As a society we are terminally guilty, irrevocably condemned. And since we cannot help living, then the solution is to do away with ourselves. By far the best way to prevent anyone from feeling guilty is for no one to feel guilt. “So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would all agree to have ourselves sterilized then no sacrifices would be required — we could party our way into extinction!” The only way you’re going to eat that can of beans is you agree to off yourself after dinner. (PJM)
Quite a lot, according to Friends of the Earth campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran in an interview on UK Radio 4’s Today programme this week. Her opportunity came when she
was asked to comment on an interview with Professor Jonathan Jones of the Sainsbury laboratory in Norwich, in which he talked about the first field trials of two genetically
modified potato varieties. Each variety contains a gene from a wild South American potato species, conferring resistance to the devastating disease late blight, caused by the
mould Phytophthora infestans).
In the midst of the clamor over global warming, greenhouse gas emissions and world energy supplies another, perhaps more immediate, environmental catastrophe is gathering momentum—the world wide shortage of fresh water. Though eclipsed in America by pictures of oil-soaked pelicans and fouled coastal wetlands, this potentially more disastrous and more permanent problem has been ignored by politicians and the public for decades. Experts are warning that by 2050 fully 45% of humanity may be chronically short of water. Unlike the eventual depletion of the world's oil supplies, there is no substitute for H2O.
Water is amazing stuff, made up of molecules comprising two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, H2O has been found by astronomers in the farthest reaches of the Universe. Present on Earth since early in its formation, water is essential to the formation of granite, the rock that buoys the continents atop heavier crust and magma. It also fills the world's oceans and makes possible the planet wide infestation known as Life. The human body is about 60% water and H2O is the most important greenhouse gas, helping the atmosphere to retain enough warmth to permit living things to thrive on what would otherwise be a frozen lifeless plant.
Though we think of nature dominated by the green of photosynthesizing plants, when viewed from space the dominant color of our planet is blue mixed with swirls of constantly changing white clouds. Ours is a water planet, the surface area covered by water is 70% while land only takes up 30%. Most of this surface is ocean, over 97% of the total. So while our world possesses a tremendous amount of water, some 321,000,000 cubic miles (1,338,000,000 km3) of the stuff according to the USGS, most of it is salty.
Relative volume of the ocean and Earth. A. Nieman.
While the volume of water contained in Earth's oceans seems like a lot, and it certainly is on a human scale, both the ocean and atmosphere are merely thin shells surrounding the solid parts of our planet. If every drop of water in the world was collected in a sphere, it would be just 869 miles in diameter. The illustration above shows a comparison of the volume of water and the size of Earth. The ball of water seems shockingly small, with a volume of only 338 million cubic miles (1.41 billion km3).
A special report in the Economist, “For want of a drink,” gives the total amount of salt water as 97.5%. “Of the 2½% of water that is not salty, about 70% is frozen, either at the poles, in glaciers or in permafrost,” they report. “So all living things, except those in the sea, have about 0.75% of the total to survive on.” It is on this small amount that all Earth's land life—plants, animals and people—depend.
In the past this has been sufficient, but things are changing with the ever growing human population. The Economist report states the looming water crisis this way:
Most liquid freshwater is in underground aquifers or similar formations, accessed using wells. The rest falls as rain, collecting in lakes and reservoirs or in rivers where it is eventually transported to the sea. All the H2O in freshwater aquifers, lakes and rivers must constantly be replaced by precipitation—water vapor condensing in the atmosphere to fall as rain or snow. Where this water comes from and where it goes is shown in the graphic, taken from the report, on the left.
The fact is, there is a hundred times more water in the ground than is in all the world's rivers and lakes. Surface-water sources, such as rivers, only constitute about 300 cubic miles (about 1/10,000 of one percent of Earth's total water). Moreover, that water is not evenly distributed—just nine countries account for 60% of all available fresh supplies. Among the water rich countries only Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Indonesia and Russia have an abundance. While America is relatively well off, China and India, with over a third of the world’s population between them, have less than 10% of its water.
Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared with 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use. In developed nations, however, industries consume more than half of the water available for human use. Belgium, for example, uses 80% of its water for industry. World demand for freshwater is increasing by 17 trillion US Gallons (64 trillion liters) a year. Increasingly, this demand is being met by sinking wells into underground aquifers, tapping water supplies that are hundreds or thousands of years old. Freshwater withdrawals have tripled over the past 50 years.
Unfortunately, many countries are consuming underground water resources at nonrenewable rates. From the United States to India and China, the quantities being withdrawn exceed the annual recharge. In the Hai river basin in China, for example, deep-groundwater tables have dropped by up to 290 feet (90 m). In cities like Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Jakarta, aquifers are overdrawn, polluted or contaminated by salt. The 20 million inhabitants of Mexico City draw over 70% of their water from an aquifer that, at current extraction rates, will run dry in less than 200 years.
In the US, parts of the Ogallala aquifer, which covers 174,000 square miles (450,000 km2) running beneath eight states, are seriously overdrawn. The water-permeated thickness of the Ogallala aquifer, also known as the High Plains aquifer, ranges from a few feet to more than 1000 feet (300 m). The depth of the water below the surface of the land ranges from almost 400 feet (122 m) in parts of the north to between 100 to 200 feet (30 to 61 m) throughout much of the south. Present-day recharge of the aquifer with fresh water occurs at a slow rate; this implies that much of the water in the aquifer is paleowater, dating back to the time of the last ice age glacial period.
In parts of the area, farmers began using ground water for irrigation extensively in the 1930s and 1940s. Estimated irrigated acreage in the area overlying the High Plains aquifer increased rapidly from 1940 to 1980. Withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation amounted to 21 million acre feet (26 km3) in 2000—slightly greater than the historical discharge rate of the Colorado River. As of 2005, the cumulative depletion totaled 253 million acre-feet (312 km3). Some estimates say the Ogallala will dry up in as little as 25 years.
It is a similar story around the world: rising populations require greater agricultural production, which demands more freshwater. In terms of water withdrawal, the US is in third place behind India and China. Remote sensing technologies are being used to track groundwater levels worldwide at both large and small scales. NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) performs large-scale, long-term analysis using changes in gravity at the earth’s surface to examine the removal of groundwater from large aquifers worldwide.
World water withdrawal.
GRACE measurements show that India’s breadbasket region may be running out of water. According to NASA satellite data, reported in Nature, groundwater levels in aquifers in northwest India have declined one foot per year over the past decade. Researchers conclude the loss is due almost entirely to groundwater pumping and consumption by human activities, such as irrigating cropland. As a result, aquifers are being drained much faster than they can be replenished by rainfall or river runoff.
Water is a finite resource but, fortunately, a constantly renewed one. Water evaporates from the world's salty seas, traveling withing the atmosphere to the far reaches of the planet to fall as rain or snow. For most of man's history, people have been dependent on nature for this supply of fresh water. Even today, large portions of the world's population depend on the Monsoon to bring water for drinking and agriculture—when the Monsoon fails, people can go hungry and even starve to death.
Earth's water is always in movement, and the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Although the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules can come and go in a hurry. Since the water cycle is truly a “cycle,” there is no beginning or end. Water changes state among liquid, vapor, and ice at various places in the water cycle, with these processes happening sometimes quickly and sometimes over millions of years.
The water cycle. Image USGS.
While some have tried to tie increasing water shortages to global warming that link is weak at best. The UN's own “3rd United Nations World Water Development Report: Water in a Changing World ” (WWDR-3) puts it this way:
For all of human history, water use has risen with increasing wealth. Mankind's earliest civilizations grew up in the river valleys of the Nile, the Indus, the Yellow, and the Tigris & Euphrates. Today people tap the unseen rivers that flow beneath the surface of our planet, but even those resources are limited. Though water used in agriculture is not destroyed, as oil is when it is burned, an estimated 85% of irrigation water escapes into the atmosphere by evaporation. This water is no longer available for human use until it condenses and falls back to Earth, somewhere.
Petroleum takes about 100 million years to form and a convergence of the right biological and geological circumstances. For all intents and purposes, when we have used up the current diposites of oil stored within Earth's crust it is all gone. Happily, there are other sources of energy available—nuclear, wind and solar—but this is not the case with water. True, freshwater is renewable, but that renewal takes place at nature's own pace. In essence, nature keeps the biosphere on a strict water allowance, and that means mankind must learn to live with the finite supplies we are given.
The hay farms of Saudi Arabia won't outlast their oil. Photo by asgss1.
Though some nations make new freshwater using desalinization this is a very expensive proposition and, with the world already facing energy shortages, not a viable large-scale option. Fortunately, there is great room for improvement in how we utilize our water resources, particularly in agriculture. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, which rely heavily on the underground source, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture, allowing underground aquifers to recover. Drip irrigation has an efficiency of up to 95% with no runoff, no erosion and little evaporation loss. With a population approaching 10 billion by 2050, humanity will have to cooperate and conserve the world's freshwater resources. Otherwise we may find ourselves in the same position as our ancient ancestors, fighting each other for access to waterholes.
Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)
Posted by Tim Lynch
John Lee still has his life and four children still have a father because Mr. Lee had a handgun when three criminals tried to kill him and take his money.
When John Q. Citizen takes out a gun and the criminals flee, reporters don’t consider the incident “news” (at least when there are no injuries)–so guns are typically on the evening news when they are used by criminals. As a result of that skewed coverage, it is no wonder that many people have a negative view about firearms.
On June 17, Cato will be hosting a forum about guns, crime, and self-defense. Speakers include John Lott, Jeff Snyder, and Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign.
For related Cato scholarship, go here. (Cato at liberty)
Washington -- The U.S. Senate engaged in a heated debate Thursday on an issue at the heart of the fight over energy reform: whether the Environmental Protection Agency
should have the authority to impose clear limits on the emission of greenhouse gases.
United States Senators went on record this afternoon and the result was unfortunate. 53 Senators voted against a resolution offered by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would have disapproved of the Environmental Protection Agency’s backdoor global warming regulations. Today’s outcome was a victory for anti-growth environmentalists, but a devastating loss for the American people.
The EPA’s regulations will marginalize any potential economic recovery by making investment and job creation more expensive. Why? Because the costs of regulation are staggering. The EPA estimates the average permit will cost applicants $125,000 and 866 hours of labor. Some businesses will simply close. The lucky ones will move overseas, cancel expansion plans and just lower wages. All of those are bad options considering the American economy has lost nearly 8 million jobs over the past 30 months.
Despite the outcome of today’s vote, many liberals recognize the EPA cannot be left to its own devices, which means there will be other, more subtle efforts to limit the EPA’s regulatory dragnet. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Two points as we move forward: First, candidate Obama promised bankrupt American industries and skyrocketing electricity costs (let’s not forget gasoline prices!), and he
is poised to deliver. Now his administration is on the hook for the economic fallout.
(Edward John Craig, Planet Gore)
Just a few days after honoring war veterans who fought to preserve America's Constitutional order, Senate Democrats voted down a resolution that would prevent unelected
elites from imposing costly new regulations without congressional approval. Renegade federal agencies and judicial activists now have the upper hand thanks to feckless federal
office holders who willingly surrendered their own constitutionally endowed legislative authority.
In the rubber room: Boxer: Carbon dioxide will be “leading cause of conflict” in next 20 years
Let’s see how Senator Ma’am’s priorities work in this revealing clip from her speech earlier today in the Senate. We’ve had four terrorist attacks in less than a
year, two of which succeeded in killing people and another two which only failed because of the incompetence of the terrorist. Iran is a year or less away from getting a
nuclear weapon. Turkey is rapidly sliding towards Islamism. North Korea is doing their best to restart the Korean War.
In a multi-part interview with CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield, Ted Turner spoke about his own devotion and dedication to environmental causes. “I've been cutting the lights out for a long time,” stated the CNN founder. Turner went on to claim that, if people don't chose to do the right thing, mankind will soon suffer the consequences. Known for bombastic statements during his youth, the “Mouth of the South” now says the threat to humanity has risen from cannibalism to extinction.
Some people just will not slip gracefully into history and Ted Turner is one of them. The former America's Cup yachtsman and owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team has often been in the limelight, and often for saying stupid things. Consistent to the end, he has again gone on record regarding his great concern for the environment. A couple of years back, Turner made the news when he predicted that climate change would lead to widespread cannibalism. In an interview with PBS he said this about not taking drastic action to correct global warming:
Now it seems, Captain Outrageous is at it again, this time predicting that H. sapiens faces extinction if we don't start turning out lights. In a rambling interview with CNN—perhaps the only news organization the will interview him these days—Turner said he had been turning out lights for “30 years.”
“So how do you convince people, what would you say to those who say, you know what, the way I'm living right now is just fine,” said Ms. Whitfield, feeding the old boy a slow easy pitch.
“Anybody that watches CNN would know pretty well,” Turner replied. “They would already be convinced, because we've run thousands of stories about it, everything from light bulbs to saving fuel and automobiles to recycling. It's everywhere.” Note that he still uses the imperial “we” when talking about CNN.
Here is a segment of the interview on video:
For those who had trouble following Ted's rambling, mumbled replies here is the text of his central point:
We are not exactly sure how we will be sorry after we become extinct, but the statement does show that Turner is not fully in touch with reality. Even if temperatures on Earth were to rise by 4 or 5°C, toward the upper end of the IPCC gestimations, life would not end. Humanity may be inconvenienced, but the end is definitely not nigh. What is endangered is that thankfully rare creature, the hard-drinking, self-promoting loud-mouth from the American South. So, in honor of a dying breed, this Crank of the Week is for you—Ted “The Environmentalist” Turner. (The Resilient Earth)
Advocates for a comprehensive energy and climate bill are scrambling to find the Senate votes they need by stitching together ideas from a variety of existing and
China's economy booms while Westerners handicap theirs: China Fossil Fuel CO2 Jumps As Global Total Falls
China could face increasing pressure in U.N. climate talks after data released on Wednesday showed the country's carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel rose by 9 percent
in 2009, bucking a global downtrend.
Well gosh, they sure are worried about carbon emissions: China’s exports soar 48.5% in May, the highest in more than six years
China’s exports jumped 48.5% in May from a year earlier, the biggest gain in more than six years. However the impact of the European crisis is still to be seen following on this week’s IMF warning that global economic risks have risen significantly. (MercoPress)
Brazil lost an estimated 12.6 billion US dollars in exports between 2004 and 2009 because of Chinese penetration in the country’s main international markets according to a report from the powerful Federation of Sao Paulo States industries, FIESP, released Wednesday. (MercoPress)
China has joined the US in condemning EU plans to incorporate international airlines in its emissions trading scheme (ETS) after the Civil Aviation Industry warned that
charging airlines for the carbon emissions they produce would unfairly affect emerging economies.
Japan's government could run out of time to enact a climate bill before upper-house elections expected next month, fuelling worries it might drop a plan to trade carbon
emissions by setting obligatory caps on firms.
The world is set to fail to make deep enough cuts in greenhouse gases in the next decade to tackle global warming, the U.N.'s top climate official said on Monday in a bleak assessment of the prospects for a U.N. deal. (Reuters)
They're still at it: Once more, with less feeling
Climate-change negotiations settle in for the long haul
Let’s hope our media in future will apply the same healthy skepticism to the UN’s never-ending global gabfests on climate change as they are to the looming G8/G20 fiasco
scheduled for later this month in Canada.
In a wonderful parody two Australian satirists put the current European and world financial situation in an appropriate Alice In Wonderland perspective.
Not just Damon and Kunen’s (already mentioned here)…by chance, I have found yet another Science paper (this time Broecker from August 1975) making it clear that, for a few years up to then, the general consensus among scientists had been that the world was cooling:
Time to repeat myself: we have a ‘widely accepted [by the scientific community]…global cooling trend’, at least judging from Mitchell’s work in 1972; doubts about that growing in the same scientific community from 1975/1976, as per Damon and Kunen’s paper; but not early enough to prevent Newsweek from publishing its 1975 article, one that even mentions a certain Dr Murray Mitchell. That means that pieces of the global cooling puzzle do suggest that cooling was a widely-held view in the 1970s. Admittedly, such an agreed view did not last the whole decade: rather, it concerned the 1972 to 1975 period.
etc etc (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)
BRUSSELS - Rising global temperatures might already be helping infectious diseases to creep north, according to a report by European scientists.
Another virtual world problem: Melting Mountains Put Millions At Risk in Asia: Study
Increased melting of glaciers and snow in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau threatens the food security of millions of people in Asia, a study shows, with Pakistan likely to
be among the nations hardest hit.
Greenpeace activists are headed to jail, a hippie invades Wattsworld and it has been a rough week for alternative energies wind and solar. (Daily Bayonet)
The Carbon Dioxide Thermometer
There’s an idea that keeps turning up like a bad penny, and I’ve had a part in it. But as I’ll explain, there’s a problem with it. The proposition is that the increase in the carbon dioxide concentration in the air has little to do with human emissions and a lot to do with prevailing temperatures, perhaps especially at the sea surface.
If CO2 follows temperature rather than the other way around, then changes in CO2 become a measure of temperature, as in a thermometer.
The latest manifestation is on the Watts Up website from Lon Hocker at
[If] For some reason this link doesn’t work, after several attempts to forge it. Try the WUWT home page http://wattsupwiththat.com/
Let me mention three previous appearances of this idea:
Cynthia Kuo et al., “Coherence established between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature”, Nature 343, pp. 709-14, 1990, which concluded: “Changes in carbon dioxide content lag those in temperature by five months.”
Nigel Calder, “The carbon dioxide thermometer”, Energy & Environment,10, pp. 1-18, 1999
Jarl Ahlbeck, “The carbon dioxide thermometer”, 2001, see http://www.john-daly.com/co2-conc/updated.htm
Since my own offering of 11 years ago, I’ve kept checking to my own satisfaction that what I suggested still works into the 21st Century. (The new story from Lon Hocker supports this.) The CO2-temperature link, with cause and effect swapped around, also looks arguable on geological timescales. Where the idea runs into difficulties is in the Holocene, since the end of the last ice age.
There have been repeated ups and downs of temperature, like that between the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the Modern Warm Period, without the strong variations in CO2 that you’d expect from this hypothesis. I’m not talking about the CO2 results from ice layers, which are suspect because CO2 is soluble in ice and variations are smoothed out. No, I mean results from leaf stomata, by Rike Wagner-Cremer and her colleagues at Utrecht, which are much more trustworthy. They’ve been a little disappointing for the hypothesis.
Here for example is the abstract of one that group’s papers:
T. B. van Hoof et al., “A role for atmospheric CO2 in preindustrial climate forcing,” PNAS, October 14, 2008; 105(41): pp. 15815 – 15818. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/41/15815.full.pdf+html
Complementary to measurements in Antarctic ice cores, stomatal frequency analysis of leaves of land plants preserved in peat and lake deposits can provide a proxy record of preindustrial atmospheric CO2 concentration. CO2 trends based on leaf remains of Quercus robur (English oak) from the Netherlands support the presence of significant CO2 variability during the first half of the last millennium. The amplitude of the reconstructed multidecadal fluctuations, up to 34 parts per million by volume, considerably exceeds maximum shifts measured in Antarctic ice. Inferred changes in CO2 radiative forcing are of a magnitude similar to variations ascribed to other mechanisms, particularly solar irradiance and volcanic activity, and may therefore call into question the concept of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which assumes an insignificant role of CO2 as a preindustrial climate forcing factor. The stomata-based CO2 trends correlate with coeval sea-surface temperature trends in the North Atlantic Ocean, suggesting the possibility of an oceanic source/sink mechanism for the recorded CO2 changes.
At first sight, these researchers are singing much the same song as the CO2 thermometer-makers. So what’s the problem? Simply that the CO2 fluctuations reported in this and other papers are small compared with those of the past century. The period of which van Hoof et al. write includes the Medieval Warm Period when temperatures were at least as high as today. But their CO2 never got above 319 ppmv, compared with 392 at Mauna Loa for May 2010.
The implication is that the CO2 thermometer is not the whole story. Man-made emissions must have contributed to the increase of the past 100 years. How significant that has been as a driver of the temperature increase is another question entirely. (Nigel Calder)
Tim Carney has a column at the Washington Examiner detailing BP’s lobbying influence, which begs the following history lesson and first-hand account for voters, generally
unaccustomed to such sleaze, to fully appreciate the game presently being played out in Washington.
The oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico provides a near perfect onshore platform for political demagoguery. [Read More] (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)
Five weeks ago Escambia County officials requested permission from the Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer, a device pulled behind a tractor that removes oil and tar from the top three feet of sand, to help clean up Pensacola’s beaches. County officials still haven’t heard anything back. Santa Rosa Island Authority Buck Lee told The Daily Caller why: “Escambia County sends a request to the Mobile, Ala., Unified Command Center. Then, it’s reviewed by BP, the federal government, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard. If they don’t like it, they don’t tell us anything.”
Keeping local governments in the dark is just one reason why the frustration of residents in the Gulf is so palpable. State and local governments know their geography, people, economic impacts and needs far better than the federal government does. Contrary to popular belief, the federal government has actually been playing a bigger and bigger role in running natural disaster responses. And as Heritage fellow Matt Mayer has documented, the results have gotten worse, not better.
And when the federal government isn’t sapping the initiative and expertise of local governments, it has been preventing foreign governments from helping. Just three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch government offered to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms and proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supported the idea, but the Obama administration refused the help. All told, thirteen countries have offered to help us clean up the Gulf, and the Obama administration has turned them all down. Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Energy Policy: The advisory board on offshore drilling says it never endorsed a moratorium, which was added later by the interior secretary. The only thing transparent about
this administration is its lies.
Just a quarter of Americans back expanding offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, and most fault federal regulators for the environmental disaster in the Gulf of
Mexico, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
If anything is going to cause more long-term damage to the planet than the gallons of oil being spewed out by the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster, it’s the toxic
clouds of posturing cant and alarmist drivel billowing forth daily from environmentalists. Most especially from their cheerleader in the White House, Barack Obama.
Over the past quarter-century, oil companies have pushed the frontiers of offshore drilling, sharply stepping up the number of deep-water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Norway has banned new deepwater oil drilling in the North Sea amid in a sign that panic over BP's Gulf of Mexico spill is spreading. (Reuters)
Utility regulators concerned about consumers’ pocketbooks; Nuclear power seen as more effective than renewable energy at combating climate change
by Kent Hawkins
It is the irony of ironies. Taxpayer and ratepayer-forced subsidies for utility-scale windpower also subsidizes emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). The same would be true under a national renewable portfolio standard as proposed in pending federal legislation.
Such is a vivid demonstration of the perils of unintended consequences and, to borrow a phrase, “an inconvenient truth” about wind power.
My recent four-part Wind Integration Realities reviewed two new studies, based on actual experience, that show fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are increased, not reduced, with the introduction of wind. Their results were compared as well as to those of my fossil fuel and CO2 emissions calculator for the same conditions. The brief summary in Part IV of the series is expanded upon here for clarity of this game-changing argument.
In general, the studies show that as wind penetration increases, the effect on fossil fuel and CO2 emissions worsens. Specifically, at wind penetrations of about 3% (as is the case in the Netherlands), the savings are zero. At 5-6% (as for Colorado and Texas) the “savings” become negative, that is, emissions actually increase due to the presence of wind power. [Read more →] (MasterResource)
Palm oil grown on recently deforested land is unlikely to be acceptable for use in European biodiesel, a draft report from the European Commission shows.
The resurgent U.S. ethanol industry will use an additional 250 million bushels of corn through the next 15 months, dramatically reducing the corn surplus despite record
crops, said the government on Thursday.
Given that most drug research leads to no marketable product, it’s great that a few drug companies are able to shepherd their discoveries through the torturous regulatory system. However, my big brother warns that “pharamascolds” threaten that progress. Gottlieb agrees,
Gottlieb claims the future will bring even quicker development of useful medicines. However,
That's the thing about scaremongers, they keep pumping out their nonsense no matter what... Waiter, there's a potential carcinogen in my soup
DOVER, N.H., June 9 - Yolande Sprague could be forgiven for feeling virtuous.
But if you really want something to worry about: U.S. regulators urged to help develop antibiotics
CHICAGO - U.S. regulators need to provide a clear path for drug companies to develop new antibiotics and should consider offering financial incentives, experts told a
Congressional panel on Wednesday.
PARIS: Short people are 50 per cent more likely than tall people to die prematurely of heart disease, researchers reported in a major review of 3 million people.
Can they really not see the flaws in their "studies"? England smoking ban cut heart attacks, health cost
LONDON, June 9 - A ban on smoking in public places in England led to a swift and significant drop in the number of heart attacks, saving the health service 8.4 million
pounds ($13 million) in the first year, scientists said on Wednesday.
LONDON, June 8 - Babies born just 1 or 2 weeks before their 40-week gestation due date are more likely to develop learning difficulties such as autism or dyslexia, according
to a British study published on Tuesday.
LONDON - The world's largest genetic scan of people with autism in their families has found that many patients have their own unique pattern of genetic mutations, not
NEW YORK - A new study raises the question of whether corn contaminated with a fungus-derived toxin is helping to facilitate the transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
NEW YORK - Could a glass of wine a day early in pregnancy yield better behaved kids? Maybe, according to results of a new study.
Geneticist Spencer Wells believes that when our neolithic ancestors began farming, they set us on the road to ruin. He tells Steve Connor why agriculture is fatally at odds with our biological inheritance (The Independent)
NEW YORK - Odds are good that if one of your parents is addicted to gambling, you might be too, a new study of Australian twins concludes.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 9, 2010 -- Fish exposed to fly ash at the site of the Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash spill are faring better than some expected, researchers have
As if we hadn't enough problems... France and Japan propose an 'IPCC for nature'
Delegates from 97 countries meet in South Korea to hear plans for an international body to monitor destruction of flora and fauna (The Guardian)
A new study of biological invasions in Europe found they were linked not so much to changes in climate or land cover, but to two dominant factors -- more money and more
Hopefully EII will reign for another, oh 50 years, at least: Prince Charles blames world’s ills on ‘soulless consumerism’ and Galileo
The Prince of Wales has blamed a lack of belief in the soul for the world’s environmental problems, and said that the planet cannot sustain a population expected to reach
9 billion in 40 years.
America's current struggles notwithstanding, life here is pretty good. We have a standard of living that's the envy of most of the world.
The countryside is increasingly blighted by man-made "clutter" such as unnecessary road signs, pylons and phone masts, rural campaigners said. (TDT)
Hundreds of genetically modified potatoes have been planted behind security fences in Norfolk in a new trial of the controversial science. (TDT)
Overregulation: The Senate votes on blocking a government bureaucracy from usurping power never delegated to it by Congress. This administration may put Copenhagen above the
Constitution, but we the people have other plans.
When the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill passed in the House before last year’s summer recess, Members voting for its passage heard loudly from constituents. Since then the Senate has been reluctant to move forward with a counterpart. It took Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Kerry (D-MA) nearly a year to release their cap and trade bill.
But what Congress has failed to do, the Environmental Protection Agency is willing and able. The agency has already begun the process of imposing costly and environmentally questionable CO2 cuts by using the Clean Air Act. Recognizing the severe problem with this approach, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will bring legislation to the Senate floor for debate on Thursday to stop unelected government officials at the EPA from micromanaging the economy.
Murkowski is using the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the EPA Administrator’s endangerment finding that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant and harmful to human health and the environment. Murkowski and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed to bring the joint resolution, S.J. 26, to the floor June 10th, which will consist of up to six hours of debate before voting on a motion to proceed. If the motion is successful by 51-vote majority, the Senate would then allow for an hour debate before voting on its passage, which also requires 51 votes. The disapproval resolution is immensely important because as Ben Lieberman explains: Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Krosnick thinks you are wrong: The Climate Majority
ON Thursday, the Senate will vote on a resolution proposed by Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, that would scuttle the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to limit
emissions of greenhouse gases by American businesses.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Tuesday attacked the notion that climate legislation he authored with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) would surface as an amendment to an energy
bill on the Senate floor rather than being included from the get-go.
"So what?" of the moment: Rich nations could increase emissions under pledge loopholes, UN data shows
Analysis seen at Bonn climate talks shows rich nations could use carbon accountancy tricks to increase their emissions by up to 8% (The Guardian)
by William Griesinger
Ultra-clarifying moments of truth are sometimes possible when environmental groups and their so-called allies end up in “family” squabbles, disagreeing over implementation of their ill-conceived schemes. The disarray, aptly described in prior posts at MasterResource by economist Robert Murphy and others as a civil war on the Left,” has become commonplace with respect to cap-and-trade proposals. And this is part of what Ken Green calls the death spiral of climate alarmism.
Just maybe the Coercion Crowd should throw up their hands and just say: give peace a chance!
Gaming the Carbon Market – Say It Isn’t So!
Yet another example of this discord, reported in a recent issue of E&E News PM, Climate: Enviro group outlines 10 schemes for gaming carbon markets — 05/18/2010 — www.eenews.net (access with free trial subscr.) involves Friends of the Earth (FOE), which recently released a strongly worded critique of the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill. In its guide, FOE inconveniently details how “carbon offsets are especially prone to corruption and fraud” and directly questions whether carbon markets are an appropriate mechanism to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The guide derisively attacks cap-and-trade schemes detailing the ten ways carbon markets can be scammed “at the expense of both our economy and our climate.” The scams enumerated carry such unflattering headings as, “Ponzi carbon,” “Carbon bribery,” and “Sell fake carbon offset credits,” among other derogatory descriptions. Ouch! [Read more →] (MasterResource)
The author of Chill explains why he’s sceptical about manmade global warming — and why greens are so intolerant.
Scientists at Europe's leading research universities have expressed concern over the growing trend towards linking EU funding with pre-defined outcomes. Researchers fear political priorities will curb their scope for creativity and free thinking. (EurActiv)
Updated on Jun 9, 2010 by Bishop Hill
Fred Pearce has new book out on Climategate and will be speaking about it at the Royal Institution on Monday. Readers will remember Pearce as the author of a detailed series of postings on the Climategate emails in the Guardian at the start of the year. The book sounds pretty interesting...
Nasa has switched part of its focus from space to the ocean, after its scientists announced their first ever field study to investigate how climate change is affecting the Arctic’s ice. (TDT)
The climate change debate has killed hundreds if not thousands of people, according to The Dirty Climate Debate, an article published in the Yale Law Journal. The deaths, along with other health tolls and widespread environmental damage, are a consequence of a change of heart by leading environmental organizations in the U.S., as part of their strategy to win the climate change debate.
“Prominent environmental groups like the Sierra Club are now opposing efforts by utilities to install environmental controls on their power plants, the same controls that these groups have fought voraciously to attain for over thirty years and that many utilities have avoided,” states author Brian H. Potts. “These environmentalists are choosing to sacrifice known short-term health and environmental benefits for their long-term climate policy goals.”
As the Yale Law Journal explains, coal-burning electric utilities are only too happy to invest in pollution control equipment that will protect the environment and save hundreds of lives per year when regulators approve the investments. Captive customers of the power companies will then be bound to repay the utilities, and to provide the utilities with a secure rate of return.
Perversely, Sierra Club and others are intervening in the process, convincing regulators to disallow the utilities’ requests. In one case, the Sierra Club is fighting a major pollution abatement proposal in Arkansas although, according to EPA-based estimates, these controls would annually “save 250 to 350 people from premature death, avoid 300 to 400 adults from having non-fatal heart attacks, keep thousands of children from developing upper or lower respiratory symptoms, avoid tens of thousands of work loss days, and provide general health benefits valued at over a billion dollars.”
The environmentalists are willing to accept these immense human and economic costs, the Yale paper states, to discourage an investment in a coal plant that might extend its operating life, undermining the environmentalists’ greater goal of combating greenhouse gas emissions.
To save lives and the environment, Congress should act to set clear rules. “There is no reason to continue to punish our environment simply because no one can decide what to do on the climate change issue,” the Yale Law Journal article, found here, concludes.
This paper has become the zeitgeist. I’ve had countless emails, and I know it’s been mentioned on Pielke, then by Solomon then Watts Up. Every self respecting skeptic will have looked at by this weekend, if not already. (Thanks to all the people who’ve emailed in the last three days).
My thoughts? For a long scientific review, it’s surprisingly well written, cuts to the core, and it’s a very unusual style of writing: No one is pushing anything, it’s not polarized or written to entertain, yet at the same time, it has compelling clarity. Johnston also exposes the rhetorical flaws in the reasoning and argument styles, which gives it a comprehensive punch.
I’m not used to reading official documents about the climate that are written to actually explain something. It’s 79 pages long, and distinctly lacks any cartoons, or even graphs, but surprisingly, astonishingly, it has sentences that are readable. There are no double barreled vagarisms designed to obscure the meaning while they recite a litany of key phrases, as if the answer is really hidden in there somewhere. This document doesn’t finish off every other point with speculation that it might be worse than we thought. Even though, actually, as far as science goes, official climate science is worse than we thought. Damning with understated tones.
“Global Warming Advocacy Science: A Cross Examination”
More » (Jo Nova)
Obligatory gorebull warbling: A tale of two atolls: Stanford researchers study the impact of fishing on remote coral reefs
Stanford marine scientists and anthropologists are developing strategies for sustainable fishing by comparing two remote coral reef ecosystems – one inhabited, the
other a "no-catch" reserve.
Global climate change will bring more heat waves, air pollution and floods, and public health systems need to prepare for those changes now, federal officials told a group of epidemiologists meeting in Portland Sunday evening. (Scott Learn, The Oregonian)
Written by David C. Archibald
The first thing to be aware of is that the warming effect of carbon dioxide is strongly logarithmic. Of the 3° C. that carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect, the first 20 ppm has a greater effect than the following 400 ppm. By the time we get to the current level of 384 ppm, each 100 ppm increment will produce only about 0.1° of warming. With atmospheric carbon dioxide rising at about 2 ppm per annum, temperature will rise at 0.1° every 50 years. If that is true, you will ask, how does the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) get its icecap-melting figure of 5° for doubling of the preindustrial level to 560 ppm?
Read more... (SPPI)
A tenth of one degree? A cooler Pacific may have severely affected medieval Europe, North America
Combination of hi-tech models and paleo-records may hold key to unlocking reason for Anastazi people's migration and other global events
Guest post by Lon Hocker
A commonly seen graph illustrating what is claimed to be a causal correlation between CO2 and temperature, with CO2 as the cause. (Image courtesy Zfacts.com)
Differentiating the CO2 measurements over the last thirty years produces a pattern that matches the temperature anomaly measured by satellites in extreme detail. That this correlation includes El Niño years, and shows that the temperature rise is causing the rise in CO2, rather than the other way around. The simple equation that connects the satellite and Mauna Loa data is shown to have a straight forward physical explanation.
The last few decades has shown a heated debate on the topic of whether the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is causing rising temperatures. Many complex models have been made that seem to confirm the idea that anthropological CO2 is responsible for the temperature increase that has been observed. The debate has long since jumped the boundary between science and politics and has produced a large amount of questionable research. Continue reading (WUWT)
On July 16, 2009 I posted the following
The post reads
Since the warm anomalies persist (e.g. see and see; Fig 7), the coming months are key to determining which of the two hypotheses with respect to global warming and cooling can be rejected. If we move into a La Niña without a corresponding cooling of the lower troposphere, it would support the rejection of hypothesis #1. However, if the lower troposphere cools, in terms of anomalies, to at or below the long-term average, this would support the rejection of hypothesis #2.
Of course, the two hypotheses do not cover all of the possibilities. If the warm anomalies persist, this could be due primarily to other human climate forcings besides carbon dioxide, such as black carbon. However, this would still indicate hypothesis #1 should be rejected.
I will again revisit this topic in a few months. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)
by Hans Bader
Columnist Tim Carney notes that BP, responsible for the massive oil spill, is “a close friend of big government whenever it serves the company’s bottom line.” It lobbied for President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package, the “cap-and-trade” global-warming bills backed by Obama, and “the Wall Street bailout” that Obama voted for. “BP has more Democratic lobbyists than Republicans.” Obama is the biggest recipient of campaign cash from BP executives.
Obama’s global warming legislation expands ethanol subsidies, which cause famine, starvation, and food riots in poor countries by shrinking the food supply, and also result in deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Subsidies for biofuels like ethanol are a big source of corporate welfare: “BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels . . .…
Read the full story (Cooler Heads)
Energy: Senate Democrats want a 400% tax hike on offshore oil production. Is this their way of punishing an entire industry for an isolated accident? If it is, they missed
Peak oil could become a reality if governments restrict exploration
The regulatory system totally failed. Let’s try more regulation. We’ve seen this pattern before, and we’re about to see it all again in the oil industry. In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, governments all over the world, led by U.S. President Barack Obama, are now gearing up thousand-page rule books and new bureaucracies to oversee the global oil industry. Canada and Norway have already imposed curbs on deep water and Arctic exploration.
The result is certain to be declining reserves of oil around the world, reduced supply and messed-up markets. Much as many people would like to believe that fossil fuels are a filthy nuisance that can be replaced by wind, sun and other forms of green energy, the fact is that the world’s people are increasingly dependent on oil and will continue to be for decades to come.
Read More (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)
China may be leaking more oil and gas from its pipeline network than any country in the world, much of it because of criminal activity. [Read More] (Xina Xie and Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune)
Oil companies have been given the go-ahead to press on with the hunt for oil and gas in the deep waters off the coast of Britain despite the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. (The Independent)
Why should we care if a green energy spells doom for certain insects? It matters since the bugs are a key part of an important food chain, say scientists. (Discovery)
The Wall Street Journal reports this week on a threatening letter sent by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to insurance companies, regarding their upcoming bids for Medicare Advantage plans. (Medicare Advantage pays private insurers a set amount and typically the patient pays an additional premium.)
So follow that chain of events: the Obama Administration makes a $136 billion cut in Medicare Advantage to help pay for Obamacare. That means they pay $136 billion
LESS to private insurers. So insurers increase premiums to cover the difference. The Obama Administration responds to this predictable course of events by ... threatening
After that, many insurers stopped offering new plans. Will they soon quit the business, leaving government totally in control? We'll see.
The newspaper headlines say it all. On the one hand, "Crisis Imperils Liberal Benefits Long Expected by Europeans," while in this country: "Private Pay
Plummets, Government Handouts Soar."
President Barack Obama listens to Carol Browner, assistant to the President for energy and climate change, during a meeting with senior advisors in the Oval Office, June 3, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
It is a tough thing to do, no matter how articulate I think I can be, no matter how much I have immersed myself into the Chinese culture, no matter how educated my interlocutors are: How does one explain to a Chinese intellectual, a company executive, a high government official or a military officer, America’s economic, energy and environmental policies under Barack Obama?
In early June, I had a chance to do exactly that and I do not remember ever being so tongue tied.
After all, it is China that is supposed to still be a communist country or one that more officially practices “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” But it is hard to find in that country many socialists. If they exist, they are eclipsed by pure capitalists. Certainly there are no government pronouncements that would mean economic hara-kiri for the country. And, energy, in short domestic supply, represents the government’s highest priority. Almost all Chinese recognize that unless they move in fast and furious ways, energy will be the country’s choke point.
I have been going to China several times per year, for more than 20 years. When I arrived there for the first time, the Cold War was still in place and China had just came out from the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping was trying to start a new China.
I miss the Cold War, certainly not the anxiety that it wrought and the tension of nuclear Armageddon between the West and the Soviet Union, and the even more radical Maoist (an adjective that came to mean even more radical Communist) China. What I do miss is the ideological clarity and world balance that it brought. We were supposed to be the capitalist, free enterprise world. Economics was our paramount leader and competition and free markets were our hallmark. They, on the other hand, were supposed to be the centrally controlled, repressed societies, unable to develop, unable to absorb modernity, unable to enter the 21st Century.
We won the Cold War but clearly we have not dominated thereafter. Barack Obama and his policies, from health care to cap-and-trade to government decisions by fiat, and increased spending, and the welfare state, do not represent the presumed victor of the Cold War.
Ideological environmentalism has trumped economic development and has thwarted economic freedom, which was, ostensibly, the motive of the Cold War. Al Gore, before the Tipper French Kiss and before the Nobel Prize for the “Inconvenient Truth” wrote that the “internal combustion engine is the biggest threat to humankind.”
Tell that to the Chinese who are buying more than 40,000 new cars per day. (Energy Tribune)
Self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics.
FBN’s John Stossel argues we need to shift toward a more free market and free-trade will lead to economic prosperity.
NEW YORK - Eating dairy foods could help protect your heart, new research from Sweden suggests.
More stupid food superstitions: Crying Over Raw Milk
THE buses rolling into the parking lot of Eau Claire’s Chippewa Valley Technical College came from every corner of Wisconsin, and at least from one corner of Ontario, each
packed with farm families wearing paper milking caps with “Freedom” written on them and brandishing signs that said, “I ♥ Raw Milk.” March 10 was smack in the middle
of calving time, but the heifers would have to wait — raw milk was that important.
Oh boy... Secondhand smoke may harm mental health
NEW YORK - Other people's smoke is bad for your lungs and bad for your heart, and new research suggests it could be bad for your mental health, too.
CHICAGO - On a recent flight, Dr. Aaron Sodickson learned firsthand about the fallout from studies and media stories about radiation exposure from CT scans.
Hello! Where were they? Gestures reveal 'green fakers', says psychologist
There are many "green fakers" who only pretend to be eco-friendly, claims a psychologist who has been studying what is revealed by body language. (BBC News)
For real environmental performance: Freer Trade is Key to a Cleaner Environment and Green Growth
In remarks on World Environment Day, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy, pointed out that, “Trade opening has much to contribute in the fight against climate change and to the protection of the environment.”
Indeed, the most practical improvements in energy efficiency and protecting the environment over the past decades haven’t stemmed from government regulatory mandates. As shown in the analysis of the Index of Economic Freedom, the most progress has been driven by advances in freer trade and economic freedom. These unleash greater economic opportunity and prosperity, generating a virtuous cycle of investment, innovation, and dynamic economic growth. Echoing the same message, the WTO chief further noted: Continue reading... (The Foundry)
Tantrum because their fundraising scam might be exposed? GM public consultation has 'no credibility' - say campaigners
Food campaigners are to boycott ongoing talks on GM, casting further doubt on a controversial Government review of the science. (TDT)
Moves by the European Union to overhaul its approval system for genetically modified crops is a "big step forward." but it is likely to be some time before the
bloc is open to wide-spread cultivation of key crops, a leading DuPont executive said on Tuesday.
Australia needs to focus on wheat breeding technologies including genetically modified wheat, Peter Reading, managing director of Australia's Grains Research and Development
Corporation (GRDC) said on Tuesday.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the leading sponsor of a resolution that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases
under the Clean Air Act.
I am writing to ask you to take two minutes to e-mail your Senators and help stop the biggest threat to America's freedom and prosperity that President Obama has attempted so far.
Senate Votes on Thursday — Click Here to Take Action to Stop Obama's Power Grab
WASHINGTON—Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) on Tuesday broke ranks with Democratic party leaders and indicated that he would support an effort by Senate Republicans to
overturn new rules to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.