Archives - March 2009

March 31, 2009

BOOKS: 'Green Hell'
John R. Coyne Jr.

GREEN HELL: HOW ENVIRONMENTALISTS PLAN TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP THEM
By Steve Milloy
Regnery, $27.95
REVIEWED BY JOHN R. COYNE JR.

The Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Johnson in 1964, represented nearly a century's worth of effort and activity by old-school conservationists like John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club. In lyrical language — odd for a bill written by bureaucrats — the act defined wilderness as "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

For some conservationists, this was a culmination. For others, it represented a beginning, with the language laying down a foundation upon which to build today's green movement. And that striking image of man as an unwelcome visitor to planet Earth is what animates much of what today's neo-romantic green movement has grown into.

In this strongly written and well-documented book, Steve Milloy introduces us to many such groups, among them the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, that carry the thought to its logical conclusion: "[The] hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens — us." Others, Mr. Milloy writes, "advocate more coercive policies" based on China's child-rationing program, which, as one green thinker puts it, are necessary to protect "environmental rights, which are potentially infringed by the addition of each new human being." (Washington Times)

EDITORIAL: Protect us from the EPA - One man's meat may be another man's poison, but the Environmental Protection Agency has taken the idea to an absurdity. EPA has just sent a proposal to the White House that would classify carbon dioxide as a health hazard.

But if there wasn't carbon dioxide around, there would be no plants. And, for that matter, neither would there be any people or pets if we weren't allowed to exhale. The claimed "health hazard" from carbon dioxide is, of course, global warming, yet the data we have seen, such as Stanford economist Thomas Gale Moore's work, show that warmer temperatures and higher incomes are associated with healthier, longer-living people. In case environmentalists haven't noticed, bio-diversity is also much greater when temperatures are higher.

Over history, human civilizations have expanded during warmer periods but declined when it got cold. For a history lesson, we recommend University of California Professor Brian Fagan's excellent book, "The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History."

Obviously, higher temperatures support more plant life, and that in turn supplies the food for more animals. If you want more plants, animals, and healthier people, more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures are beneficial and certainly not "hazardous to health." (Washington Times)

Oh my... Obama envoy: US to make up time on climate change - BONN, Germany - Once booed at international climate talks, the United States won sustained applause when President Barack Obama's envoy pledged to "make up for lost time" in reaching a global agreement on climate change.

Todd Stern also praised efforts by countries like China to rein in their carbon emissions, but said global warming "requires a global response" and that rapidly developing economies like China "must join together" with the industrial world to solve the problem.

The debut of Obama's climate change team on Sunday was widely anticipated after eight years of obdurate participation in UN climate talks by the previous Bush administration.

"We are very glad to be back. We want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us," Stern said to loud applause from the 2,600 delegates to the UN negotiations.

They clapped again when Stern said the US recognised "our unique responsibility ... as the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases", which has created a problem threatening the entire world. (Associated Press)

America ‘can’t wave magic wand’ on climate change - The US 'needs more time' to get up to speed on cutting emissions
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter, Bonn

Expectations of what can be achieved by the United States in fighting global warming are unrealistic, climate change negotiators from more than 170 countries have been told.

Hopes raised by a new willingness in the White House to take action to control climate change must be balanced by a realisation that there are limits to what the US can do, they were told.

Todd Stern, President Obama’s special envoy on climate change, moved to play down hopes as the US joined UN talks on global warming in Bonn. These are designed to smooth the path to a summit in Copenhagen in December when it is hoped that international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions can be reached. (The Times)

Climate Change Reality - President Obama says that "few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than fighting climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear." In fact, many scientists disagree with the "facts," their certainty, and their interpretation. Over 100 of them have signed the statement that appears in the Cato Institute's newspaper ad.

Like a chance to influence content selection on JunkScience.com?

Over on the forum member Wes asks: "Does JunkScience.com Spend Too Much Time on Global Warming?"

Well, what do you think?

To control spam users must self-register prior to being able to vote or post items but once you've done that you are good to go. So, vote in the associated poll, offer suggestions on where you'd like to see effort concentrated and, better yet, post items of interest for discussion and investigation.

The forum is there for you to use.

Lindzen on negative climate feedback - Guest Post by Richard Lindzen, PhD.

This essay is from an email list that I subscribe to. Dr. Lindzen has sent this along as an addendum to his address made at ICCC 2009 in New York City. I present it here for consideration. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

He's back! Crunch Time for 'Global Warming' - Yesterday, a mere 35,000 protesters [by contrast, between 60,000 and 80,000 folk participated in the Peterloo protests of August 16, 1819] took to the streets of London to shout about - er, well - everything, from evil bankers to ‘global warming’ and the urgent need to support motor-car manufacturing. To say that the protest was both inchoate and incoherent would be to understate its naivety. Moreover, it took no fewer than 150 separate organisations, from trade unions to charities, to muster the 35,000 souls. Meanwhile, some 70,000 diehards trekked to Wembley to watch a fairly boring friendly match between England and Slovakia (at least England won 4-0). By contrast, in 2002, the Countryside Alliance persuaded over 400,000 people to march in defence of hunting the fox and country living, a figure confirmed by the Metropolitan Police; and just think of those 1819 Peterloo statistics when adjusted for relative population size. Moreover, the ‘global warming’ contingent yesterday was, as usual, a small, if rather noisy, runt. As ever, it was a case of empty vessels making the most sound. (The Clamour Of The Times)

Set Phasers on Stun - I’ve been receiving a steady stream of e-mails asking when our latest work on feedbacks in the climate system will be published. Since I’ve been trying to fit the material from three (previously rejected) papers into one unified paper, it has taken a bit longer than expected…but we are now very close to submission.

We’ve tentatively decided to submit to Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) rather than any of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) journals. This is because it appears that JGR editors are somewhat less concerned about a paper’s scientific conclusions supporting the policy goals of the IPCC — regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, JGR’s instructions to reviewers is to not reject a paper simply because the reviewer does not agree with the paper’s scientific conclusions. More on that later.

As those who have been following our work already know, our main conclusion is that climate sensitivity has been grossly overestimated due to a mix up between cause and effect when researchers have observed how global cloud cover varies with temperature. (Roy W. Spencer)

Hour of no power increases emissions - THIS Saturday, the World Wildlife Fund wants everybody on the planet to switch off their lights for an hour in a "global election between Earth and global warming", where switching off the lights "is a vote for Earth".

In Australia, where Earth Hour started, it evidently enjoys strong support from politicians, celebrities, corporate backers and the public. The efforts this Saturday certainly will be well-intentioned. Many of us worry about global warming and would like to be part of the solution. Unfortunately, this event - as with many public proposals on climate change - is an entirely symbolic gesture that creates the mistaken impression that there are easy, quick fixes to climate change. One provincial British newspaper wrote this week: "Saving the planet could be as easy as switching off the lights in South Tyneside, green campaigners say."

It will take more than the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside, population 152,000, to solve global warming. Even if a billion people turn off their lights this Saturday, the entire event will be equivalent to switching off China's emissions for six short seconds. In economic terms, the environmental and humanitarian benefits from the efforts of the entire developed world would add up to just $21,000.

The campaign doesn't ask anybody to do anything difficult, such as coping without heating, airconditioning, telephones, the internet, hot food or cold drinks. Conceivably, if you or I sat in our houses watching television, with the heater and computer running, we could claim we're part of an answer to global warming, so long as the lights are switched off. The symbolism is almost perverse.

In Australia last year, Earth Hour's organisers required participating businesses to pledge to reduce their emissions by 5 per cent during the following year. This year, that requirement has been dropped. "We decided we'd actually downplay (concrete cuts) this time," the chief executive of WWF Australia told The Sunday Age. There apparently has been no accounting of whether last year's sponsors lived up to their pledge. The Sunday Age reported last week: "An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures." (Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian)

Bogeymen of the C02 hoax losing ground - You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. Eric Hoffer

James Hansen, head of NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), and Andrew Weaver, lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports, made statements clearly designed to frighten people.

Both men are politically active in climate change and at the forefront of the attempt to convince the world that CO2 is a problem. Their remarks are intended to scare people by threatening impending doom – nothing new - except there is increasing urgency and fear because their message is failing. As Andrew Weaver summarized, ”All those fossil fuel emissions need to be eliminated. And we must do so quickly if we are to have any chance of stabilizing the climate and maintaining human civilization as we know it.” (Tim Ball, CFP)

Obama's hard trip to Europe - US President Barack Obama's visit to Europe is all about leadership - the expectations and perhaps the limitations of it as he seeks to fashion a new American role in the post-Bush era.

There are no real answers yet but the questions he faces are what kind of leadership he can offer and what kind of co-operation he will receive.

The new president might find that his honeymoon with Europe is about to bump up against the realities of day-to-day life. (BBC News)

Bumpy ride ahead for UN climate talks - As hundreds of delegates gathered in Bonn on Sunday (29 March) for the first official round of UN talks in view of preparing the ground for a post-Kyoto climate deal in December, most experts concurred that a detailed agreement is unlikely to emerge by the end of the year. (EurActiv)

EU's climate change policies under attack - WWF accuses EU leaders of breaking international agreement; Environment commissioner defends targets.

Stavros Dimas, the European commissioner for the environment, insisted that Europe was still a global leader on climate change after a stinging attack on the EU by the campaign group World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) at the European Business Summit in Brussels today (27 March).

In a testy exchange, Dimas defended EU policy after WWF said that Europe had broken its promise to developing countries and weakened its own carbon reduction targets. (Jennifer Rankin, European Voice)

Cap and Trade War - Team Obama floats a carbon tariff.

One of President Obama's applause lines is that his climate tax policies will create new green jobs "that can't be outsourced." But if that's true, why is his main energy adviser floating a new carbon tariff on imports? Welcome to the coming cap and trade war.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu made the protectionist point during an underreported House hearing this month, when he said tariffs and other trade barriers could be used as a "weapon" to force countries like China and India into cutting their own CO2 emissions. "If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage," he said. So a cap-and-trade policy won't be cost-free after all. Apparently Mr. Chu did not get the White House memo about obfuscating the impact of the Administration's anticarbon policies. (Wall Street Journal)

Something to ponder about cap and trade - Question: Who decided to pay farmers to destroy ten million acres of crops and kill six million farm animals?

If you answered FDR, then you would be correct. But, why did he do it and what was the end result?

The markets were keeping food prices too low for farmers to make enough money for a profit, thus FDR promoted higher food prices by paying farmers to plow under some 10 million acres of crops and slaughter and discard some six million farm animals, because it primarily benefited big farmers due to the fact that they had more food crops to destroy than small farms. The end result of this policy and later programs was the victimization of millions of already starving Americans. (Steve LeMaster, Global Warming Skeptics)

The worry is she may really be this stupid: Delaying climate change action 'will cost jobs' says Penny Wong - THE global financial crisis must not be used as an excuse to delay action on global warming, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says.

Addressing an environmental think-tank in Washington, Senator Wong said while economic conditions made tackling climate change more difficult, failure to act would only increase investment uncertainty and jeopardise jobs.

Instead, an emissions trading program like the government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) would disengage emissions growth from economic growth and transform Australia's economy for the better, she said.

"Our government's view is that we cannot allow the global financial crisis to weaken our determination to address the very real and long-term threat that climate change poses,'' Senator Wong told the Pew Centre for Global Climate Change on Monday in the United States. (The Australian)

Cap-n-Tax will eat the heart out of Australia - The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that the Emissions Trading Scheme would eat the heart out of regional Australia by destroying jobs in mining, processing, construction, farming, forestry, transport and tourism.

In a submission to the Australian Senate Economics Committee, the Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the mis-named “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” had nothing to do with carbon or pollution - “it is essentially a cap and a tax on carbon dioxide, the harmless, colourless natural gas that sustains all life on earth”.

“To cut man’s emissions of carbon dioxide, we need to curb electricity generation, cement manufacture, mining, smelting, refining, all forms of transport, farm and earth moving machinery, all farmed animals, forestry and construction. In return they would have us believe that the inland will survive when these once vibrant industries are replaced by feral forests feeding on carbon credits, vast mobs of kangaroos, regiments of becalmed wind towers, treeless tracts of ethanol crops and deserts of solar panels.

“California and Spain have proved that the war on carbon dioxide will kill real jobs faster than fake green jobs can be created. At the same time, the silly claims that alternate energy can provide continuous, economical and reliable power will encourage neglect of Australia’s key reliable low cost electricity source - coal power.

“When the lights go out, industry migrates to Asia and our power bills soar, it will be too late to prevent great harm to our economy, our jobs and our life style. (Viv Forbes, CFP)

Cooler Heads Digest 27 March 2009

Kyoto's costly sequel - In a week when world heads of state are meeting in London at the G20 Economic Summit on the global economic crisis, a less heralded but ultimately more consequential gathering In Bonn, Germany is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Some 190 nations will launch a marathon of meetings designed to culminate in Copenhagen in December with a new pact for curbing greenhouse gases beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The conventioneers are “true believers” that global warming is settled science, and that it should be a top-priority problem for government solution. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Leaders to meet in summer for special climate change talks - The new summit – which is being called on the initiative of President Barack Obama as part of a US drive to get a new international agreement on tackling global warming – is to take place alongside the annual G8 gathering of world leaders on the island of La Maddalena off Sardinia.

Scientists and environmentalists will hope that it will make up for a failure by the leaders at this week's meeting to do more than agree warm words about the need for a "green new deal" and the importance of building low-carbon economies. Every nation attending has flatly refused to discuss any commitment to devote an agreed percentage of its financial stimulus package to green measures, insisting instead on focusing on relatively short-term measures to tackle the immediate financial crisis.

News of the summit comes as governments gather in Bonn today to start eight months of negotiations on an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which are to climax at a conference in Copenhagen in December. The conference is widely seen as the world's last chance of getting global warming under control before it precipitates disastrous climate change. (The Independent)

Synchronized buffing: INTERVIEW - US Praises China's Climate Efforts; Urges More - BONN - The United States gave rare praise to China's efforts to curb emissions of greenhouse gases on Sunday but said Beijing must do "a lot more" under a planned new UN treaty to fight climate change.

Todd Stern, US special envoy for climate change, told Reuters on his debut at 175-nation UN climate talks in Bonn that all major emitters had to step up action despite recession under a UN climate pact due to be agreed in December.

"The Chinese are doing a lot already," he said. China has recently overtaken the United States as top emitter of heat-trapping gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, blamed for global warming. (Reuters)

II: China Hails US Climate Pledges, OPEC Fears For Oil - BONN - China and other nations hailed US pledges to do more to fight global warming on Monday but OPEC dampened celebrations by predicting that a planned UN climate treaty would damage the economies of oil exporters.

"We welcome this positive change in attitude and approach by President (Barack) Obama and his team," China's climate ambassador, Yu Qingtai, told reporters at UN climate talks in Bonn attended by 175 nations.

The Obama administration made its UN climate debut at the start of the 11-day meeting on Sunday, promising to cut US emissions of greenhouse gases by between 16 and 17 percent, or back to 1990 levels, by 2020 -- far more ambitious than goals set by former President George W. Bush. (Reuters)

Earth Hour in California - Success or Bust? The CAISO Power graph tells the story - Guest post by Russ Steele, NCWatch

At our house we set the timer to remind us to turn on all the visible out side lights. We have multiple security lights on the garage and the barn that come on when the sun goes down. My friend George Rebane has evidence that he turned on his lights for Earth Hour at Ruminations. I should have done the same, but was working on a sea level issue in R and forgot. I am glad I set the timer to remind me to turn off the outside house lights at 9:30.

The real question is did it Earth Hour make a difference one way or the other? (Watts Up With That?)

Good grief! 'Low carbon diet' a healthy option for Earth - A hungry student at the University of San Francisco earlier this month couldn't find a few college staples at the campus eatery -- a juicy hamburger and a cheesy slice of pizza.

March 10 was "Low Carbon Diet Day," and beef and cheese were off the menu.

With 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gases emitted by livestock raised for meat and dairy products -- more than cars, trucks, ships and planes combined, according to a United Nations report -- more food purveyors are launching initiatives to lower their "food carbon footprint."

Bon Appetit, a food service company in Palo Alto, Calif., that runs the USF cafeteria and 400 other institutional cafes, is leading the charge. It's set a goal of reducing its meat and cheese offerings by 25 percent. (Contra Costa Times)

Auntie’s Tall Tale Of Daddy Long Legs - It’s always fun to trace the chain of Chinese whispers between primary research and scary news stories about the ravages of climate change. Many BBC science stories are particularly easy to trace back to source, based as they are on a single scientific paper, from which they are separated by only a single press release. But even when the whisper chain is a short one, there is plenty of room for the distortion of sobre science to alarmist headline, especially when the press release contains everything you need for the job. So it was with the BBC’s ‘Bid to aid daddy longlegs numbers’ published on Thursday: (Climate Resistance)

Antarctic Dust Layers May Give Climate Hints - BONN - South American glaciers are a source of puzzling layers of dust in Antarctic ice, according to a study published on Sunday in Nature Geoscience that might help improve climate change forecasting.

Scientists have long thought that dust entombed in the ice was a sign that the world went through drier or windier periods during the past 70,000 years. But they could find no evidence in other parts of the world to back up that theory -- until now.

"What we've done is pin down where the dust comes from -- it comes from Patagonia" at the tip of South America, the lead author David Sugden of the University of Edinburgh told Reuters.

Hurricanes not likely to disrupt ocean carbon balance -- Hurricanes are well known for the trail of damage and debris they can leave on land, but less known for the invisible trail left over the ocean by their gale-force winds — a trail of carbon dioxide.

Observations in Bermuda and the Caribbean in the 1990s noted that hurricanes' powerful winds and the resultant water mixing can trigger enhanced carbon dioxide release from the ocean into the air. Large-scale extrapolations of these observations suggested that increasing numbers of hurricanes could significantly alter the overall carbon balance of the ocean and atmosphere.

However, a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that storm-induced carbon release is local and temporary and does not seem to affect the long-term ability of the tropical Atlantic to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. The study has been accepted to publish in an upcoming issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (PhysOrg.com)

What idiot thought it might reduce carbon sequestration? Haven't they seen the increased eutrophication that results from windfall and heavy rains associated with landfalling hurricanes? Don't they realize this results in plumes of carbon-rich sediment from both immediate burial of organic content and an additional seafloor "rain" of organic detritus as excessive algal blooms nourished by flood-enriched waters die off and sink to become part of oceanic sediment? Don't they read anyone else's work, in which case they would have seen exactly those results written up from studies of Japanese and Taiwanese landfalling typhoons?

New Paper In Press “Intercomparison, Interpretation, and Assessment Of Spring Phenology In North America Estimated From Remote Sensing For 1982 To 2006″ By White et al.2009 - There is a very interesting paper in press that updates our understanding of spring pheonology in North America. There have been statements that spring leaf out has become earlier in recent years (e.g. see page 77 in CCSP, 2009). This claim appears to be incorrect. The paper is White, M.A., K.M. de Beurs, K. Didan, D.W. Inouye, A.D. Richardson, O.P. Jensen, J. O’Keefe, G. Zhang, R.R. Nemani, W.J.D. van Leeuwen, J.F. Brown, A. de Wit, M. Schaepman, X. Lin, M. Dettinger, A. Bailey, J. Kimball, M.D. Schwartz, D.D. Baldocchi, J.T. Lee, W.K. Lauenroth. Intercomparison, interpretation, and assessment of spring phenology in North America estimated from remote sensing for 1982 to 2006. Global Change Biology (in press). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Nitrate stimulates greenhouse gas production in small streams - Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas that has been accumulating in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. It is well known that fertilizer can stimulate nitrous oxide production in soils, but less is known about nitrous oxide production in small streams which drain agricultural landscapes. Much of the cropland in the agricultural Midwest is drained by an extensive subsurface drainage network which delivers soil-derived nitrate to small streams where it may be converted to nitrous oxide. Given the large quantities of nitrogen that leach from agricultural soils and the predominance of small streams in Midwestern agricultural landscapes, small streams may an important source of nitrous oxide. (Soil Science Society of America)

Obama just plain wrong about North Dakota floods.- Scientific American continues to embarrass itself with its online reporting of President Obama’s insights concerning flooding of the Red River in North Dakota. They report “President Obama says potentially historic flood levels in North Dakota are a clear example of why steps need to be taken to stop global warming….” and quote the President as saying in his usual articulate way: (Climate Sanity)

Sea No Consistency, Hear No Consistency - Christopher Booker has a typically entertaining and informative item in the Saturday Telegraph detailing the nonsense underlying climate alarmists' claims about rapidly rising oceans levels — and particularly those of the poster children for those claims, the archipelago nations of the Maldives and Tuvalu.

The piece reminded me of something I was told back when I spent time commuting fairly regularly to Brussels about a big lobbying campaign there on behalf of the Maldives — by (if memory serves) Hill & Knowlton — for what I was told was about $400,000 USD per year in lobbying fees. I wrote this in the EU Reporter, and heard nothing back challenging the claim.

What did the Maldives want? Millions in EU development funds to build beachfront resort hotels, all while demanding at least as much to compensate them for supposedly rapidly rising sea levels which — if true — would rather obviate the utility of such investments. Possibly the Maldives government had an internal failure to communicate about such matters.

Not that the global-warming industry has earned our expectation of consistency or (since this episode certainly raises the question) of honesty. Still, if the hyper-alarmist EU Commission did throw taxpayer money down that particular hole all while engaging in its global warming dance, well, that would be a good story. Possibly Christopher will look into that.

Regardless of whether the EU saw the inconsistency and didn’t spend money that way, the Maldives’. . . opportunism . . . is a useful anecdote for the global-warming discussion. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Bangladesh needs the West's help, but isn't waiting for it - The fifth in a series of stories on Bangladesh and climate migration.

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh may be Mother Nature's punching bag, but in the battle for survival against climate change, this tiny, riverine nation isn't going down without a fight.

Already, Bangladesh has invested 10 million taka, the equivalent of about $150,000, to build cyclone shelters and create a storm early-warning system. Earlier this year, it allocated another $50 million to the country's agriculture and health budgets to help "climate-proof" certain development sectors. The nation's agricultural research centers are devising salinity-resistant strains of rice. And the South Asian nation was one of first to deliver to the United Nations a strategy outlining what it needs in order to cope with the worst effects of climate change.

"They're not waiting," said Saleem Huq, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report on sustainability. (ClimateWire)

Andy gets tipsy: ‘Tipping Points’ and the Climate Challenge - In early assessments of global warming, most curves were smooth. Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases would raise temperatures. Then glaciologists started finding evidence of extraordinarily abrupt jumps in regional temperatures. Other evidence revealed past eras when seas rose precipitously. The possible shutdown of important Atlantic Ocean currents added to the sense of nonlinear and disruptive risk. A certain best seller propelled the phrase “tipping point” deep into popular discourse. Add that all together and what do you get? The prospect that human-driven warming is poised to push Earth past dangerous tipping points is now a cornerstone of many environmental campaigns.

But what tipping points are well established and which ones remain what Stephen W. Pacala of Princeton University has called “the monsters behind the door”? I have a piece in the Week in Review section exploring these concerns. Given the limits on space in print, I thought it worthwhile to add some additional voices here and encourage further discussion. The bottom line? A growing effort to clarify such risks has yielded what amounts to the same message climate experts have been conveying for more than two decades: More emissions of greenhouse gases raise the odds of trouble. The conclusion is similar to that in the “burning embers” diagrams from the third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and a recent paper. (Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times)

Email from the deluded Jim Hansen - ...I looked up Freeman Dyson on Wikipedia, which describes his views on "global warming" as below. If that is an accurate description of what he is saying now, it is actually quite reasonable (I had heard that he is just another contrarian). However, this also indicates that he is under the mistaken impression that concern about global warming is based on climate models, which in reality play little role in our understanding -- our understanding is based mainly on how the Earth responded to changes of boundary conditions in the past and on how it is responding to on-going changes.

If this Wikipedia information is an accurate description of his position, then the only thing that I would like to say about him is that he should be careful not to offer public opinions about global warming unless he is willing to first take a serious look at the science. His philosophy of science is spot-on, the open-mindedness, consistent with that of Feynman and the other greats, but if he is going to wander into something with major consequences for humanity and other life on the planet, then he should first do his homework -- which he obviously has not done on global warming. My concern is that the public may assume that he has -- and, because of his other accomplishments, give his opinion more weight than it deserves.

Jim Hansen (Tom Nelson)

Wrong religion? Damnation: The ultimate, eternal global warming - We may all be damned -- in this world and the next -- by our environmental misdeeds and heedlessness, according to a stern warning from the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, last week.

Mankind is rebuffing the divine love of God and, by its refusal to face "doomsday" environmental damage, it is choking, drowning and starving God's creation, Williams said. (USA TODAY)

If Williams wants to preach ecotheism he should not do so from an Anglican pulpit.

Ooh Nick! That's a big one! The point of no return - In an exclusive extract from his new book, Nicholas Stern argues that the time for debate on climate change is well and truly over

How is it that, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, there are still some who would deny the dangers of climate change? Not surprisingly, the loudest voices are not scientific, and it is remarkable how many economists, lawyers, journalists and politicians set themselves up as experts on the science. It is absolutely right that those who discuss policy should interrogate the science, because the implications for action are radical. However, they should also take the scientific evidence seriously and recognise the limitations on their own abilities to assess the science.

Contrary to the narrative that some have tried to impose on the debate, climate change is not a theory struggling to maintain itself in the face of problematic evidence. The opposite is true: as new information comes in, it reinforces our understanding across a whole spectrum of indicators. The subject is full of uncertainty, but there is no serious doubt that emissions are growing as a result of human activity and that more greenhouse gases will lead to further warming. (Nicholas Stern, The Guardian)

Santa's going to leave coal in your stocking this year...

Likely to upset greenies: Fish oil in cow's diet could help clear the air - Farting cows, their diets and its impact on global warming may make most people chuckle, but it isn't a laughing matter for an Irish researcher studying how to reduce those emissions.

Since 2007, Lorraine Lillis, a researcher from University College Dublin in Ireland, has focused on the benefits of adding fish oil to cows' diet. While the oil helps the heart and circulatory system, and improves meat quality, she has also found that it reduces methane emissions.

Farm animals are thought to produce up to a quarter of all methane emissions for which man is responsible worldwide.

A part of that problem is a bacteria living in the digestive system of cows. (Vanessa Burka, Canwest News Service)

with this collateral damage: Not enough fish to meet health advisories - TORONTO, March 17 -- If everyone increased their fish consumption 2 to 3 times as recommended for health benefits, the world would run out of fish, Canadian researchers said.

Dr. David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and colleagues said that recommendations to increase fish consumption because of health benefits may not be environmentally sustainable and more research is needed to clarify the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave "qualified health claim" status to omega−3 fatty acids, stating that "supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

The study authors point out that even at current fish consumption levels, global fisheries are in severe crisis as demand outstrips supply and declining stocks are being diverted from local markets to affluent markets, with serious consequences for the food security of poorer countries and coastal communities.

Global stocks have been declining since the late 1980s and there have been more than 100 cases of marine extinctions, Jenkins said.

"These trends imply the collapse of all commercially exploited stocks by mid-century," the study authors said in a statement. "Yet the dire status of fisheries resources is largely unrecognized by the public, who are both encouraged to eat more fish and are misled into believing we live in a sea of plenty." (UPI)

Ooh! Ooh! We want money, too! Climate change and its adverse effects on health needs more research funding - Climate change will seriously impact public health, but the United States has yet to allocate adequate research funding to understand and prepare for these impacts, according to a report published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (News-Medical)

Ceding still more authority? US Asks UN To Help Cut Ship Emissions Near Coasts - NEWARK - The United States has asked the United Nation's International Maritime Organization to create a buffer zone around America's coastline to cut pollution from ocean-going ships that harms human health, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.

"This is an important and long overdue step in our efforts to protect the air and the water along our shores and the health of the people in our coastal communities," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Under the proposal, which was also submitted to the IMO by Canada, big vessels like oil tankers and cargo ships that operate in a 230-mile "emissions control area" extending from two countries' coastlines, would face stricter smog and particulate pollution standards to reduce the threats the emissions pose to humans and the environment.

The United States asked the IMO to create the boundaries because some 90 percent of the ship calls on US ports are made by foreign-flagged vessels. (Reuters)

Climate lobbying in D.C. attracts Texans - Employment surges in area where state’s energy industry has a huge stake

WASHINGTON — The nation’s economy is in the tank, and companies in Houston and elsewhere have been shedding jobs. But in Washington, there’s a growth industry that’s putting some Texans to work: climate change lobbying.

The climate change business has spiked in the last year, especially after Barack Obama was elected president as a strong supporter of legislation to drastically reduce fossil fuel emissions. Roughly 2,340 lobbyists dealing with climate issues were hired in 2008, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms.

The climate lobbyists now outnumber members of Congress by a margin of more than 4 to 1 and span the political spectrum — from Hollywood stars on the left to conservatives who argue global warming is a hoax. But one of the most active players in the debate has been a mainstay of the Texas economy: the energy industry.

“Everyone has a stake in any final legislation,” said Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, “and interest groups from all viewpoints — environmentalists, consumer protection organizations, and business interests — have been increasingly requesting meetings with members (of Congress) and staff to relay their concerns.” (Houston Chronicle)

ANALYSIS - US Power Use Tumbling With Recession - NEW YORK/HOUSTON - US electricity demand will continue to shrink in 2009 as the economic meltdown hits industrial power consumption, but a rebound could come in 2010.

Bigger houses, a myriad of electric devices and an expanding economy have kept US power use on a nearly uninterrupted climb for 25 years - until the recession put the brakes on industrial demand in 2008.

Electricity sales to industrial customers are expected to shrink 6.4 percent this year, leading to an expected 1.7 percent drop in overall power consumption in 2009, the US Energy Information Administration said in its most recent outlook.

EIA, which provides data and analysis for the US Department of Energy, said in another report industrial consumers bought 11.4 percent less power in January 2009 compared with the same time last year. (Reuters)

James Lovelock attacks climate change minister's 'preaching' on wind power - Gaia theorist says Ed Miliband's moral stance on wind turbine opposition is erosion of freedom and close to fascism

The scientist and veteran environmental campaigner James Lovelock has launched a blistering riposte to the UK climate change minister's suggestion that opposing wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt.

In a piece entitled fascism in the wind, Lovelock described Ed Miliband's pronouncement as "hectoring" and an attempt to use "the social rejection of political correctness" to remove democratic rights from those who oppose wind turbines. (The Guardian)

Ministerial hectoring on green energy is fascism in the wind - A campaign is being fought that uses social rejection to make us accept industrial-scale wind energy stations across the UK

In Prague Castle at a Forum 2000 conference hosted by President Vaclav Havel, I heard the distinguished novelist and freedom fighter Wole Soyinka say with great passion that political correctness is evil. He argued that while brute force is one way to take away our democratic rights, they can be lost as easily by the social rejection of political correctness.

It seems we are now subject to a campaign that uses social rejection as a force to make us accept industrial-scale wind energy stations across the UK; to call them windfarms is disingenuous. (James Lovelock, The Guardian)

Cost Works Against Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources in Time of Recession - WASHINGTON — Windmills and solar panel arrays have become symbols of America’s growing interest in alternative energy. Yet as Congress begins debating new rules to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and promote electricity produced from renewable sources, an underlying question is how much more Americans will be willing to pay to harness the wind and the sun.

Curbing carbon dioxide emissions — a central part of tackling climate change — will almost certainly raise electricity prices, experts say. And increasing the nation’s reliance on renewable energy will in itself raise costs.

Fifteen months into a recession, that prospect does not sit well in some quarters. (New York Times)

Desert damage: the dark side of solar power? - Thousands of acres of solar panels could spring up across California's Mojave Desert like a crop of crystal mushrooms -- a new kind of gold rush meant to bring powerful environmental benefits.

Cutting such a wide swath, however, might also disrupt desert ecosystems and the fragile plants that thrive there.

It's a concern expressed by some policymakers and scientists, including Darren Sandquist, a Cal State Fullerton biologist with a perspective all his own. (Orange County Register)

The Cellulosic Ethanol Mirage: Verenium and Aventine Are Circling the Drain - For years, ethanol boosters have promised Americans that “cellulosic” ethanol lurks just ahead, right past the nearest service station. Once it becomes viable, this magic elixir -- made from grass, wood chips, sawdust, or some other plant material -- will deliver us from the evil clutches of foreign oil and make the U.S. “energy independent” while enriching farmers and strengthening small towns across the country.

Consider this claim: “From our cellulose waste products on the farm such as straw, corn-stalks, corn cobs and all similar sorts of material we throw away, we can get, by present known methods, enough alcohol to run our automotive equipment in the United States.”

That sounds like something you’ve heard recently, right? Well, fasten your seatbelt because that claim was made way back in 1921. That’s when American inventor Thomas Midgley proclaimed the wonders of cellulosic ethanol to the Society of Automotive Engineers in Indianapolis. And while Midgley was excited about the prospect of cellulosic ethanol, he admitted that there was a significant hurdle to his concept: producing the fuel would cost about $2 per gallon. That’s about $20 per gallon in current money.

Alas, what’s old is new again. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

More Reindeer Games - Nearly 3,000 news stories this past week jumped on the bandwagon to report that a new study had found that red meat may be deadly. This is another flagrant illustration that we’d all be a lot healthier if we just stopped reading medical news stories. Not one health journalist reported the study accurately, truthfully or responsibly. As a result, countless people have been needlessly frightened about their food and health and are being led to make health decisions or support policies that have no grounds in sound science.

This was not a clinical study at all. Not a single person was ever examined. It turned out to be another computer data dredge of those AARP member mail-in questionnaires from 14 years ago. It was unable to find a single tenable correlation between meat consumption and premature death — in fact, it not only failed to find an association between meat and higher incidences of cancer or premature deaths, but if you want to split hairs, it found the opposite of many of the claims in the news this week.

Before revealing what didn't make the news, let’s take a quick look at how they did it. (Junkfood Science)

The silence of evidence - The reality of nationalized electronic medical records is recognized among most medical professionals, who know that the claims of saving money and lives are not supported by the preponderance of credible evidence and that improving health care isn’t about having everyone’s medical records in a federal database for governmental oversight. But the general public has largely been kept in the dark about the controversies surrounding electronic medical records. One reason for this disconnect and why the full story isn't reaching consumers was explained in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. (Junkfood Science)

Brought to you by Google - Remember Google Health? That story and the follow-up ones gave us cause to pause before downloading our private medical records for safekeeping with Google. This month, the industry giant made the news for failing to protect the privacy and security of user data stored on Google Docs, and for its latest move to collect, track and store users’ online behaviors. But how many Americans have heard that the government has recently tasked Google to track most government data, as well as the online political-related activities of citizens to profile them? (Junkfood Science)

FDA Should Not Exert Jurisdiction over Electronic Cigarettes; Instead, FTC Should Ensure that Advertising Claims are Supported - I reported last week that Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has announced that he wants the FDA to immediately take electronic cigarettes -- which deliver essentially pure nicotine (with no tar or other tobacco constituents) -- off the market. I argued that although there are potentially serious health effects of nicotine, especially with regards to heart disease, there are no other toxic chemicals and no carcinogens, so there is no risk of cancer or chronic obstructive lung disease. Thus, the introduction of electronic cigarettes into the U.S. market is a potentially life-saving intervention. There is initial evidence that many smokers have found the e-cigarette to be an effective method for smoking cessation. Moreover, it makes sense that smokers would find it more attractive to use an e-cigarette than a nicotine patch. It is quite plausible that many smokers would find the e-cigarette to be an alternative to smoking and it may actually be more successful in keeping them off cigarettes. If true, this would save countless lives, because many smokers would be greatly reducing their health risks by switching to a much safer alternative type of cigarette. (Michael Siegel, Tobacco Analysis)

Tired of the treadmill? Get out and play instead - NEW YORK - Tired of the same old exercise routine? Get out and play instead, suggests a fitness expert who spoke at the American College of Sports Medicine's (ACSM) Annual Health and Fitness Summit in Atlanta.

Play is "the perfect anecdote for when your exercise routine starts to feel like more of a chore than an activity of enjoyment," health scientist from Bethesda, Maryland, and ACSM faculty member Dr. Carol E. Torgan noted in a statement from the meeting. It's good for the body, mind and soul.

"Think about activities you loved to do as a child and incorporate those into your routine (and) include your family," Torgan added in comments to Reuters Health. (Reuters Health)

Study finds fatter women over 40 look younger - THINK all that sweating at the gym is making you look younger? Think again.

A new study has found that people aged over 40 look younger when their faces are fatter.

The study, published on the Plastic and reconstructive surgery website compared 186 pairs of identical twins and found that dropping one dress size could age a woman by an average of four years. (NEWS.com.au)

Bailout Boundary Dispute - WASHINGTON -- It is high time Americans heard an argument that might turn a vague national uneasiness into a vivid awareness of something going very wrong. The argument is that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) is unconstitutional.

By enacting it, Congress did not in any meaningful sense make a law. Rather, it made executive branch officials into legislators. Congress said to the executive branch, in effect: "Here is $700 billion. You say you will use some of it to buy up banks' 'troubled assets.' But if you prefer to do anything else with the money -- even, say, subsidize automobile companies -- well, whatever."

FreedomWorks, a Washington-based libertarian advocacy organization, argues that EESA violates "the nondelegation doctrine." Although the text does not spell it out, the Constitution's logic and structure -- particularly the separation of powers -- imply limits on the size and kind of discretion that Congress may confer on the executive branch. (George Will, Townhall)

Obama takes step over the line that separates government from private industry - His automaker bailout plan wades into 'industrial policy,' in which government officials, not business executives or the free market, decide what products a firm makes and how it charts its future.

Reporting from Washington -- President Obama's plan to save failing U.S. automakers -- and make them the instruments for creating a cleaner, greener transportation system -- marked a major step across the line that traditionally separates government from private industry.

His announcement Monday of a new position on bailing out Detroit went beyond a desire to be sure tax dollars were not wasted in bailing out struggling companies. It put the Obama administration squarely in the position of adopting a so-called industrial policy, in which government officials, not business executives or the free market, decided what kinds of products a company would make and how it would chart its future. (Peter Wallsten and Jim Tankersley, Los Angeles Times)

Terence Corcoran: Obama takes over General Motors - Obama’s commitments imply extensive government control

Of all the economic teams beavering away in Washington, any ranking of the least likely to produce credible results would have put the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry high on the list. Headed by a former journalist turned investment whiz, the task force also includes a union industrial strategist, three climate change experts, a smattering of economists and a former legislative assistant to Hillary Clinton. None knew anything about the auto industry before their appointments on Feb. 20, suggesting the task force was destined to become a central planning nightmare, ground down by its own ignorance and the bureaucratic futility of it all.

That might still prove to be true, but for now the task force’s first report stands as a seemingly sound analysis of General Motors and Chrysler’s restructuring plans. The overall prognosis, five months after the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress began dickering with auto industry bailout scenarios: bankruptcy, or something close to it.

According to the task force, GM’s survival plan is not viable, the Chevy Volt electric car is too expensive and won’t sell, and Chrysler “at a minimum will require extinguishing the vast majority of Chrysler’s outstanding secured debt and all of its unsecured debt and equity, other than trade creditors providing normal trade terms.” The only hope for Chrysler is a Fiat takeover, the task force said. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Meet The New Boss - The U.S. government dictating a major corporation's merger partner and who its CEO should be was unimaginable a year ago. Has industry sold America's free-market soul for bailout money?

A president of the United States orders the chief executive officer of General Motors to resign. The same president is further ordering Chrysler to merge with Fiat, the Italian firm specializing in flimsy cardboard boxes on wheels.

This new reality should send a chill down the spines of all Americans. The federal government has begun to run U.S. companies. (IBD)

Lawrence Solomon — Green economics: It just doesn’t add up - A Spanish study found that every green job kills 2.2 jobs elsewhere

Green jobs will grow the unemployment rolls, concludes a study at Juan Carlos University in Madrid. Every green job created ploughs under 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy, and that doesn’t account for the indirect job losses to come of the higher energy prices that accompany green energy technologies: Companies can be counted on to flee this green, or should we say gangrene, economy.

The author of the study, economist Gabriel Calzada, has rich data to mine: Spain has few equals in trying to coerce renewable technologies into the energy marketplace. To bring these immature technologies to market, for example, Spanish regulators lavish Spanish renewable energy producers with payments that can be 11 times greater than those who produce conventional power. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

Comment from The Chilling Effect:

Obama may find Europe reticent on some US goals - WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's first European trip could dampen his hopes that a new diplomatic style will convert once-reluctant allies into cooperative global partners.

From taking in Guantanamo Bay prisoners to sending more troops into Afghanistan's most difficult regions and spending their way out of economic crisis, European nations remain reticent about some of the toughest U.S. priorities.

Obama jets across the Atlantic on Tuesday on an eight-day, five-country trip that will be dizzying even by the usual peripatetic standards of presidential foreign travel. (Associated Press)

Enough, population doom merchants - As the world’s leaders put the finishing touches to their proposals for restoring growth to the global economy ahead of this week’s London meeting of the G20, there is one official body that wishes them only failure in their endeavours. The UK’s Sustainable Development Commission publishes a report tomorrow – Prosperity without Growth? — arguing that “the pursuit of growth has had disastrous environmental consequences. In the last quarter of a century, while the global economy has doubled, the increase in resource consumption has degraded an estimated 60% of the world’s ecosystems and led to the threat of catastrophic climate change”.

In that familiar melange of hyperbole, manufactured statistics and prognostications of the end of the world as we know it, we might spy the handiwork of Sir Jonathon Porritt, Bt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission. I suspect, however, that Porritt would have preferred something even more radical. The report appears not to mention at all what he considers the chief cause of “excessive economic growth” – humanity’s perverse desire to propagate. (Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times)

Oh... Australia Wants Forest CO2 Trade In Copenhagen Pact - NEW YORK - Australia has submitted a proposal to UN climate negotiators that outlines a scheme to use carbon credits to protect rain forests, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said on Friday.

The submission will be circulated to negotiators meeting next week in Bonn, Germany, to discuss a new UN climate treaty that world leaders hope to agree to in Copenhagen in December 2009.

"We think a post-2012 agreement will need to include forests in some way," Wong told Reuters in an interview in New York after addressing UN diplomats at the International Peace Institute, a think tank devoted to peace and security.

"Currently too many developing nations have an economic imperative to cut down forests. What we need to put in place is a mechanism that means instead of an economic imperative to cut down forests, we have an economic imperative to protect them." (Reuters)

Forests Could Undermine Carbon Market - Greenpeace - BONN - Carbon market prices could tumble by 75 percent if credits for safeguarding forests are added to markets for industrial emissions, environmental group Greenpeace said on Monday.

A report issued on the sidelines of UN talks in Bonn working on a climate treaty said that a flood of forest carbon credits could also slow the fight against global warming and divert billions of dollars from investments in clean technology.

"Cheap forest credits sound attractive but a closer examination shows they are a dangerous option," Roman Czebiniak, Greenpeace International political adviser on forests, said of estimates by Kea 3 economic modelling group in New Zealand. (Reuters)

Obama Signs Landmark US Conservation Bill - WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama signed sweeping land and water conservation rules into law on Monday, setting aside millions of acres as protected areas and delighting environmentalists.

The measure, a package of more than 160 bills, would designate about 2 million acres (809,400 hectares) -- parks, rivers, streams, desert, forest and trails -- in nine states as new wilderness and render them off limits to oil and gas drilling and other development.

The House of Representatives approved the measure on a vote of 285-140 a week after it cleared the Senate, capping years of wrangling and procedural roadblocks.

Opponents, most of them Republicans, complained the legislation would deny access for oil and gas drilling and said House Democrats refused to consider changes. (Reuters)

Loggers Try to Adapt to Greener Economy - LOWELL, Ore. — Booming timber towns with three-shift lumber mills are a distant memory in the densely forested Northwest. Now, with the housing market and the economy in crisis, some rural areas have never been more raw. Mills keep closing. People keep leaving. Unemployment in some counties is near 20 percent.

Yet in parts of the region, the decline is being met by an unlikely optimism. Some people who have long fought to clear-cut the region’s verdant slopes are trying to reposition themselves for a more environmentally friendly economy, motivated by changing political interests, the federal stimulus package and sheer desperation.

Some mills that once sought the oldest, tallest evergreens are now producing alternative energy from wood byproducts like bark or brush. Unemployed loggers are looking for work thinning federal forests, a task for which the stimulus package devotes $500 million; the goal is to make forests more resistant to wildfires and disease. Some local officials are betting there is revenue in a forest resource that few appreciated before: the ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that can contribute to global warming.

Pragmatism drives the shifting thinking, but a critical question remains: can people really make a long-term living off the forest without cutting it down? (New York Times)

Scientist tips more meat eating during climate change - A CSIRO scientist predicts we could be eating more red meat from our pastoral regions as climate change becomes more apparent.

Dr Mark Stafford Smith says the nations driest areas are already drought resilient and will cope better with the wetter-wets and drier-dries.

He says it could even lead to an increase in pastoralism.

"It's my judgement that over the next couple of decades we will see increasing pressure on the rangelands around the world, in fact to produce meat again," he says.

"One of the big challenges will be, can we do that in a really good and sustainable way? I think here in Australia we have got the potential to lead in that sort of approach with these sort of ideas such as precision pastoralism that people have been talking about." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

March 30, 2009

Dearth Hour update: The question has been raised about how many people might have been injured in falls (or any other means) in the dark as they tried to comply with the absurd calls for an hour of primitive conditions for the sake of anti-technological mythology.

How about fires from candles used instead of safe electric lighting?

Let us know about any such anecdotes over on the forum, preferably in replies to Environmentalists hail Earth Hour as a big success -- it's a self-register arrangement so just register, sign in and post away, if you haven't already done so.

Thanks -- :end update.

And there's a problem with this why? State board's global warming standards irk environmentalists - Textbook requirements question whether it exists but also push students to explore its implications.

The State Board of Education on Friday adopted standards on the teaching of global warming that appear to both question its existence and prod students to explore its implications.

Standards are used to guide textbook makers and teachers.

Language that instructed students to "analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming," which had been offered as an amendment and was adopted unanimously in an initial vote Thursday, led to outrage among environmental groups.

"In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science," said Ramon Alvarez, a senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund.

The chairman of the state board, Don McLeroy, called the standards "perfectly good."

"Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey," McLeroy said.

But the state board approved standards that engage some of the underlying causes and effects of global warming, including one that calls on students to "analyze the empirical relationship between the emissions of carbon dioxide, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and the average global temperature trends over the past 150 years" and another to "describe the effect of pollution on global warming, glacial and ice cap melting, greenhouse effect, ozone layer, and aquatic viability."

The current standards, which were adopted about a decade ago, barely touch on climate change.

"Asking students to independently discover the relationship between ice melting and global warming is important," said James Canup, executive director of the Texas League of Conservation Voters. "But the main message coming out of there is that Texas is setting a bad standard by putting question marks next to global warming in the textbooks." (American-Statesman)

Sheesh! Gore Visits ETSU to State Case for Action on Climate - JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Copernicus. Galileo. Al Gore?

The former vice president might never make a revolutionary discovery, but he will likely go down in history for his relentless emphasis on what already is known.

“I think he’s managed to move mountains,” said Natalie Honeycutt, a 50-year-old Elizabethton resident and one of 4,000 people at East Tennessee State University on Thursday to hear Gore speak. “Others that have tried to do what he’s doing – to raise awareness about the affects of climate change and get things moving to change it – most others, for the most part, have failed.”

Gore, 60, perhaps the most recognizable environmental activist on the globe, visited the university and delivered a passionate plea to halt man-made global warming in his lecture “Health Threats and the Climate Crisis.” (Bristol Herald Courier)

Copenhagen: Environmental Munich - Czech President Vaclav Klaus once called global warming a new religion, a Trojan horse for imposing a global tyranny worse than communism. Details about the Copenhagen Conference prove how right he was.

The first of three marathon negotiating sessions designed to hammer out the details of the Copenhagen Accord on climate change to be signed in December began on Sunday, March 29, in Bonn, Germany. From what we know, it will be a surrender to tyranny as significant as another negotiated 71 years ago.

A 16-page informational note obtained by Fox News outlines the goals and agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a body paving the way to Copenhagen with good intentions. Behind this alphabet soup is a list of ideas and talking points for what the U.N. calls an "ambitious and effective international response to climate change."

We're not sure how effective it will be, but it's certainly ambitious as it seeks to reorder the world economy in a de facto repeal of the Industrial Revolution. Under the supervision of the U.N., free trade would die, industries that survived could be relocated across borders, and we would have mandatory carbon offsets and cap-and-trade imposed on a global scale. (IBD)

The Greatest Scam in History - Are you one of the victims of the "greatest scam in history"? I'm not referring to the scam conducted by Bernie Mad[e]off. I'm referring to what veteran meteorologist John Coleman calls the "greatest scam in history".

The victims of Mad[e]off's scam are typical of scam victims. They allowed their greed to override their common sense. They failed to consider the advice of the police that if some opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Victims of the global warming scam have done nothing to make themselves victims, particularly those who are unemployed through no actions they have taken.

Those who could have been employed constructing clean coal powered electric plants are unemployed because the perpetrators of the global warming scam have stopped construction of those plants. The need to supply equipment for such plants and goods and services to construction workers would have created more jobs.

According to the perpetrators of the global warming scam, there is supposed to be a total consensus that what they call "global warming" is a major threat to earth's future. Coleman is one of many meteorlogists who disagree with some or all of their claims. S. Fred Singer is another who questions such claims. The two of them together have over 100 years of experience studying weather. Coleman founded the Weather Channel. Singer was the first head of the National Weather Satellite Service. (ReasonMcLucus)

Yes, and no. Hasn't quite understood the significance of Wood's greenhouse demonstration but not the worst miscomprehension around by far.

Cool to the warming idea - For some people the global warming debate has gone as cold as these late March days; there isn’t one anymore. But for two scientists scheduled to speak in Racine next week, it might as well be the heat of August.

Willie Soon, a physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and David Legates, an associate professor of climatology at the University of Delaware, don’t buy into the prevailing hypothesis that all the carbon dioxide we’re adding to the atmosphere will in just a few decades warm the earth and cause drastic changes in the weather. (David Steinkraus, Journal Times)

Obama calls major economies climate change meeting - U.S. President Barack Obama is launching a "Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate" to help facilitate a U.N. agreement on global warming, the White House said on Saturday.

Leaders from 16 major economies have been invited to a preparatory session on April 27 and 28 in Washington to "help generate the political leadership necessary" to achieve an international pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions later this year, it said in a statement.

It said the meeting would spur dialogue among developed and developing countries about the issue, "and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions."

The major economies include: Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States. (Reuters)

Climate Talks Look to U.S. Role - When the Obama administration makes its debut in the international climate-change debate at talks next week, expectations will be high: Europe hopes the U.S. can help end a standoff between rich and poor countries over how to share the burden of cutting carbon emissions.

"The arrival of the new U.S. administration will have a huge and positive effect on the negotiations," said Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, which is overseeing the talks. "This will be the first opportunity for the Obama administration to state what it expects and wants."

The summit in Bonn from March 29 to April 8, is one of several meetings this year aimed at drafting a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. That treaty committed 183 signatories to collectively reduce their emissions 5% from 1990 levels by 2012.

The aim is to agree on a new global treaty that would include the world's biggest emitters -- the U.S. and China -- by mid-December. The U.S., under the Bush administration, didn't ratify the Kyoto treaty, and China and other developing countries such as India and Brazil aren't obligated under the treaty to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases, which are believed to contribute to climate change.

The thorniest issue in the talks is deciding how much aid rich countries will give poorer countries to help them limit emissions and cope with the effects of rising temperatures. Another challenge will be agreeing on how deeply and quickly rich countries will cut emissions. (Wall Street Journal)

¡Empleos Verdes Matar Empleos! - This is going to cause some discomfort among the Enron-successors of the world.

I've gotten my hands on the study. Here are some highlights (largely in my words):

Based upon the Spanish experience that President Oprompter expressly cited as a model, if he succeeded in his (oddly floating) promise to further intervene in the economy to create 3 million (or is it 5 million?) "green jobs," the U.S. should expect to directly kill by the same programs at least 6.6 million (or as many as 11 million) jobs elsewhere in the economy.

That is because green jobs schemes in Spain killed 2.2 jobs per job created, or about 9 existing jobs — I'll call them "real" jobs — lost for every 4 that are created. The latter, the study shows, then become wards of the state, dependent on the continuation of the mandates and subsidies, subject to the ritual boom and bust of artificially concocted jobs (read: ethanol).

This does not include jobs lost due to redirection of resources, but are only the jobs directly killed by the scheme.

The study calculates that since 2000, Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind-industry job.

Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.39 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.32 by wind energy, 5.84 by mini-hydro.

What's Spanish for "food taster" and "car-starter"? (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

<chuckle> Blame Bush still rules! Don't hold the US to climate standards it cannot achieve - By trying to impose unrealistic obligations on the US, Europe risks undermining international progress on global warming

Europe is inadvertently undermining President Obama on global warming, with potentially damaging consequences for climate co-operation and transatlantic relations.

Consider these troubling developments. First, many European policymakers have unrealistic expectations about how quickly Obama can reduce US emissions. Europe expects all developed countries to cut their emissions to 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. This may be reasonable for Europe, which expects to be 8% below 1990 levels by 2012, but it's unfeasible for the United States, whose emissions are 17% above 1990 levels today.

It is unfortunate that the United States is getting started late, but it is wrong to hold Obama accountable for the sins of George W Bush. Obama has already done more to address climate change than his predecessors. He has called on Congress to adopt strict emission controls, allowed California to move ahead more quickly, secured the single largest increase in US funding for low-carbon technologies, and staked the credibility of his first budget on revenue from climate levies. (Nigel Purvis, The Guardian)

Cap and Trade: A Huge, Regressive Tax - Those unfamiliar with the term "cap and trade" and the tremendous economic burden this program would place on society if implemented may first want to consider a couple definitions. (Warren Mass, New American)

Fighting words on carbon from our friends to the south - How Obama's cap-and-trade scheme could create a trade war between Canada and the U.S.

Can Barack Obama save the planet and his country's beleaguered economy at the same time? That's the hope of those in his administration supporting carbon trading, the mechanism designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming up the Earth's atmosphere.

For Canada, though, the more pertinent question is whether we might be carbon roadkill in that complex financial and environmental instrument designed to try to stop global warming. There is, in fact, the very real possibility that we might find ourselves in a carbon trade war with our biggest trading partner. (Miro Cernetig, Vancouver Sun)

Policymakers’ letter asks tough questions re carbon tariffs - Yesterday Ranking Members of both two House committees and two subcommittees wrote to the new U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and asked him to clarify the Administration’s position on the issue of carbon tariffs. The letter was sparked by recent remarks of Energy Secretary Steven Chu that the U.S. was considering levying tariffs against countries that haven’t taken steps to reduce carbon emissions. (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

Dead wrong, again: It should be the environment and the economy, stupid - In the last part of our series on fixing the financial crisis, we look at how green policy can save the planet as well as economies

Hopes that Gordon Brown and other world leaders would solve the financial crisis and global warming through a series of "green New Deals" are fading faster than solar power on a rainy day.

The vast bulk of new public spending announced in global economic stimuli seems largely "business as usual", with major cash injections being directed towards banks and car companies rather than renewable energy firms.

Some countries - notably the US and China - have been more adventurous, while wind energy and other sustainable technologies certainly stand to gain from wider ministerial efforts to unlock financial lending. But the air in recent weeks has been thick with the sound of "green" schemes dropping off the corporate agenda at top firms, such as Shell, rather than the gentle hum of increased activity. (Terry Macalister, The Guardian)

Bottom line is that even the most trivial distraction from the economy is bad for the environment (in fact it is probably most accurate to state that only a booming economy is good for the environment, making so-called 'environmentalism' very bad for its stated purpose).

Joe Romm: the entirely dispensable censor - Follow the bolded words below to see what passes for intelligent discourse on Climate Progress, Joe Romm’s allegedly “indispensable blog” (as Tom Friedman inexplicably put it several weeks back): (Tom Yulsman, Center for Environmental Journalism)

St. Andrews University: Global Warming Loses in Formal Debate - AGW supporters could not argue facts, had to insult instead — as usual

I write to report on a debate that defeated the motion “This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis” during a meeting of the St Andrews University Debating Society [in Scotland]. It is difficult to arrange a debate of anthropogenic (that is, man-made) global warming (AGW) because few proponents of AGW are willing to face such debate. They know from past experience that they always lose such debates because there is no evidence that AGW exists and much evidence that it does not.

However, on Wednesday 4 March 2009, the St Andrews University Debating Society held their debate of the motion, “This House Believes Global Warming is a Global Crisis” in the Old Parliament Building, St Andrews. The debate was organized and presided over with exemplary efficiency and professionalism by the Speaker of the Society, Ms Jessica Siegel. It was conducted with all the pomp and ceremony that could be expected of an ancient society of so ancient and prestigious a university.

And the debate was lively, informative and entertaining. It got emotional at times. Some of the contributions from the floor were of exceptionally high quality. But, it was somewhat spoiled by the weakness of the proponents of the motion. (I have good reason to suspect this weakness is because stronger speakers could not be obtained to propose the motion. If so, then it is yet another example of leading proponents of AGW fearing to face their critics in open debate). (Richard Courtney)

An Example Of The Misuse Of The Publication Process “Model Ensemble Estimates of Climate Change Impacts on UK Seasonal Precipitation Extremes” by Fowler and Ekström 2009 - There is a new paper that illustrates (as just one example) the recent approach of publishing papers in the peer reviewed literature in which the results cannot be verified. This is not science, but is presented to policymakers as if it is. The paper is H. J. Fowler, M. Ekström (2009). Multi-model ensemble estimates of climate change impacts on UK seasonal precipitation extremes. International Journal of Climatology DOI: 10.1002/joc.1827 (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Rise of sea levels is 'the greatest lie ever told' - The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story, writes Christopher Booker.

If one thing more than any other is used to justify proposals that the world must spend tens of trillions of dollars on combating global warming, it is the belief that we face a disastrous rise in sea levels. The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps will melt, we are told, warming oceans will expand, and the result will be catastrophe.

Although the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) only predicts a sea level rise of 59cm (17 inches) by 2100, Al Gore in his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth went much further, talking of 20 feet, and showing computer graphics of cities such as Shanghai and San Francisco half under water. We all know the graphic showing central London in similar plight. As for tiny island nations such as the Maldives and Tuvalu, as Prince Charles likes to tell us and the Archbishop of Canterbury was again parroting last week, they are due to vanish.

But if there is one scientist who knows more about sea levels than anyone else in the world it is the Swedish geologist and physicist Nils-Axel Mörner, formerly chairman of the INQUA International Commission on Sea Level Change. And the uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner, who for 35 years has been using every known scientific method to study sea levels all over the globe, is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story.

Despite fluctuations down as well as up, "the sea is not rising," he says. "It hasn't risen in 50 years." If there is any rise this century it will "not be more than 10cm (four inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10cm". And quite apart from examining the hard evidence, he says, the elementary laws of physics (latent heat needed to melt ice) tell us that the apocalypse conjured up by Al Gore and Co could not possibly come about. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Eye-roller: A green future where you can borrow cars and drink rainwater - A low-carbon economy will be the culmination of thousands of decisions by governments, businesses and individuals about how we choose to balance environment and economy. There isn't one correct future but many, with each detail in each country dependent on the will of its people.

One thing is certain, though. Anyone concerned about having to give up their modern lifestyle for an austere existence can rest easy. The big differences between now and the low-carbon future will not be the way the world looks or what we will be able to do in it, but how it is arranged. (Alok Jha, The Guardian)

Economists and Climate Science: A Critique by David Henderson - David Henderson’s paper entitled ‘Economists and Climate Science: A Critique’ is due to appear in the coming issue (Volume 10 Number 1) of World Economics.

This article presents a critique of the characteristic treatment by economists of issues relating to climate science, which appears as uncritical and over-presumptive. I draw on a range of illustrative cases, with the main focus on six recent and important contributions. I argue that the authors and sources concerned, along with other economists, have (1) accepted too readily the idea that received opinion on global warming is firmly grounded on scientific findings which can no longer be seriously questioned, (2) placed unwarranted trust in the official advisory process that governments have created and rely on in this area, and (3) disregarded evidence which puts that process in question. Hence there is a missing dimension in their treatment of policy aspects: they have not caught on to the need to strengthen the basis of policy, by making the advisory process more objective and professionally watertight.

The paper concludes:

Among economists today, both within and outside official circles, it is widely believed, or just presumed, first, that prevailing scientific opinion as to the reality and threat of AGW can no longer be seriously questioned, and second, that the established official advisory process from which that opinion chiefly emerges is objective and authoritative. This is not the right point of departure. In the handling of climate change issues generally, by economists among many others, an alternative framework is needed – less presumptive, more inclusive, more professionally watertight, and more attuned to the huge uncertainties that remain. A leading task of policy, currently unrecognised as such by many economists, should be to establish such a framework and procedures that give effect to it. Until the case for precautionary action on these lines is more widely recognised within the profession, the contribution of economists to the climate change debate will fall well short of what it could be.

David Henderson was formerly Head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the OECD, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Westminster Business School, London. (Climate Research News)

Some early contact with bias and mythology in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology BoM near two decades ago - I first got to know the BoM in 1991 when GW was in its infancy and was surprised at the extent to which PC myths coloured peoples thinking.

I noted very early on that many long term small town sites were as warm in the 1880’s as they were in the 1980’s and when I asked about this - BoM sages wisely told me, “Ah yes, that is due to the introduction of the Stevenson screen thermometer enclosure into Australia in 1907 when the BoM was formed.” It was explained that older more primitive exposures could cause the higher readings. Nobody espoused an alternative view, it was group-think.

Ferreting in their very good library I came across proceedings from a number of Intercolonial Conferences from the 19C which referred to the Stevenson screen. I wrote up a draft paper trying to put the references into perspective and circulated it around including the BoM. A response came back from the BoM pointing out the multiple errors of my ways and I gave up any idea of publishing a paper. The story continues a few years later and I explain how I came to publish my paper as a Comment in The International Journal of Climatology in 1995, the 4 pages are scanned. (Warwick Hughes)

An inconvenient economic truth - Observations on carbon trading

Britain’s faith in carbon trading as a way of reducing greenhouse gases could be dangerously misplaced, according to an independent academic working with the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Dr Chris Hope of the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School has been commissioned by the government to calculate how much environmental polluters would have to be charged for emitting CO2 to make it worthwhile for them to cut back. However, his research, due to be delivered to the government later this year, has led him to a far wider conclusion: that the current European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is deeply flawed and should be replaced – or at least augmented – with a green tax.

Under the ETS, companies or countries are given quotas for their annual carbon emissions. If they exceed the quota, they have to buy extra from others who have undershot their limit. However, if they become more efficient, and so generate less CO2 than their quota, they can sell the surplus and make a profit. This raises a vital question: how much should energy users be charged for each tonne of CO2 they emit? For the ETS to work, the price has to be set at a level that makes it worthwhile for consumers to cut their energy use.

According to Hope’s research, the minimum price needed is about £85 per tonne, rising at roughly 2 to 3 per cent a year. What’s more, this price needs to show long-term stability. After all, the whole point of putting a price on carbon emissions is to place a financial burden on heavy environmental polluters. If carbon prices fell, then that burden would shrink and there would be little incentive to improve efficiency.

So far, so simple – but Hope has reached a second, personal and, for the government, far more embarrassing conclusion. He believes a market-based trading system such as the ETS is very unlikely to generate consistent high prices, and this instability could undermine the whole point of the scheme. The heart of the issue is a problem we are all sadly familiar with: financial markets are highly variable, with prices liable to surge and collapse. Hope says that the first two phases of the ETS have illustrated the problem: the prices of CO2 emissions quotas fell so low as to be almost worthless. Prices now stand at roughly £9.50 per tonne of CO2 – less than 12 per cent of what Hope’s calculations show is needed. (Tricia Holly Davis and Jonathan Leake, New Statesman)

U.N. to Save $81,000 during Earth Hour, Sell Brooklyn Bridge - Yes. The U.N. claimed it was using $81,000 worth of electricity per hour to light its Gotham headquarters. (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)

Rising Fear of a Future Oil Shock - Sharp reductions in investments and low oil prices could curb future supplies by almost eight million barrels a day within the next five years, according to a study scheduled for release Friday, the latest warning that the world could face a new energy shock when the economy picks up.

The report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an oil consulting firm, said that the potential drop in production capacity is a “powerful and long-lasting aftershock following the oil price collapse.”

The global slowdown has forced oil companies to slash their investments, postpone or cancel expansion plans, or delay drilling in many corners of the world. While some of the biggest companies, like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, say they will keep their investments unchanged this year, many other producers are curbing investments because of the crisis.

The report says about 7.6 million barrels a day of future supplies are “at risk” of being deferred or canceled, like heavy oil or deepwater projects, and which could bring total supplies to 101.4 million barrels a day by 2014. Last year, the group projected that capacity would rise to 109 million barrels a day by then.

“Seven consecutive years of rising oil prices — unprecedented in the history of the oil industry — have come crashing down, thus burying the notion that the commodity price cycle was a historical relic,” said the report, a field-by-field study of production trends. (New York Times)

Bad News: Scientists Make Cheap Gas from Coal - This funny headline is the title of a column in the March 26 issue of Wired Science.

“Scientists have devised a new way to transform coal into gas for your car using far less energy than the current [Fisher-Tropsche] process,” Wired reports. “The advance makes scaling up the environmentally unfriendly fuel more economical than greener alternatives.”

Now, you might think that inexpensive motor fuel is a good thing, especially in these times of financial peril, fiscal chaos, and high unemployment. In addition, since America is the “Saudi Arabia of coal,” conversion of coal to motor fuel, provided it is economical and market-driven, could enhance U.S. energy security.

So why is this “bad news”? Because coal-derived fuel “could produce twice as much CO2 [carbon dioxide] as traditional petroleum fuels and at best will still emit at least as much of the greenhouse gas.” Consequently, what these scientists are proposing to do “is simply not allowable if we want to avoid the perils of unconstrained anthropogenic climate change,” declares Pushker Karecha of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Choking on Hypocritical "Green" Legislation - WASHINGTON -- President Obama's anti-oil cap-and-trade legislation that will effectively levy a carbon-emissions tax on businesses and on all Americans will likely be one of the first casualties of his liberal agenda.

But its Republican opponents won't kill it. A growing army of Democratic lawmakers, largely from the Midwest where that segment of the economy is heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants and factories, are turning against it -- perhaps enough to prevent his climate-change plan from even reaching a vote in Congress.

"It is gradually dawning on Washington that cap-and-trade legislation won't pass anytime soon -- certainly not this year, and probably not next year either," writes William Galston, former chief domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House. (Donald Lambro, Townhall)

Gov. Daniels proud that Indiana has stepped up and passed historic coal legislation - Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a Friday morning stop in Linton that he is proud that the state has stepped up and passed historic coal legislation that he says is good news for the economy in Greene, Sullivan and other southern Indiana communities.

Daniels signed a bill into law Tuesday that allows the state's finance authority to negotiate long-term contracts to buy and sell synthetic natural gas from a planned southern Indiana coal-gasification plant.

The governor said the law will save Indiana's natural gas users billions of dollars by ensuring a steady supply of synthetic natural gas free of the price fluctuations of the natural gas market.

Under the bill, the Indiana Finance Authority would act as an intermediary contracting partner between the state's gas utilities and the developer of a coal-gasification plant near the Ohio River town of Rockport in Spencer County.

The law allows the finance authority to negotiate 30-year supply contracts with the plant's developer for the gas, which the utilities would pipe to their customers. (Greene County Daily World)

Iran Shifting Role of Asia and Europe in LNG Plans - Iran has the world’s second-largest (behind Russia) natural gas reserves. And yet, when it comes to exporting that gas by turning it into LNG, the Iranians have only been able to produce press releases.

Whether that has now changed remains to be seen. Earlier this month, Iranian authorities announced that they had signed a $3.5 billion deal with a consortium of Chinese companies to build liquefaction trains for a project known as Iran LNG. The trains will have capacity of 10.5 million tons. Iran LNG is one of five different LNG projects that have been announced by the Iranians over the past few years and the country is hoping to have capacity of some 80 million tons by 2020, with most of the gas supply coming from the giant South Pars field. But the status of those projects remains unclear and it’s not yet clear if any of them will actually produce LNG on the schedules that have been announced. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

Government Should Compel Consumers to Use Alternative Energy, Congressman Says - Government policy should be crafted to raise the price of carbon-emitting energy sources so consumers are compelled to choose alternative energy, House Democratic Conference Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) told CNSNews.com on Thursday.

Larson agreed that such a policy would likely result in higher electricity prices for consumers but said this is needed to protect the environment from the possible “catastrophic results” of not implementing a pro-green energy policy.

Some Republicans who spoke with CNSNews.com at the Capitol agreed that electricity prices would go up, and they dismissed President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade plan as little more than a large tax on energy producers, the cost of which is passed onto consumers. (Josiah Ryan, CNSNews.com)

What’s behind Oz - A writer at the New York Times is finally beginning to get that those health risk assessments that ask about our lifestyle and health history are really fronts to sell drugs. One of the largest and most popular ones — that’s convinced more than 27 million consumers to fill out detailed questionnaires about their health and private lifestyle habits — is RealAge. As Stephanie Clifford writes, “while RealAge promotes better living through nonmedical solutions, the site makes its money by selling better living through drugs.” Pharmaceutical companies pay RealAge for the names of people revealing certain “health risk factors,” she found, for targeted marketing. (Junkfood Science)

Mr. Greenjeans does science - Imagine if Mr. Greenjeans* decided to write a recommendation that every adult who was over 5 feet tall needed to take one of his green pills every day to be healthy. He then conducted a study in which he totaled the number of adults in the United States who was over 5 feet tall and found that his recommendation would apply to nearly all adults.

● Did Mr. Greenjeans just prove that most everyone “should” be taking his green pills?
● Did he just prove that his green pills are effective in making people healthy?
● Did he just prove that most adults are deficient in green pills?

LOL! Of course not. No one would fall for this fallacy of logic, right? Mr. Greenjeans didn’t do any science, nor a lick of research to test his green pills. Yet, incredibly, this is exactly what every mainstream publication today is reporting. (Junkfood Science)

Aha! Hormone-mimics in plastic water bottles -- just the tip of the iceberg? - In an analysis of commercially available mineral waters, the researchers found evidence of estrogenic compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging into the water. What's more, these chemicals are potent in vivo and result in an increased development of embryos in the New Zealand mud snail. These findings, which show for the first time that substances leaching out of plastic food packaging materials act as functional estrogens, are published in Springer's journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

So, if you are a New Zealand mud snail and you want bigger embryos, you should live in a plastic water bottle! Aside from that... nothing, actually.

People want products that work? Go figure... Spokane residents smuggle suds over green brands - SPOKANE, Wash. – The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don't work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe's left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.

As a result, there has been a quiet rush of Spokane-area shoppers heading east on Interstate 90 into Idaho in search of old-school suds. (Associated Press)

U.S. Expected to Give More Money to Automakers - DETROIT — The Obama administration will probably extend more short-term aid to General Motors and Chrysler on Monday, but will impose a strict deadline for bondholders and union workers to make concessions that would help the ailing automakers become viable businesses and avert bankruptcy.

President Obama’s auto task force is expected to say that despite its recommendation of more federal assistance for G.M. and Chrysler, bankruptcy could still be a possibility for either company, according to people close to the discussions.

The task force was in its final stages Friday of determining how to keep the two Detroit companies afloat. Meanwhile, the automakers were negotiating retiree health care costs with the United Automobile Workers union, and their debt burden with bondholders and lenders. (New York Times)

Why not let them go broke? is the topic over at the JunkScience.com Forum. Got an opinion? Share it with others. If you haven't already done so just register a user identity online and you are good to go.

Detroit Faces Its Critics With Anger and Tears - DETROIT — Just across the city line, AJ’s Music Cafe is hosting a 10-day marathon of live music called the Assembly Line Concert, meant to both help auto workers and set a world record for an uninterrupted performance.

Among the dozens of bands performing this week under banners for the United Automobile Workers union is the unfortunately named “National Ghost.”

It is a label that Detroit and its auto industry are trying to fend off as they rally support for a lifeline from the Obama administration, which appears to be willing to provide more short-term help to General Motors and Chrysler, but is still not ruling out the possibility of letting the companies go bankrupt. (New York Times)

Obama Soaks the Rich: Churches, Day Care, Homeless Shelters, Soup Kitchens - President Obama's glib assertion that his reduction in tax deductions will not reduce donations is absurd. His pathetic defense at his press conference -- that he would still give a $100 dollar check even if he got $11 less of tax deduction from it was both disingenuous and beside the point.

And his comment that his reduced deduction would only affect 1 percent or 2 percent of the nation misses the point that it is these folks who are doing almost half of the donating.

In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, 4 million taxpayers had adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more. They comprised 3 percent of the tax returns, made 31 percent of the income, but donated 44 percent of all charitable contributions. Together, they provided charity with $81 billion in that year. (Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, Townhall)

The American Counter-Revolution - The question posed by social scientist Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute's annual dinner this month could hardly have been simpler: Do Americans want the United States to be like Europe?

He asked as someone who likes and admirers Europe and Europeans. He asked also because it is becoming increasingly apparent that re-structuring the U.S. along the lines of the European social democratic model is the change many in the new administration -- perhaps including President Obama himself -- believe in. Such a re-direction surely deserves consideration.

Murray is convinced that Europeanizing America is a bad idea, and not only because the European model creates chronically "sclerotic economies." More significant, he says, is the fact that embracing the European model means discarding the Founders' revolutionary re-invention of government, and of the relationship between the state and the citizen. Murray argues this would inevitably "enfeeble" the habits and institutions that have been singularly responsible for making America "robust and vital" -- an "exceptional" nation. (Cliff May, Townhall)

Budget Smoke and Mirrors: Where's the Outrage? - There has doubtlessly been great anxiety about the economy, but I think even greater anxiety exists over what President Barack Obama is doing and planning to do to this country. We've always had economic downturns, and we've always recovered, but we've never deliberately planned to spend ourselves into bankruptcy, from which we may not be able to recover.

True, our smorgasbord of entitlements has threatened our long-term solvency for some time, and reckless politicians have been negligent in refusing to reform them and, instead, have just created more. But Obama takes profligate spending to entirely new levels while pretending to be a fiscal hawk.

With all due respect to Mr. Obama, I don't recall ever seeing another president whine so much about the mess his predecessor left him, disgracing the motto of former Democratic President Harry Truman that "the buck stops here." Though childish and unpresidential, the worst part about it is that he's using it as a bogus justification to do much worse. (David Limbaugh, Townhall)

Not Yet Ready for a Welfare State - Roadblocks. That's what Barack Obama has been encountering on the audacious path toward a European-style welfare state he has set out in his budget and other proposals.

He continues to insist that America cannot enjoy real prosperity again without higher taxes on high earners, a government health insurance program, a cap-and-trade program that amounts to a tax on energy and the effective abolition of secret ballots in unionization elections. The fact that there are large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress made it seem that the path was open. But roadblocks have started to appear. (Michael Barone, Townhall)

The Loyal Opposition - Shocking many of its listeners, the left-leaning National Public Radio recently ran a commentary pointing out that Fox News Channel, which NPR considers to be very conservative, is amassing record ratings in the wake of the Democratic takeover in Washington.

All things considered, that was not great news for some NPR folks.

The reason that FNC is doing so well while some committed-left media operations are failing is what I call the remorse factor. (Bill O'Reilly, Townhall)

The New Vigilantes and their Unaccountable Enablers - If you think there are no consequences to hysterical, anti-corporate grandstanding in Washington, pay attention to what's happening across the pond: "This is just the beginning."

So warned a public letter signed this week by a vigilante group called "Bank Bosses are Criminals." The thugs claimed responsibility for vandalizing a former financial executive's home and car in Edinburgh, Scotland. The bank official, Sir Fred Goodwin, was excoriated by U.K. politicians for refusing to give up company pension benefits dubbed "obscene," "grotesque," "unjustifiable and unacceptable." The vigilantes were stoked by a former newspaper editor, one Max Hastings, who wrote a diatribe exhorting citizens to violence:

"The time has come to address the entire robber banker culture. Investment banks have been run not for the benefit of society, customers or even shareholders, but exclusively for the advantage of the bankers themselves. … This is why we must stand outside their homes throwing rocks through the windows until they do."

This is no marginal movement. Some 3,000 protesters from around the world are expected to wreak havoc on the G20 summit next week in London. What happened at Sir Fred's house is a mere dress rehearsal. Bankers are being told to dress down to disguise themselves and avoid becoming riot targets. (Michelle Malkin, Townhall)

da Silva trying to open European purses: Green aims in the Amazon - Brazil is showing how developing countries can complement the rich in tackling climate change

No country has a larger stake in reversing the impact of global warming than Brazil. That is why it is at the forefront of efforts to come up with solutions that preserve our common future, without jeopardising the livelihood of millions of impoverished people who live off the land.

Brazil has policies aimed at conserving the Amazon forest and its priceless natural heritage. But the forest is also home to a culturally diverse population of 25 million, including some 170 indigenous peoples, along with hundreds of communities of rubber tappers, hunters and gatherers, and riverbank dwellers.

Preservationist approaches alone are ineffective in tackling deforestation, a factor causing global warming. We need to find enduring solutions. This is why we are investing in sustainable management of the forest that will provide a decent living for its inhabitants. (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, The Guardian)

He's at least partly right -- preservationist approaches discriminate against impoverished peoples and are mere tools of misanthropists, never to be contemplated under any circumstance.

Big global wheat supplies to buffer U.S. flood threat - CHICAGO - The threat of severe flooding in the upper reaches of the United States cutting spring wheat plantings by 500,000 acres will be overwhelmed by plentiful global supplies that will keep the pressure on prices.

The Red River Valley, a top spring wheat growing area stretching from western Minnesota to eastern North Dakota and north into Manitoba, Canada, is braced for flooding as the Red River rose to its highest level in 112 years.

"Wheat is a world production," said Shawn McCambridge, grain market analyst with Prudential Bache Commodities. "There are a lot of places that grow wheat. You have to have (problems in) more than one region to really affect the balance sheet. There is a good production elsewhere." (Reuters)

Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food - America, meet your farmer.

The maker of Stone-Buhr flour, a popular brand in the western United States, is encouraging its customers to reconnect with their lost agrarian past, from the comfort of their computer screens. Its Find the Farmer Web site and special labels on the packages let buyers learn about and even contact the farmers who produced the wheat that went into their bag of flour.

The underlying idea, broadly called traceability, is in fashion in many food circles these days. Makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods are also using the Internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers, mimicking the once-close ties that were broken long ago by industrialized food manufacturing.

Traceability can be good for more than just soothing the culinary consciences of foodies. Congress is also studying the possibility of some kind of traceability measure as a way to minimize the impact of food scares like the recent peanut salmonella crisis.

The theory: if food producers know they’re being watched, they’ll be more careful. The Stone-Buhr flour company, a 100-year-old brand based in San Francisco, is giving the buy-local food movement its latest upgrade. Beginning this month, customers who buy its all-purpose whole wheat flour in some Wal-Mart, Safeway and other grocery chains can go to findthefarmer.com, enter the lot code printed on the side of the bag, and visit with the company’s farmers and even ask them questions. (New York Times)

Why are these vegans sent to plague us? - QUESTION: what do you get when you cross moral snobbery with a lack of taste? Answer: a vegan.

This may be tough on a group of people who want nothing more than to live a life free of cruelty. But, while there are many things in the world that are worse than evangelical vegetarianism — pre-season football and question time spring to mind — there are few that are more joyless and depressing.

Vegans, you see, exist so that others may feel guilt about something completely normal: the desire to eat food that is tasty, nourishing and appropriate to our physical specifications. (Michael Coulter, The Age)

March 27, 2009

Consensus or Censorship? - The Environmental Protection Agency has submitted a "finding" to the White House Office of Management and Budget that will force the Obama administration to decide whether to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. If adopted, new laws and regulations will likely follow that have the potential to change our lifestyles and limit our freedoms. None of these laws and regulations will be preceded by debate, they will be imposed on us by fundamentalist politicians and scientists who have swallowed the Kool-Aid and declared global warming as fact; end of discussion.

On the Discovery Channel last week, Tom Brokaw hosted a special called "Global Warming: The New Challenge." While promoting the piece, Brokaw declared, "there is a growing consensus that global warming is real and getting worse." Actually, there is a growing body of opinion that global warming is a fraud perpetrated by liberal politicians and their scientific acolytes who want more control over our lives.

Whenever politicians declare a crisis, or an emergency, watch out. Chances are this means they want to impose something before the public discovers the truth. (Cal Thomas, Townhall)

Economy vs. Environment - The week before last, twenty-five hundred delegates, from more than seventy countries, met in Copenhagen to prepare for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will take place there in December and will produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1992 and will expire in 2012. The speakers in Copenhagen were united by a sense of urgency—and for good reason, given the poor record of most participating countries in meeting their Kyoto targets for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

So far, the most effective way for a Kyoto signatory to cut its carbon output has been to suffer a well-timed industrial implosion, as Russia did after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1991. The Kyoto benchmark year is 1990, when the smokestacks of the Soviet military-industrial complex were still blackening the skies, so when Vladimir Putin ratified the protocol, in 2004, Russia was already certain to meet its goal for 2012. The countries with the best emissions-reduction records—Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and the Czech Republic—were all parts of the Soviet empire and therefore look good for the same reason.

The United States didn’t ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but Canada did, and its experience is suggestive because its economy and per-capita oil consumption are similar to ours. Its Kyoto target is a six-per-cent reduction from 1990 levels. By 2006, however, despite the expenditure of billions of dollars on climate initiatives, its greenhouse-gas output had increased to a hundred and twenty-two per cent of the goal, and the environment minister described the Kyoto target as “impossible.”

The explanation for Canada’s difficulties isn’t complicated: the world’s principal source of man-made greenhouse gases has always been prosperity. The recession makes that relationship easy to see: shuttered factories don’t spew carbon dioxide; the unemployed drive fewer miles and turn down their furnaces, air-conditioners, and swimming-pool heaters; struggling corporations and families cut back on air travel; even affluent people buy less throwaway junk. Gasoline consumption in the United States fell almost six per cent in 2008. That was the result not of a sudden greening of the American consciousness but of the rapid rise in the price of oil during the first half of the year, followed by the full efflorescence of the current economic mess. (David Owen, New Yorker)

Rising Levels of DisgustScientific American's commenting readers are underwhelmed by President Obama's ridiculous reprisal of then-vice president Al Gore's claim — in what would become his usual practice of capitalizing on others' misfortune for his own political (and now financial) gain — that Spring floods in North Dakota are the result of global warming. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Climate change debunkers take stage in US Congress - WASHINGTON: As President Barack Obama tries to green the United States by slapping limits on carbon emissions, Congress on Wednesday was told to ignore his plan because climate change does not exist.

“The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing,” said British aristocrat Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, a leading proponent of the “climate change is myth” movement.

The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, who was an advisor to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, argued before the Energy and Environment Subcommittee that for 14 years, contrary to broadly accepted scientific beliefs, “there has been no statistically significant global warming.”

The House hearing, titled “Adaptation Policies in Climate Legislation,” discussed ways to address President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal in his 3.55-trillion-dollar budget plan, presented to Congress in February.

Obama’s proposal would limit emissions of greenhouse gases for manufacturers, and permit companies to trade the right to pollute to other firms — a similar cap-and-trade system to the European model.

The moves are now subject of intense political opposition in Congress, notably from lawmakers representing US states heavily invested in energy production through fossil fuels.

“Adaptation is at present unnecessary,” said Lord Monckton at the hearing. “Mitigation is always unnecessary.

It is also disproportionately expensive. “Green jobs are the new euphemism for mass unemployment,” he added. (The News International)

Gimme a BEE, Gimme a TEE, Gimme a YOU!  - Possibly the voices of sanity on Capitol Hill are finding their legs. If many more exchanges like this one between Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.) and CBO's David Elmendorf, from a Ways and Means Committee hearing, get out to the public history might not repeat itself.

It could be that President Oprompter won't even have to ask the House to go out on a limb so the Senate solons can saw it off (as happened with Clinton and the BTU tax), but that instead, they look to save some of the jobs that cap-and-trade would eliminate — starting with their own: (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

G20 Summit Will Test Resolve On Greener Economy - LONDON - A G20 summit next week will test leading countries' appetite to fight climate change after spending trillions bailing out banks and shoring up the global economy.

The April 2 meeting in London of leaders of major developed and emerging economies aims to battle a financial crisis.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, hosting the meeting, also wants to coordinate economic stimulus spending on a global response to climate change.

If the summit fails to widen its agenda to green spending that would be seen at best as a wasted chance, and at worst evidence of waning enthusiasm to sign this year an ambitious pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. (Reuters)

Copenhagen Crock - Mike Hulme, of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, wades through the bilge that poured forth from last week’s hysteria-fest in Copenhagen. It is impossible to fail to discern a growing fear among the global-warming industry that soon this golden goose may stop cranking out so many eggs, and the related agenda is flagging. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

At peace with global warming - I've so far only cherry-picked this long article on eminent physicist Freeman Dyson, a brilliant man who happens to be at peace with global warming.

As the article's author puts it, this is "something far more formidable than just the latest peevish right-wing climate-change denier".

Most of Dyson's views seem to have already been aired in some form by others; for instance, that more carbon dioxide will fuel more plant growth, to the benefit of plant-dependent humanity.

But these opinions carry extra potency when they come from one of the world's leading physicists (or, as his critics suggest, former leading physicists).

For me, though, the article's stand-out sentence is this:

"…Dyson has said that it all boils down to 'a deeper disagreement about values' between those who think 'nature knows best' and that 'any gross human disruption of the natural environment is evil', and 'humanists', like himself, who contend that protecting the existing biosphere is not as important as fighting more repugnant evils like war, poverty and unemployment."

On the surface, the global warming debate is about science.

What fuels the debate isn't zeal for scientific logic, though.

It's complex and intangible human things like identity, attachment to ideas, and pride. (Farm Weekly)

Fran Pavley back on greenhouse gas patrol - The author of California’s landmark law to curb greenhouse gas emissions has launched a two-year effort to expand the law’s reach into other operations, including logging, and shape the market place governing potentially billions of dollars worth of emissions credits.

As the Legislature turns its focus from the state budget to legislation, dozens of ambitious new environmental proposals are emerging. But a bill by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, could be among the biggest pieces of environmental legislation this year.


Pavley is best known as the author of AB 32, California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Pavley, who authored the bill during her time in the Assembly, is back after a two-year hiatus due to term limits. But she seems to be picking up right where she left off. (Malcolm Maclachlan, Capitol Weekly)

Farmers Face Growing Climate Change Dilemma: Scientist - SINGAPORE - Farmers of the future will have to use cattle and sheep that belch less methane, crops that emit far less planet-warming nitrous oxide and become experts in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions to the government.

Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and globally that share will rise as demand for food from growing human populations also increases, scientist Richard John Eckard of the University of Melbourne said on Thursday.

But farmers are facing a near-impossible challenge: feeding the world while trying to trim emissions and adapt to greater extremes of droughts and floods because of global warming, he said. (Reuters)

CO2 Treaty Must Not spark "Trade War": U.S. Lawmaker - NEW YORK - As the world tries to forge a new treaty to slow global warming, care must be taken not to spark trade conflicts between rich and developing countries, a key U.S. lawmaker said on Thursday.

"We clearly we do not want to trigger a trade war," Ed Markey, a Democrat who heads the House climate change committee, told reporters in a teleconference.

Already a trade spat has been brewing between interests in China and the United States, the world's two biggest emitters of heat-trapping gases that scientists warn will lead to more deadly droughts, heat waves, and floods.

Representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet in Bonn starting on Sunday for climate talks leading to a conference in Copenhagen in December at which they hope to agree a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

Rich countries have said they will lead the way in making emissions cuts. But how the burden will be divided between rich and poor is unresolved. Developing countries such as China and India have resisted committing to deep cuts, arguing rich countries caused global warming in the first place. (Reuters)

Too funny: We saved the ozone layer; now it's time to save the climate - When I was growing up in the 1980s the environmental issue of the day was the hole in the ozone layer. At first people reacted with cynicism when earnest scientists claimed the chlorofluorocarbons - CFCs - used in hairspray cans were eating away the sky and letting in too much ultraviolet radiation. The idea just seemed silly.

But the science was right, and a global deal called the Montreal Protocol saw dangerous fluorocarbons phased out remarkably quickly.

An interesting study by a NASA scientist now shows how close we came to real trouble. The world would be a very different place this century if political leaders had not listened to scientists and taken decisive action 22 years ago. (Ben Cubby, Sydney Morning Herald)

No Ben, the science was dead wrong and the idea was just plain silly -- it still is.

Galactic Cosmic Rays May Be Responsible For The Antarctic Ozone Hole - The Antarctic Ozone Hole is said to be caused only by Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). According to this new study, perhaps not. (h/t to John F. Hultquist)

Here is a new paper of interest just published in Physical Review Letters.

Correlation between Cosmic Rays and Ozone Depletion
Q.-B. Lu
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada

Abstract: This Letter reports reliable satellite data in the period of 1980–2007 covering two full 11-yr cosmic ray (CR) cycles, clearly showing the correlation between CRs and ozone depletion, especially the polar ozone loss (hole) over Antarctica. The results provide strong evidence of the physical mechanism that the CR driven electron-induced reaction of halogenated molecules plays the dominant role in causing the ozone hole. Moreover, this mechanism predicts one of the severest ozone losses in 2008–2009 and probably another large hole around 2019–2020, according to the 11-yr CR cycle. (Watts Up With That?)

A New Paper “Climate, Hydrology, Energy, Water: Recognizing Uncertainty And Seeking Sustainability” by Koutsoyiannis Et Al. 2009 - There is a new important paper that recognizes that a multi-dimensional approach to addressing the human disturbance of the environment (including the climate) is needed. It is

Koutsoyiannis, D., Makropoulos, C., Langousis, A., Baki, S., Efstratiadis, A., Christofides, A., Karavokiros, G., and Mamassis, N.: HESS Opinions: “Climate, hydrology, energy, water: recognizing uncertainty and seeking sustainability“, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 247-257, 2009. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Oops! Once again small changes in albedo prove stronger determinant than atmospheric carbon dioxide: Less Dusty Air Warms Atlantic, May Spur Hurricanes - OSLO - A decline in sun-dimming airborne dust has caused a fast warming of the tropical North Atlantic in recent decades, according to a study that might help predict hurricanes on the other side of the ocean.

About 70 percent of the warming of the Atlantic since the early 1980s was caused by less dust, blown from Saharan sandstorms or caused by volcanic eruptions, U.S.-based scientists wrote in the journal Science.

Clouds of dust can be blown thousands of kilometers (miles) and reflect some of the sun's rays back into space. (Reuters)

Dust plays larger than expected role in determining Atlantic temperature -- The recent warming trend in the Atlantic Ocean is largely due to reductions in airborne dust and volcanic emissions during the past 30 years, according to a new study. (PhysOrg.com)

Africa: Greening of the Sahara - In many classical considerations about climate, its interaction with the biosphere played a dominant role. For example, Köppen (1936) described vegetation as “crystallized, visible climate” and referred to it as an indicator of climate much more accurate than our instruments. (doXtop)

Summit on America's Climate choices - The National Academies is hosting a Summit on America's Climate Choices on March 30 and 31, 2009, to develop the groundwork for a national response to climate change. America's Climate Choices is a congressionally requested suite of studies that will produce five expert consensus reports to be released in late 2009 and 2010.

How can YOU be involved?

Climate change aims need to be better integrated - Specific measures to tackle climate change, such as emissions trading, will only be successful if they are coherently supported by other government policies addressing economic and social issues, says a report published today by the Partnership for European Environmental Research (PEER). PEER membership is formed from seven of the biggest European environmental research institutes. (Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres)

Presumably this moron will be removed from the education system forthwith! Rise of the carbon cops - The planet will be in safer hands if today's crop of young activists is anything to go by, Linda Doherty reports.

Andy Best threw out a challenge to his students to save electricity around the school, promising he would plough any savings into the school's Eco Kids organisation.

"And why don't you be a light monitor at home and ask Mum and Dad for a raise in your pocket money if you save money on power?" the school principal added for good measure.

"The next day a parent stopped me and said, `Last night we were only allowed to have one light on at home because of you,' " Best says.

This sort of pester power marks this generation of students as more environmentally aware than their parents - and more determined to save the planet as they are bombarded with information about global warming and climate change from the media, schools, the internet and television. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Poor gullible little green shirts...

Oh... Canada Offers To Fund Carbon-Capture Projects - CALGARY - Eight carbon capture and storage projects in Western Canada will share C$140 million ($114 million) in funding from the Canadian government, Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said on Thursday.

The projects, whose backers include TransCanada Corp Spectra Energy, TransAlta Corp, Husky Energy Inc, Enbridge Inc and others, will cut emissions of carbon dioxide from electricity and oil and gas production

The eight proposals are early stage projects that will reduce emissions into the atmosphere and store the carbon dioxide underground or put it to use in other industries. (Reuters)

... but carbon dioxide is about as green as it gets, literally responsible for greening the Earth.

Katey's shocked: Arctic meltdown is a threat to humanity - I AM shocked, truly shocked," says Katey Walter, an ecologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. "I was in Siberia a few weeks ago, and I am now just back in from the field in Alaska. The permafrost is melting fast all over the Arctic, lakes are forming everywhere and methane is bubbling up out of them."

Back in 2006, in a paper in Nature, Walter warned that as the permafrost in Siberia melted, growing methane emissions could accelerate climate change. But even she was not expecting such a rapid change. "Lakes in Siberia are five times bigger than when I measured them in 2006. It's unprecedented. This is a global event now, and the inertia for more permafrost melt is increasing." (Fred Pearce, New Scientist)

Russia Says Won't Stand Still In Race For Arctic - MOSCOW - Russia will not allow itself to be left behind in the race to exploit the resources of the Arctic now being opened up by global warming, the Kremlin's special representative for the region said in an interview.

Scientists say the ice is receding so fast that drilling for oil and gas high in the Arctic will soon become routine and cargo ships could sail between the Atlantic and Pacific along a new shipping lane much shorter than the routes used now.

Those lucrative prospects have unleashed fierce competition between nations with Arctic coastlines -- led by the United States and Russia -- to assert their influence. (Reuters)

The Nabucco Conspiracy - The $10 billion Nabucco pipeline story reads like a Bourne-style political thriller. Since its conception in the early 1990s the project’s narrative has been full of international intrigue geared to helping Europe plot its escape from the ‘tyranny’ of Russian energy supremacy. But almost two decades on we are still not at chapter one and the future remains uncertain, spawned in intrigue, in no small part due to the sabotaging efforts of the EU’s anti-Nabucco “fifth column”: Germany.

The recent EU economic crisis summit (held in Brussels March 19 and 20) first removed, then reinstated, Nabucco on its “priority” energy project list. And construction is still scheduled to begin in 2011. Although German objections to Nabucco’s inclusion in the EU’s €5 billion “anti-crisis” energy stimulus package were overcome, the summit allotted €200 million, €50 million less than originally planned. But while Nabucco has survived, its troubles are far from over.

Envisioned to transport natural gas from Central Asia to Europe without crossing Russian territory, Nabucco is perceived by the EU as essential to weaning Europe of its Russian oil and gas dependency. But the addiction is proving hard to kick, with problems over viable sources of gas plaguing Nabucco from the start. Turkmenistan’s enormous reserves are considered one option. But Turkmenistan’s natural gas distribution operation is largely managed by Russia’s Gazprom. Whether the country’s latest massive gas discovery at the South Yolotan-Osman field will come under Russian management too, or whether the gas will eventually head west or east – Turkmenistan is developing growing links with China – is still unclear. For the gas to head west, an additional trans-Caspian link will be needed. Then there are the security problems associated with running the pipeline through transit nations, especially Turkey and Georgia.

Iran has more than enough gas to keep Nabucco busy and Tehran, with the world’s second largest reserves of natural gas, is keen to buy into the lucrative European market. But Nabucco badly needs a reliable provider, and Iran’s notoriously unreliable production track record and the uncertain geopolitical situation over its nuclear intentions are barriers to new investment. With its European aspirations stuck in the geopolitical mud for the foreseeable future, Iran, too, has turned its eyes east, and is currently cutting energy deals with Beijing. (Peter C Glover, Energy Tribune)

The Dirt on Clean Coal - The coal industry presents itself as committed to environmental sustainability--but is it?

In 1955 the Tennessee Valley Authority built what was at the time the world's largest coal plant, near Kingston, Tennessee. More than fifty years later, the Kingston Fossil Plant produces enough electricity to power 670,000 homes and emits nearly 11 million tons of carbon dioxide--the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming--each year. On December 22 a dike broke at the plant, sending more than a billion gallons of toxic black sludge downhill into the ground, water and homes of eastern Tennessee. The infected area was some forty times larger than the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and became known as the "nightmare before Christmas."

The spill underscored the negative images the word "coal" often conjures up--battered communities in Appalachia, underground explosions, exploited miners, brutal strikes and black lung. Yet the American coal industry, which pumps 2 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year and contributes more than one-third of the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, is nothing if not resilient. Despite rising public concern about global warming and a growing awareness that coal is an irrevocably dirty business, the industry is spending millions of dollars on a slick messaging campaign stressing its "commitment to clean."

Critics argue that "clean coal" means anything the industry wants it to, pointing out that of the country's 616 coal plants, none are carbon-free or close to it. The viability of an environmentally sustainable future for coal is questionable, and so is the industry's commitment to cleaning itself up. The Center for American Progress recently released a report showing that the country's biggest coal companies have spent only a fraction of their multibillion-dollar profits developing technologies to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. "The ads and other public clean coal activities are merely designed to delay global warming solutions without suffering a public relations black eye," the CAP report stated. (Ari Berman, The Nation)

Global warming giving nuclear new claim to clean - MIDDLETOWN, Pa. -- The nation's worst nuclear power plant accident was unfolding on Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island when an industry economist took the rostrum at a nearby business luncheon.

It did not go well.

Those in the standing-room-only crowd listened to economist Doug Biden's thoughts about cheap, reliable nuclear power, but Biden could not calm their nerves or answer their pointed questions: Should they join the tens of thousands of people fleeing south-central Pennsylvania? Should they let their children drink local milk?

Three decades later, fears of an atomic catastrophe have been largely supplanted by fears about global warming, easing nuclear energy into the same sentence as wind and solar power. Dogged by price spikes and an environmental assault on carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels are the new clean-energy pariah.

"There's a lot of support for nuclear now, and most of that support is borne out of a concern for the desire to have emissions-free energy sources," said Biden, who still advocates for power companies as the president of Electric Power Generation Association in Pennsylvania. (Associated Press)

Iberdrola to slash UK wind investment 40 per cent - Spanish energy giant latest to scale back UK investment amid concerns over project's economic viability

The government's wind energy plans have received a major blow after the world's biggest investor in wind power, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, announced it was to cut its investment in the UK by £300m.

According to The Times reports, the company is to cut its budget in the UK by 40 per cent, equivalent to the investment required to build a wind farm capable of powering 200,000 homes. (BusinessGreen)

New Poll Finds Majority of American Voters Don’t Fault U.S. Gun Laws for Mexican Drug Violence (.pdf) - Washington, D.C. — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that the Obama administration would like to resurrect the Clinton ban on semi-automatic firearms, as well as other gun control laws.

One of the reasons for bringing back these unpopular laws, according to Holder, is that Mexican drug cartels are becoming increasingly violent and warring with Mexican government troops. Holder says that some of the guns being used by the Mexican drug mafia are being obtained illegally from the United States.

Mexico is a country with a reputation for political corruption and a healthy disregard for the individual rights of its citizens. Still, Holder and the Obama administration think that limiting the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens is a cure for drug violence in Mexico.

However, according to a recent poll conducted by The O’Leary Report and Zogby International, a vast majority of the American voting public disagrees. (O'Leary Report)

Fast-food diners don't check calorie content - NEW YORK - Ever wonder how often people take time to find out how many calories are in their large order of fries?

Almost never.

Out of 4311 people buying food at McDonalds, Burger King, Au Bon Pain, or Starbucks, Christina A. Roberto and her colleagues from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut found that just six looked at the nutrition information the restaurants provided, or one-tenth of one percent.

The findings show "you've got to have this information in a really highly visible place, like on a menu board," Roberto told Reuters Health. "The way it's offered now is just not an effective way to disseminate that kind of information to the public." (Reuters Health)

Uh, no. What it shows is that people basically couldn't care less and that there is really no point in providing the information in any format.

Where's the Beef? - Americans awakened this week to a new warning (rehashed and reissued every few years, actually) that eating cheeseburgers will send them to the grave sooner rather than later.

Hours before, yours truly wolfed down not one, but two cheeseburgers at the dinner table of my almost 92-year-old father, "Bob," a retired FBI agent who I've watched consume every cut of meat (is cow's tongue a meat?) in the same home for more than 50 years.

Dad for dinner ate two cheeseburgers and a hot dog (and more than his share of curly fries, I observed), and he was still eyeing the serving tray. Step into his smoky kitchen any morning of the week and you'll find him grilling bologna in the iron skillet alongside his runny eggs.

But I digress. The American Meat Institute (AMI) was quick to respond to this newest red-meat study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, saying it "tries to predict the future risk of death by relying on notoriously unreliable self-reporting about what was eaten in the preceding five years.

"This imprecise approach is like relying on consumers' personal characterization of their driving habits in prior years in determining their likelihood of having an accident in the future," says the AMI, which insists meat products are part of a healthy, balanced diet that actually can help control a person's weight. (John McCaslin, Townhall)

Same old same old... Americans eat too much salt, CDC says - CHICAGO - People in the United States consume more than twice the recommended amount of salt, raising their risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, government health experts said on Thursday.

They found nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults are in high-risk groups that would benefit from a lower-salt diet of no more than 1,500 mg per day, yet most consume closer to 3,500 mg per day.

"It's important for people to eat less salt. People who adopt a heart-healthy eating pattern that includes a diet low in sodium and rich in potassium and calcium can improve their blood pressure," Dr. Darwin Labarthe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

"People need to know their recommended daily sodium limit and take action to reduce sodium intake," Labarthe said. (Reuters)

... and still devoid of any evidentiary support.

The Freedom of Charity - The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy just finished a two-day lobbying spree on Capitol Hill, waging another small battle in the growing war over the dwindling charity dollars available to America’s nonprofits.

At stake is the freedom of donors to choose who is on the receiving end of their generosity. A highly-publicized paper released this month by the NCRP detailed criteria for the “best” form of philanthropy, which amounts to the NCRP determining which groups of people are best suited to receive money or services from an organization.

“There's a trend toward regulation that's overreaching,” said Sue Santa, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at the Philanthropy Roundtable, which among other objectives, safeguards “the freedom of the sector to carry out diverse charitable goals and missions.” (Jillian Bandes, Townhall)

Eau dear: Party turns flat for French bottled water - PARIS - The land that gave the world Perrier, Evian and Vittel is turning its back on bottled water, preferring instead to get the stuff from the tap.

Cost-cutting at a time of austerity but also the successful efforts of campaign groups about the snobbery and environmental cost of bottled water are hitting sales.

Sales of bottled water in France fell in volume by 7.5 per cent to 5.2 billion litres in 2008 over 2007, and retreated in value by 4.6 per cent to 1.6 billion ($3 billion), according to market monitor ACNielsen. (New Zealand Herald)

Water Pollution Americans’ Top Green Concern - Worry about environmental problems has edged up since 2004

PRINCETON, NJ -- The folks behind World Water Day -- a largely U.N.-sponsored effort to focus attention on freshwater resource management, observed this past Sunday -- may be on to something. Pollution of drinking water is Americans' No. 1 environmental concern, with 59% saying they worry "a great deal" about the issue. That exceeds the 45% worried about air pollution, the 42% worried about the loss of tropical rain forests, and lower levels worried about extinction of species and global warming. (Gallup)

Actually the poll seems to indicate people are worrying less about pollution but more about potable water availability. Over on the forum we wonder if this might not be the result of greenies and their anti-dam activities.

Lawsuit by a father in Indiana targets polluters - INDIANAPOLIS—Ron Kurth, who grew up in Gary and worked in the steel mills, raised his family in the region near the outskirts of Chicago. He always wondered about the smoke and smog that overcast the Lake Michigan shoreline.

"It's just a horrible atmosphere," he said.

Kurth, who has a 16-year-old daughter attending school in the Lake County city of Crown Point, decided someone ought to do something about the pollution. On Wednesday, he did.

He filed a lawsuit on behalf of his daughter against 11 northwest Indiana industries, including U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, claiming the air pollution they emit from their smokestacks endangers the long-term health of Lake County children. The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of thousands of the county's schoolchildren.

The complaint cites a study that appeared in USA Today earlier this year that reported children in the heavily industrialized county are exposed to higher levels of airborne toxins than elsewhere in the United States, based on EPA data on air quality outside 127,800 schools nationwide. (Associated Press)

Congress Approves Landmark Conservation Bill - WASHINGTON - The Democratic-led U.S. Congress gave final approval on Wednesday to sweeping land and water conservation legislation that environmental groups praised as one of the most significant in U.S. history.

The measure, a package of more than 160 bills, would set aside about 2 million acres -- parks, rivers, streams, desert, forest and trails -- in nine states as new wilderness and render them off limits to oil and gas drilling and other development.

The House of Representatives approved the measure on a vote of 285-140 a week after it cleared the Senate, capping years of wrangling and procedural roadblocks.

It now goes to President Barack Obama to sign into law, which he is expected to do swiftly. (Reuters)

Can Ecotourism Be More Than an Illusion? - QUEBEC CITY, Mar 24 - More than ever before, global tourism must play its part in sustainable development and poverty alleviation, stated experts at an international symposium in this Canadian city.

But others wonder if tourism can be truly sustainable when it involves flying thousands of kilometres to reach some "carbon-neutral" eco-lodge in the jungle.

Climate change is a major concern and air transport makes a significant contribution, sustainable tourism expert Costas Christ told more than 500 attendees of the International Symposium on Sustainable Tourism Development, Mar. 16-19.

However, Christ said, it is also important to tell the public that international tourism has played a major role in preserving biodiversity and in conservation in general. (Tierramérica)

Study assesses impact of fish stocking on aquatic insects - The impact fish stocking has on aquatic insects in mountain lakes can be rapidly reversed by removing non-native trout, according to a study completed by U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Davis, scientists. (US Forest Service)

Ecopolitics Primer - Ecopolitics is the politics of the green movement (environmentalism) and governmental responses to environmental issues. Environmentalism, and its environmentalist believers, didn’t become a potent political movement until the 1960s and 70s in the US when college campuses, brimming with idealistic baby boomers, were determined to make every new emotional twitch a political movement – a cause for revolution. This is when political movements, valid or not, became television news programming assets, and when anti-establishment and counter cultural influences became media partners in a way that is largely taken for granted today. Today, news and entertainment mass media have become indistinguishable, and readily exploitable as the propaganda vehicle for ecopolitics. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Obama Nominee For Deputy EPA Chief Withdraws - WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's nominee for the No. 2 position at the Environmental Protection Agency, Jon Cannon, removed himself from consideration on Wednesday, the latest in a string of withdrawals among nominees for administration posts.

Cannon said he was removing his name from consideration to be EPA deputy administrator because of scrutiny of America's Clean Water Foundation, where he once served on the board of directors.

"While my service on the board of that now-dissolved organization is not the subject of the scrutiny, I believe the energy and environmental challenges facing our nation are too great to delay confirmation for this position, and I do not wish to present any distraction to the agency," Cannon said in a statement released by the EPA.

The EPA Inspector General's Office found in 2007 that the Clean Water foundation mismanaged more than $25 million in EPA grants, The Washington Post reported. The foundation disbanded in 2006.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the administration would move quickly to identify a new candidate. (Reuters)

Norman Borlaug, Happy 95th Birthday! - One of the true giants of our time, plant breeder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Norman Borlaug turns 95 today. Borlaug is the person who has saved more human lives than anyone in history. How? He was the father of the "Green Revolution" that more than doubled crop productivity in the 1960s and 1970s thus averting the massive global famines predicted by many doomsayers. I had the honor of interviewing Borlaug nine years ago for Reason. Below are just a couple of his answers from that interview: (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

March 26, 2009

‘Green Hell’ Coming Soon to a Life Like Yours - Don’t say you were not warned. A new book has debuted just in time to help save the humans from the “save” the Earth crowd. The book serves as a chilling warning to modern society.

Be prepared the next time your child comes home from school with some nice “green” project or attempts to lecture you about how you “should” be doing more “sustainable” activities to “save” the Earth. You will be ready to confront teachers, political leaders, neighbors, and annoying aunts with the astounding new book by Steve Milloy titled Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

Milloy, the publisher of the daily must read JunkScience.com, has issued the most startling warning to human civilization: that the “green” agenda is in reality an anti-human agenda. The book serves as a comprehensive detailed guide to the command and control agenda of the environmental movement. (Marc Morano, Human Events)

U.N. Plans Guide To Fighting Climate-Change Disasters - OSLO - A proposed U.N. study of climate extremes will be a practical guide for tackling natural disasters and fill a gap in past reports focused on the gradual effects of global warming, experts said.

Floods, mudslides, droughts, heatwaves or storms are often the main causes of destruction and human suffering tied to climate change, rather than the creeping rise in average temperatures blamed on a build-up of greenhouse gases.

"We are saying a lot about changes in mean temperatures but the impacts on real people, real companies, are taking place at the extremes," said Chris Field, a co-chair of a group in the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (Reuters)

Really? People might be a lot better off with a plan to fight the UN...

One upset greenie: Response: The Czech president's climate change denial is irrelevant - His words are a sideshow; our EU presidency will tackle this global emergency, says Martin Bursík

Your leader column expressed widely held views towards climate change deniers, but made the mistake of believing that the extreme personal opinions of the Czech president, Václav Klaus, are relevant to the official views of the Czech Republic or its current presidency of the EU council (Václav Klaus: The dud Czech, 10 March).

It is true that, "faced with growing evidence that scientists have understated climate change, Mr Klaus told a conference of climate change deniers at the weekend that Europe was being too alarmist". In fact during his time in office he has declared as "enemies of freedom" not just those of us who believe that there is a climate emergency but also NGOs, supporters of civil partnerships, the EU and just about anyone who disagrees with him on any matter.

But while he holds a very important office, it is nonetheless a non-executive and non-accountable office elected by parliament, not directly by the people. His views are headline-catching because they are designed to be, and the only way he could be more transparent would be to wear the logo of Luxoil (a major sponsor of his book) on his shirt. (Martin Bursík, The Guardian)

Why the Copenhagen climate change cliffhanger could drag on a little longer - Wrangling between China and US threatens to put back December deadline

After nearly a decade of George Bush's denial and obstruction, Barack Obama could hold the key to a new global deal to tackle global warming.

Which is why anyone who knows anything about climate change has been waiting for 2009 for a long time.

Obama, as they see it, has arrived in the nick of time. The UN negotiations most likely to broker an international treaty have crawled into the home straight and the finishing line is in sight.

A deadline of December has been set, when the eyes of the world will be on environment ministers from some 190 countries as they search for a deal at talks in Copenhagen. If they emerge without the obligatory smiles and handshakes, then they will spoil Christmas for a great many people who care for the fate of the planet. (The Guardian)

Barack Obama may delay signing up to Copenhagen climate change deal - Barack Obama may be forced to delay signing up to a new international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year because of the scale of opposition in the US Congress, it emerged today.

Senior figures in the Obama administration have been warning Labour counterparts that the president may need at least another six months to win domestic support for any proposal.

Such a delay could derail the securing of a tough global agreement in time for countries and markets to adopt it before the Kyoto treaty runs out in 2012.

American officials would prefer to have the approval of Congress for any international agreement and fear that if the US signed up without it there would be a serious domestic backlash. (The Guardian)

Cap and trade program could cost western jobs, report says - A carbon cap-and-trade plan proposed by the Western Governors Association would cost the West hundreds of thousands of jobs, slow down investment and cut personal income for millions of people, a new study said.

The study claims the Western Climate Initiative would require Western states to increase the number of government employees. Idaho was not included in the study and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has not supported the proposal. (Idaho Statesman)

Cap-and-Trade Could Cost Washington as Many as 18,292 Net Jobs, $5.7 Billion in Personal Income - Economic research institute finds deficiencies in Western Climate Initiative’s analysis of impacts from recommendations

Seattle — Specific proposals that several Western states would implement to comply with a proposed cap-and-trade carbon emissions control pact would destroy jobs and erode income, according to a report co-released by a national economics institute and the Washington Policy Center.

In a thorough review of the claims made by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University identified several flaws made by the seven state consortium, calling into question so-called cost savings ranging between $11.4 billion and $23.5 billion. These flaws render WCI’s projections useless in determining the WCI’s cost to state economies.

The authors of the report write, “Using the Western Climate Initiative’s own projections of increases in fuel costs, BHI finds that the policies will decrease employment, investment, personal income and disposable income. While WCI claims the ‘design is also intended to mitigate economic impacts, including impacts on consumers, income, and employment,’ they fail to quantify the impacts.” (Washington Policy Cetner)

Obama Says ‘Cap and Trade’ Must Protect Against Cost Spikes -- President Barack Obama said a proposed emissions-trading plan aimed at tackling climate change and moving the U.S. toward a new energy economy must take into account regional differences and “huge spikes” in costs.

Obama, speaking in a White House news conference tonight, defended the “cap-and-trade” plan outlined in his federal budget. (Bloomberg)

KERPEN: Cap-and-trade for AIG? - When the good folks at Enron first cooked up the idea for a cap-and-trade scheme, the appeal was that they could make a fortune running the financial markets to trade the emissions permits and the huge variety of exotic derivatives that would grow up around them.

So it should be no surprise that Wall Street's foremost wizards jumped on board the effort, including the American International Group Inc. AIG's then-Chief Executive Martin Sullivan was reported by Reuters as saying in 2007 that AIG "can help shape a broad-based cap-and-trade legislative proposal, bringing to this critical endeavor a unique business perspective on the business opportunities and risks that climate change poses for our industry." Translation: We're going to get rich on this.

As if the current bonus scandal isn't bad enough for a company that lost hundreds of billions of dollars writing credit-default swaps that it had no ability to pay, the great hope of cap-and-trade is that a massive new financial-products bonanza will grow in the carbon markets to replace the one left behind by the housing collapse. Unfortunately, this new market will be an even more perilous bubble than the last one because, although home prices can crash by 50 percent or more, they won't go to zero. Emissions permits, which derive their value only from the coercive power of government, have an intrinsic value of zero and will, when the inevitable crash comes, converge on that value. (Phil Kerpen, Washington Times)

US Lawmakers, Fearing CO2 Market Crisis, Drafting Tough Rules - WASHINGTON -- Fearing another financial meltdown under a proposed multi-trillion-dollar greenhouse gas trading program, U.S. lawmakers are drafting legislation for strict regulation of the nascent market.

Wall Street banks, hedge funds and institutional investors are under a rain of public indignation and regulatory scrutiny for their role in the current financial crisis. Many legislators are concerned that creating a carbon market may simply give the same players a new opportunity for manipulation and hazardous trading.

"This is a disaster in the making," warned Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., ranking member of the House energy subcommittee on oversight and investigations. "If you like the bubbles of the technology market and the housing market, I predict you'll love the bubble that will come from the cap-and-trade market." (Dow Jones)

Is This Happening in Your State? - Last fall my Carolina Journal colleague David Bass reported about how North Carolina’s Division of Air Quality (and their counterparts in other states) recruited companies they regulate to “voluntarily” become members of the nonprofit Climate Registry, and pay for the privilege of reporting their greenhouse gas emissions (again, no pressure!). Brock Nicholson, NCDAQ’s deputy director at the time, helped launch the Registry, joined its board, got NCDAQ to pay $100,000 for it, traveled on its behalf, and recruited other states to join — all on the North Carolina taxpayers’ dime.

Last month David explained in more detail Nicholson’s activities on behalf of the Registry.

Today his latest story is posted, in which David explains how half of North Carolina’s contribution to the Registry was paid for out of state gas tax revenues: (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

Because everyone needs a laugh: Last chance for a slow dance? - All the world fiddles as we near global warming’s point of no return

No one was advertising for an angry prophet when Jere Locke returned to Texas last year. But thanks to mainstream environmentalism’s aversion to the gloomiest — and, unfortunately, more accurate — messages from the climate frontier, the position was open.

It wouldn’t pay much. In fact, Locke would have to fund it himself. That was fine. The son of a wealthy Houston cotton trader, Locke didn’t need a high-figure salary. Most importantly, he believed.

Locke was living in Thailand in 2006 when Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was released in the United States. Bilingual and politically connected, Locke was tapped to help edit a version for Asian audiences. After repeated viewings, the film became just troubling enough to inspire the 64-year-old to start looking for more information. As it turned out, the United Nations was prepping the streets of Bali for a highly charged international climate congress. “Sixteen months ago, I didn’t know squat,” Locke says. “I just kind of wandered into Bali, essentially.”

In December 2007, he joined other activists camped outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference to witness an exercise in futility. With signs of warming now undeniable, the European Union was anxious to meet the recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions 3o percent before 2020. Cutting global emissions that quickly should keep the planet under a 3.6-degree temperature increase over pre-industrial averages, the level at which a majority of climate scientists believe global warming may become unforgivably destructive. (San Antonio Current)

Is This Science? EPA’s Plan To Regulate CO2 Claiming It Endangers The Public’s Health and Welfare - The Washington Post published an article on March 24 2009 by Juliet Eilperin entitled “EPA Presses Obama To Regulate Warming Under Clean Air Act” in which is is written

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s new leadership, in a step toward confronting global warming, submitted a finding that will force the White House to decide whether to limit greenhouse gas emissions under the nearly 40-year-old Clean Air Act. Under that law, EPA’s conclusion — that such emissions are pollutants that endanger the public’s health and welfare — could trigger a broad regulatory process affecting much of the U.S. economy as well as the nation’s future environmental trajectory.”

While the added greenhouse gas emissions (does the EPA also include water vapor?) are a climate forcing,  the news article specifically refers to public health. This is an absurd claim, as none of the well-mixed greenhouse gases are threats to health at the concentrations that are in the atmosphere or will be in the atmosphere far into the future.

If the EPA wants to seek to regulate climate, let them be honest and discuss all of the human climate forcings, as discussed, for example, in National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

Another excerpt from the Washington Post article reads

“Daniel J. Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said the EPA’s proposal would allow the administration to tackle climate change if Congress does not limit carbon emissions through legislation. He added that even if the EPA were forced to regulate greenhouse gases, it would target emissions from coal-fired power plants and then vehicles — which combined account for about half of the nation’s global-warming pollution — before requiring smaller operations to apply for new emissions permits.”

The statement “smaller operations” could include almost all activities that humans do; e.g. see A Carbon Tax For Animal Emissions - More Unintended Consequences Of Carbon Policy In The Guise Of Climate Policy. The EPA’s plan “to regulate warming” is a circumvention of science in order to promote a political agenda. Serious negative environmental, economic and social effects are going to occur as a result of the inappropriately narrow and ineffective EPA focus on greenhouse gas emissions as the currency for a wide range of climate effects. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

I wonder if even he believes it? 37%... Global Warming 37 Percent To Blame For Droughts: Scientist - SINGAPORE - Global warming is more than a third to blame for a major drop in rainfall that includes a decade-long drought in Australia and a lengthy dry spell in the United States, a scientist said on Wednesday.

Peter Baines of Melbourne University in Australia analyzed global rainfall observations, sea surface temperature data as well as a reconstruction of how the atmosphere has behaved over the past 50 years to reveal rainfall winners and losers.

What he found was an underlying trend where rainfall over the past 15 years or so has been steadily decreasing, with global warming 37 percent responsible for the drop. (Reuters)

Maps to be redrawn as borders melt away  - ROME - Global warming is dissolving the Alpine glaciers so rapidly that Italy and Switzerland have decided they must redraw their national border to take account of the new realities.

The border has been fixed since 1861, when Italy became a unified state.

But for the past century the surface area of the "cryosphere", the zone of glaciers, permanent snow cover and permafrost, has been shrinking steadily, with dramatic acceleration in the past five years.

This is the area over which the national frontier passes and the two countries have now agreed to have their experts sit down together and hash out where it ought to run now. (Independent)

The Civil Heretic - FOR MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY the eminent physicist Freeman Dyson has quietly resided in Princeton, N.J., on the wooded former farmland that is home to his employer, the Institute for Advanced Study, this country’s most rarefied community of scholars. Lately, however, since coming “out of the closet as far as global warming is concerned,” as Dyson sometimes puts it, there has been noise all around him. Chat rooms, Web threads, editors’ letter boxes and Dyson’s own e-mail queue resonate with a thermal current of invective in which Dyson has discovered himself variously described as “a pompous twit,” “a blowhard,” “a cesspool of misinformation,” “an old coot riding into the sunset” and, perhaps inevitably, “a mad scientist.” Dyson had proposed that whatever inflammations the climate was experiencing might be a good thing because carbon dioxide helps plants of all kinds grow. Then he added the caveat that if CO2 levels soared too high, they could be soothed by the mass cultivation of specially bred “carbon-eating trees,” whereupon the University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner looked through the thick grove of honorary degrees Dyson has been awarded — there are 21 from universities like Georgetown, Princeton and Oxford — and suggested that “perhaps trees can also be designed so that they can give directions to lost hikers.” Dyson’s son, George, a technology historian, says his father’s views have cooled friendships, while many others have concluded that time has cost Dyson something else. There is the suspicion that, at age 85, a great scientist of the 20th century is no longer just far out, he is far gone — out of his beautiful mind.

But in the considered opinion of the neurologist Oliver Sacks, Dyson’s friend and fellow English expatriate, this is far from the case. “His mind is still so open and flexible,” Sacks says. Which makes Dyson something far more formidable than just the latest peevish right-wing climate-change denier. Dyson is a scientist whose intelligence is revered by other scientists — William Press, former deputy director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and now a professor of computer science at the University of Texas, calls him “infinitely smart.” Dyson — a mathematics prodigy who came to this country at 23 and right away contributed seminal work to physics by unifying quantum and electrodynamic theory — not only did path-breaking science of his own; he also witnessed the development of modern physics, thinking alongside most of the luminous figures of the age, including Einstein, Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, J. Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Witten, the “high priest of string theory” whose office at the institute is just across the hall from Dyson’s. Yet instead of hewing to that fundamental field, Dyson chose to pursue broader and more unusual pursuits than most physicists — and has lived a more original life. (New York Times Magazine)

Democrats see drawbacks to proposed oil fees - WASHINGTON — More than a dozen House Democrats on Tuesday warned that President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise taxes and levy new fees on the oil and gas industry could curb domestic energy production.

The group, led by Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, and including fellow Texas Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Al Green, Charlie Gonzalez and Henry Cuellar, made their pitch late Tuesday, a day before the House Budget Committee was set to take the first steps in considering the Obama administration’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal.

In a letter to Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, D-S.C., the group warned that proposals in the budget to slash tax incentives used by oil and natural gas developers could increase the costs of energy production and reduce energy supplies. (Houston Chronicle)

US carbon cap to raise power prices-Moody's - LOS ANGELES, March 24 - U.S. electricity prices are likely to rise 15 to 30 percent if a national cap on carbon dioxide emissions is instituted, according to a report by Moody's Investors Service.

And "the vast majority" of the burden of those higher costs will be borne by residents as large industrial users are likely to be successful in lobbying U.S. lawmakers for special rates and tariffs, the report dated March showed.

If carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are priced at $20 per metric ton, it would add about $48 billion in costs for the electric utility sector, Moody's said. (Reuters)

Fallout from The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Revisited - Part I: Electrical Grid in Critical Condition

Acclamations for energy independence from foreign sources have been oft-repeated rallying cries resounding throughout the halls of Capitol Hill, as well as echoed by its environmental lobbyists, most predominantly over the past 4 years. But rarely is it ever pointed out how energy independence from foreign sources is an incongruous notion with respect to United States energy policy. Moreover, it becomes ever more vulnerable yearly; not just as the result of its failing infrastructure, but from misguided public policy decisions. (Diane M. Grassi, NewMediaJournal.us)

Creating green employment... in china: China takes on America in electric car race - China is taking on America in the race to develop cheaper low-emission cars, with a £1.5 billion boost for Chinese electric cars over the next three years. (Daily Telegraph)

EU Moves To Straighten Air Routes, Cut Fuel Burn - STRASBOURG - European lawmakers approved a plan on Wednesday aimed at straightening commercial air routes to cut fuel costs and carbon dioxide emissions growth from increasing numbers of aircraft.

Airlines, which contribute about 3 percent of Europe's CO2 output, waste millions of tonnes of fuel as they zig-zag between national airspaces in the 27-country European Union.

The Single European Sky II plan could cut billions of euros from airlines' annual costs as they head into a recession that industry bodies say could cut traffic by 5 percent this year.

"These proposals lead to a modernization of air traffic management which will render air transport more feasible, more sustainable and safer," European Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani said. (Reuters)

California ‘Cool’ Paints Initiative Ugly, Lazy - If California regulators get their way, auto makers may soon be forced to rewrite a cliché from the Ford Model T era and start telling customers they can have any color they want as long as it isn’t black.

Some darker hues will be available in place of black, but right now they are indentified internally at paint suppliers with names such as “mud-puddle brown” and are truly ugly substitutes for today’s rich ebony hues.

So buy a black car now, because soon they won’t be available or will look so putrid you won’t want one. And that’s too bad, because paint suppliers say black is the second- or third-most popular vehicle color around the world.

The problem stems from a new “cool paints” initiative from the California Air Resources Board. CARB wants to mandate the phase-in of heat-reflecting paints on vehicle exteriors beginning with the ’12 model year, with all colors meeting a 20% reflectivity requirement by the ’16 model year.

Because about 17 other states tend to follow California’s regulatory lead, as many as 40% of the vehicles sold in the U.S. could be impacted by the proposed directive, suppliers say.

The measure is aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and improving fuel economy by keeping vehicles cooler on sunny days and decreasing the amount of time drivers use their air conditioners. (Drew Winter, WardsAuto.com)

Opposing wind farms should be socially taboo, says Ed Miliband - Opposition to wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt, Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary, has said.

Speaking at a screening in London of the climate change documentary The Age of Stupid, Miliband said the government needed to be stronger in facing down local opposition to wind farms.

He said: "The government needs to be saying, 'It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area - like not wearing your seatbelt or driving past a zebra crossing'." (The Guardian)

Butt Out, Feds - Authorities raided Charlie Lynch's California home.

"They say, 'Search warrant! Open the door, or we're gonna tear it down!" Lynch told me for my ABC special "Bailouts and Bull".

"I opened the door, and about 10 to 15 agents with shields, bulletproof vests, guns, masks. [They] threw me on the ground and ... had a gun to the back of my head."

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized 30 pounds of marijuana. Sheriff Pat Hedges said the facts were clear, "Charlie Lynch was making a profit off of selling marijuana."

It wasn't hard for the authorities to locate Lynch's marijuana operation. They were probably tipped off by the public ribbon-cutting ceremony Lynch held -- the one that the mayor of his town attended, along with city councilmen and the president of the Chamber of Commerce. The police were invited, too.

You see, Lynch sold medical marijuana, which has been declared legal by California and 12 other states. California says if a doctor recommends that you use the drug, it's perfectly legal. (John Stossel, Townhall)

The End of Hysteria and the Last Man - Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government would stop prosecuting medical marijuana distributors who comply with state law. Drug policy reformers immediately wondered how the change would affect Charlie Lynch, who last year was convicted of five felonies for helping California patients alleviate their suffering with marijuana. Evidently the judge charged with sentencing Lynch is wondering the same thing.

On Monday, when Lynch was scheduled to be sentenced, U.S. District Judge George Wu said he needed more time to consider the meaning of the Justice Department's new policy. Now that the Obama administration has promised to respect state medical marijuana laws and leave people like Lynch alone, the injustice of sending him to prison is even more glaring. (Jacob Sullum, Townhall)

Eye-roller: Bushfire pollution deaths to rise - BUSHFIRES worsening in south-eastern Australia due to climate change will cause more deaths and illness through air pollution, a CSIRO study has shown.

Mick Myers and a team from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research examined air quality data from monitoring stations in Melbourne during the 2006 bushfires and found a big jump in air pollution. On several days it was "going through the roof", Dr Myers told the Herald at the Greenhouse 2009 conference.

"In Melbourne you are probably taking about 20-30 additional deaths because of that pollution," he said. "It's actually becoming a sizeable source of pollution for the urban community". (Sydney Morning Herald)

Obama's rescue plan is 'road to hell', claims EU president - Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek adds to transatlantic friction over plan for global economic recovery

The scale of transatlantic friction over a concerted plan for global economic recovery was exposed today when the current European Union president branded Barack Obama administration's programme as a "road to hell" and said European leaders were "quite alarmed" at the White House's policies.

Mirek Topolanek, the Czech prime minister, revealed that last week's Brussels summit - which exposed differences between Gordon Brown and Germany's Angela Merkel - heard strong criticism of the US recovery programme.

The incendiary comments were made in Topolanek's report to MEPs at the European parliament in Strasbourg on last week's EU summit. They came only a week before Obama arrives in Europe for the first time for the G20 summit, hosted by Brown in London, aimed at outlining global action to tackle recession.

Topolanek's criticism flatly contradicted Brown's comments, delivered in his first speech to the European parliament on Tuesday, in which the prime minister talked of a "new era" of transatlantic cooperation on the financial crisis. (The Guardian)

Idled U.S. Farmland May Be Large Carbon Sink: USDA - WASHINGTON - The Conservation Reserve, which pays owners to idle fragile U.S. farmland, could become one of the largest carbon sequestration programs on private land, an Agriculture Department official said on Wednesday.

Some farm-state lawmakers say efforts to reduce greenhouse gases could result in a pay-off in rural America because some agricultural practices, such as reduced tillage, can lock carbon into the soil.

USDA official Robert Stephenson pointed during a U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture subcommittee hearing to the benefits of programs that reduce soil erosion.

"Land enrolled in the (Conservation) Reserve will also reduce soil erosion by 400 million tons each year and has the potential to be one of the nation's largest carbon sequestration programs on private lands," said Stephenson, acting deputy administrator of USDA's Farm Service Agency. (Reuters)

Polluters, Beware: These Eco-Police Officers Are for Real - As a member of a small force of police officers whose sole focus is enforcing environmental laws, Officer Stevens carries a gun and handcuffs and can haul a suspect off to jail. These environmental conservation officers number barely 20 in New York City, out of about 300 around the state, but issue about 2,000 summonses for violations and criminal charges annually. (New York Times)

China's government scatters abortion pills to cut gerbil population - BEIJING — Chinese state media reports forestry officials in far western China have resorted to scattering abortion pills near gerbil burrows in a bid to halt a rodent plague threatening the desert region's ecosystem.

Xinhua News Agency says the pellets have "little effect on other animals," but can prevent pregnancy in gerbils and also induce abortion in already pregnant females.

In 2003, officials installed hundreds of perches for owls and eagles hoping the birds would cut back the rodent population but gerbils have continued to be a problem.

Xinhua says gerbils use too much of the area's limited grass to make their burrows and damage plant roots with their underground digging.

Desertification is a major concern for China. (Canadian Press)

March 25, 2009

Democrats to shelve fast-track process on climate bill, for now - Capitol Hill Democrats are expected to bypass the fast-track budget process for global warming legislation but plan to keep the option open later this year if they cannot win bipartisan support on one of President Obama's signature agenda items.

White House officials and some Democratic leaders first floated the idea last month of folding cap-and-trade legislation into a budget reconciliation bill because they remain short of the 60 votes needed to break a Senate Republican filibuster on the controversial legislation.

But a collection of moderate House and Senate Democrats and Republicans have pushed back against that approach and persuaded leadership to shelve the strategy -- for now. (ClimateWire)

Playing Chicken - Today's Wall Street Journal — the news section — covers the political game of hot potato over who gets the blame for making everything you buy more expensive: (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

CO2 Rules: The Anti-Stimulus - The EPA has prepared a finding for review that global warming is a public health threat, the first step toward regulating the American economy down to your lawn mower. (IBD)

The Available Evidence Does Not Support Fossil Fuels as the Source of Increasing Concentrations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (Part 1) - BECAUSE the increase in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has correlated with an increase in the use of fossil fuels, causation has been assumed.

Tom Quirk has tested this assumption including through an analysis of the time delay between northern and southern hemisphere variations in carbon dioxide. In a new paper in the journal Energy and Environment he writes: (Jennifer Marohasy)

He could be right, for one reason... Suffocated by smog and heat - DEATHS from heat stress among the elderly are likely to double in Sydney by the middle of the century because of climate change, and the number of people hospitalised because of air pollution is likely to treble, scientists from the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are predicting.

Modelling by Dr Martin Cope and his team has confirmed reports that heat-related deaths in Sydney will increase significantly, rising from about 150 to 200 to between 300 and 400 by 2060. (Sydney Morning Herald)

... he neglects to mention -- there is potential for a doubling of age-related heat stress mortalities in Sydney by 2060 because... there are expected to be more than twice as many elderly people in Sydney by then. So, all other things being equal (unlikely, we should have more air conditioning for elderly people, for example) then we anticipate a doubling of heat stress mortality in the larger pool of aged people.

Stupid report but then, it is by Marian Wilkinson and so idiot claims are the expected norm.

Climate Pact Needs Flexible Deadline - Agency Chief - LONDON - The deadline for a new global accord on climate change should be extended if Washington is not ready to make commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by December, the head of a major environmental funding agency said on Monday. (Reuters)

World Wants Tough 2050 Climate Cuts, Split On Path - OSLO - Governments broadly support tough 2050 goals for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions but are split on how to share out the reductions, according to a new guide to negotiators of a new UN climate pact.

A document to be presented to UN climate talks in Bonn from March 29-April 8 narrows down a list of ideas for fighting global warming in a new treaty due to be agreed in December to about 30 pages from 120 in a text late last year.

"It shows that there's an awful lot still to be done. And it also shows what needs to be done," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters on Monday of the text by Michael Zammit Cutajar, chairman of a UN negotiating group. (Reuters)

Enviros want to pack you like sardines: City-Dwellers Emit Less CO2 Than Countryfolk - Study - LONDON - Major cities are getting a bad rap for the disproportionately high greenhouse gases they emit even though their per capita emissions are often a fraction of the national average, a new report said on Monday.

Published by the International Institute for Environment and Development, the report found that urban residents generate substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists blame for global warming, than people elsewhere in the country.

"Although the concentration of people, enterprises, vehicles and waste in cities is often seen as a 'problem', high densities and large population concentrations can also bring a variety of advantages for ... environmental management," said the report. (Reuters)

So, tell us, how much food do city dwellers produce for themselves and export? No, do a lot of mining perhaps? Forestry? No? Hmm...

US Big Steel Pushes For Carbon Fees On China - NEW YORK - China's steel industry should face fees on its exports into the United States if Washington adopts greenhouse gas cuts and Beijing does not, US steel industry officials and advocates said.

As President Barack Obama begins to form plants to regulate greenhouse gases, US steelmakers are nervous they will lose market share if rapidly developing steelmaking countries, like China and India, do not commit to similar emissions goals.

US steelmakers say they have already invested far more in pollution control on pollutants like particulates and components of acid rain, sharply boosting production costs.

"Chinese steelmakers enjoy an unfair advantage in global trade due to the lack of enforcement of exceptionally weak pollution standards," Scott Paul, the executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, told reporters in a teleconference. (Reuters)

U.S. Manufacturers Seek Protection From Climate Bill - WASHINGTON - Production of steel, cement, chemicals and other energy-intensive products could move overseas unless a proposed bill to fight global warming gives U.S. manufacturers tax breaks or other subsidies, an industry coalition told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"If the U.S. enacts tough global warming regulation but other key manufacturing nations do not, production of energy-intensive goods may well shift to the unregulated countries," said John McMackin on behalf of the Energy-Intensive Manufacturers' Working Group.

The coalition includes steel companies US Steel and Nucor, paper producer NewPage Corp_, aluminum manufacturer Alcoa and chemicals giant Dow.

McMackin testified at a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives to examine the trade implications of proposed legislation to fight global warming by restricting carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)

Scrap the Cap-n-Tax Scheme - The Carbon Sense Coalition has forwarded a submission to the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics in response to the Exposure Draft of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009. The introduction states:

“This enquiry is focussed on The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009. The name itself is a deliberate deception – the only truthful word is “Scheme” which the Oxford Pocket Dictionary defines as “artful or underhand design”. It is not about carbon or about pollution - it is “The Carbon Dioxide Cap, Trade and Tax Scheme Bill” (referred to hereafter as “The Cap-n-Tax Scheme” or “The Scheme” for short).

“There is substantial doubt on the science on which this Scheme is justified. The chief justification is scare forecasts based on complex computerised climate models that few people believe and even fewer people understand.” (Carbon Sense Coalition)

Rising CO2 Prices Boost Project Developers' Shares - LONDON - Rising carbon prices are helping boost shares in clean energy project developers, weeks after bearish sentiment in the carbon market forced them to record lows. UK-based project developers EcoSecurities and Camco have seen their shares more than double in the past six weeks, supported also by increased institutional investment and favourable analyst recommendations.

"Elements of optimism are creeping in," said Gus Hochschild, equity analyst at Mirabaud Securities. (Reuters)

Looks more like Mirabaud are trying to talk up moribund investments...

Climate scientists admit defeat in ocean experiment - Indian and German scientists have said that a controversial experiment has "dampened hopes" that dumping hundreds of tonnes of dissolved iron in the Southern Ocean can lessen global warming.

The experiment involved "fertilising" a 300-square-kilometre (115-sqare-mile) area of ocean inside the core of an eddy -- an immense rotating column of water -- with six tonnes of dissolved iron.

As expected, this stimulated growth of tiny planktonic algae or phytoplankton, which it was hoped would take out of the atmosphere carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas blamed for climate change, and absorb it.

However, the scientists from India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) did not count on these phytoplankton being eaten by tiny crustacean zooplankton. (AFP)

Democracy causes global warming - There are many culprits that were "shown" to cause global warming, including Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, homework problems for kids, and dark matter.

However, in an interview for The Guardian, NASA's climate chief has found the main culprit: democracy causes global warming. The democratic process is deficient because it prevents James Hansen from stopping the global economy and from saving the world. (The Reference Frame)

Hansen On ‘Democracy’ - Our last post was about Guardian journalist, David Adam, and his inability to reflect critically and impartially on the climate debate. That’s not to say he’s biased… That would miss the point. Which is precisely what Adam does. Adam believes that ‘the science’ is instructive – it tells us what to do. (Climate Resistance)

Joseph Stefan: anniversary - Jožef Stefan was born on March 24th, 1835, in Austrian Carinthia, near the Slovenian borders, to Slovene parents: Aleš Stefan (*1905) was a milling assistant while Marija Startinik (*1915) was a maidservant.

You could be surprised by these jobs but they were somewhat typical for the ethnic Slavs in the Austrian empire.

As we know today, this background didn't hurt the boy much. Jožef started as the best student in the class. In his college years, he wrote many poems in Slovenian: he is included among his nation's poets. Pretty quickly, he began to teach in Vienna. Among other topics, he studied interfaces of phases in phase transitions.

The Stefan-Boltzmann law is the most famous discovery that originated in his head and we will discuss it in some detail. (The Reference Frame)

Global Warming Is Running Out of Hot Air - The coldest winter in a decade in many places, with snow in unlikely cities such as New Orleans, has deflated some of the hot air in global warming. And a heavy snowfall that paralyzed Washington, D.C., upstaged a mass demonstration scheduled to promote global warming.

Nevertheless, according to Al Gore and the mainstream media, "the debate is over" proving that global warming exists, that humans are causing it and that "science is settled." (Phyllis Schlafly, Townhall)

'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster - Green party leader says Earth Hour a good way to begin to reverse damage from greenhouse gases. (Toronto Star)

Obama: North Dakota Flooding Is Because Of Global Warming - Here in North Dakota, a state where coal and oil are very important, is concerned about cap and trade. For obvious reasons. Obama himself has said that cap and trade could bankrupt the coal industry, and the program (which amounts to a massive tax on the energy industry in general) would result in a significant downturn in fossil fuel production in general. Which would be devastating for the state’s economy.

Now, North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad has been working with Obama to sneak cap and trade legislation through Congress. So obviously, he’s under fire for supporting a policy that runs contrary to the interests of his own state.

But here comes Barack Obama to the rescue, saying that the flooding Grand Forks, Fargo and other communities in the Red River valley are facing right now is the result of (drum roll please) global warming! (KXMB)

NASA struggling to play catchup with stunning facts of a very quiet sun, which is of course bad news for the IPCC - NASA’s Spaceweather.com has a small article on March 22 2009, thanks to Bob Foster for the heads-up.

DEEP SOLAR MINIMUM: Where have all the sunspots gone? As of yesterday, March 21st, the sun has been blank on 85% of the days of 2009. If this rate of spotlessness continues through the end of the year, 2009 will match 1913 as the blankest year of the past century. A flurry of new-cycle sunspots in Oct. 2008 prompted some observers to declare that solar minimum was ending, but since then the calm has returned. We are still in the pits of a deep solar minimum. (Warwick Hughes)

New Paper On Ocean Heat Content Changes By Craig Loehle - There is a new paper titled “Cooling of the global ocean since 2003″ by Craig Loehle which has appeared in Energy & Environment Vol. 20, No. 1&2, 2009.

The abstract reads “Ocean heat content data from 2003 to 2008 (4.5 years) were evaluated for trend. A trend plus periodic (annual cycle) model fit with R**2 = 0.85. The linear component of the model showed a trend of -0.35 (±0.2) x 10**22 Joules per year. The result is consistent with other data showing a lack of warming over the past few years.”

This paper, which was completed independently of my paper Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55 further confirms the lack of upper ocean warming that has occurred in recent years.

While the analysis presented in my paper, that was completed by Josh Willis, indicates the uncertainties are too large to definitively conclude that there has been cooling, the lack of warming in both papers are in conflict with the predictions of the global climate models as reported, for example, in the Climate Science weblog Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Cold winters may be new trend - After enduring the coldest winter in 16 years and now persistent below-normal temperatures that are chilling what should be spring, Lower Mainlanders can be excused for asking what gives.

They may not like the answer.

Meteorologists suspect coastal B.C. is now being nipped by a trend of colder than normal winter temperatures that could last a decade. Or two. Or three.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a phenomenon of alternating phases in which offshore ocean temperatures tend to run warmer and then colder – for 20 to 30 years at a stretch.

"There's some debate as to whether we've slipped into a cold phase or not," said Environment Canada meteorologist Gabor Fricska. "It may be too early to say definitively." (Surrey North Delta Leader)

El Nino study challenges global warming intensity link - SINGAPORE - Research showing an El Nino event in 1918 was far stronger than previously thought is challenging the notion climate change is making El Nino episodes more intense, a U.S. scientist said on Tuesday.

El Nino causes global climate chaos such as droughts and floods. The events of 1982/83 and 1997/98 were the strongest of the 20th Century, causing loss of life and economic havoc through lost crops and damage to infrastructure.

But Ben Giese of Texas A&M University said complex computer modelling showed the 1918 El Nino event was almost as strong and occurred before there was much global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels or widespread deforestation.

The outcome of the research was valuable for several reasons, Giese told Reuters from Perth in Western Australia.

"It questions the notion that El Ninos have been getting stronger because of global warming," he said ahead of a presentation of his team's research at a major climate change conference in Perth.

The 1918 event also co-incided with one of India's worst droughts of the 20th century.

"We know that El Ninos and drought in India are often related to each other," he said. (Reuters)

A Book Review: Red Hot Lies - 'How Global Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed' by Christopher C. Horner

Red Hot Lies is a tremendous addition to the list of books to study and research if one is to learn about the other side of global warming, namely the dominating and nasty politics of global warming lobby. The politics of the global warming issues completely dominate whatever residue of science that is involved. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

Global Warming and Ecosystem Species Richness: Will rising temperatures decimate earth's biosphere?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 686 individual scientists from 401 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Northeastern Caribbean Sea, South of Puerto Rico. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Coral Reefs (Bleaching - Responses: Symbiont Shuffling): Climate alarmists typically decry the bleaching of corals that often follows periods of anomalous warmth at various places around the globe. In doing so, however, they malign the very phenomenon that enables corals to "reinvent" themselves and adapt to global warming.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Oilseed Rape, Rice, Silver Dollar Gum, and Sour Orange Tree.

Journal Reviews:
Millennial-Scale Cycling of Climate, Southeast Scotland: What does it imply about the planet's current climatic status?

Gullies Galore in Slovakia: From whence and when did they come?

The Little Medieval Warm Period in Northeastern China: How did its warmth compare with that of the late 20th century?

Grassland Species Richness and Soil Carbon Sequestration: How does ecosystem biodiversity impact the rate at which carbon is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in the soils of grasslands?

Red Wines of the Future: Will their character be impacted by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations? (co2science.org)

Missouri utilities seek lawsuit cap on waste storage - JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri lawmakers are proposing to restrict lawsuits over potential problems caused by utilities that store carbon dioxide underground.

A Springfield utility is experimenting with storing the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 2,000 feet below ground in porous sandstone rock. The pilot project is designed to determine if carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas blamed by many for contributing to global warming - can be quarantined and prevented from entering the atmosphere.

Supporters of the project said Tuesday that some utilities are skittish about using techniques that are developed through that research because of uncertainty over the potential liability.

Gary Pendergrass, the project manager for City Utilities of Springfield, told the House Energy and Environment Committee that storing carbon dioxide underground is safe, calling the most severe potential problem a gradual trickling of the gas up through the rock.

But "no risk doesn't mean no lawsuits," Pendergrass said. (Associated Press)

Granted, they shouldn't face penalties for doing what legislators force them to do (although that didn't help say, tobacco companies penalized for flogging reduced tar cigarettes in accordance with government directives nor stop car companies from building too-small and fragile vehicles to meet fleet fuel mandates). Then again, they shouldn't be wasting a magnificent biosphere resource by locking it out of the carbon cycle in the first place.

The Future of the Brazilian Pre-Salt Oil Reserves - Ed note: Luiz Antonio Maia Espínola de Lemos works on oil and gas issues at TozziniFreire, Brazil’s largest law firm. Prior to joining the firm, he worked as a lawyer at Petrobras, where he was general counsel for one of the company’s subsidiaries. Lemos has written extensively on oil and gas regulation in Brazil. Parts of this article were published earlier this month on PRWeb.com. Given the importance of the Brazilian oil and gas business to the Western hemisphere, we asked Lemos’ public relations firm to expand on some of his comments. We have edited his comments for clarity and style. (Luiz Lemos, Energy Tribune)

UK Nat Grid To Cut Carbon Emissions 45 Pct By 2020 - LONDON - UK network operator National Grid said on Monday it planned to cut carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2020, and called on the government and industry to develop a route map for a low carbon economy.

"Despite the challenging economic conditions, we must not take our eye off the ball in tackling climate change," Chief Executive Steve Holliday said in a statement.

"We need a masterplan, with government, industry and consumer collaboration, to determine the route map for meeting government targets." (Reuters)

U.S. Interior Chief Touts Renewable Energy Zones - WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration is carving out renewable energy zones across the country and offshore, and is preparing to work with critics who object to wind turbines or solar farms near wilderness or tourist areas, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Tuesday.

"You have a map that starts out as a very huge map that shows you have the huge potential for solar energy in the Southwest but then you have to overlay that with areas such as national parks and national monuments, where we won't allow any development of renewable energy facilities," Salazar said.

He said planners also will figure out ways to obtain alternative energy while still protecting endangered species. (Reuters)

Where's the Transparency? - Energy Secretary Chu is on a roll and giving out millions as if he were the banker in Monopoly. The latest is $535 million in the form of a loan guarantee to solar company Solyndra, a deal that could be exposed to a little more sunlight, if you ask me. (Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore)

Chicago's 'green' promise fades - Chicago taxpayers on hook for carbon credits that do little to fight global warming

Mayor Richard Daley promised long ago that his administration would start fighting global warming by buying 20 percent of its electricity from wind farms and other sources of green energy.

But more than two years after the deadline he set, the city continues to get nearly all of its power from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

Daley administration officials contend they have kept the mayor's promise by buying carbon credits, a controversial way of offsetting pollution by paying money to producers of green energy. The credits are supposed to lower the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide sent into the atmosphere.

But most of the credits Chicago has bought over the last two years didn't reduce carbon emissions at all, energy experts and the city's own broker on the deal said. (Chicago Tribune)

Eye-roller: RSPB changes direction with call for more wind power - The RSPB fears that Britain may not meet its targets on renewable energy unless it builds more wind turbine farms

Conservationists who have been among the most vociferous opponents of wind power have called for more turbine farms to be built in the countryside.

Ornithologists at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have backed a report that is demanding a rapid increase in the number of wind turbines being built.

They are concerned that unless construction is speeded up there will be little chance of Britain meeting its 2020 targets on renewable energy and carbon reduction.

Britain is legally committed to increasing its use of renewables to 15 per cent of energy consumption by 2020, from about 3 per cent today, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 per cent based on 1990 levels.

The RSPB, which led the campaign to prevent the construction of a huge wind farm on the Isle of Lewis, is deeply worried by the damage that climate change is likely to wreak on wildlife habitats.

Rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions, especially of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, are expected to drive many birds and other wildlife away from the areas where they are found today. (The Times) | The Beeb's version

Getting pretty slippery, this slope: U.S. Seeks Expanded Power to Seize Firms - Goal Is to Limit Risk to Broader Economy

The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.

The government at present has the authority to seize only banks. (Washington Post)

Senate Democrats to scrap Obama's $400 tax credit - WASHINGTON --A top Democrat in the Senate announced a budget blueprint Tuesday that would scrap Barack Obama's signature tax cut after 2010 and blends sleight of hand with modest restraint on domestic programs to cut the deficit to sustainable levels.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., promises to reduce the deficit from a projected $1.7 trillion this year to a still-high $508 billion in 2014. But to do so, he assumes Congress will let Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit delivering $400 tax cuts to most workers and $800 to couples will expire at the end of next year. Those tax cuts were included in Obama's stimulus package.

Conrad, D-N.D., who has for decades sought to highlight the dangers of permanent deficits and rising government debt, produced a budget plan bristling with both -- even after proposing to require wealthier taxpayers to pay higher rates income and capital gains.

But Democrats point out that Obama inherited an unprecedented fiscal mess caused by the recession and the taxpayer-financed bailout of Wall St. Rather than retrenching, however, they still promise to award big budget increases to education and clean energy programs, while assuming Obama's plans to overhaul the U.S. health care system advance. (Associated Press)

National Service Corps Bill Clears Senate Hurdle - Following overwhelming House passage last week, the Senate tonight voted 74 to 14 on a procedural move that essentially guarantees a major expansion of a national service corps, a cornerstone of volunteerism that dates back to the era of President Kennedy. It’s akin to a call to arms by President Obama, who has harkened back to those early days to demand giving back by those who voted for him.

In fact, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the senior Democrat from Massachusetts whose battle with brain cancer has oft kept him absent from the Senate these days, appeared on the floor to welcomes all around as he cast his approving vote as a co-sponsor.

From President Kennedy’s days to the creation of Americorps by then President Bill Clinton, the notion of public service has become a rallying cry. Tonight’s vote, propelled by President Obama’s urging of an expansion, would mean a growth in such work from 75,000 community service jobs to 250,000.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the Senate bill at least would be an outlay for the fiscal year 2010 of $418 million to about $5.7 billion from 2010 through 2014. (New York Times)

Pleased to hear it: No problems with Nano, says UN climate change boss - LONDON: A key UN climate change official said on Monday Indians have the right to aspire to own cars - just as people in wealthy countries.

Speaking a day after the launch of the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), however said automobile makers should use more green technologies in order to meet the challenges of global warming.

"I am not concerned about it (the Tata Nano) because people in India have the same aspirational rights to own cars as people elsewhere in the world," de Boer told IANS at a press conference. (Economic Times)

Political theater reported as science: Australians Face Climate Change Relocation - Senior government officials in Victoria are warning residents of towns on the Murray River that they could become the first Australians to be displaced by climate change. The region has suffered at the hands of a long-running drought that many scientists and politicians have blamed on global warming. The very dry conditions have restricted the flow of water into a river that is part of the Murray-Darling Basin, which provides much of Australia's food, prompting dire warnings about the future. (VOA News)

Scientists find new solutions for the arsenic-poisoning crisis in Asia -- Every day, more than 140 million people in southern Asia drink groundwater contaminated with arsenic. Thousands of people in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar and Vietnam die of cancer each year from chronic exposure to arsenic, according to the World Health Organization. Some health experts call it the biggest mass poisoning in history. (PhysOrg.com)

March 24, 2009

Quick! Need a reason to charge more in a down-turn! Good ol' climate change... Climate-change damage may double cost of insurance - Weather-related problems have been underestimated by scientists

INSURANCE companies are set to raise their estimates for future premiums because of the effects of climate change.

Firms that operate in areas where floods and storms cause a growing amount of damage are likely to see the cost of cover rise by as much as 100% in the next 10 years.

The findings by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reflect a growing belief in the industry that the consequences of changes in weather patterns have been underestimated. (Sunday Times)

ANALYSIS - US States Anxious As Obama Shapes Climate Policy - SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK - US states have spearheaded moves to curb global warming and are not ready to pass the leadership baton to President Barack Obama.

Regional markets to trade air pollution credits, aimed at cutting emissions that heat the planet, could be overshadowed by a federal system Obama sees as central to his environmental policy.

But states plan to proceed with their own emission control programs until the White House and Congress pass a credible federal market mechanism such as "cap-and-trade" to meet Obama's targets for greenhouse gas cuts.

State officials say the federal program might never happen, or be too weak to help reduce the chances of catastrophic droughts, floods and heat waves from global warming. (Reuters)

We have no reason whatsoever to believe that adjusting human emissions of carbon dioxide to atmosphere will affect catastrophic droughts, floods or heatwaves.

When misanthropists come out to play: UK population must fall to 30m, says Porritt - JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), of which he is patron.

The trust will release research suggesting UK population must be cut to 30m if the country wants to feed itself sustainably.

Porritt said: “Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure.

“Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

Population growth is one of the most politically sensitive environmental problems. The issues it raises, including religion, culture and immigration policy, have proved too toxic for most green groups.

However, Porritt is winning scientific backing. Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, will use the OPT conference, to be held at the Royal Statistical Society, to warn that population growth could help derail attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (Sunday Times)

People still being sacrificed to climate god - Back in 1500, we learn from a Princeton professor, the Aztecs figured the climate debate was over, and that if you wanted rain or sunshine, it was simple enough what you had to do - sacrifice 20,000 lives a year to the right gods.

In 2009, it’s an equally sure thing in the minds of some that carbon in the air is going to fry us unless we put the welfare of millions on the line, and here is the latest on President Obama’s plan - it could cost industry $2 trillion over eight years.

That hefty sum to be paid out to a cap-and-trade carbon tax would snatch money from consumers far more than rising oil prices did, hinder economic growth and in still other ways generate human misery, and all in the name of what? Computer models that can’t get anything right, that’s what.

Scientists feed tons of data into these simulating computers, and - given the doomsday theory animating the enterprise - it shouldn’t surprise anyone that catastrophic warming is a calculation that then emerges. The problem is that all kinds of stuff is left out because there is a lot we do not know.

“Over the past 10 years there has been no global warming, and in fact a slight cooling,” physicist William Happer recently told the Senate. “This is not at all what was predicted by the IPCC models,” he said, referring to the conclusions of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Jay Ambrose, Boston Herald)

AP source: EPA says global warming a public danger - WASHINGTON - The White House is reviewing a proposed finding by the U.S. environmental agency that global warming is a threat to public health and welfare.

Such a declaration by the Environmental Protection Agency would be the first step to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the U.S. Clean Air Act law and could have broad economic and environmental ramifications. It also would likely spur action by Congress to address climate change more broadly.

The White House acknowledged Monday that the EPA had transmitted its proposed finding on global warming to the Office of Management and Budget, but provided no details. It also cautioned that the Obama administration, which sees responding to climate change a top priority, nevertheless is ready to move cautiously when it comes to actually regulating greenhouse gases, preferring to have Congress act on the matter. (AP)

The Coming Green Burden - What one hand giveth, the other taketh away. The federal stimulus bill will reportedly net the average American $13 a week. Today, Michigan’s two major utilities announced that federal green emissions mandates will in part necessitate an 11 percent electric rate hike this year — or approximately $10 a month to the average Michigander.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the bills that are coming due on the “greening of America. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

Thatcher’s Science Adviser To GOP: Fighting Global Warming Is Winning Issue - “Connecting with ordinary people as opposed to the chattering classes, and standing up to the Goebbels-like persistent noise from the liberal media on global warming is imperative for Republicans. If they can do this and make the case that environmental regulation dealing with this issue will hurt the middle-class and the poor, then they can win [in 2010].”

That was the message Lord Chrisopher Monckton -- the man who was science adviser to Great Britain’s Margaret Thatcher -- delivered last week to Republican Members of Congress and several prominent U.S. conservatives last week.

Lord Monckton made his case that global warming is grossly exaggerated by liberal academics and politicians. Moreover, the forthcoming Treaty of Copenhagen -- successor to the Kyoto Protocols Al Gore made famous -- will mean dramatic losses of sovereignty and jobs for nations like Britain and the U.S.. (John Gizzi, Human Events)

Warning! Plants grow well with warmth and carbon dioxide! Scientists find climate change to have paradoxical effects in coastal wetlands - Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is largely responsible for recent global warming and the rise in sea levels. However, a team of scientists, including two Smithsonian ecologists, have found that this same increase in CO2 may ironically counterbalance some of its negative effects on one of the planet's most valuable ecosystems—wetlands. The team's findings are being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 23. (Smithsonian)

We just don't know how they do it...

Boston Underwater? - Boston, you have been warned. Sea levels are rising , and if one of the IPCC’s five scenarios is correct, the world’s oceans will rise somewhere between 18 and 59 cm (7 to 23 inches) by 2100. If that isn’t terrifying enough for the people living on the New England coast, the Boston Globe now tells us that the ocean near Boston will rise 8 inches more than the world average. How will the hapless rubes of Boston cope with this onslaught of Atlantic water?

I wouldn’t lose too much sleep worrying about the folks in Boston when it comes to pushing back against the ocean. (Climate Sanity)

The incredible shrinking polar bear? - Commentary follows the article below

Polar bears are shrinking, along with the ice on which they live – and are turning to cannibalism – as global warming increasingly stops them getting enough to eat. Scientists say the animals are now only two-thirds as big as they were 30 years ago as melting ice makes it harder for them to catch seals, and that they have begun to hunt each other instead. (Greenie Watch)

Carbon trading 'undermined by boom and bust' - A shake-up in the way the "boom and bust" carbon markets are working in Europe is being urged ahead of tomorrow's auction of new emission certificates by the UK government.

The Carbon Trust, which is funded by government money, and the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers argue that some kind of floor price or carbon tax might have to be put in place to prevent the EU's emissions trading scheme (ETS) being discredited by a further collapse in prices, which have already slumped from €30 per tonne to just over €10.

As ministers prepare to raise money by selling off more carbon certificates to –polluting companies, Michael Grubb, economist at the Carbon Trust, said the ETS was being badly undermined by volatility and uncertainty as the financial crisis ate into a scheme that was meant to fight global warming.

"Very low carbon prices could wreak much damage on the credibility of emissions trading and undermine the EU's attempts to form a platform of leadership in the [forthcoming] Copenhagen [climate change] negotiations," Grubb said. (The Guardian)

What credibility?

EU Urges Swifter Action On Climate, Pledges Funds - BRUSSELS - The European Union will surmount internal disputes and honour pledges to help poor states tackle climate change, the bloc's environment chief said on Friday, urging other rich regions to make clear their goals.

The call by Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas echoed a warning this week by United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer, who expressed concern over the slow progress being made before climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Success at the meeting hinges on whether rich nations can agree a fund worth tens of billions of dollars annually to persuade poor countries to tackle the problem. (Reuters)

Nations Start to Agree on Paying for Climate Pledges - March 23 -- Nations are starting to agree on how rich countries could help pay for greenhouse-gas reduction and climate-change adaptation in developing markets, the United Nations said.

A proposed registry would list “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” by developing countries such as China and India and match them with pledges of financial and technological support by developed nations, the UN said in a document on the Web site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (Bloomberg)

Third world must commit to reductions to get EU climate cash - BRUSSELS - European Union leaders are adamant that the developing world must commit to carbon reductions if the EU is to stump up cash for making the adaptation measures to deal with climate change, the Danish prime minister said on Thursday (19 March). (EUobserver)

EU Backtracks from Climate Change Aid, Looks to US for Greater Contribution - After committing to the formation of a climate change fund for the poor countries at the 2007 Bali conference, the European Union is finding itself in a fix over how to raise the billions needed to assist the poor countries acquire the new cleaner technology from the developed nations. (Red Green and Blue)

Cooler Heads Digest 20 March 2009

Alarmists turn blind eye to global warming benefits–again - [Today], the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the national security threats from melting Arctic ice. Greenwire (subscription required), the Online environmental news service, explains the rationale for the hearing:

In a report last year, the European Commission warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must be prepared for an intensified “scramble for resources” as melting glaciers and sea ice open up previously inaccessible areas to exploitation. The report explicitly expressed concerns over “long term relations with Russia,” (ClimateWire, April 2, 2008).

Now, opening up ”previously inaccessible” areas to oil and gas development could also be a font of economic and national security benefits. One thing we know for sure about Arctic mineral resources–they aren’t owned by Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Venezuela, and never will be controlled by OPEC.

Yes, there will be competition for those resources, but since when is competition an automatic negative for the USA? (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

New Sun-Watching Instrument To Monitor Sunlight Fluctuations - During the Maunder Minimum, a period of diminished solar activity between 1645 and 1715, sunspots were rare on the face of the sun, sometimes disappearing entirely for months to years. At the same time, Earth experienced a bitter cold period known as the "Little Ice Age."

Were the events connected? Scientists cannot say for sure, but it's quite likely. Slowdowns in solar activity - evidenced by reductions in sunspot numbers - are known to coincide with decreases in the amount of energy discharged by the sun.

During the Little Ice Age, though, few would have thought to track total solar irradiance (TSI), the amount of solar energy striking Earth's upper atmosphere. In fact, the scientific instrument needed to make such measurements - a spaceborne radiometer - was still three centuries into the future.

Modern scientists have several tools for studying TSI. Since the 1970s, scientists have relied upon a collection of radiometers on American and European spacecraft to keep a close eye on solar fluctuations from above the atmosphere, which intercepts much of the sun's radiation.

When NASA launches the Glory satellite this fall (no earlier than October 2009), researchers will have a more accurate instrument for measuring TSI than they've ever had before. (SPX)

Interesting but TSI is far from the whole story. Check the little energy balance model in this page to see how small differences in TOA irradiance make little difference to global mean temperature calculations (Lean et al suggest a mere 3 Wm-2 difference). Small changes in albedo from increased cloudiness and more persistent snow & ice fields, however, coupled with a small reduction in greenhouse effect from reduced evaporation and an increase in atmospheric moisture flocculating to droplets (thus increasing clear sky transmission of OLR) do make an obvious difference. This is why the Svensmark Effect is so important.

Aussie climate indoctrination campaign: $20m climate change project announced - A $20 million science program will help Australia's neighbours understand the impacts of climate change on the region, Minister Penny Wong says. (AAP)

Scientists drill deep into Greenland ice for global warming clues from Eemian Period - Scientists are to dig up ice dating back more than 100,000 years in an attempt to shed light on how global warming will change the world over the next century.

The ice, at the bottom of the Greenland ice sheet, was laid down at a time when temperatures were 3C (5.4F) to 5C warmer than they are today.

With temperatures forecast to rise by up to 7C in the next 100 years, the ice more than 8,000ft (2,400m) below the surface is thought by researchers to hold valuable clues to how much of the ice sheet will melt.

Drilling will start in northern Greenland during the summer in an international project involving researchers from 18 countries to extract ice cores covering the Eemian Period.

The Eemian began 130,000 years ago, ending 15,000 years later, and is the most recent time in the Earth's past when temperatures resembled those that can be expected if greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control.

Carbon dioxide, methane and other chemicals trapped in the ice can provide a detailed picture of the atmosphere and the climate thousands of years ago.

Fragments of organic matter can offer details about animals and plants alive when the ice formed, while particles of dirt can indicate forest fires, tundra fires and volcanic activity.

Analysis of the ice should provide the first measurement of CO2 levels over Greenland during the Eemian and the most detailed analysis yet achieved of climate indicators from the period. (The Times)

With temperatures forecast to rise by up to 7C in the next 100 years? Sheesh!

New Report Predicts "New Global Ice Age" - ROCKVILLE, MD--Mar 23, 2009 -- MarketResearch.com has announced the addition of Unit Economics' new report "The New Global Ice Age," to their collection of Energy/Environment market reports. For more information.

Abstract of Unit Economics' Report: "New Global Ice Age"

"At first glance, a research piece predicting significantly colder weather seems rather bold. In reality, we're very confident about this report. That's because we are not so much predicting colder weather, but are instead observing it. More important, we're attempting to coax our readers to view recent weather data and trends with a neutral perspective -- unbiased by the constant barrage of misinformation about global warming. We assure you, based on the accuracy of climatologists' long-term (and short-term!) forecasts, you would not even hire them!

"For example, in 1923 a Chicago Tribune headline proclaimed: 'Scientist says arctic ice will wipe out Canada.' By 1952, the New York Times declared 'Melting glaciers are the trump card of global warming.' In 1974, Time Magazine ran a feature article predicting 'Another Ice Age,' echoed in a Newsweek article the following year. Clearly, the recent history of climate prediction inspires little confidence -- despite its shrillness. Why, then, accept the global warming thesis at face value? Merely because it is so pervasive?

"Unfettered by the Gore-Tex straitjacket of global warming dogma, one might ask some obvious questions. Why, in 2008, did Toronto, the Midwest United States, India, China, the United Kingdom and several areas of Europe all break summer rainfall records? Why was South Africa converted into a 'winter wonderland' this past September? Why did Alaska record its coldest summer this year -- cold enough for ice packs and glaciers to grow for the first time in measured history? Why has sea ice achieved record levels in recent months? Lastly, why did a rare October snow fall on London, on the 29th, as British Parliament debated -- appropriately enough -- a climate bill? If you don't believe that 2008 has been particularly wet and cold, you've most likely contracted typhoid or you haven't been paying attention.

"The reality is that there are forces at work, already affecting the weather for the past two years, that will make the next twelve years significantly cooler than anything we have seen in past decades. This report explores these forces and provides a roadmap of what to expect as the new ice age unfolds." (MARKET WIRE)

Linking Climate Change in Siberia and Britain -- Scientists have for first time demonstrated a critical link between the Siberian climate and the circulation of the major current system which gives us our mild winters here in the UK. This new understanding of what is happening, made by Bangor University scientists working on a Natural Environment Research Council research programme led by University College London, is explained in the prestigious American journal, Geophysical Research Letters. (PhysOrg.com)

Shocker: 'Global warming' simply no longer happening - Temperatures dropping, fewer hurricanes, arctic ice growing, polar bear population up

WASHINGTON – This may come as bad news for Al Gore.

The modest global warming trend has stopped – maybe even reversed itself.

And it's not just the record low temperatures experienced in much of the world this winter.

For at least the last five years, global temperatures have been falling, according to tracking performed by Roy Spencer, the climatologist formerly of NASA.

"Global warming" was going to bring more and more horrific hurricanes, climate change scientists and the politicians who subscribed to their theories said. But since 2005, only one major hurricane has struck North America. (WorldNetDaily)

Hmm... Lessons of the Exxon Valdez - Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of one of this country’s great ecological disasters. The Exxon Valdez slammed into Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil, damaging 1,300 miles of shoreline, disrupting the livelihoods of thousands of Americans and fouling one of the country’s richest fishing grounds.

More than $2 billion has been spent on cleanup and recovery. Exxon has paid at least $1 billion in damages. Supertankers have been made safer with double hulls, emergency teams given better equipment. Some fish species, though not all, have recovered.

Yet the Exxon Valdez still sends a powerful cautionary message: oil development, however necessary, is an inherently risky, dirty business — especially so in the forbidding waters of the Arctic.

The White House should keep that in mind as it maps out its energy strategy. While rightly emphasizing conservation, efficiency and renewable energy, President Obama has said that oil and gas drilling in America’s coastal waters will be part of the mix. The challenge is to do it right, and do it carefully. (New York Times)

... the big lesson would seem to be that more damage was done by the panicked 'clean-up' than by the oil. Which is the more dangerous, leakage of a natural compound or the enviros' response to it?

Governor goes for the green - Gov. David Paterson has now alienated every major constituency in New York politics. Given his low public approval rate, the latest misstep—angering environmentalists — is especially notable.

The New York Times reported on March 5 that the governor cut a secret deal with dirty electricity producers last autumn. The governor reportedly agreed to increase the number of free global warming pollution allowances granted power generators under the terms of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as RGGI. This 10-state compact is designed to moderately lower emissions over time from fossil fuel-fired power plants through a cap-and-trade arrangement. The ceiling on emissions is translated into a fixed number of permits to pollute (the cap), known as allowances. Each allowance authorizes a dirty power plant to emit one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common greenhouse gas. The invention and auctioning of these allowances created a market, where allowances are bought and sold (the trade).

RGGI is seen by many as a precursor to a national, comprehensive cap and trade system. It took years of delicate negotiations, compromises and much hard work for the 10 states to bring RGGI into being on Jan. 1. Paterson's apparent decision invites similar tinkering from the other states, thus endangering the overall program. (Times-Union)

INTERVIEW - Pennsylvania Says Natgas Drilling Risks Inevitable - PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania's top environmental official said Friday that a natural gas drilling boom would inevitably result in some environmental damage including possible contamination of water supplies.

Responding to concerns that drilling in some areas has caused toxic chemicals to pollute drinking water, John Hanger said the value of the gas underlying Pennsylvania and parts of surrounding states outweighed damage drilling may cause.

"You can't do a large amount of drilling and have zero impact," Hanger, acting secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Protection, told Reuters. "There's going to be a lot of good that comes from drilling in Pennsylvania, but there are also going to be some problems." (Reuters)

Coal — our first and last choice? - Alaskans face trouble with natural gas, oil

Two important energy anniversaries stand out for Alaskans this year. One celebrates Colonel Edwin Drake’s first extraction of crude oil from underground reservoirs 150 years ago in Titusville, Penn. And 300 years ago, British inventor Abraham Darby invented the process to make coke, a charcoal-like fuel made from coal, which is used to make steel. Darby’s invention was instrumental in the Industrial Revolution.

Thus Drake’s oil technology and Darby’s coal technology influence Alaska’s energy-based economy to this day, though most people looking at the pace of technological progress in the 20th century would never have dreamed that those inventions still would be so important. You’d think nuclear fusion or some sort of high-tech energy field that could fuel flying cars and propel spacecraft to the stars would have superseded these antiquated processes by now.

On these 300th and 150th anniversaries, the world faces an energy dilemma: Should the global economy try to substitute natural gas and nuclear power for oil, or simply use coal? Similarly, Fairbanks faces its own dilemma: Should Interior Alaskans wait for natural gas to arrive in Fairbanks or just switch from fuel oil to coal? (Doug Reynolds, News-Miner)

The Solar and Renewable Utopia - “We know the right thing to do,” said President Barack Obama at his press conference on energy this afternoon. “We’ve known the right choice for a generation. The time has come to make that choice and act on what we know. . . . We have achieved more in two months for a clean energy economy than we have done in perhaps 30 years.”

Thirty years, that would be . . . hmmm . . . 1979, right? Wasn’t that the year — yes, it was. That was the date when Jimmy Carter finally got his Grand Energy Plan through Congress, setting us the road to corn ethanol, the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, and a host of other harebrained schemes.

Carter Redux, that’s the only way to put it. After 30 years out of power, the purveyors of the Solar and Renewable Utopia are back. We’re going to develop windmills, make solar panels affordable, and redesign buildings so they use only half as much energy — in theory, at least. The subtext, of course, is this — we won’t have to deal with coal, nuclear, or any of those other nasty technologies that aren’t “clean and renewable.”

So what’s wrong with this picture? Well, the problem is that 30 years hasn’t changed the physics of things like the intensity of sunlight or wind power. Nuclear power has 2 million times the energy density of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are again about ten times as dense as wind and solar. Multiply it out and that comes to a factor of 20 million. How does this manifest itself? Well, in the amount of land that will be required to collect all that solar and wind energy before we can begin using it. (William Tucker, Planet Gore)

A genuinely admirable 'Swedish model'? Sweden Says No to Saving Saab - TROLLHATTAN, Sweden — Saab Automobile may be just another crisis-ridden car company in an industry full of them. But just as the fortunes of Flint, Mich., are permanently entangled with General Motors, so it is impossible to find anyone in this city in southwest Sweden who is not somehow connected to Saab.

Which makes it all the more wrenching that the Swedish government has responded to Saab’s desperate financial situation by saying, essentially, tough luck. Or, as the enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, put it recently, “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.”

Such a view might seem jarring, coming as it does from a country with a reputation for a paternalistic view of workers and companies. The “Swedish model” for dealing with a banking crisis — nationalizing the banks, recapitalizing them and selling them — has been much debated lately in the United States, with free-market defenders warning of a slippery slope of Nordic socialism.

But Sweden has a right-leaning government, elected in 2006 after a long period of Social Democratic rule, that prefers market forces to state intervention and ownership. (New York Times)

Lignol's Ethanol Ambitions Fuelled By Fresh Funding - OTTAWA - Lignol Energy has scored a fresh round of government funding that the tiny company hopes will advance its big ambition of making fuel and valuable chemicals from forest and farm waste.

Lignol will use the C$1.8 million (US$1.4 million) to fine tune its biorefinery in Vancouver, British Columbia, and further test its technology, which produces both cellulosic ethanol and chemicals from biomass.

Cellulosic ethanol is produced from such feedstock as wood or corn stalks, as opposed to traditional ethanol made from the starch in corn, wheat or other grains.

It is more challenging and time-consuming to make cellulosic ethanol, says the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, but studies indicate it is more effective in reducing greenhouse gas than traditional ethanol. (Reuters)

Reuters Summit - Economic Recovery May Rekindle Food/Fuel Debate - CHICAGO - The steep drop in energy prices from last year's peaks has cooled the food-versus-fuel debate for the moment, but the battle may be rekindled by an eventual global economic recovery or energy price rebound.

The push to produce more biofuels like corn-based ethanol or biodiesel made from soybean oil or palm oil helped drive prices of raw food commodities to record highs last year, prompting double-digit food price inflation in some countries.

It also set off a debate over the morality of using food crops to make fuel while millions around the world go hungry. (Reuters)

Indonesia's Sinar Mas Defends Palm Oil Expansion - JAKARTA - Sinar Mas Group, one of Indonesia's top palm oil growers, denied on Friday accusations that its activities were damaging the environment and said it would stick to plans to expand its plantations.

Greenpeace activists have targeted Sinar Mas in a recent campaign for contributing to deforestation in Indonesia, which is blamed as a key source greenhouse gas emissions in the Southeast Asian country. (Reuters)

Defective premises tend to recur in new settings” - A new experimental program at a nonconventional “lifestyle medicine” center is targeting pregnant women who are Black and Hispanic minority, poor and fat. These women are being enrolled into a free health program which tells them it will benefit them and their unborn babies and make their babies healthier.

No mention is made in the patient literature that, by the soundest clinical evidence to date, compared to the standard of care, the program’s alternative interventions have been shown to lead to poorer chances of survival for babies, higher rates of spontaneous preterm births, and to put babies at greater risk for serious physical and neurological health problems and learning disabilities. There is no indication that these underprivileged minority women are giving their informed consent or are aware they are participants in human experiments that could endanger their unborn babies.

Why has no one cared to notice? The answer to that question is even more disquieting…. (Junkfood Science)

New analysis confirms vitamin D bone benefits - NEW YORK - Older people can prevent fractures by taking vitamin D supplements, a new study confirms, as long as they use a high enough dose-and keep taking it.

"Everyone age 65 and older should take vitamin D in a dose close to 800 IU per day, best as vitamin D3, and with good adherence," Dr. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari of the University of Zurich, one of the researchers on the study, told Reuters Health. And it wouldn't be a bad idea for younger adults to follow this recommendation too, she added. "I think if you are young and want to do something early for your bone health that's something to think about."

Recent studies had called into question the benefit of vitamin D for bone health, Bischoff-Ferrari and her team note in the Archives of Internal Medicine, but some of these investigations had not accounted for adherence to supplement use. In one of the studies, the researcher pointed out in an interview, less than half of the people randomized to take vitamin D were actually doing so 2 years later. (Reuters Health)

Vitamin D insufficiency on the rise in US - NEW YORK - More than three out of four Americans aren't getting enough vitamin D, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows, which could be boosting their risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and early death.

While evidence for the importance of vitamin D for many aspects of health has been piling up over the past few years, vitamin D insufficiency has actually become more common, Dr. Adit A. Ginde of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine in Aurora and his colleagues found. (Reuters Health)

Oh my... Study Finds Eating Red Meat Contributes to Risk of Early Death - Eating red meat increases the chances of dying prematurely, according to a large federal study that offers powerful new evidence that a diet that regularly includes steaks, burgers and pork chops is hazardous to your health.

The study of more than 500,000 middle-age and elderly Americans found that those who consumed the equivalent of about a small hamburger every day were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.

Previous research had found a link between red meat and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, but the new study is the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall mortality. (Rob Stein, Washington Post)

... leaving aside the quaintness of assessing elderly Americans for their risk of 'early death'[!] we... Nah, I can't... What constitutes 'early death' in an elderly person? How is that quantified? Never mind...

They claim to have found 10-year mortality RR1.3 (so what?) associated with a diet containing red meat but what does that tell us? Actually nothing -- it could be that people needing more iron in their diet and thus exhibiting a preference for red meat don't live quite as long as people who don't. Would I trade steaks for a trivially reduced mortality risk in my twilight years? No chance!

European Lab Accidents Raise Biosecurity Concerns - GENEVA/CHICAGO - Lab accidents involving bird flu and Ebola viruses have increased biosecurity fears in Europe, where public health experts say research on dangerous pathogens needs to be more strictly monitored.

A scientist in Germany last week pricked herself with a needle that was believed to be contaminated with a strain of the Ebola haemorrhagic virus with a mortality rate of around 90 percent. She is still under observation in hospital.

That accident added to public health concerns following the recent disclosure that deadly H5N1 bird flu virus samples were mixed with seasonal flu samples at a Baxter International contracted laboratory in Austria.

Health authorities and industry groups reviewing European lab safety standards concluded in a new report that scientists and managers needed to be better trained in ways to prevent, handle and report such incidents. (Reuters)

Lethal air pollution booms in emerging nations - International experts are warning that potentially lethal air pollution has boomed in fast-growing big cities in Asia and South America in recent decades.

While Europe has managed to drastically cut some, but not all, of the most noxious pollutants over the past 20 years, emerging nations experienced the opposite trend with their fast economic growth, scientists at the UN's meteorological agency said.

Their comments came ahead of World Meteorological Day on Monday, which this year has the theme "The Air We Breathe". (AFP)

Deadly Nerve Toxin Affecting Deep Ocean Creatures - CHICAGO - A nerve toxin produced by marine algae off California appears to affect creatures in the deep ocean, posing a greater threat that previously thought, US researchers said on Sunday.

Surface blooms of the algae known as Pseudo-nitzschia can generate dangerously high levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin blamed for bizarre bird attacks dramatized in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film "The Birds."

"It's a natural neurotoxin. It is produced by a diatom, which is a phytoplankton. As other animals eat this phytoplankton, like sardines or anchovies, this toxin can be transferred up the food chain," said Emily Sekula-Wood, a doctoral student at the University of South Carolina whose study appears in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Domoic acid has been linked to deaths of sea lions, whales and other marine animals and people who eat large quantities of shellfish. (Reuters)

U.S. Chamber unveils NIMBY Watch Web site - Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce unveiled a NIMBY-Watch Web site called Project No Project .

With case studies from more than 30 states, Project No Project chronicles how NIMBY (”not in my backyard”) activists “block energy projects by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and bleeding projects dry of their financing.” Many of the projects blocked are not coal plants but alternative energy projects or infrastructure often touted as “green.”

The site invites readers to provide examples from their own locales of NIMBY efforts to block or stall energy-related projects.

Proponents of “green jobs” should be concerned as much as free-market and property-rights advocates, because ”stimulus” projects are vulnerable to the same NIMBY tactics that, for example, have immobilized the Cape Wind Project in Nantucket, Mass. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Academic Study Challenges Projections of Green Jobs - New Analysis Calls Into Question Widespread Claims on Potential Economic, Employment and Environmental Benefits Promoted by Special Interest Groups, Industry Associations and International Organizations

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., March 16 -- Academics and researchers from four U.S. universities (biographies below) today released a joint study, Seven Myths About Green Jobs, that analyzes the assumptions, findings and methodologies of green jobs projections and benefits put forth in reports issued by several special interest groups, industry associations and international organizations which have subsequently been widely referenced by government officials, policymakers and the media. (PRNewswire)

It won't all be wasted then: Stimulus Ideals Conflict on the Texas Prairie - WALLER, Tex. — Over the years the Katy Prairie has survived the cattle ranchers who tamed its fields, the rice farmers who cleared its wildflowers and tall grasses, and even the encroachment of Houston, some 30 miles to the east, whose spiraling outward growth turned most of the formerly lonesome prairie into subdivisions and strip malls.

Now the prairie is facing a new threat: the federal stimulus law.

Texas plans to spend $181 million of its federal stimulus money on building a 15-mile, four-lane toll road — from Interstate 10 to Highway 290 and right through the prairie — that will eventually form part of an outer beltway around greater Houston called the Grand Parkway.

The road exemplifies an unintended effect of the stimulus law: an administration that opposes suburban sprawl is giving money to states for projects that are almost certain to exacerbate it. (New York Times)

Trade Barriers Rise as Slump Tightens Grip - WASHINGTON — After repeated pledges by world leaders to avoid erecting trade barriers, protectionism is on the march, provoking nasty trade disputes and undermining efforts to plot a coordinated response to the deepest global economic downturn since World War II.

From a looming battle with China over tariffs on carbon-intensive goods to a spat over Mexican trucks using American roads, barriers are going up around the world. As the recession’s grip tightens, these pressures are likely to intensify, several experts said. (New York Times)

As Climate Changes, Is Water The New Oil? - WASHINGTON - If water is the new oil, is blue the new green?

Translation: if water is now the kind of precious commodity that oil became in the 20th century, should delivery of clean water be the same sort of powerful political force as the environmental movement in an age of climate change?

And, in another sense of green, is there money to be made in a time of water scarcity?

The answer to both questions, according to environmental activists watching a global forum on water, is yes. (Reuters)

Sin aqua non - Dams are making a comeback

IT WAS political theatre as usual. Two demonstrators from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called International Rivers disrupted the opening ceremony of the fifth World Water Forum, a week-long gathering in Istanbul of the great and good who work on matters watery which concludes on Sunday March 22nd. The demonstrators unfurled a banner saying “No Risky Dams” in metre-high letters. They were detained and thrown out of the country.

It might have happened at any international gathering any time in the past ten years. Yet this time, the demonstration was misleading. Behind the scenes at the forum opposition was ebbing: dams are making a come back. “We need the water-storage capacity,” says Olcay Ünver, the co-ordinator of this year’s “Water Development Report”, a flagship publication of the conference. “We need more dams.”

Dam has been a dirty word for years. In 1994, 2,000 NGOs signed the Manibeli declaration calling for a moratorium on dam-building by the World Bank, then the largest financier of barrages. By the time of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 1997, the damning of dams was almost complete. The bank and big donors such as Britain’s Department for International Development scaled back support for dams; in that year, the World Commission on Dams was set up which attempted to impose severe constraints on dam-builders. The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) says the number of dams completed annually fell by more than half between 1980 and 2000, to just over 200. (The Economist)

INTERVIEW - Germany Considers Local Bans On GMO Crops - Minister - BERLIN - Germany is considering permitting regional bans on cultivation of crops with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said on Friday.

GMO crops approved as safe by the European Union can be cultivated anywhere in the bloc.

But Aigner signalled that Germany might join several other EU member states which have imposed controversial GMO cultivation bans in the face of EU approvals.

"In the long term I do not believe that a national ban on cultivation is the correct route," she told Reuters. "Opinions in the federal republic (of Germany) differ greatly about this."

"I believe it would be more sensible to transfer the decision about the cultivation of genetically modified organisms to the regions." (Reuters)

March 23, 2009

Sad day for science, America and the world: Senate confirms two climate experts - WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed on Thursday two leading experts on climate change to represent top scientific positions in the government.

John Holdren became the president's science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Jane Lubchenco will lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Both have advocated sharp government action on climate change policy and are former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation's largest science organization. (Associated Press)

Welcome to Green Hell, Where You’re All a Bunch of Slaves - If you thought the global warming climate clowns were bad before Obama ascended to the throne, you ain’t seen nothing yet with our new chartreuse Commander in Chief. Of course Barack, personally or professionally, won’t go green because it’s too “inconvenient” and way too expensive for his gig, but for us serfs schlepping in Obamaland we will have to worship the turf because, you see, we’re murdering the earth. Quit laughing. This is serious. I said quit laughing. The earth is dying, and it ain’t funny. (Doug Giles, Townhall)

VIDEO: Inhofe Explains Cap and Trade on Fox News - The day after delivering a floor speech on the economic dangers of the Administration's cap and trade program, Senator Inhofe appeared on Fox News to reveal the projected costs. (EPW)

ABC's Stephanopoulos Declares Cap and Trade Dead for 2009 - If you needed some good news to brighten your Saturday evening, this could be it: ABC's George Stephanopoulos believes Democrats have abandoned their goal of enacting a carbon cap and trade program this year.

For those unfamiliar, this is a scheme backed by global warming alarmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore designed to place prohibitive taxes on emitters of that dastardly carbon dioxide.

Most rational economists not under Gore's influence believe such a plan would have a devastating effect on our economy, and would likely force companies to continue exporting manufacturing jobs to countries like China and India which don't have such business unfriendly practices.

Fortunately, according to Stephanopoulos, this idea has been scrapped for the time being. (NewsBusters)

Carbon-Market Backers Split Over Obama Climate Plan - March 19 -- Barack Obama’s proposal to charge billions of dollars for pollution permits has divided businesses, environmentalists and Democrats all needed to help pass a U.S. law to limit climate damage from greenhouse gases.

The president, top members of his party, some Republicans, and corporations such as General Electric Co. and Duke Energy Corp. all support fighting global warming through setting up a European-style market for trading permits to release carbon dioxide. They disagree on whether companies should have to buy the government-issued allowances or, at least at first, get them for free in the proposed cap-and-trade system. (Bloomberg)

Senators may block Obama on emissions - WASHINGTON -- Michigan's senators, reliable allies of President Barack Obama, are emerging as potential obstacles to one of his top budget priorities.

Both have raised major questions about a cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions. Last week, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, joined a handful of more moderate Senate Democrats in opposing a procedural move that could make it easier for such a system to become law.

And Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing criticized the administration for tying new money for energy research -- some of which could help the auto industry -- to passage of a cap-and-trade plan.

The issue once again puts Michigan lawmakers who are generally friendly toward the party's priorities closer to the party's moderates, and even Republicans, on a debate affecting Michigan and the auto industry. (Detroit News)

The Challenge Ahead: More than a Third of Senate Now "Swing" Vote on Climate - A high hurdle: of the 36 Senators identified as swing votes, all but seven must be convinced to vote "Yes" in order to secure passage of any climate policy in the U.S. Senate. (Breakthrough Institute)

Think we should encourage Senators to hold the line? Have your say and register your vote here.

Regarding the Economics of Environmentalism, A Response to CAP’s Brad Johnson - Over at the Center for American Progress, Brad Johnson, my sometimes interlocutor, takes issue with a recent Gallup poll for giving a “false choice between environmental protection and economic growth.” The subject of Johnson’s analysis is a report on the Gallup website that says,

“For the first time in Gallup’s 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority”

Mr. Johnson asserts that the Gallup’s poll is flawed because the question is inaccurate. According to Mr. Johnson, there is no trade-off between economic growth and environmental protection. We can have our cake and eat it, too, implies Mr. Johnson, and he cites two studies to prove his point.

His evidence, however, is far from convincing. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Oh dear... Cash shortage hinders climate battle - At the end of their two-day summit in Brussels last week, European leaders pledged to pay a “fair share” to developing nations to help them fight global warming and adapt to its consequences. Yet they failed to deliver the one thing that environmentalists most desired: money.

The omission of a specific contribution, as well as unresolved questions about how the EU would pay for it, has become the latest stumbling block along the path to a global climate deal that world leaders will try to negotiate at Copenhagen in December. “The risk is that with the delay, the negotiations will not make significant progress. The developing nations are only willing to take further steps when there is money on the table,” said Joris den Blanken, a policy analyst at Greenpeace.

The money issue, Mr den Blanken said, had overshadowed other elements of the meeting’s final communiqué that environmentalists should applaud – including a commitment to create a global carbon trading market. (Financial Times)

... FT doesn't get it at all. It is true there are a few loopies who genuinely believe carbon constitutes a threat to carbon-based life forms (don't ask) but the bottom line for most of those involved in the great carbon scam is exactly that -- the bottom line, or how much they can get out of it.

Something else he misunderstands: Prince Charles says climate change is a bigger issue than the global financial crisis - PRINCE Charles said he finds it "depressing" that his frequent warnings over climate change have not been heeded.

The Prince of Wales added, though, that he was "delighted'' that it seemed people had begun to realise that he had in fact been ringing the alarm over a serious issue and not "complete nonsense''. (Agence France-Presse)

AGW Ignorance Depresses Prince Charles - Last week Prince Charles said that our current financial crisis was “nothing ” compared to the horrors of global warming. This week he says it is “depressing” that his ravings about climate change have not been heeded.

Prince Charles is flying around South America in a private jet and giving speeches about being depressed about global warming. Yes he is. Really. (Larrey Anderson, American Thinker)

The Malthusian question - Spring, the season of fertility, began yesterday, yet it is warnings of scarcity that are notably abundant. John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser, warned this week of a "perfect storm", with food, water and energy all dangerously depleted by 2030, thanks to population growth and rising prosperity. Next week the Optimum Population Trust will hold a conference at the Royal Statistical Society, arguing that the planet has room for 5 billion people at the most, and that the United Kingdom should be home to no more than about 18 million.

Such figures are unhelpful: they describe an alternative planet with an entirely notional history. Thomas Malthus, who warned that population growth would outstrip food supply, has been dismissed because food production has more or less kept up with population growth. That is one reason why we are all here, and why some are clinically obese.

But the Malthusian question has stimulated argument about the Earth's carrying capacity, which depends as much on human optimism as on ingenuity. "If the world's population had the productivity of the Swiss, the consumption habits of the Chinese, the egalitarian instincts of the Swedes, and the social discipline of the Japanese, then the planet could support many times its current population without privation for anyone," wrote Lester C Thurow in the very different world of 1986. (The Guardian)

Global Warming Alarmists Propose Limiting Population ... to the Point of Extinction - In a statistical study entitled “Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals,” published in Global Environmental Change by Murtaugh and Shlax of Oregon State University, and again published here , the authors propose that the potential savings from reduced reproduction rates among humans are some 20 times more effective than the savings wrought by life style changes. (Gregory Young, American Thinker)

Britain set to become most populous country in EU - Soaring population will force millions to flee water shortages in search of refuge - and, according to new figures, Britain will be one of the world's 'lifeboats'. On the eve of a major population conference, Science Editor Robin McKie asks: could the UK cope?

Britain will become one of the world's major destinations for immigrants as the world heats up and populations continue to soar. Statistics from the United Nations show that, on average, every year more than 174,000 people will be added to the numbers in the UK and that this trend will continue for the next four decades.

By then, only the United States and Canada will be receiving more overseas settlers, says the UN. This increase in British numbers is likely to put considerable strain on the country's transport, energy and housing, experts warned last week. (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Earth Hour sponsors admit they’re hypocrites - Earth Hour next Saturday will see hypocrites turn off their lights for just an hour to show they care about global warming - which actually halted a decade ago, and which we can’t stop even if it really was bad.

The Sunday Age won’t admit these last two facts in its coverage, but is this year is not so deep in cahoots with green propagandists that it can’t admit to that hypocrisy:

Aware of the criticism, Earth Hour’s organisers last year countered it with something concrete: businesses that signed up would need to pledge to reduce their emissions over the following year by 5 per cent. But this year, even that requirement has been dropped, and there has been no accounting of whether last year’s sponsors lived up to their pledge.

“We decided we’d actually downplay (concrete cuts) this time,” says Greg Bourne, chief executive of Earth Hour’s organiser, WWF Australia.

An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour (among them Fairfax Media, owner of The Sunday Age) reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures.

UPDATE

What a farce. Of all the companies to sponsor a switch-off-the-lights campaign. What next: butchers for vegetariansim? (Andrew Bolt blog)

The incredible shrinking polar bear - Animals lose weight and size as melting ice limits hunting - Polar bears are shrinking, along with the ice on which they live – and are turning to cannibalism – as global warming increasingly stops them getting enough to eat.

Scientists say the animals are now only two-thirds as big as they were 30 years ago as melting ice makes it harder for them to catch seals, and that they have begun to hunt each other instead.

The news comes as Arctic nations agreed at a special summit in Norway last week to draw up an action plan to try to save the highly endangered species. (Geoffrey Lean, The Independent)

Don’t reporters check anything anymore? - How hard would it have been for the reporter to plug in a simple search (like "’polar bear’ +cannibalism", maybe?) and then up would pop items like:

Factors affecting the survival of polar bear cubs (Ursus maritimus) are poorly understood (Derocher and Stirling, 1996). Low food availability and accidents on the sea ice may be the main sources of cub mortality (Uspenski and Kistchinski, 1972; Larsen, 1986; Derocher and Stirling, 1996). Intraspecific predation, infanticide, and cannibalism have been reported in polar bears (Belikov et al., 1977; Hansson and Thomassen, 1983; Larsen, 1985; Lunn and Stenhouse, 1985; Taylor et al., 1985). However, some of the instances have followed human activities such as harvest or immobilization (Taylor et al., 1985). Regardless, intraspecific predation has been suggested as a regulating feature of ursid populations (e.g., McCullough, 1981; Young and Ruff, 1982; Larsen and Kjos-Hanssen, 1983; Stringham, 1983; Taylor et al., 1985). (Infanticide and Cannibalism of Juvenile Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard, ARCTIC, VOL. 52, NO. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1999) P. 307–310)

Wouldn’t they then have wondered about the list of references 1977-1985 specifically on intraspecific predation (in case reporters don’t know, intraspecific means existing or occurring within a species — in this case bears eating each other or practicing cannibalism), infanticide, and cannibalism (a term some references used rather than the cumbersome intraspecific predation)?

So which is it? Were ice conditions similar 20-30 years ago or do bears simply act this way normally? Either way there doesn’t seem to be anything new here, does there? In fact there has been a veritable explosion in the number of polar bears over the period, perhaps this is a food availability/population pressure thing. Sheesh! What a lot of nonsense about bears you see printed lately: Beaufort Sea polar bears starving to death, scientist finds - Desperate animals resorting to cannibalism, wandering south to find food (CBC News) Perhaps they are, maybe the population has simply maxed out for the available habitat and food resource. Perhaps mechanical transport and more efficient hunting methods are selectively culling the biggest bears and leading to reduced average mass as happens in other wild species harvested by people.

Whatever the case, people's fixation with climate is hardly likely to help the bears any.

Nations declare climate change the biggest threat to polar bears - NEW YORK: Five countries that created a treaty nearly four decades ago to protect polar bears through controlled hunting issued a statement that called climate change "the most important long-term threat" to the bears.

The statement came in Tromso, Norway, on Thursday at the end of a three-day meeting of scientists and officials from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States, all with territory abutting the Arctic Ocean that serves as habitat for the bears. (Denmark was represented through Greenland, which is moving toward becoming an independent country.)

Polar bear experts at the meeting said the treaty parties were committed to collaborating on programs aimed at limiting direct threats to bear populations from tourism, shipping and oil and gas drilling in the warming region.

But they said the countries bound by the 1973 bear agreement would be unable, without worldwide cooperation, to address the looming risk to the species: the prospect that global warming from accumulating emissions of greenhouse gases would continue to erode the sheath of Arctic sea ice that the half-ton bears roam in pursuit of seals. (Andrew C. Revkin, IHT)

Oh... Warming to force retreat from coast - THE top government scientist leading Australia's efforts to adapt to climate change has warned that some coastal communities will have to be abandoned in a "planned retreat" because of global warming.

Dr Andrew Ash, who directs the CSIRO's Climate Adaptation Flagship program, said while some vulnerable coastal communities could be protected by sea walls and levees, "there are going to be areas where that is not physically possible, or it's not cost effective to introduce any engineering solution and planned retreat becomes the only option".

Warning that climate change was accelerating at a much faster rate than predicted, Dr Ash said state and local governments urgently need to identify coastal land unsuitable for new residential development, because rising sea levels together with bigger, more frequent storms would flood them with sea water. (The Age)

State emission cuts 'futile' and would aid polluters - VICTORIA'S climate policies will make no difference to achieving Australia's greenhouse emissions targets and will simply subsidise big industrial polluters, according to a State Government assessment.

A high-level ministerial brief, obtained by The Age, advises the Brumby Government to rethink policies and programs, including subsidies for solar farms and panels and a shift to a hybrid car fleet, arguing that they will not contribute to any additional greenhouse gas cuts under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

The leaked brief reignites debate over the environmental benefits of billions of dollars in green outlays by households and government, from an individual choosing to spend more for an energy-efficient refrigerator, through to Mr Rudd's $3.9 billion for insulating homes as part of his economic stimulus package.

It adds weight to warnings by some economists and environmentalists that voluntary green actions outside the limited industrial scope of the CPRS will simply ease the pressure on big polluters to cut emissions, and save them money. (The Age)

Despite popular opinion and calls to action, the Maldives are not being overrun by sea level rise - When somebody mentions “Maldives”, the image above of a tropical paradise often springs to mind. Andy Revkin wrote a story recently about the Maldives on his NYT Dot Earth blog that provoked quite an email exchange that I was privy to today. Here are some highlights. First the article: (Watts Up With That?)

Recent Ocean Heat and MLO CO2 Trends - One of the great things about running this blog is that people send me things to look at. Sometimes I see connections between two things that were initially unrelated by the original messages. This is one of those cases. (Watts Up With That?)

The Sun: double blankety blank quiet - Usually, and that means in the past year, when you look at the false color MDI image from SOHO, you can look at the corresponding magnetogram and see some sort of disturbance going on, even it it is not visible as a sunspot, sunspeck, or plage area. (Watts Up With That?)

How not to measure temperature, part 84: “Pristine” Mohonk Lake USHCN station revisited - As WUWT readers may recall back in September of 2008, the New York Times ran an extensive first hand account of the Mohonk Lake, NY USHCN climate station of record. The Mohonk article was covered by WUWT guest contributors Dee Norris here and John Goetz here. Goetz shows that even the “pristine” station data gets adjusted by NASA GISS in their GISTEMP program. (Watts Up With That?)

Natural Drivers of Weather and Climate - Note: The full PDF of this author manuscript was sent to me via an email contact of the author, Bob Foster. He says it has been published in E&E. Energy & Environment · Vol. 20, No. 1&2, 2009. Online now here and now in print.- Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

The 'Global Warming Three' are on thin ice - The only problem with a project to prove that Arctic ice is disappearing is the fact that it is actually getting thicker, says Christopher Booker. (Daily Telegraph)

Eye-roller: It's time to clear the air - To cut carbon emissions, we must switch to renewable energy sources – and get polluting industries to foot the bill

George Monbiot is correct in asserting that "If we behave as though it is too late, then our prophecy is bound to come true." But it's not, so let's not. (Tina Davy, The Guardian)

Emissions trading at centre of high-stakes game - "NO JOBS on a dead planet." Those words used to adorn a smokestack on the Lonsdale Street power station. They appeared in 2003, spray-painted on by environmental activists. The best place to have seen them from was from a train heading into Southern Cross Station from Melbourne's north or west.

The power plant is no more. It lay dormant and asbestos-ridden for 25 years, and has been slowly demolished from 2007 for redevelopment.

Those words weren't lost, reappearing last week, but not on a piece of archaic industrial architecture; instead they were spoken by ACTU president Sharan Burrow.

Burrow, many of whose union constituents work in the areas in the front line of affected industries, are the very people who opponents of emissions trading say could lose their jobs unless more compensation is paid to their industries. Industries such as coal. (The Age)

C'mon, is the planet really warming? - An invitation to global warming alarmists: "Please offer objective scientific proof of man's influence on global warming."

Never mind. There is none because true scientific debate has never occurred among experts; Al Gore wisely refuses to publically debate his biased creed.

Activists ignore declining solar irradiance, volcanic eruptions and other major factors that have bearing on climate change.

Unless we wake up to the fact that the global warming train is fueled mostly by calamitous opinions based on selective, self-supportive data, the world's economy will be fractured by the huge regulatory costs inflicted by draconian ecologists. (Alan E. Deegan, Denver Post)

Global Warming – the Short Version of Why the Anthropogenic CO2 Theory is Wrong (Alan Cheetham, Global Warming Science)

Receding Glacier Park Ice Not Due to Global Warming - I recently received a letter from reader Jane Rectenwald in Missoula, Montana asking a good question: What do the melting glaciers in Glacier Park indicate about global warming?

Rectenwald had heard me speaking on a local radio station after she read quite a long article in a recent issue of the Missoulian showing pictures of the glaciers.

I’m glad she asked the question. Receding glaciers in Glacier National Park are not necessarily evidence of a global warming crisis—or of anything other than natural fluctuations. Glaciers advance and recede for many reasons, of which temperature change is just one. (James M. Taylor, Environment & Climate News)

Cameron fury at 'climate change Taliban' jibe - David Cameron yesterday slapped down a senior Tory who compared climate change activists to the Taliban, as he continued his attempt to green his party, despite the recession and opposition from sceptics.

Sources close to the Conservative leader described as "inappropriate" a website entry by Roger Evans, a London Assembly member, describing anti-airport campaigners as "the climate change Taliban". (The Independent)

Survey: NZ cooler on global warming - Most New Zealanders believe the time has passed for arguing about whether people are to blame for climate change - but our enthusiasm for leading the world in the fight against it has waned.

A ShapeNZ survey issued today by the Sustainable Business Council shows the number of New Zealanders who want to outpace the rest of the world has fallen by a third since 2007.

The online survey of 2851 people found 87 per cent thought New Zealand should take steps to manage climate change "very soon" or "in coming years".

Asked how quickly New Zealand should respond compared to other countries, 42 per cent of those surveyed wanted to lead global efforts, down from 63 per cent in June 2007. The number who wanted to move at the same pace as other countries was up from 27 per cent in 2007 to 39 per cent. (New Zealand Herald)

Guilt-trippin' hand-wringer: Cat Got Your Fish? - MY cat Coco died recently. Actually we euthanized him to alleviate his suffering from cancer. And while this was a sad moment, it was made less sad because Coco’s death also alleviated ever so slightly the suffering of the sea.

Coco, like most American cats, ate fish. And a great deal of them — more in a year than the average African human, according to Jason Clay at the World Wildlife Fund. And unlike the chicken or beef Coco also gobbled up, all those fish were wild animals, scooped out of the sea and flown thousands of carbon-belching miles to reach his little blue bowl.

The use of wild fish in animal feed is a serious problem for the world’s food systems. Around a third of all wild fish caught are “reduced” into fish meal and fish oil. And yet most of the outrage about this is focused not on land-based animals like Coco but on other fish — namely farm-raised fish.

This is understandable. Ever since the Stanford economist Rosamond Naylor concluded in a 2000 paper in the journal Nature that it took three pounds of wild fish to provide enough food to grow one pound of farmed salmon, environmentalists have been apoplectic. They argue that the removal of wild “forage” fish threatens to starve whales, seals and other predators; that anchovies, mackerel and other “pelagic forage fish” should be used to feed humans; and that feed made from wild fish can give farm-raised fish higher levels of contaminants. As a result of all these issues, ocean preservationists have focused their ire on salmon farming. But in doing so they diverted attention from another problem of equal importance: the role played by those land-based creatures that also put their muzzles in the fish meal trough. (Paul Greenberg, New York Times)

Is a Food Revolution Now in Season? - AS tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.

They also gathered to relish their changing political fortunes, courtesy of the Obama administration.

“This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.” (Andrew Martin, New York Times)

The next contrived crisis: World Water Forum pledges action - A SEVEN-day focus on the world's water crunch has ended with a pledge by more than 100 countries to strive for clean water and sanitation for billions in need.

But some countries criticised the cornerstone outcome of the fifth World Water Forum as flawed while activists dismissed the event itself as a "trade show".

The declaration, coinciding with World Water Day, was issued yesterday at the end of a three-day ministerial meeting, climaxing the biggest-ever conference on the planet's freshwater crisis.

"The world is facing rapid and unprecedented global changes, including population growth, migration, urbanisation, climate change, desertification, drought, degradation and land use, economic and diet changes," the statement said. (Weekly Times)

Natural Gas, Suddenly Abundant, Is Cheaper - HOUSTON — The decline in crude oil prices gets all the headlines, but the first globalized natural gas glut in history is driving an even more drastic collapse in the cost of gas that cooks food, heats homes and runs factories in the United States and many other countries.

Six giant plants capable of cooling and liquefying gas for export are due to come on line this year just as the economies of the Asian and European countries that import the most gas to run their industries are slowing.

Energy experts and company executives say that means loads of gas from Qatar, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria that otherwise would be going to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Spain are beginning to arrive in supertankers in the United States, even though there is a gas glut here, too.

With industrial and utility use of natural gas declining, gas prices in the United States have already declined by two-thirds since the summer. Prices are not likely to go down much more, experts say, but an increase in imports is likely to keep them low until the global economy recovers and drives demand back up.

That is good news for American consumers and many businesses, since gas provides about a fifth of the power generated by electric utilities and is a vital component for fertilizers, plastics and other industrial products. But it is bad news for proponents of energy independence, who cheered the boom in domestic gas drilling and production over the last four years. (New York Times)

WE Energy's CEO: Carbon capture technology a decade away - Wisconsin Energy Corp. CEO Gale Klappa told CNBC’s Jim Cramer this afternoon that he believes it will be another 10 to 12 years before technology to capture carbon from old coal-fired power plants will be available on a widespread scale.

Cramer invited Klappa on his "Mad Money" show after a Wall Street Journal column this morning that described the company’s carbon-capture experiment at the state’s largest coal plant in Pleasant Prairie.

That catch-and-release plan, launched in February 2008, is testing the use of chilled ammonia to remove carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, from the power plant smokestack.

Weighing in on the cap-and-trade proposal that is being sought by the Obama administration, Klappa said the industry would need more time to convert to low-carbon energy sources such as nuclear and coal-fired power plants that incorporate burying carbon dioxide released by the plants underground. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The Aga saga: George Monbiot v William McGrath - When Guardian commentator George Monbiot took Aga to task over its environmental impact, its chief executive William McGrath accused him of a 'class war attack'. Now, as sales of the cookers continue to fall, the two men meet. Can they settle their differences? (The Guardian)

Audio: George Monbiot v Aga: 'It's still a woefully inefficient use of fuel' - George Monbiot debates the green credentials of Aga cookers with William McGrath, the chief executive of Aga Rangemaster

Correction: In this interview, William McGrath says 15 tonnes of CO2 are produced in the manufacture of an Aga. He has since corrected this figure, saying the amount of carbon produced in making an Aga is in fact 1.5 tonnes. "Still staggering," said George Monbiot. "That's the amount used in the manufacture of two cars." (The Guardian)

The Aga subtext: They say homeliness and tradition. But there's more to it than that - I think we're all clear that the struggle between the Aga-owners and the anti-Aga-owners is about more than carbon dioxide: if we were all robots, the Monbiotbot might say, "These are uneconomical with resources," and the Agabot would reply, "You are right, stand aside while I smelt it down and dispense with it." Sadly, we pulse with these unbidden emotions: loyalty, tribalism, idealism, nostalgia. We cannot look at these things rationally; we're not machines.

So we know what the anti-Agas are about: objecting to more than profligacy, they revile the high-handed, self-interested, sheer poshness of the Aga purchase. Nicely represented in the Telegraph by Gill Hornby, the pro-line goes "Of course, it's not just an oven - it heats the water, warms the house, dries the dog, keeps you cheerful." It's a post-carbon-age version of "Let them eat cake" - a kind of "Tra la la! Isn't life nice when you have all the money in the world as well as some scones; what do you mean, we're staring into the mouth of the apocalypse? Whenever I think about armageddon, I give the dog a good pat and find that shifts it." (Zoe Williams, The Guardian)

FACT CHECK: Obama’s gas-mileage claim sputters - What’s more fuel-efficient, a Ford Model T or a modern-day sport utility vehicle? President Barack Obama says the Model T, but his comparison is a stretch.

Obama, touring a California electric car plant on Thursday, said, “The 1908 Model T — think about this — the 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008.”

“Think about that: 100 years later, and we’re getting worse gas mileage, not better, on SUVs,” Obama said.

Ford’s own Web site says the Model T’s mileage ranged from 13 to 21 miles per gallon. Some Tin Lizzie enthusiasts who still drive the vehicles report numbers closer to the bottom end of that range. A typical SUV sold in 2008 gets 18.7 miles per gallon.

But even comparing vehicles that are so different is misleading, say auto industry officials and fans of Henry Ford’s pioneering car. (Associated Press)

Sen. Feinstein seeks monument status to keep solar, wind projects off 500,000 Mojave acres - WASHINGTON - California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy.

Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development. (Associated Press)

Warning over renewables as economic crisis leaves funding gap - Scant aid, too much hype and unrealistic targets threaten climate-change pledges

Green power companies are heading for "crisis" and Britain should no longer rely on them to meet its energy security and climate change obligations, some industry experts are warning.

The difficulties - triggered by the credit crunch, recession and a collapse in the carbon price - have led to new demands this weekend to ministers from companies warning that their renewables schemes are at risk without more financial aid.

Over the past week alone, the previously fast-growing renewable energy sector has seen Shell decide to stop building wind and solar schemes worldwide, the wave company Pelamis hit by technical and financial troubles, and EDF Energy warn that UK renewables targets would not be realised and should be scaled back to achievable levels.

In addition, a group of more than 40 businesses has taken the unique step of writing collectively to Joan Ruddock, the energy and climate change minister, warning her of the threats to a host of projects unless something is done. (The Guardian)

Projected to fail: the schemes that fell short of the dreams - The renewable power sector has seen share prices hit much harder than others because it is still seen as relatively risky and speculative. Wind and solar projects still rely on government subsidies to keep afloat but the credit crunch and recession have made a difficult situation much worse. Some companies are in trouble, while others are postponing projects, saying they need more subsidies or other changes in legislation to make them more viable. (The Guardian)

June must mark the start of a new offensive - or the revolution is over - It was always going to be a big ask for Britain to meet its European target of generating 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. And despite official optimism, government insiders privately admit that the task is hopeless.

Britain's initial response to the proposed European targets, after all, was repeated attempts in Brussels to water them down. Civil servants from three government departments briefed journalists the day before the plan was announced with little enthusiasm. The government's own clean-energy advisers have warned that Britain could spend £100bn over the next decade and still not hit the target.

Not so, say ministers. Britain will lead a green energy revolution, Gordon Brown promised last year when he unveiled the government's proposals to meet the target, which will be confirmed in a new strategy to be announced in June. (The Guardian)

A Dangerous European Export - Several European nations are turning away from vaccination and are now spreading disease.

Steadily weakening vaccination coverage in Britain and four other countries is undermining efforts to eradicate measles across Europe and increasing the threat to the United States. An unfounded fear that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is causing autism is making rising numbers of people sick.

For example, British measles infections are rising rapidly today. In the United States, in the first seven months of last year, 89 percent of the 131 cases of measles reported “were imported from or associated with importations from other countries, particularly countries in Europe, where several outbreaks are ongoing,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. “Measles is one of the first diseases to reappear when vaccination coverage rates fall,” CDC noted.

EUVac, a European network for tracking vaccine-preventable diseases, found Europeans have also taken measles to South America, which was previously free of the disease. EUVac blamed Britain, Germany, Romania, Switzerland, and Italy.

The MMR vaccine has cut death from measles worldwide from roughly 750,000 in 2000 to 197,000 in 2007, according to the World Health Organization. Two-thirds of the reduction was in Africa, where deaths dropped by 89 percent. In rich countries, measles is often viewed as a nuisance—indeed, there were only seven deaths in Europe out of 12,132 cases in 2006 and 2007, according to EUVac. However, such a statistic hides the long-term consequences of the disease and the suffering it creates. Even if measles does not kill you, it can cause pneumonia and miscarriage. Rubella can cause miscarriage or stillbirth and can leave surviving children with heart defects, deaf-blindness, and other organ damage. Before the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1969, mumps was the most common cause of viral meningitis. Mumps can also cause encephalitis in children and young adults and can sterilize men.

Despite the importance of vaccination to healthy children and adults, the commitment to vaccination in the West is weakening. Why? A connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was first claimed in 1998, in a controversial study led by British scientist Andrew Wakefield. Numerous flaws—including a small sample (12 children), no control group, and unresolved reverse causality (the vaccine is given around the same age that autism is generally diagnosed)—led 10 of the study’s 12 authors to recant in 2004, saying “no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient.” (Roger Bate, The American)

Discuss this and vote on whether parents should be able to opt out of vaccinating their children here.

The magical fruit - Spanish Ministry for Health announced a government plan to reduce the “epidemic of obesity.” Health Minister, Bernat Soria, introduced a plan to give free fruit to school children as part of the European School Fruit Scheme. Italian Minister, Luca Zaia, followed suit. In fact, this week, the European Commission endorsed the implementation policies for the European School Fruit Scheme by the Member States, opening the door for this obesity initiative to be funded across Europe beginning in September. Member States are signing up.

If the School Fruit Scheme sounds familiar, that’s because Europe and the United States have already tried these massive and expensive programs… and they’ve failed. But when it comes to public health policies: politics and lobbying trump scientific evidence every time. (Junkfood Science)

Little change in survival rates despite cancer spending plan - Cash injection has failed to have impact, study shows

The government's national cancer plan, backed by a massive injection of cash for cancer services in England, has failed to boost survival rates substantially, a major study shows today.

The findings will dismay government ministers, who have secured a tripling of spending on cancer over the last decade with the ambition of bringing the UK from among the worst countries up to the standard of the best in Europe. But the authoritative study, from a team led by Professor Michel Coleman at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shows that survival rates have barely shifted since the cancer plan was launched in 2000. (The Guardian)

Sugar Is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point - Sugar, the nutritional pariah that dentists and dietitians have long reviled, is enjoying a second act, dressed up as a natural, healthful ingredient.

From the tomato sauce on a Pizza Hut pie called “The Natural,” to the just-released soda Pepsi Natural, some of the biggest players in the American food business have started, in the last few months, replacing high-fructose corn syrup with old-fashioned sugar.

ConAgra uses only sugar or honey in its new Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees. Kraft Foods recently removed the corn sweetener from its salad dressings, and is working on its Lunchables line of portable meals and snacks.

The turnaround comes after three decades during which high-fructose corn syrup had been gaining on sugar in the American diet. Consumption of the two finally drew even in 2003, according to the Department of Agriculture. Recently, though, the trend has reversed. Per capita, American adults ate about 44 pounds of sugar in 2007, compared with about 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.

“Sugar was the old devil, and high-fructose corn syrup is the new devil,” said Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst at Mintel International, a market-research company.  (New York Times)

$1 trillion deficits seen for next 10 years - WASHINGTON — Despite new estimates that say President Barack Obama's budget would generate unsustainable large deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year, the White House insisted Friday that the flood of red ink won't swamp its costly agenda.

The Congressional Budget Office figures released Friday predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the administration predicted in its budget just last month.

Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level.

The latest figures throw a major monkey wrench into efforts to enact Obama's budget, which promises universal health care for all and higher spending for domestic programs like education and research into renewable energy.

The dismal deficit figures, if they prove to be accurate, inevitably raise the prospect that Obama and his allies controlling Congress would have to consider raising taxes after the recession ends or else pare back his agenda. (AP)

The EU Says 'Enough' - The European Union deserves praise for demanding limits on the vast stimulus packages presented elsewhere as economic cure-alls. The Obama administration should dial in for a clue.

On Friday, the EU resisted pressure — from the pork-happy U.S. — to pump more cash into its recession-hit economies. It had already shoveled out a $270 billion stimulus package of its own, and came up with a $67 billion bailout fund for Eastern Europe. With all that done, the EU wanted to end it.

"You can't think you can solve everything with taxpayers' money. Stimulus packages are already in place and taking us through this challenging time," said Fredrik Reinfeldt, the prime minister of, brace yourself, Sweden.

"There is no alternative to globalization as a motor for growth and employment, thus fostering prosperity worldwide," wrote German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in Der Spiegel on March 19, arguing against spending for its own sake.

They're right, you know. And these comments show there are still certain things Europe can teach the U.S., though not the things the fashionably far-left chardonnay crowd in San Francisco thinks. (IBD)

Some Forgotten Presidents Shouldn't Be - On August 2, 1927, President Calvin Coolidge had breakfast in the White House residence with his wife, Grace, and remarked to her “I have been president four years today.” It was one of those quick, concise, directly-to-the-point sentences she had been used to hearing since they met in 1905. It was also something the American people were familiar with, having nicknamed the 30th president “Silent Cal.” (David R. Stokes, Townhall)

Congress Betrays Ideals of America's Founding - New York, NY - Legislation to specifically target AIG employees with a 90 percent tax on retention bonuses directly conflicts with the founding principles of the United States, Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli charged today on the Fox News program "Strategy Room."

Saying Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from passing laws "impairing the obligation of contracts," Borelli says the AIG bonus controversy is a creation of the lawmakers who rushed bailout legislation earlier this year without due consideration. These are the same lawmakers who now seek to hide their mistakes by pushing this new and selective tax.

"Politicians need to be reminded that we are a nation of laws. To impose a hastily-concocted tax as a means of rectifying a problem that the government itself created and mismanaged calls their ability to lead into question," says Borelli. "To suddenly enact a new tax to punish a few dozen people for something that was legal at the time is ludicrous, and it smacks of the British treatment of the colonists that provoked the revolt that created the United States. Have we come full circle already?"

Borelli says the selective and punitive tax proposed for these AIG executives harkens back to taxes imposed on the American colonies under British rule during the 1700s. (National Center)

Congress, Overtax Thyself - There is no group more dangerous than one with some power, no scruples and leaders who think that they are really smart and that everyone else is really, really stupid. That description sadly fits not only the Wall Street swells whose credit default swaps toppled U.S. financial markets but also Congress. (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)

BOOKS: 'Cato Handbook for Policymakers: 7th Edition' - In the introduction to the "Cato Handbook for Policymakers," Cato libertarian executive vice president David Boaz hails the breakage of another glass ceiling in the election of President Obama. But neither President Obama nor his immediate predecessor, President Bush, are spared from censure here for engaging in entrenched state interventionism in a plethora of formats. Nor, for that matter, are previous presidents and Congresses lured by political power.

Mr. Boaz reminds his readers that Cato stands firmly on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, "on the bedrock American values of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace." He rejects the idea of "convergence" of some sort of half-capitalist, half-socialist Third Way model as a wave of the future. He invites comparison of the two systems involved in East and West Germany, North and South Korea, Hong Kong-Taiwan and China, and the United States and the Soviet Union. (William H. Peterson, Washington Times)

Countryside braced for revolt over new regime - A radical policy shift later this year will prompt opposition, writes Peter Hetherington

Countryside campaigners are preparing for action. Friends of the Earth (FoE) and other environmental groups have warned of the potential for civil disobedience. So far, England is largely unaware of a new planning regime which kicks in later this year. Arguably, it's the most radical policy shift since the ground-breaking 1947 Town and Country Planning Act and associated legislation brought a sense of order to the country, creating national parks, rights of way, green belts and much else.

But according to FoE, the new regime will force moderate environmental opinion to choose between legal challenges and direct action. "And the act will generate both on an unprecedented scale," FoE's planning adviser, Hugh Ellis, has warned.

The local government minister, John Healey, who steered the 2008 Planning Act through the Commons, insists the new system will be clearer and less complex, "more open and, we would argue, fairer because it builds in a requirement for the promoters of a project to consult widely even before they submit an application".

More light will be shed on these projects later this year when Whitehall departments publish major policy statements under the all-embracing infrastructure label, ranging from new runways to nuclear power stations, wind farms, major road schemes and much else.

Alongside this process is a parallel, more contentious exercise, involving the creation of a powerful quango called the Infrastructure Planning Commission, or IPC. It will begin functioning later this year. (The Guardian)

Polar bear hunt sparks outrage - As Arctic nations debate whether to increase protection for polar bears, a group of hunters has sparked international outrage by continuing to hunt the animals for sport in Canada.

A Friday story in the British newspaper the Independent caused a flurry of angry comments after it quoted a hunter who owns a business in Yellowknife called Adventure Northwest and is taking customers to hunt polar bears. Owner Boyd Warner told the newspaper a group of hunters left earlier this week for Pond Inlet, Nunavut, where they will track and kill up to six bears.

"Barbaric, despicable, wrong, wrong, wrong," wrote one respondent to the British article, while another wrote: "As a Canadian, I am ashamed and appalled that this occurs."

On Friday, Boyd told Canwest News Service he had received threatening e-mails over the article and wanted Canadians to know he represents Inuit people who are trying to earn a living with their resource. (Canwest News Service)

Why should this 'spark outrage'? Greenies are always encouraging indigenous peoples to engage in sustainable harvest of renewable resources rather than develop and profit from extractive or manufacturing industries and these are doing so. That the hunting level is sustainable is quite apparent from the booming bear numbers, a 5-fold increase in as many decades. Would the greenies prefer the Inuit ignored the bears and made a living from oil and mining royalties instead?

Chimps are like humans? Stop monkeying around - This week it was revealed that chimps use sticks to smash open beehives. But there’s nothing remotely ‘human-like’ in such behaviour.

Recent ‘revelations’ about chimp behaviours are forcing us to reconsider whether human beings are unique. Or so we are told.

This week, BBC News reported on a study published in the International Journal of Primatology, which uncovered novel tool-using abilities among wild chimpanzees in central Africa: ‘Cameras have revealed how “armed” chimpanzees raid beehives to gorge on sweet honey’, the BBC reported (1). Scientists found that the primates ‘crafted large clubs from branches to pound the nests until they broke open’ (2).

A few days earlier, the Guardian reported on ‘the loutish behaviour of a stone-throwing chimpanzee at a zoo near the Arctic circle’, which also apparently challenges scientists’ belief that humans are unique; you see, chimps can be yobs, too (3). The discovery that the aggressive chimp had gathered stones over a period of time, in order to throw them later on at unsuspecting spectators – implying some kind of forethought and planning – astounded many scientists. (Helene Guldberg, sp!ked)

Heck, anyone who has kept mammals knows they are capable of learned behavior -- just because dairy cows line up to be milked doesn't make them 'human-like'. Who hasn't had a pet dog or cat that learnt to manipulate its surrounds (doesn't take them long to train humans to open doors for them, does it)? Just because some vultures have learned to drop marrow bones onto rocks far below to break them open to access the nutrition within does not make them people or even intelligent, merely capable of repeating an action from which they profit. Granted, some people are not too flash in the learning stakes but that doesn't mean they are not people either.

Vote may change milk labels - TOPEKA - A bill imposing stricter requirements on producers who label their milk as hormone-free won House approval Friday.

The 75-44 vote sent the measure to the Senate.

The bill would require those producers to include a disclaimer on their labels beginning in 2011 saying the federal government has found no substantial difference in milk from cows that have been given production-boosting hormones and cows that have not.

And starting July 1, producers will have to document hormone-free claims for the state Department of Agriculture.

Supporters argue that the bill prevents consumers from being misled into thinking the cow hormones are dangerous. Backers included agribusiness retailers, the Kansas Dairy Association and the Kansas Farm Bureau.

"It corrects a perception that some milk is better than others," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Powell, R-Garden City. "Milk is highly regulated and tested before it is sold."

Critics of the bill included advocates of organic farming, the Sierra Club and the Kansas Farmers Union. They argued it will hurt mostly small dairies trying to find a niche in the market.

"They're not labeling anything to hide any flaw in the milk," said Rep. Joshua Svaty of Ellsworth, the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. "They are hardly infringing on the main milk market." (Associated Press)

March 20, 2009

Planet is warming but nobody can pick the point of no return, expert says - To ask if the science of climate change is "settled" is a stupid question, says Stanford University climatologist Professor Stephen Schneider.

It never will be, he insists.

Appearing before the emissions trading scheme review select committee yesterday, he said climate science dealt with a very complex system. (New Zealand Herald)

CO2 Regulation under the Clean Air Act: Economic Train Wreck, Constitutional Crisis, Legislative Thuggery - Call it an economic train wreck, a constitutional crisis, or legslative thuggery. Litigation-driven regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) under the Clean Air Act (CAA) is all of the above.

The Supreme Court case of Massachusetts v. EPA (April 2, 2007) has set the stage for a policy disaster. Mass v. EPA’s second anniversary rapidly approaches, and in a Power Point presentation leaked to Greenwire last week, EPA reveals how it plans to respond to the Court. But first, some background on the case and the Pandora’s Box it has created. (Marlo Lewis, MasterResource)

Show Your Work! - Fiona Harvey of the FT is one of the better journalists covering the environmental beat, but I’m afraid that is a bit like saying that someone is one of the better members of Congress. In this blog entry on green jobs she commendably raises some objections to the idea that “green jobs” can be a panacea, but then shows her own biases with an unsupportable assertion: (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

A Global Green New Deal - What Could Possibly Go Wrong? - Showing that he believes Al Gore’s typical misunderstanding that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of the characters for threat and opportunity (it isn’t), Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program, has said that the global financial crisis provides an opportunity for a global green new deal: (Iain Murray, Cooler Heads)

UN fears Brussels rewriting emissions deal - European Union leaders could scupper progress in the fight against global warming if they fail on Wednesday to agree financing for emissions cuts in the developing world, the United Nation’s top climate change official said.

Speaking before the EU’s annual spring council meeting, Yvo de Boer told the Financial Times he feared the EU was backsliding on its promises and rewriting an agreement made in 2007 in Bali. The bloc, he said, was in danger of widening the rift between rich and poor countries on the issue of climate change. (Financial Times)

EU and US diverge on 2020 carbon reduction goals - The EU’s suggestion that developed nations should cut their emissions by 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 is asking too much of the US, American policymakers told their European counterparts during bilateral talks this week.

More talks are needed to define the “fair” and “comparable” contribution of each industrialised country to medium-term emission cuts, EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas told a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. (Carbon Offsets Daily)

EU plans puts climate finance at risk: industry - COPENHAGEN - European Union plans to re-write the rules of a $6 billion scheme that pays developing nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions risks stalling climate investment, policymakers and industry leaders said on Wednesday.

The EU's executive Commission this week detailed plans to force industry in advanced emerging economies such as China to meet efficiency or other standards before they qualify for carbon offsets from cutting carbon emissions.

Commission officials want the new rules agreed at a major U.N.-led climate meeting this December in Copenhagen, meant to thrash out a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. (Reuters)

EU to dodge climate funding decision until summer - The spring EU summit starting tomorrow (19 March) in Brussels had been expected to reach agreement on the EU's position for global climate negotiations in December. But European leaders are now planning to postpone a decision on funding for developing countries until the next summit in June, according to draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.

Polluters could shift greenhouse burden to poor countries, say critics - AUSTRALIA'S biggest greenhouse polluters will be given carte blanche to shift the burden of cutting their emissions to poorer countries under the Federal Government's proposed climate change laws.

Lawyers examining the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme say it allows any big Australian polluter to buy unlimited "offset" pollution credits in developing countries under a United Nations scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism, which encourages rich nations to invest in clean energy in poorer nations. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Carbon dioxide is not an atmospheric pollutant...

Govt urged to take its time on climate - The Government should not implement any measures on climate change until it is clear a sustainable economic recovery is firmly in train, the Business Roundtable says. (New Zealand Herald)

Hmm... Scientists: Sea levels could rise 1 metre as Antarctic ice melts - Wellington - A large amount of permanent Antarctic ice could melt in the next 100 years, raising sea levels around the world by up to 1 metre as the earth's climate warms, a New Zealand scientist said Thursday.

'If you live in Bangladesh, New Orleans, Miami or Wellington, this is a significant issue in terms of timing and adapting to the change in climate,' Professor Tim Naish, director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre, told Radio New Zealand.

He was commenting on new research by a team of 50 scientists showing that only a slight rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere could affect the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet with disastrous consequences for low-lying population centres around the world. (DPA)

... they still can't seem to get over atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as a driver, can they? Why did the CO2 levels rise? Because the seas warmed, ice sheets retreated and there was an increase in oceanic outgassing, they reply. Why did the seas warm and ice sheets retreat? Because there was an outgassing of oceanic CO2, they reply...

Undersea Volcanic Eruption In Tonga - Guest post by Steven Goddard

The Washington Post reports today:

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, tossing clouds of smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet (meters) into the sky above the South Pacific ocean, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. The eruption was at sea about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the southwest coast of the main island of Tongatapu an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered

Besides the unusual feet to meters conversion in the quote above, I found it interesting because the SST maps show a warm anomaly in that region, and extending off to the east. Is that anomaly a result or coincidence? (Watts Up With That?)

The Bleak Winter's Behind Us, but What's Ahead? - WASHINGTON -- Thank God winter is almost over. It has been another cold one. I hope Al Gore wore his hat and brought along his galoshes whenever he made an appearance against global warming. Better yet, I hope he scheduled his jeremiads in warmer climes, say, Miami Beach or Antigua. As I reported a while back, scientists have not been able to measure any increase in global warming since the end of 1998. That, despite their lunkheaded computers forecasting the opposite. During the past two years, temperatures have actually dropped by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius. Button up!

I mention all this because 1) it is always amusing to kid Mr. Gore and 2) the price tag for Prophet Obama's climate plan has just jumped to $2 trillion. That is three times the White House's initial estimate for its cap and trade monstrosity. It is also a huge tax on corporations and consumers at a time when both are in recession. Only government thrives. Given the fact that it is increasingly unclear that there is such a thing as global warming and the fact that cap and trade is an expensive and dubious remedy for it, might not the Prophet Obama hold back? He has plenty else to do. (Emmett Tyrrell, Townhall)

Global Warming: The Backlash Begins - Environmentalists and their allies in the Administration were stunned by the news last week that skepticism about the effects of global warming is growing. With complete domination of both the mainstream media and the political institutions by true believers in global warming, the news from Gallup that 44 percent of Americans believe that global warming has been exaggerated must have come as a shock. Yet last week’s news contained two good examples of why this should be, and why the debate that Al Gore claims is over may only just be starting.  (Iain Murray, DC Examiner)

The Green Lobby - Of late, we’ve become all too painfully aware of political lobbyists involvement in the investment, industrial, social and health policies and legislation of our government. And we’ve all heard about the insidious lobbyist influences for political special interests such as unions, minorities, banking, transports, and state and local governments. Less well understood is the “green” environmental lobby that operates from the more than 4,000 eco-groups who protest and litigate for environmental regulations at local, state and federal government -- both here and abroad. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

How Can Greens Make Themselves Less White? - A few days after Barack Obama's inauguration, the newly appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, gave an interview to Essence magazine. Ms. Jackson explained that she planned to "elevate the issue" of "environmental justice" during her tenure. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, environmental justice is the sweet spot where the green movement meets the racial grievance industry. As the Essence interviewer put it: "The practice of locating polluting industries in minority communities -- and the consequent health impacts -- is well documented. African Americans are almost 80 percent more likely than White Americans to live in neighborhoods near hazardous industrial pollution sites."

The concept of environmental justice can be traced back to the early '80s, according to Robert Bullard, the director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He cites a 1982 fight over a landfill in Warren County, N.C. Since then, the movement has blamed industrial plants across the country for skyrocketing asthma rates among inner-city blacks. But Mr. Bullard believes that environmental justice should also include a concern about the lack of public parks in inner cities and high childhood obesity rates among blacks (stemming from fewer supermarkets in their neighborhoods). He refers to those fights as "parks justice" and "food justice." Talk about defining justice down. (Naomi Schaefer Riley, Wall Street Journal)

Leading climate scientist: 'democratic process isn't working' - Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said.

James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working," he said.

Speaking on the eve of joining a protest against the headquarters of power firm E.ON in Coventry, Hansen said: "The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.

"The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I'm not surprised that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is not out of order, because we're running out of time." (The Guardian)

Society Insults Members by Honoring Hansen - James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute, has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s highest award, the Rossby Research Medal.

I am appalled at this decision, which was announced January 14. Hansen has not been trained as a meteorologist—his formal education was in astronomy—and his long record of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public pronouncements has become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality. (Bill Gray, Environment & Climate News)

Column - Feeling cold, thinking hot - THREE shivering global warming activists, stuck on an ice floe in the Arctic, are helping to tear up the psychology textbooks.

In 1956, US psychologist Leon Festinger became instantly famous for giving us “cognitive dissonance”—the theory that humans couldn’t tolerate two conflicting perceptions. One would have to go.

Ha! It’s taken half a century, but warming believers are now making a monkey of old Festinger.

As proof, here are three recent news items about the latest pilgrimage to the North Pole of three scientists, all hot gospellers of our new faith and all convinced the ice cap is barely there. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

How it got so hot or not - IPCC reviewer Steve McIntyre gives a brilliant discussion, with graphs, of how the infamous “hockey stick” became a poster-child of the global warming believers - and why it is not to be trusted. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Remarks for The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, March 17, 2009

Last week, I was invited to testify before the Senate Energy Committee. Given that I have far too many opinions to keep them all to myself, I agreed. Here’s the text of my remarks. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

A Modest Proposal to Prevent the Pernicious Warming of our Fair Globe

A Modest Proposal to Prevent the Pernicious Warming of our Fair Globe Whilst Enriching the Treasury of the Realm and Avoiding All Inconvenience to Ladies and Gentlemen of Refinement Who Otherwise Might Suffer Severe Annoyance From Such Climatory Consequences Were the Situation Left Unremedied

It is melancholy to contemplate the disastrous effects that global warming must have on this, our once splendid planet, should the horrific trend now underway be allowed to continue unabated. In this, I am not speaking of the increase of the oceans, as, with a current rise rate of one inch per decade, the expected inundations must perforce come in a time so afar and away into the future so as to expose he who would raise alarm thereby to ridicule, a result which would defeat my purpose. No, it is rather the consequences already apparent here and now that must draw our attention and inspire us with a due sense of alacrity to immediate and forceful countermeasures.

Let us consider: As a consequence of global warming, in nearly all places on our planet the last killing frost of the spring is occurring earlier, and the first killing frost of the fall happening later, than was customary in the past. This lengthened season of growing, combined with a general increase in rainfall, and an over abundance of carbonation within the air, has so encouraged and expanded the growth of plants as to fill the stalls of grocers everywhere with such an abundance of fruits and vegetables that must perforce have the most unfortunate results — to wit the gestation of further multitudes of unwashed, uncouth, and ill-mannered hordes of noisy unwanted and unnecessary personages to infest our world with their brutish countenances, bestial customs, and unattractive complexions. Furthermore, even were it possible to stem such unfortunate propagation of rabble by other means, it would still be the case that the excessive flourishing of wild botanicals induced by global warming would threaten to fill the world with so much banal greenery as to leave the desert-craving visual palette of the refined sort so impoverished as to make life hardly worth living for those who truly deserve to live.

It is to staunch these already ongoing disasters that I, and certainly all other people of proper opinions, insist on action appropriate to the level of the threat. However, while some good ideas have been offered from various quarters, these have been so confused and mixed together with counterproductive suggestions that, up until now, no comprehensive policy sufficient to meet the challenge has been fully enunciated. It is to remedy this distressing deficiency that the present report has been prepared. (Pajamas Media)

Latest side-splitter from Seth Boringtheme: NASA: Environmental disaster avoided on ozone loss - Here's rare good news about an environmental crisis: We dodged disaster with the ozone layer.

A NASA study about ozone-munching chemicals from aerosol sprays and refrigeration used a computer model to play a game of what-if. What if the world 22 years ago didn't agree to cut back on chlorofluorocarbons which cause a seasonal ozone hole to form near the South Pole?

NASA atmospheric scientist Paul Newman said the answer is a "bizarre world."

By 2065, two-thirds of the protective ozone layer would have vanished and "the ozone hole covers the Earth." And the CFCs, which are long-lived potent greenhouse gases, would have pushed the world's temperature up an extra 4 degrees.

In mid-latitudes, DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiation would have increased more than sixfold. Just 5 minutes in the summer sunshine would have caused a sunburn, instead of 15. Typical midsummer UV levels, now around 10 or 11, would have soared to 30. Summer thunderstorms in the Northern Hemisphere would have been much stronger.

"It is a real horrible place," Newman told The Associated Press.

See this for a reality check.

Oh boy... McKnight to join international battle on climate change - The McKnight Foundation is announcing today that it will spend an unprecedented $100 million over the next five years to attack global warming worldwide.

The state's largest private foundation, McKnight is joining forces with other large U.S. foundations, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, in pledging more than $1 billion to prevent climate change.

McKnight's President Kate Wolford said the highly coordinated strategy among foundations is unique, but that's what is needed.

She called climate change an "extraordinary challenge" that must be addressed within the next decade to prevent irrevocable harm to the planet. "Without immediate action, climate change will put at risk all those served by our programs," she said. (Star Tribune)

Health Benefits Of Air Quality Control Should Never Be Sacrificed By Delaying The Clean-Up Of Aerosol Emissions For Climate Reasons - There have rather puzzling recommendations made recently in which improvements in air quality are recommended as being delayed in order to retain the radiative cooling effect of certain aerosols, particularly sulphates. Examples of such a recommendation are reported in the Climate Science weblogs

A Excellent Seminar At The University of Colorado at Boulder “What Goes Around Comes Around” By Gregory R. Carmichael

Further Comments on the Question “Can The Climate System ‘Mask’ Heat?”

Misconception And Oversimplification Of the Concept Of Global Warming By V. Ramanthan and Y. Feng

This recommendation is made despite evidence presented in the first weblog listed above, for example, that “350,000 excess deaths per year in India and China due to outdoor exposure risk for each 20mg/m3 (of fine aerosols of less than 2,5 microns).”   Such a recommendation applies to all types of aerosols which includes aerosols that contribute to radiative cooling (e.g. see Chapter 2 in the 2007 IPCC report and Chapter 2 in the 2005 NRC report for reviews of these negative radiative forcings). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Part I in an Occasional Series Challenging Ultra-skeptic Climate Claims - In the realm of climate science, as in most topics, there exists a range of ideas as to what is going on, and what it means for the future. At the risk of generalizing, the gamut looks something like this: Ultra-alarmists think that human greenhouse-gas-producing activities will vastly change the face of the planet and make the earth inhospitable for humans; they therefore demand large and immediate action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Alarmists understand that human activities are changing the earth’s climate and think that the potential changes are sufficient to warrant some pre-emptive action to try to mitigate them. Skeptics think that humans activities are changing the earth’s climate but, by and large, they think that the changes are not likely to be terribly disruptive (and even could be, in net, positive) and that drastic action to curtail greenhouse gas emissions is unnecessary, difficult, and ineffective. Ultra-skeptics think that human greenhouse gas-producing activities are impacting the earth’s climate in no way whatsoever. (Chip Knappenberger, MasterResource)

Energy Chief Says U.S. Is Open to Carbon Tariff - WASHINGTON -- Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday advocated adjusting trade duties as a "weapon" to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China's top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports.

Mr. Chu, speaking before a House science panel, said establishing a carbon tariff would help "level the playing field" if other countries haven't imposed greenhouse-gas-reduction mandates similar to the one President Barack Obama plans to implement over the next couple of years. It is the first time the Obama administration has made public its view on the issue.

"If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon, then we will be at a disadvantage...[and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost," Mr. Chu said. (Wall Street Journal)

Peter Foster: Climate protectionism - In terms of world trade, U.S. global warming policy and its eco-tariffs are Smoot-Hawley on steroids

Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, became the centre of a media kerfuffle this week over whether being an Evangelical Christian — and whether or not he believed in evolution — made him a threat to Canadian science policy. In fact, the story, which started as an ambush by The Globe and Mail, seemed to have been engineered by those with a fundamentalist faith in government funding.

Coincidentally, however, evidence that shining scientific credentials can accompany outright policy lunacy was appearing south of the border in a much more substantive issue. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, speaking before a House science panel, suggested that trade duties might be imposed as a “weapon” to protect U.S. manufacturing from the United States’ own climate policies!

Under the perverse logic of global warming policy — which is being doggedly pursued despite the disappearance of global warming — economic self-mutilation inevitably leads to demands that others self-mutilate too. “If other countries don’t impose a cost on carbon,” said Mr. Chu, “then we will be at a disadvantage ... [and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost.” (Financial Post)

European utility CEOs aim for carbon-neutral power by 2050 - Europe's leading electricity trade association agrees to support EU in efforts to deliver carbon neutral power by mid-century

Sixty European electricity company chief executives have handed over a declaration to EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs in which they pledge to supply carbon-neutral power by 2050.

The declaration also commits to an integrated European electricity market and the promotion of energy efficiency technologies. The chief executives represent power companies in 27 countries, jointly producing 2,500TWh electricity per year, equivalent to more than 70 per cent of total European power generation. (BusinessGreen)

Action On Climate To Harm Gulf Economies: Saudi Official - VIENNA - Strict measures across the world to act against climate change could seriously affect the economies of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, a Saudi official said on Thursday.

"Countries talking about reducing dependence on oil could impact our economy," Mohammad al-Sabban of the Saudi ministry of petroleum told an OPEC energy conference.

OPEC has committed to reducing harmful emissions and Saudi Arabia has invested in carbon capture and storage technology which is designed to do so.

But the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries stresses that others should also take their share in managing the use of fossil fuels. (Reuters)

Report: Alternative energy quest endangering birds - WASHINGTON - As the Obama administration pursues more homegrown energy sources, a new government report faults energy production of all types _ wind, ethanol and mountaintop coal mining _ for contributing to steep drops in bird populations.

The first-of-its-kind government report chronicles a four-decade decline in many of the country's bird populations and provides many reasons for it, from suburban sprawl to the spread of exotic species to global warming.

In almost every case, energy production is also playing a role.

"Energy development has significant negative effects on birds in North America," the report concludes.

Birds can collide with wind turbines and oil and gas wells, and studies have shown that some species, such as Prairie-chickens and sage grouse, will avoid nesting near the structures.

Ponds created during the extraction of coalbed methane gas breed mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus, leading to more bird deaths. Transmission lines, roads to access energy fields and mountaintop removal to harvest coal can destroy and fragment birds' living spaces.

Environmentalists and scientists say the report should signal to the Obama administration to act cautiously as it seeks to expand renewable energy production and the electricity grid on public lands and tries to harness wind energy along the nation's coastlines. (AP)

Biomass plant decision could be headed to High Court - CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY, WALES: An extraordinary U-turn by planning officers could lead to a High Court challenge if plans for a "climate change-busting" power station are turned down.

Only weeks ago, planning officers at Carmarthenshire County Council were recommending approval for a biomass plant at Coedbach, near Kidwelly.

But a furious row has now erupted after the officers changed their minds and said planning permission should be rejected. (Energy Current)

Why you probably have an above-average number of feet - Looking at three kinds of averages

The average kid on the block might have a lot of trouble understanding what an average is. Every time Garrison Keillor signs off his “News from Lake Wobegon,” as a place “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average,” he gets a laugh. But the mathematical meaning of average is not always the same as the colloquial meaning – and even within math, there are three different kinds of “averaging” that are commonly referred to. (Rebecca Goldin, STATS)

Canary in the mine? - After receiving nearly a dozen alerts of extraordinarily high rates of patient deaths, the Healthcare Commission launched an independent investigation of Stafford Hospital. It just released the report of its findings. It and the reports from thousands of patients and families in UK paint a disturbing picture of what is being described as “Third World” conditions in the hospital. (Junkfood Science)

Prostate Test Found to Save Few Lives - The PSA blood test, used to screen for prostate cancer, saves few lives and leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two large studies have found.

The findings, the first based on rigorous, randomized studies, confirm some longstanding concerns about the wisdom of widespread prostate cancer screening. Although the studies are continuing, results so far are considered significant and the most definitive to date.

The PSA test, which measures a protein released by prostate cells, does what it is supposed to do — indicates a cancer might be present, leading to biopsies to determine if there is a tumor. But it has been difficult to know whether finding prostate cancer early saves lives. Most of the cancers tend to grow very slowly and are never a threat and, with the faster-growing ones, even early diagnosis might be too late. (Gina Kolata, New York Times)

Well, yes, actually this does fit under 'religion and belief': Tim Nicholson: A green martyr - Sacked executive can argue he was discriminated against because of his belief in climate change, judge rules

An executive sacked from a giant property company can claim he was unfairly dismissed because of his "philosophical belief in climate change", a judge ruled yesterday.

In the first case of its kind, employment judge David Sneath said Tim Nicholson, a former environmental policy officer, could invoke employment law for protection from discrimination against him for his conviction that climate change was the world's most important environmental problem.

That conviction amounted to a philosophical belief under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations, 2003, the judge ruled on a point of law at a pre-hearing review of an employment tribunal in London. (The Independent)

Americans: Economy Takes Precedence Over Environment - First time majority has supported economy in 25 years of asking question

PRINCETON, NJ -- For the first time in Gallup's 25-year history of asking Americans about the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth, a majority of Americans say economic growth should be given the priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent. (Gallup)

A Small and Dangerous Spat - President Obama has been warning that tit-for-tat protectionism could drive the world into an even worse economic slump than it is already in. He is right. Unfortunately, Congress doesn’t seem to be listening.

The $410 billion spending bill that Mr. Obama signed into law last week cuts off financing for a pilot program that allows Mexican trucks to deliver goods across the United States. The move clearly violates the North American Free Trade Agreement, which promised — starting in 2000 — to open cargo transport throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada to carriers from all three countries. This week, Mexico retaliated, leveling tariffs against $2.4 billion worth of American imports.

Both the United States and Mexico must be careful. A full-fledged fight could threaten more than $350 billion in annual commerce between the two countries. That is clearly in nobody’s interest. (New York Times)

Oh... Fed Plans to Inject Another $1 Trillion to Aid the Economy - WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve sharply stepped up its efforts to bolster the economy on Wednesday, announcing that it would pump an extra $1 trillion into the financial system by purchasing Treasury bonds and mortgage securities.

Having already reduced the key interest rate it controls nearly to zero, the central bank has increasingly turned to alternatives like buying securities as a way of getting more dollars into the economy, a tactic that amounts to creating vast new sums of money out of thin air. But the moves on Wednesday were its biggest yet, almost doubling all of the Fed’s measures in the last year.

The action makes the Fed a buyer of long-term government bonds rather than the short-term debt that it typically buys and sells to help control the money supply. (New York Times)

Ben's $1.2 Trillion Bet - The Federal Reserve's plan to create $1.2 trillion out of thin air to buy Treasuries is a risky move, to say the least. If it doesn't boost output by an equal amount, the certain result will be inflation. (IBD)

White House Can't Get Prognosis Right, Let Alone Prescription For The Problem - When it comes to our complex economy, President Obama would do well to heed the physician's ancient commandment to first "do no harm."

Instead, Obama's administration has been prescribing all sorts of multibillion-dollar borrowing remedies without any consistent diagnosis of what is exactly wrong with the weak economy or even how bad things actually are. (Victor Davis Hanson, IBD)

Terence Corcoran: Is this the end of America? - U.S. law-making is riddled with slapdash, incompetence and gamesmanship

Helicopter Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve is dropping trillions of fresh paper dollars on the world economy, the President of the United States is cracking jokes on late night comedy shows, his energy minister is threatening a trade war over carbon emissions, his treasury secretary is dithering over a banking reform program amid rising concerns over his competence and a monumentally dysfunctional U.S. Congress is launching another public jihad against corporations and bankers.

As an aghast world — from China to Chicago and Chihuahua — watches, the circus-like U.S. political system seems to be declining into near chaos. Through it all, stock and financial markets are paralyzed. The more the policy regime does, the worse the outlook gets. The multi-ringed spectacle raises a disturbing question in many minds: Is this the end of America? (Financial Post)

Is Socialism Overtaking Capitalism In The Way Schumpeter Foresaw? - In his 1942 book, "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy," Joseph Schumpeter asked the essential question: "Can capitalism survive?"

His unsettling answer was, "No. I do not think it can."

Schumpeter's words were in no way meant to denigrate capitalism. Instead, he felt "its very success undermines the social institutions which protect it." History in many ways proved his views prophetic.

The success of capitalism means that many are allowed to do things that have nothing to do with productivity. And from government and academic elites that frequently seek to undermine the very system that enabled their cushy jobs, to foundations created by capitalist profits that often dismiss same, the commercial success wrought by the pursuit of profit has created an unproductive elite that lives off the very business profits that it regularly casts a skeptical eye on.

Schumpeter was of course talking about a United States that he envisioned post-World War II, but his fears then don't stray too far from the concerns of many today.

Indeed, he worried that as wars usually accrue to the power of the state, that heavy government spending "would likely evolve into total government control over investment."

So far we've got the stratospheric spending to the tune of a $3.6 trillion budget, and from planned investment in everything from green energy to mortgage securities to autos, it seems that the alleged good that comes with government largesse will morph into the bad of government-directed investment. (John Tamny, IBD)

Anticapitalists left & right... Values for a Sustainable World Economy - The current global financial crisis embodies a chance for a new economic order, argue German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. That idea should be the guiding principle for the upcoming G-20 summit in London. (Angela Merkel and Jan Peter Balkenende, Der Spiegel)

This blissful life

Where ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise
Gray

After the conservation laws, the most fundamental laws of physics are the related continuity laws. The people who have hijacked control of science openly display their ignorance of such matters, while hurling abuse at those know better. A classic example occurred back in September 2003. That was when the notorious Hockey Stick was going through the triumphal stages of Langmuir’s Laws of Bad Science before it met its inevitable demise under law six. The ad hoc explanation for the freezing of the Thames during the “non-existent” Little Ice Age was that the structure of London Bridge reduced the flow rate.

It is not as though the continuity law is counter-intuitive. If water is arriving at a point in a channel, it will still arrive at the same rate after you have inserted an obstruction. One of two things must happen: either the water overflows the channel walls or the difference in head rises to accommodate the same rate of flow. There is nowhere else for it to go. Not, as they say, rocket science.

Now a professor, no less, has stated that beavers by building dams will “slow rivers and control flooding”. Well, if a professor says it, it must be right. Best for those of us who are so old that we studied physics at school to stay shtum: otherwise we might be likened to those who deny the holocaust and be cast in to the outer darkness, instead of being allowed to exist in the comfortable world of the BBC and the like. (Number Watch)

Coping in a World of "Peak Water" - UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 - As more than 20,000 people meet in Istanbul for a major week-long conference on future management of the world's water supplies, women's groups are working to ensure that policy decisions about this critical natural resource take their concerns into account.

About a billion people currently lack safe drinking water, and another two and a half billion have no access to sanitation. (IPS)

The Red Sea Might Save The Dead Sea - JERUSALEM - Abundant water from the Red Sea could replenish the shrinking Dead Sea if Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians decide to commission a tunnel north through the Jordanian desert from the Gulf of Aqaba.

The Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance project would supply the biggest desalination plant in the world, running on its own hydro-electric power and providing Jordan with enough water for the next 40-50 years. Israel and the Palestinian West Bank would also benefit.

A decision on whether to go ahead could come by the end of next year and the likely cost would be in the region of 7 billion dollars. (Reuters)

Actually, global cooling could precipitate these problems: Chief scientist warns of "perfect storm" for resource shortages by 2030 - Food, energy and water supplies all under threat from combination of climate change and growing population

The UK's chief scientist will today warn that political and business leaders have just 20 years to prepare for a "perfect storm" of climate change-related impacts on food, water and energy supplies or risk public unrest, conflict and mass migration.

In a major speech to the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference, Professor John Beddington will warn that the combination of climate change, a growing global population and changing dietary habits will result in a surge in demand for food, water and energy by 2030 that will drive up prices and could lead to widespread shortages.

According to Beddington, demand for food and energy will increase 50 per cent by 2030, while demand for fresh water will rise 30 per cent as the population grows to top 8.3 billion.

At the same time, climate change is expected to result in falling levels of agricultural productivity and water shortages across many hot regions, leading to mass migration and increased risks of cross-border conflict. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

March 19, 2009

To give Andy his due, he does admit some rational items: Study: West Antarctic Melt a Slow Affair - How many times have you seen the word “collapse” used lately to describe what could unfold should human-caused global warming, and more particularly warming seas, erode the West Antarctic Ice Sheet? (One metric: A Google search for “West Antarctic Ice Sheet” and “collapse” gets 29,800 hits.)

The word is used again in the headline on one of two new papers in the journal Nature focusing on past comings and goings of that huge expanse of ice. But this paper, by David Pollard at Penn State and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, provides an estimated time frame for the loss of ice that its authors say should be of some comfort. (If the sheet melted entirely, sea levels worldwide would rise more than 15 feet.)

Dr. Pollard and Dr. DeConto ran a five-million-year computer simulation of the ice sheet’s comings and goings, using data on past actual climate and ocean conditions gleaned from seabed samples (the subject of the other paper) to validate the resulting patterns.

The bottom line? In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process — at its fastest — takes thousands of years. Over all, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn’t go beyond about 1.5 feet per century, Dr. Pollard said in an interview, a far cry from what was thought possible a couple of decades ago. He, Dr. DeConto and other experts on climate and polar ice stressed that when Greenland’s possible contribution to the sea level is added, there’s plenty for coastal cities to consider. But for Greenland, too, some influential recent studies have cut against the idea that momentous coastal retreats are likely anytime soon.

Over all, the loss of the West Antarctic ice from warming is appearing “more likely a definite thing to worry about on a thousand-year time scale but not a hundred years,” Dr. Pollard said. (Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times)

Al Gore vs. The Aristotelian Method - or The Moral Irrationality Of Climate Scaremongering - The following is my translation of a talk given by Prof Luigi Mariani of the Agrometeorological Research Group, Dept. of Crop Science, University of Milan after a public screening of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, on 23 January in Comano, Italy. (The Unbearable Nakedness of Climate Change)

Complex Path For Climate Bills In Congress - Congress is expected to tackle climate change this year with bills aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging cleaner alternative energy and more efficient delivery of electricity.

Climate change legislation is complicated and so is the path it could take in the Democratic-controlled Congress. Here is a rundown of key committees that would have a say in shaping the bills: (Reuters)

7 Green Jobs Myths - Kermit the Frog summed it up best, “It’s not easy being green.” Today, academics and researchers from four U.S. universities today released a joint study, Seven Myths About Green Jobs. The analysis takes an in depth look at widespread claims of green jobs and the new green economy and their potential impact on the economy, employment and the environment. Here’s a taste… (Chilling Effect)

Dubious claim of the moment: Climate Stimulus: A New Green Deal? - President Roosevelt’s New Deal transformed Depression-era America into the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. Economic and civic experts met at the forum of the Allianz Cultural Foundation to discuss if a New Green Deal could work similar wonders for climate protection and economic recovery. (Allianz)

Insurers Must Disclose Climate-Change Exposure - Insurance companies must start disclosing how climate change is likely to affect their businesses, state insurance regulators decided Tuesday.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners voted to require insurers to submit annual "climate-risk" reports, an unusually aggressive stance on the environmental issue from industry regulators.

The officials acted after concluding that climate change threatens insurers in two ways. It increases the risk of extreme weather events such as floods and wildfires, which would boost claims. And it is prompting governments to cap industrial carbon emissions that contribute to global warming -- a move threatens the profits of companies such as coal-fired utilities in which insurers commonly invest. (Wall Street Journal)

A new Government Publication to help you, just in case you find "Climate Change" difficult to understand! - Please read the following report from the AP New government brochure explains climate science. If you are unable to understand the very complicated power of CO2 on the Earth's climate, the Government have now decided to issue the public a FREE booklet to help. If anyone can spot the solar effect on the Earth's climate in this publication please let the Government know and they will remove it. This current publication will NOT explain why you have more CO2 and cooler temperatures, that question will be answered in 2020 when the power of CO2 will need explaining again! (Climate Realists)

A Dozen Reasons Why a Former CNN Executive Producer for Science Doesn’t Understand Doubters of Manmade Global Warming - The following editorial appeared on the Huffington Post website today (italicized entries, below)…and I couldn’t help but give the writer some of his own medicine (my responses not italicized, & in parentheses). (Roy W. Spencer)

Cyclical Climate Changes

By L.B. Klyashtorin, A.A. Lyubushin English Version Edited by Dr. Gary Sharp

Icecap Note: My presentation at the ICCC 2009 conference related to both data integrity and the cycles (averaging around 60 years) of the sun and oceans which fit like a glove with temperatures. I had to leave out the Arctic which exhibits the identical behavior because of time limitations.

image
Here is a larger graph.

I received a copy of this PDF from the authors of a book that discovered a 60 year cycle and a strong relationship with fish productivity, after they saw the presentation on-line and how well it fit with their book “Climate Changes and Fish Productivity”. Here are some relevant excerpts of their excellent book (PDF here): (Icecap)

Melting Antarctic Ice Part of Natural Cycle - Historical records for the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) show that it is particularly prone to rapid climate change—change that occurs in cycles of ~200 years and ~2500 years. By studying major transitions in plankton productivity in the western Antarctic, scientists have shown that “spectacular” ice-cover losses have happened many times in the past. In other words, the “unprecedented rapid loss of ice” from parts of Antarctica that global warming alarmists make so much of are a normal part of nature's cycles.

According to the latest report in the journal Science, this is how it works: Less ice in the northern zone causes more cloud cover, reducing the amount of light reaching the plankton. A loss of light, together with less ice-melt freshwater and stronger winds means fewer large plankton blooms. By contrast, in the south, the skies stay cloudless for longer and the Antarctic current increases its flow rate, pulling up more nutrients. Both factors contribute to greater primary productivity. These physical changes explain the striking shifts recently observed in krill and the vertebrate communities of the western Antarctic. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

Arctic Ice Thickness Measured From Buoys - Guest Post by Steven Goddard

The Catlin Arctic Survey has generated quite a bit of discussion, more because of the difficulties they have faced than because of the scientific merit of their expedition. Their home page is covered with testimonials about the importance of measuring “ice decline” and raising “climate change awareness.” (Watts Up With That?)

Time For Some Climate Realism - We try to stay informed, read the newspapers, watch the news on TV, and still we missed a major event that affects our future and our pocketbooks. 700 scientists, economists, and public policy experts from 20 countries met in New York City in early March of this year. They concluded that global warming, if it is occurring at all, is probably natural rather than man-made.

The message from 700 of our best and brightest scientists who studied this issue, based on science and observation, was very different from Al Gore's message and President Obama's message. Gore claims that there is a crisis in our atmosphere, that a calamity is occurring, and in ten years the atmosphere may suffer irreversible harm. Gore and Obama offer their solution: cap the production of energy from fossil fuels, tax carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, create a "cap and tax" bureaucracy, make most forms of energy very expensive, and transfer our personal wealth to government wealth all to perform an absolutely worthless and unnecessary task.

The Gore-Obama plan is to collect CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground forever, spending trillions of dollars doing it. In return, we get nothing, unless you count the $645 billion in additional taxes, something that all Americans will pay every time they buy a product or fill up the tank of their car or truck. (Rep. Carl Gatto, Sit News)

Words fail... PHOTOS: Five Global Warming "Tipping Points" (National Geographic News)

Climate science, Garbage in, Garbage out - Statistics in modern society - Most people know about Disraeli’s comment, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics”, but few understand how the application of statistics has affected our lives or how it developed and evolved. We sense it when everything sort of fits everyone, but doesn’t precisely fit anyone. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Global Carbon Price Unlikely For 10-15 Years: Analysts - COPENHAGEN - A single global price for carbon emissions is not likely for another 10 to 15 years because governments are dragging their heels on legislation, market analysts said on Wednesday.

"By 2025, we could have one single currency," orbeo carbon analyst Emmanuel Fages said at a Point Carbon emissions trading conference in Copenhagen.

The European Union's executive Commission hopes to have a global carbon market in which emissions trading schemes are linked by 2020. It wants to see national schemes in all OECD countries by 2013 and for those to be linked by 2015.

Cap-and-trade schemes force participants, often energy-intensive industries, to buy permits to emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is produced from burning fossil fuels.

Analysts said a global carbon market would help achieve real emissions cuts in planet-warming greenhouse gases, but the EU's goals were too ambitious and a global price for carbon would only emerge in 2015-20. (Reuters)

Obama climate plan could cost $2 trillion - President Obama's climate plan could cost industry close to $2 trillion, nearly three times the White House's initial estimate of the so-called "cap-and-trade" legislation, according to Senate staffers who were briefed by the White House. (Tom LoBianco, Washington Times)

Carbon tariffs quid pro quo? - Just as the World Bank put out a report on increased trade protectionism in the world, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu came out in favor of using carbon tariffs as a “weapon” against countries that aren’t taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions and as a way to protect U.S. manufacturers.

He seemed not to notice that the day before China’s top climate change official Li Gao had warned that carbon tariffs imposed on developing countries would be a “disaster” and perhaps start a trade war. (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

More on carbon tariffs - For more on the insanity of carbon tariffs, there’s an excellent 2008 article by the National Post’s Terence Corcoran appropriately titled “Blowing up the WTO.” Here’s what he says: (Fran Smith, Cooler Heads)

Carbon mitigation schemes are inherently protectionist - Thanks, Fran, for blogging on the carbon tariff threat to the peace and prosperity of the world.

We should all remember that carbon tariffs are no mere quirk of this or that administration, political party, or government agency. Protectionism is an inherent feature of carbon suppression policies, for three reasons: (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

Say what? Asia Climate Policy On Track - NEW DELHI - Asia's biggest carbon emitters face dual challenges this year that risk undermining their fight against climate change -- a global recession that's crippling domestic business and elections in a pivotal year.

For the moment, however, there is little to suggest they've lost their pace in the drive to embrace cleaner energy policies, or a souring of goodwill toward achieving a broader climate pact at the end of the year to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Even in Australia, where growing political opposition is threatening the world's most sweeping cap-and-trade system, the government has staked its reputation on getting the scheme through parliament in coming months.

Elsewhere in Asia, the drive toward clean energy seems just as strong. (Reuters)

Pardon our ignorance but what, exactly, is the reputation of the K.Rudd government in Australia? Anybody? Other world leaders have learned Kevni is an untrustworthy big-noting blabbermouth but, beyond that... what? Just what reputation has K.Rudd and his freshly minted (and rapidly failing) government staked on getting this absurd economic suicide pact through parliament?

No way we’ll move millions to green jobs - Keith Orchison is rightly sceptical of airy green claims that slashing emissions won’t hurt because we can just move workers from gassy jobs to green ones: (Andrew Bolt Blog)

Oz's greens want import limits on CO2 offsets - CANBERRA: Australia's influential Greens will demand stringent caps on how many carbon offsets can be bought from developing countries as the price of support for the government's emissions trade scheme, the party said on Wednesday.

Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne said she feared the scheme outlined in draft laws this month could see Australia achieve deep emissions cuts by buying carbon abatement credits offshore.

"It would be immoral if there was not a cap on the amount of offsets that developed economies could buy to try to meet their own domestic targets," Milne told Reuters.

"It is a carbon imperialism which says we will take from you your cheapest carbon mitigation measures, as in buying the offsets from protecting forests, and we will use those to offset our emissions," she said.

Support from Milne's party will be crucial in passing the emissions trading scheme (ETS) laws in the upper house Senate, which is dominated by government opponents and swing voters. (Economic Times)

A Set Of Presentations On Video - “Climate Science Seminar: Climate Change And Its Causes: A Discussion About Some Key Issues” - There was an interesting diverse viewpoint set of talks on February 26, 2009 at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics titled “Climate Science Seminar: Climate Change and Its Causes: A Discussion about Some Key Issues“.

The presentations are by Nicola Scafetta, Judith Lean, Richard Lindzen and Karl Wunsch.

We need more such meetings where alternative viewpoints on climate science are presented. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Clouding Up Man-Made Global Warming - Final dispatch from the International Conference on Climate Change in New York - March 9, New York—The participants at the final lunch of the International Climate Change Conference in New York were in a celebratory and pugnacious mood. On the one hand, these skeptics feel beleaguered—who would not?—from their antagonists constantly comparing them to Holocaust "deniers" and calling for them to be tried for "high crimes against humanity and nature." On the other hand, they are cheered by recent polls indicating public skepticism of the claims of imminent catastrophe made by climate "alarmists." In a January Pew Research Center poll, global warming came in dead last on a list of issues of concern to Americans.

At the luncheon, retired NASA climatologist John Theon rose to lament the fact that he hadn't fired James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and an ardent advocate of the idea that man-made global warming is a catastrophe in the making. The audience burst into applause when Theon called Hansen an "embarrassment." In 1988, Hansen launched global warming as a public policy issue in his testimony before a congressional committee. Theon admitted that he actually couldn't have fired Hansen, who had powerful political protectors, most notably then-Senator and later Vice President Al Gore. So had Theon tried to do it, it's much more likely that he himself would have been out on the street rather than Hansen.

Theon told the audience that while he remained silent on the issue of global warming when he retired from NASA, he now felt he needed to speak out. "This whole thing is a fraud," said Theon. "We need to educate the public about what we're going to get into unless we stop this nonsense." The nonsense being the deleterious effect that carbon rationing would have on economic growth and jobs. (Ronald Bailey)

Steve McIntyre’s ICCC09 presentation with notes - I sat next to Steve on the Climatology Panel at ICCC09 and thought he did a fine job of summarizing the Mannian methodology and the Bristlecone Pine issues for the general public. Jeff Id invited me to repost this from his blog, the Air Vent, and am more than happy to oblige so that it gets the widest possible exposure. Note, unlike at the Air Vent, this thread will be TCO free since we don’t allow cussing here. ;-) - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Heck yes, although it's only a tiny start: Drivers wants cyclists to carry licences - MOST drivers believe cyclists should be licensed and they won't get any argument from lobby group Bicycle Queensland.

Licensing of cyclists would make them accountable for breaking road rules, ensure they helped pay for road infrastructure and serve identification and insurance purposes. (The Advertiser)

Road lice are complete parasites on the transport system, paying nothing and occupying a disproportionate space. Worse, they increase both environmental and driving costs for real users. How much should they pay for registration? 100 times that of a medium car? 1,000? Consider how just one road louse causes hundreds or thousands of cars and trucks to slow, reducing fuel efficiency and increasing emissions of pollutants (and greenhouse gases, for those who worry about irrelevancies), note the bottlenecks they create as people commute too and from jobs and it's even worse for those on the school run. Each and every cyclist intruding on the transport system has an environmental footprint completely disproportionate to their conveyance value (it's a wonder enviros haven't come up with an emotive connotation, naming them a Cyclo Valdez or something).

We probably need to start small, say a medium car registration fee per cycle and an annual riders license at the same cost as a driver's license. Then we can start upping the anti until we recover a reasonable cost or get rid of road lice altogether.

I'm thinking a lot a greenies and anti internal combustion engine types are likely to be a little miffed at me but get real guys, either you care about the environment, in which case you have to hate bicycles for the pollution and congestion problems they cause, or you just hate people travelling efficiently and couldn't care less about the planet. Which is it?

What a waste! Department for Energy and Climate Change slammed by environmental inspector - The headquarters of the Whitehall department responsible for tackling climate change was given a scathing assessment by a Government energy efficiency inspector, it emerged last night.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change's office in Westminster was given the worst possible rating following a visit by an official assessor.

The energy assessor's official report, released to MPs in response to a parliamentary question, also revealed no renewable fuels were used to provide heat or electricity in the building. (Daily Mail)

So what? The whole department is a waste of oxygen.

They keep coming... Global Governance of Science - The European Commission has just released a new report titled, The Global Governance of Science. It is available here in PDF. Here is the abstract:

This report is the product of an expert group acting under a mandate from the European Commission Directorate General for Research to which legal scholars, sociologists, philosophers and political scientists from Europe, the United States of America, China and South-Africa have contributed. This report seeks to advance a vision of global governance for the common good that invokes European principles of good governance and fundamental rights. It is our belief that the European Union as a political entity situated between the national and global levels, with its principles of good governance, its charter of fundamental rights and commitments to a European Research Area, is ideally placed to encourage critical reflection and undertake practical leadership in relation to the global governance of science and innovation. Our recommendations are addressed not only to policymakers in the European Commission and the Member States of the EU, but equally to those organisations worldwide operating within and around science. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

UN accuses EU over climate change - The UN's climate change chief has accused Europe's politicians of shifting the goalposts in global talks on climate change.

The EU agreed at the Bali climate summit last December to bankroll clean technology in developing countries if they agreed to take appropriate actions to curb emissions growth.

The fragile deal was reached after marathon talks.

But EU politicians are now asking for more action for their money. They want developing countries to produce plans to cut emissions across their entire economy before getting cash help from the EU. (BBC)

EU Plans Puts Climate Finance At Risk: Industry - COPENHAGEN - European Union plans to re-write the rules of a $6 billion scheme that pays developing nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions risks stalling climate investment, policymakers and industry leaders said on Wednesday.

The EU's executive Commission this week detailed plans to force industry in advanced emerging economies such as China to meet efficiency or other standards before they qualify for carbon offsets from cutting carbon emissions.

Commission officials want the new rules agreed at a major U.N.-led climate meeting this December in Copenhagen, meant to thrash out a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

"We should agree by the end of this year the basic architecture," EU Commission official Peter Zapfel said on Wednesday.

"We're talking about a mechanism we want up and running by 2013," he added, speaking at a carbon market conference also held in Copenhagen. (Reuters)

A Development Mechanism That Cleans Little - BERLIN, Mar 18 - The clean development mechanism, the Kyoto Protocol instrument that allows industries in rich countries to earn emission reduction credits by financing environment-friendly projects in developing countries, is a perverse but at the moment necessary tool to fight global warming, says a German environmental expert.

Lambert Schneider, expert on climate change policies at the German Institute for Applied Ecology, and who has been researching the impact of CDM since its inception, says that the mechanism must be radically reformed or supplanted by more efficient instruments.

"CDM has raised awareness in developing countries and among investors of the urgent need of reducing greenhouse gases emissions (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) to stop global warming," Schneider told IPS.

But at the same time, the huge business opportunities associated with CDM have led to a massive abuse of the tool, "through the non-compliance of numerous international agreed environmental and development standards of the projects in emerging countries such as China and India," said Schneider. (IPS)

Manufacturing inefficiency - Study sees 'alarming' use of energy, materials in newer manufacturing processes

Modern manufacturing methods are spectacularly inefficient in their use of energy and materials, according to a detailed MIT analysis of the energy use of 20 major manufacturing processes.

Overall, new manufacturing systems are anywhere from 1,000 to one million times bigger consumers of energy, per pound of output, than more traditional industries. In short, pound for pound, making microchips uses up orders of magnitude more energy than making manhole covers.

At first glance, it may seem strange to make comparisons between such widely disparate processes as metal casting and chip making. But Professor Timothy Gutowski of MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the analysis, explains that such a broad comparison of energy efficiency is an essential first step toward optimizing these newer manufacturing methods as they gear up for ever-larger production. (David Chandler, MIT News)

NRC Expects Requests For 7 New Nuclear Reactors - WASHINGTON - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received 17 applications to build 26 new U.S. nuclear reactors and could get five more applications for seven reactors by the end of next year, the agency's chairman told Congress on Wednesday.

"We are actively reviewing those applications as we speak," NRC Chairman Dale Klein told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at a hearing on the state of the U.S. nuclear industry.

The industry sees building more nuclear power plants as key to meeting America's growing electricity demand and also helping the United States reduce its greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. (Reuters)

India Continuing Nuclear Push - On March 3, the International Atomic Energy Agency approved a measure allowing increased inspection of India’s nuclear facilities, a move that paves the way for India to invest some $100 billion over the next decade in its nuclear power sector.

The deal with the IAEA, under negotiation since late 2007, is the latest move in a long and tortuous path to the removal of the three and a half decade international nuclear trade embargo on India. The removal of the embargo began in July 2005 when India and the US signed a nuclear cooperation agreement.

Though nuclear power contributes only 2.5 % of India’s electricity, that percentage will likely rise. India is planning to import at least eight new nuclear reactors by 2012. The state-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), that oversees all nuclear power production in India today, now operates 17 reactors, and it is building five new nuclear plants and has plans to open four more.

All told, NPCIL has plans to add 16 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity to the existing capacity of 4 GW (now operating at just 40% of capacity due to inadequate fuel) by 2020. (Priyanka Bhardwaj, Energy Tribune)

Bipartisan Senate bill seeks lower tariffs on ethanol imports - A bipartisan group of senators is seeking to lower U.S. tariffs on ethanol imports to achieve "parity" with the blender's credit, which was reduced in last year's farm bill.

The farm bill knocked the blender's credit from 51 cents per gallon to 45 cents per gallon. A new Senate measure (pdf) is aimed at knocking down the 54-cent-per-gallon import tariff and the 2.5 percent ad valorem tariff to achieve "parity" with the lowered blender's tax credit. (Greenwire)

EU action on biofuel imports - Brussels has acted to stop a so-called 'splash and dash' operation in which the US dumped biodiesel on Europe.

The move comes after around one million tonnes of US-produced biodiesel entered the EU in 2007 alone.

A Commission investigation has confirmed claims brought by the European biodiesel industry and has introduced temporary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on the imports.

The duties, which started from Friday, vary depending on the company, but range from €260 up to €410 per tonne. They will remain in place for up to six months when the member states must vote on whether to propose 'definitive' duties, which normally last for five years.

News of the anti-dumping duties has led to traders predicting the price of European biodiesel will firm up.

NFU combinable crops board chairman Ian Backhouse said: "For the past 20 years subsidised US soybean products have been seriously undermining our biofuel markets here and in Europe. (NFU)

Bar-code healthcare? - For years, JFS has been warning about plans being made for nationalized electronic medical records, the doublespeak being used to sell them to an unsuspecting public, and their real purposes. While the reality is well-known among medical professionals, the public has been largely kept in the dark, wooed by political and special interest claims and promises. That is beginning to change.

The Wall Street Journal published a hard-hitting Op-Ed by two Harvard Medical School physicians that called out the government for acting the opposite of its promises to the American people to base all policies on rigorous scientific evidence of benefit. (Junkfood Science)

Feds undercut ammo supply - But Defense policy reversed after intervention by 2 Montana senators

Responding to two Democratic senators representing outraged private gun owners, the Department of Defense announced last night it has scrapped a new policy that would deplete the supply of ammunition by requiring destruction of fired military cartridge brass.

The policy already had taken a bite out of the nation's stressed ammunition supply, leaving arms dealers scrambling to find ammo for private gun owners. (WorldNetDaily)

Internet could become environmental watchdog-study - OSLO, March 19 - The Internet could provide an early warning system for environmental damage, imitating an online watchdog that gives alerts about outbreaks of disease, scientists said on Thursday.

An automated trawl of blogs, videos, online news and other sources could yield bits of information to fill in a bigger picture of problems such as global warming, pollution, deforestation or over-fishing, they said. (Reuters)

Beavers 'could thrive in England' - Beavers could be successfully reintroduced in many parts of England, a conservation body has argued.

Natural England says a study has shown beavers, already set for reintroduction in Scotland, could boost wildlife and reduce flooding, among other benefits.

It is now up to wildlife charities and other groups to decide whether they would like to embark on such a scheme.

Farmers say landowners' concerns must be taken into account. Beavers were hunted to extinction in the 1500s. (BBC)

Soil neglected asset in greenhouse gas fight - BEDFORD, England - John Ibbett and pigs go back a long way. "The pig manager pushed me round in a pram," recalls Ibbett, whose family have been farming on the same site since 1939.

Now he's proud his family farm can turn muck into electricity, using new technology paid for by a multi-million pound windfall. His Bedfordia Group is one of only a handful of companies with farm-based biogas plants in Britain.

Scientists complain that the world has so far failed to support agriculture in the fight against climate change, focusing instead on more visible emissions from factories and power plants.

Ibbett raised part of the cash for his multi-million, three-year-old venture from a property sale far beyond the reach of most family-owned farms. Although his is a rarity in Britain, more biogas plants are being established in Denmark, Germany and developing countries.

That momentum could be a precursor for much bigger climate benefits, from changing farming methods to use the soil's capacity to store vast amounts of carbon. Experts say this is an area so far almost entirely ignored by policymakers.

Soils as well as trees can suck carbon out of the air, boosting what experts call terrestrial carbon. Farmers can nurture carbon underground as well as crops above by using longer rotations, not over-grazing pasture and plowing less. (Reuters)

Building soil fertility is good. Depleting atmospheric fertility is not. Bottom line is that we do not want to stop atmospheric carbon dioxide recovery -- the biosphere just loves it and so should we.

Will Success Kill the Pangasius? - The Pangasius, or striped catfish, began taking the European fish market by storm a few years ago. It satisfied a voracious appetite for inexpensive white fish. But its success may become its downfall. (Der Spiegel)

Government launches bid to allay fears over GM food - PM hopes to gather enough evidence to prove genetically modified crops are safe

The Government has asked its top scientist to investigate the merits of genetically modified food in the hope that his verdict will allay public fears about so-called "Frankenstein foods".

Officially, Gordon Brown and his ministers remain neutral on the issue of GM because of public hostility, saying that they will be "guided by the science". But they have quietly ordered a major research project, which they hope will provide the launchpad for a campaign to persuade people that GM food is safe.

The study will be led by Professor John Beddington, the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, and carried out by the Foresight Institute, a science and technology think-tank that looks into long-term issues for the Government.

The group's remit – how to feed a world population which could rise to nine billion by 2050 – makes no mention of the GM issue. But Jane Kennedy, the minister for Farming and the Environment, told The Independent yesterday that the group's work would include the potential for GM crops and food. (The Independent)

March 18, 2009

Hysteria alert: Tom Brokaw's New Global Warming Documentary - For someone who supposedly "retired" in 2004, Tom Brokaw has kept plenty busy. He filled in as moderator of Meet the Press after the death of Tim Russert, pitched in on campaign coverage for NBC and completed a documentary on global warming in 2006. Covering the environment isn't a fad for Brokaw — the South Dakota native is a longtime outdoorsman, often fly-fishing near his home in Montana and hiking with green friends like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. The former NBC Nightly News anchor just finished a new climate change documentary — Global Warming: The New Challenge with Tom Brokaw — which airs on the Discovery Channel on Mar. 18. Brokaw spoke to TIME in New York shortly after his return from a biking trip to Africa. Apparently semi-retirement isn't so bad. (Bryan Walsh, Time)

NASA scientist to lead British climate change protest - In another example of scientists politicizing the climate change debate, Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, will lead a protest in Britain in an attempt to put pressure of the nation’s government to fight manmade climate change. The event Thursday, called the Climate Change Day of Action, will be led by Dr. Hansen to the doorstep of British power company E.ON who is planning a new coal-fired power station.

Hansen, who has recently taken the leap from scientist to activist, is among the more controversial figures in the debate over anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and has become known for his harsh commentary on the subject. He has urged scientists to become political activists to drive home their concerns about manmade climate change and the dangers they feel it presents.

The event, a follow-up to last week’s International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen brings Hansen together with his British counterparts. Also taking part in the event will be Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre, the British government’s largest global warming research center and Dr. Simon Lewis, a Royal Society research fellow, at the Earth and Biosphere Institute at Leeds University. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

NASA’s chief climate scientist called out for civil disobedience - NASA’s chief climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, is blowing more than hot air about climate change. Some of his colleagues are calling his participation in a global warming protest at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington D.C. on March 2nd inappropriate.

It was the largest public protest of global warming ever in the United States, with more than 2,500 former coal miners, ministers, mothers, students, and climate activists, representing over 40 states, gathering to block all five entrances to the Capitol Power Plant for nearly four hours. On the website capitolclimateaction.org, which posted videos of the protest, Dr. Hansen can be spotted on the front lines and speaking to the crowd.

Critics say Hansen’s participation blurs the line between astronomer and activist and may violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from participating in partisan political activity. (OhMyGov.com)

Wrong: World Health Organization claims that health goes down as carbon goes up - Does health go down as carbon goes up, and vice versa, per the World Health Organization’s claim?

Guest post by: Indur M. Goklany

A World Health Organization (WHO) communiqué to an International congress on climate change in Copenhagen designed to sound the alarm on climate change, states that it estimates “around 150,000 deaths now occur in low-income countries each year due to climate change from four climate-sensitive health outcomes - crop failure and malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease, malaria and flooding.” [To get an inkling of the quality of these estimates, which are based on modeling studies, see here.] Then, citing “increased risks of extreme weather events, to effects on infectious disease dynamics and sea level rise,” the comminiqué declares that “as carbon goes up health goes down.” It then claims that “a large part of the current burden of disease is linked to energy consumption and transport systems. Changing these systems to reduce climate change would have the added benefit of addressing some major public health issues, including outdoor air pollution (800 000 annual global deaths); traffic accidents (1.2 million annual deaths); physical inactivity (1.9 million deaths); and indoor air pollution (1.5 million annual deaths).” Accordingly it argues, “Reducing green house gases [sic] emissions can be beneficial to health: as carbon goes down health goes up.”

But what do empirical data show? (Watts Up With That?)

The 2nd International Conference on Global Warming: An Intellectual Feast - The Second Annual International Conference on Global Warming was held March 8-10 in New York City. It featured more than 700 scientists, economists, geologists, biologists, and writers.

There were more than 80 speakers from 14 different countries extending from Sweden and Norway to Australia and New Zealand. This was a meeting of climate realists, who view the climate issues with the simple basics of hard nosed science.

The current international exaggerations on global warming are surprisingly popular yet empty of supporting evidence. All too few ask for the evidence when told of scare stories of rising tides, dying polar bears, stronger hurricanes and mosquitoes moving North, while any supporting evidence is notably absent. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

What message, and whose, from Copenhagen? - Last week's climate science conference in Copenhagen concluded with a declaration saying that the most serious warnings on climate change were coming true, and calling for immediate "action". But, argues Mike Hulme in the Green Room, it is not clear what action was being called for, nor precisely who was calling for it. (Mike Hulme, BBC)

The Arctic has cold and nasty weather? Go figure... North Pole team on half rations in bad weather - MONTREAL — Three British explorers trying to ski to the North Pole to measure the thickness of sea ice only have one day's food left as bad weather hampers supply flights, the mission said Tuesday.

Project director and ice team leader Pen Hadow and his colleagues Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels are now down to half rations and fighting to survive in brutal sub-zero weather conditions.

"We're hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice and, because we're not moving, the colder we get," Hadow said Tuesday in a statement from the London headquarters of the Catlin Arctic Survey.

"Waiting is almost the worst part of an expedition as we're in the lap of the weather gods. This is basic survival." (AFP)

<chuckle> Submarine makes climate change discoveries - A robot submarine has found clues to rising world sea levels by making trips deep beneath an ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists say.

The 7-metre submarine was making the first inspection of the underside of the shelf off the Pine Island glacier, in a US-British mission.

"Because so little is known about ice sheet behaviour, this research will take us a step further in understanding how ice sheets will contribute to sea level rise," Stan Jacobs, the US lead scientist from Columbia University, said in a statement. (Reuters)

Actually they do get around to admitting this is merely a tiny data snapshot and not any sort of gorebull warming discovery -- not that headline browsers will ever know..

History made as Jones et al 2008 paper admits huge urban warming in IPCC flagship CRUT3 gridded data over China - So sceptics have been correct for decades.

Yes you have to pinch yourself, the old canard so long clung to by the IPCC, that the urban influence in large area gridded data is “an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale” is now severely compromised.

The IPCC drew that conclusion from the Jones et al 1990 Letter to Nature which examined temperature data from regions in Eastern Australia, Western USSR and Eastern China, to conclude that “In none of the three regions studied is there any indication of significant urban influence..” That has led to the IPCC claim that for decades, urban warming is less than 0.05 per century.

Now Jones et al 2008 are saying in their Abstract, “Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1 degree per decade, hey that equates to a degree per century. Huge. (Warwick Hughes)

Europe, US to work together on global warming - Top environmental officials from Europe say they are encouraged by the United States' new stance on climate change.

After spending years encouraging the Bush administration to take action, three European environmental ministers said Tuesday that the U.S. appears ready to work with them on a new international agreement to curb the emissions blamed for global warming.

The officials were in Washington to meet with members of the Obama administration and Congress in preparation for negotiations on a new global treaty, which are scheduled for Copenhagen, Denmark in December. The Europeans also offered to work closely with the U.S. on climate change matters.

"We've been waiting for eight years," said Martin Bursik, the Czech Republic's environment minister at a briefing Tuesday. (Associated Press)

but: UN climate chief hustles on global warming deal - COPENHAGEN, Mar 17 - Big gaps remain in a new U.N. deal on global warming meant to be agreed in December and time is running worryingly short with just 265 days left, the U.N. climate chief said on Tuesday.

Yvo de Boer criticised a meeting of European Union finance ministers last week, which he said put conditions on financial help for climate action in developing countries, contrary to promises at the launch of the two-year climate talks in Bali in 2007.

The talks are meant to conclude in Copenhagen in December with a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012. One battleground is between industrialised and developing countries on how to split the cost of curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

"How are things looking in terms of that agreement? Worrying," he told reporters on the sidelines of a carbon trading conference in Copenhagen.

"Countries have not come forward with specific proposals on how aspects of the Copenhagen agreement can work in practice," he told Reuters, referring to "gaps" in a document meant to form the basis of a legal text. (Reuters)

White House may seek to bypass filibuster rule in Senate - WASHINGTON — A top White House official threatened Tuesday to use a congressional rule to force some controversial proposals through the Senate by eliminating the Republicans' power to block legislation.

Peter Orszag, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the Obama administration would prefer not to use the budget "reconciliation" process that allows measures to pass the Senate on simple majority votes.

Orszag said he wouldn't rule it out, however. The legislative tactic is being considered to push through Obama's global warming and health care programs, and perhaps his proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy.

"We'd like to avoid it if possible," Orszag told reporters at a luncheon in Washington. "But we're not taking it off the table." (McClatchy Newspapers)

India hits out at developed nations on climate change - Action on climate change mechanisms cannot be based on conditions, says Shyam Saran, India’s special envoy on climate change

New Delhi: India on Monday strongly hit out at developed nations for putting “conditions” and “adding dimensions” such as carbon tariff and trade competitiveness for action on climate change.

“Action on climate change cannot be based on conditions. Once we start going in that directions than it means we start going for protectionism under green label and it is harmful to India’s interest seeking sustainable development,” said Shyam Saran, India’s special envoy on climate change. (PTI)

Narrow Thinking In A New PNAS Paper ”Irreversible Climate Change Due To Carbon Dioxide Emissions” By Solomon Et Al 2009 - There is a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy. It is Susan Solomon, Gian-Kasper Plattner, Reto Knutti, and Pierre Friedlingstein, 2009: “Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions“. www.pnas.org cgi.doi10.1073pnas.0812721106.

This paper has a number of issues with its scientific robustness, however, this weblog will focus on just one. It is the continued inappropriately too narrow view of how humans are altering the climate system. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Beryllium 10 and climate - Quick primer:

Beryllium-10 is an isotope that is a proxy for the sun’s activity. Be10 is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic ray collisions with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen. Beryllium 10 concentrations are linked to cosmic ray intensity which can be a proxy for solar strength.

One way to capture earth’s record of that proxy data is to drill deep ice cores. Greenland, due to having a large and relatively stable deep ice sheet is often the target for drilling ice cores.

Isotopic analysis of the ice in the core can be linked to temperature and global sea level variations. Analysis of the air contained in bubbles in the ice can reveal the palaeocomposition of the atmosphere, in particular CO2 variations. Volcanic eruptions leave identifiable ash layers.

While it sounds simple to analyze, there are issues of ice compression, flow, and other factors that must be taken into consideration when doing reconstructions from such data. I attended a talk at ICCC 09 that showed one of the ice core operations had procedures that left significant contamination issues for CO2. But since Beryllium is rather rare, it doesn’t seem to have the same contamination issues attached. - Anthony (Watts Up With That?)

Oh dear... Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate - Climate change will create a novel and dynamic decision environment that cannot be envisioned from past experience. Moreover, climatic changes will be superimposed on social and economic changes that are altering the climate vulnerability of different regions and sectors of society, as well as their ability to cope. Decision makers will need new kinds of information and new ways of thinking and learning to function effectively in a changing climate.

Climate change also poses challenges for federal agencies and for the scientific community. Scientific priorities and practices need to change so that the scientific community can provide better support to decision makers in managing emerging climate risks. The information that is needed is not only about climate, but also about changes in social and economic conditions that interact with climate change.

Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate provides a framework and a set of strategies and methods for organizing and evaluating decision support activities related to climate change. Based on basic knowledge of decision making; past experiences in other fields; experience with early efforts in the climate arena; and input from a range of decision makers, the book identifies six principles of effective decision support and recommends a strategy for implementing them in a national initiative to inform climate-related decisions. (NAP)

Fit for purpose? - An attempt to write a piece involving comparisons of data for predicted and actual temperatures prompted a search for illustrations. It was rather disturbing to find how many of these were based on linear trend lines only, without inclusion of the original data. We have discussed elsewhere some of the problems associated with linear trends, but perhaps a cruder illustration, provided by a couple of minutes with Excel, will serve to underline a cause for concern. (Number Watch)

From CO2 Science this week:
Video Editorial: Your "Carbon Legacy"

A new study signals what may be on the legislative horizon if proponents of large CO2 emission reductions (Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama) have their way with the USA. And what it is may surprise if not shock you.

Click here to read the text of this Editorial. Click here to watch other short videos on various global warming topics and to embed any of our videos on your own web page or to watch them on YouTube in a higher resolution.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 684 individual scientists from 400 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Lake Chen Co, Southern Tibet, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary
Solar Influence on Climate (Irradiance Measurements): How good is the evidence for variable solar activity being the primary determinant of earth's ever-changing climate?

Plant Growth Data
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Eldarica Pine, Rice, Silver Dollar Gum, and Whiteflower Kurrajong.

Journal Reviews
Climatic Conditions in the Fjord Area of Southern Chile: How have they varied over the past eighteen centuries?

Tree-Trunk Tombs Tell Tales of Temperatures Past: What do they reveal about the Medieval Warm Period in China?

The Impact of Urbanization on the Surface Carbon Balance: Is it positive or negative?

Cash-Crop Halophytes in a CO2-Enriched World: Will there be a place for them?

In Vitro and Ex Vitro Growth of an Epiphytic CAM Orchid: How is it impacted by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

Salwan: Global warming may affect dog's health - Global warming has been blamed for everything from an increase in hurricanes to rising sea levels and polar glacial activity. Could it also be affecting the health and well-being of your dog? (The Argus)

White House open to directional drilling in ANWR - WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday he would consider tapping oil from Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by drilling outside its boundaries if it can be shown that the refuge's wildlife and environment will remain undisturbed. But Salazar emphasized that the Obama administration stands firm that the Alaska refuge, known as ANWR, "is a very special place" that must be protected and that he is not yet convinced directional drilling would meet that test. (Associated Press)

Energy executive: Va. should drill offshore - Virginia and the federal government need to get behind offshore drilling to bring money and jobs to the state, an energy company executive says.

"We have the [energy] resources," said the executive, J. Larry Nichols. "We just don't yet have the will to go develop them."

Nichols is chairman and CEO of Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp., one of the country's largest independent oil and natural-gas exploration and production companies. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Don't these idiots know anything at all? Loophole Gives Fodder To Offshore Drilling Foes - WASHINGTON - Oil and gas companies that have leased millions of offshore federal acres are not required to produce the energy supplies those tracts may hold, the Interior Department's Inspector General told Congress on Tuesday.

The IG's finding could help support the argument made by environmental groups and many U.S. lawmakers that the government should not open new offshore areas to drilling when companies are not using some 68 million acres they have already leased.

"With respect to nonproducing leases, we found that oil and gas companies that own federal drilling leases have little obligation to actually produce," IG Mary Kendall told a House subcommittee conducting a hearing on the issue. "The Department has no formal policy to compel companies to bring these leases into production."

Kendall said existing regulations and policies promote energy exploration, but production activities are not required to occur during the life of the leases. (Reuters)

What do they think, that oil extraction is as simple as sticking a straw in the planet? Only a small fraction of leases contain currently economically-recoverable oil reserves and even then they may have to wait until there is suitable infrastructure to handle the extracted product. This is not a case of just sail up and suck it out. Dopey buggers!

Sentiment Toward Nuclear Power Improving: Study - HOUSTON - Consumers around the world, worried about reliable energy supplies and pollution, said their countries should use less oil, natural gas and coal to make electricity and use more nuclear and renewable power, according to a 20-country survey by Accenture.

In Accenture's Multinational Nuclear Power Survey, 88 percent of the more than 10,500 respondents said reducing reliance on fossil-fueled power generation was "important" or "very important" to improve energy security and trim emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for climate change. (Reuters)

Shell Goes Cold On Wind, Solar, Hydrogen Energy - LONDON - Oil Major Royal Dutch Shell Plc doesn't plan to make any more large investments in wind and solar energy in the future and does not expect hydrogen to play an important role in energy supply for some time.

"We do not expect material amounts of investment in those areas going forward," Linda Cook, head of Shell's gas and power unit told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

"They continue to struggle to compete with the other investment opportunities we have in our portfolio," Cook said of solar and wind.

Shell's future involvement in renewables will be principally limited to biofuels, which the world's second-largest non- government-controlled oil company by market value believes is a better fit with its core oil and gas operations. (Reuters)

Anger after government halts solar energy grant programme - The government ran into a storm of criticism yesterday after quietly closing its grant programme for solar energy last week, which campaigners said made a mockery of its commitment to build a low-carbon economy.

The controversial low-carbon buildings programme is a grant system aimed at boosting renewable energies including wind, biomass and solar. It was due to close this summer but last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) put an announcement on its website saying that applications for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects on public buildings such as schools and hospitals were running at such high levels that they had used up their allocated share of half of the £50m grant pot ahead of time. (The Guardian)

Labor's conflict of interest blows ill wind - IT'S the green mafia at work. The Brumby Government forces you to pay extra to prop up wind farms owned mostly by union-backed funds.

Next it could force you to pay even more to prop up a $3.1 billion desalination plant financed mostly by another union-backed super fund.

This Labor-union link in "green" projects is a conflict of interest that could cost us millions - and stop Labor from giving us the dam we badly need. (Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun)

Near miss, but no threat - Asteroid in close pass was smaller than thought, astronomer shows

On March 2, an asteroid whizzed past the Earth at a distance of just 41,000 miles -- a near miss by cosmic standards (most communications satellites orbit at a distance of about 22,300 miles from Earth). Headlines around the world proclaimed that Earth had dodged a bullet, and many mentioned that if the space rock had hit our planet, it might have packed a punch comparable to the Tunguska impact in 1908 that flattened trees over an 800-square-mile area in Siberia.

But some fast-tracking observations by MIT Professor of Planetary Sciences Richard Binzel proved that this rock was actually much smaller than that. Likely just 19 meters (about 60 feet) across, it would probably have disintegrated high in the atmosphere, with only a few small fragments making it to the ground. (David Chandler, MIT News)

Peter Foster: Comrade Manning, science guru - Preston Manning’s recommendations are based on the deeply flawed notion that scientific innovation requires government funding. (National Post)

Plastic people sure think they know a lot about everything, don't they? Sammy Wilson is a flat earther, fumes eco-film maker - Northern Ireland’s environment minister has come under fire once again for his controversial views on global warming, this time from the director of a major new movie on the subject.

Sammy Wilson — who controversially believes that climate change is not man made — has already said he will not be going to see environmental docu-drama The Age of Stupid, which opens in Belfast later this month.

The film, which is set 50 years in the future, stars Pete Postlethwaite as an old man looking back at archive footage from 2008 and asking why more was not done to stop climate change. (Belfast Telegraph)

Funny, if they'd actually done something useful as far as education goes, rather than learning to formally play games of make-believe, they would probably know enough to shut up about things they plainly don't understand.

How Elite Environmentalists Impoverish Blue-Collar Americans - The great Central Valley of California has never been an easy place. Dry and almost uninhabitable by nature, the state's engineering marvels brought water down from the north and the high Sierra, turning semi-desert into some of the richest farmland in the world.

Yet today, amid drought conditions, large parcels of the valley--particularly on its west side--are returning to desert; and in the process, an entire economy based on large-scale, high-tech agriculture is being brought to its knees. You can see this reality in the increasingly impoverished rural towns scattered along this region, places like Mendota and Avenal, Coalinga and Lost Hills.

In some towns, unemployment is now running close to 40%. Overall, the water-related farming cutbacks could affect up to 300,000 acres and could cost up to 80,000 jobs.

However, the depression conditions in the great valley reflect more than a mere water shortage. They are the direct result of conscious actions by environmental activists to usher in a new era of scarcity. (Joel Kotkin, Forbes)

March 17, 2009

This utter rubbish, again: Drowning islands warn of future perils for 'environmental refugees' -- There is one holiday destination that should shake the faith of even the most vehement climate change skeptic: the Carteret Islands, part of Papua New Guinea, located northeast of Bougainville.

The Carteret Islands are just one of a number of places already feeling the effects of climate change.

The palm trees sway gently under a balmy sun, the beaches are perfect, and stretched out as far as the eye can see is the wide blue of the Pacific Ocean.

The only problem with this idyllic scene is that the water is getting closer; slowly but surely, as global warming bites and sea levels rise, the islands are being swallowed up, leaving the few hundred inhabitants pondering an uncertain future. (CNN)

Guess what? Relative sea levels are rising around these islands but this is not because the sea is getting taller, nor does it have anything to do with greenhouse gas or global temperature. The Carteret Islands are sinking due to tectonic activity and associated volcanism because the Pacific Plate is sliding into the Bismarck and Solomon Plates, some of the islands in the associated Duke of York group are sinking 30 centimetres (11.8 inches) a year.

Arctic states gather to try to save polar bear from global warming - Towering at the top of the food chain, the polar bear need not worry about predators but nonetheless faces a daunting enemy: climate change, which is jeopardising the very survival of the species. (AFP)

Actually they do have predators -- people and each other (bears' biggest worry beyond finding enough to eat are bigger bears or younger, stronger bears). Modern transport and hunting weapons saw a significant decline in bear populations and hunting controls have seen a huge increase in populations, which suggests the bears do fine so long as not too many are blown away for food and/or trophies. Polar bears survived the Holocene Climate Optimum, when temperatures were warmer and Arctic sea ice significantly less so we have no realistic reason to suppose they are at risk from any warming which might occur.

Hunters under fire in battle to save polar bear from extinction - Summit to discuss limits on hunting as starvation hits numbers of Arctic predators

A limit on the hunting of polar bears by sportsmen and native Arctic people will top the agenda at an international summit in Norway tomorrow, seen as vital to the survival of the predator. Although few people outside the Arctic realise it, there is still a major legal hunt for the animals in four out of the five states that host the bears: Canada, Greenland, Alaska in the US, and Russia. In Norway, stalking is banned. (The Independent)

Wouldn't the press be in a frenzy if buds burst 2 weeks early? Crops Behind Schedule - RICHLAND-- Mother Nature has decided that Washington's famous fruit baskets may come a little late this year.

Farmers say apples, cherries and peaches are about two weeks behind schedule.

Usually, the trees would be blooming at this time of year, but orchardist Jeff Rippon says he hasn't even seen any buds yet.

"They just are sitting here shivering like the people, wondering, 'Where is global warming?'" he said with a laugh.

Rippon says the late season is not necessarily a bad thing. Farmers don't have to worry about the usual money and headache of protecting their crops from frost damage. (KEPRTV)

Update: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims - Outpouring of Skeptical Scientists Continues as 59 Scientists Added to Senate Report - ‘The ­science has, quite simply, gone awry’

Washington DC: Fifty nine additional scientists from around the world have been added to the U.S. Senate Minority Report of dissenting scientists, pushing the total to over 700 skeptical international scientists – a dramatic increase from the original 650 scientists featured in the initial December 11, 2008 release. The 59 additional scientists added to the 255-page Senate Minority report since the initial release 13 ½ weeks ago represents an average of over four skeptical scientists a week. This updated report – which includes yet another former UN IPCC scientist – represents an additional 300 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial report’s release in December 2007. (EPW)

If You Can’t Explain It, You Can’t Model It - Guest Post by Steven Goddard

Global Climate Models (GCM’s) are very complex computer models containing millions of lines of code, which attempt to model cosmic, atmospheric and oceanic processes that affect the earth’s climate. This have been built over the last few decades by groups of very bright scientists, including many of the top climate scientists in the world. (Watts Up With That?)

Version 4: Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics - Abstract: The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified. (Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics)

Global warming's no longer happening - So why are eco types moaning about record highs while ignoring record lows?

So far this month, at least 14 major weather stations in Alberta have recorded their lowest-ever March temperatures. I'm not talking about daily records; I mean they've recorded the lowest temperatures they've ever seen in the entire month of March since temperatures began being recorded in Alberta in the 1880s. (Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal)

In the virtual realm: New York Flood Risk to Grow as Weaker Currents Raise Sea Level - March 16 -- The Big Apple faces a greater flood risk over the next century as weaker Atlantic currents raise sea levels on the U.S. East Coast by more than in London or Tokyo.

Global warming will alter Atlantic Ocean circulation in a way that will move more water to New York by 2100, Florida State University-led scientists said in a study in Nature Geoscience today. Including the expansion of water as it warms, the total gain may be 51 centimeters (20 inches), they said, not counting effects of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. (Bloomberg)

U.S., China, Europe should tax CO2 - NASA expert - OSLO, March 16 - U.S. President Barack Obama should seek an alliance with China and Europe to tax greenhouse gas emissions and abandon his plans for carbon trading, a leading U.S. scientist said on Monday.

James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol had exposed flaws in a cap-and-trade plan favoured by Obama for fighting climate change.

An international tax of perhaps $1 per gallon (3.8 litres) of gasoline, he said, was simpler and better. (Reuters)

8 Dems oppose quick debate on global warming bill - WASHINGTON -- Eight Senate Democrats are opposing speedy action on President Barack Obama's bill to combat global warming, complicating prospects for the legislation and creating problems for their party's leaders.

The eight Democrats disapprove of using the annual budget debate to pass Obama's "cap and trade" bill to fight greenhouse gas emissions, a measure that divides lawmakers, environmentalists and businesses. The lawmakers' opposition makes it more difficult for Democratic leaders to move the bill without a threat of a Republican filibuster.

The budget debate is the only way to circumvent Senate rules that allow a unified GOP to stop a bill through filibusters. (Associated Press)

ANALYSIS - Obama Compromise On Carbon Could Cut Revenues - NEW YORK - If the United States gives industry too many permits to emit greenhouse gases in a future climate regulation plan, it could cut revenues that had been expected to fund tax breaks and clean energy development.

President Barack Obama indicated to the Business Roundtable on Thursday he had some flexibility in making carbon emitters -- like coal-fired power plants, cement makers and oil refineries -- buy all of the permits in any cap-and-trade emissions plan

"If it's so onerous that people can't meet it, then it defeats the purpose and politically we can't get it done anyway, so we're going to have to find a structure that arrives at that right balance," Obama said late Thursday.

Giving any permits away, instead of selling them all to industry in an auction, would represent a shift in Obama's carbon regulation policy. (Reuters)

Cap-and-trade: Obama's 'economic dagger' - Prospects for passage of President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade solution for global warming have become decidedly chillier since the idea was first proposed in 2002. Obama wants to cut CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050. He’s got his work cut out for him. Not only are hundreds of credible climate scientists now publicly debunking former vice-president Al Gore’s claims of apocalyptic environmental disaster, a new Gallup poll reveals that 41 percent of Americans believe such alarms are “exaggerated.” Most significantly, more than 650 prominent international scientists now oppose the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)., which are the basis of the Obama proposal. By our math, the 52 authors of the IPCC report who are climate scientists are out-numbered 12-to-1 by their scientific critics.

Former Senate Environmental Committee chairman James Inhofe, R-OK, insists that the IPCC report, funded by government grants and liberal-leaning foundations, was written by “bought and paid for” scientists with a pre-determined agenda. Inhofe has opposed the cap-and-trade concept ever since the original McCain-Lieberman bill was introduced in the Republican-controlled Senate. Only two of his Senate colleagues offered to join Inhofe then. Now, more than two dozen have joined the growing ranks committed to defeating the identical Warner-Lieberman bill. (Examiner Editorial)

Hmm... not too sure about the "bought and paid for" line, we suspect it's more a case of ideologues than paid shills but it is certainly true that there are grants for warmists but not for those who would check their homework.

US Cap/Trade Bill May Not Pass This Year - Senator - WASHINGTON - Congress will not be able to pass legislation capping carbon emissions in 2009 if the economy continues its downward slide, a key Republican senator said Monday.

"If the economy is still where we are right now, I would suggest to you it's not happening this year," Senator Lisa Murkowski told reporters at a Platts Energy Podium.

Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she did not think lawmakers would burden consumers with the higher energy costs associated with a cap and trade system during a significant recession. (Reuters)

Lawmakers thwart Gregoire's cap-and-trade plan on climate - Gov. Chris Gregoire's attempt to push Washington to the forefront of climate-change regulation appears dead — mortally wounded in the state Legislature by fears it could hurt the economy and be vulnerable to rip-offs.

Both the state House and Senate have balked at adopting the so-called "cap-and-trade" system that would have forced industries to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to fall below a cap or buy extra permits in something resembling a stock market. (Seattle Times)

U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs - WASHINGTON — China's top climate negotiator's visit to Washington on Monday sent a fresh signal that the two countries, which account for about half the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have a long way to go to reach a common agreement on how to cut emissions to prevent serious climate change. (McClatchy Newspapers)

China: Importers need to share blame for emissions - Countries importing Chinese goods should be responsible for the heat-trapping gases released when the products are manufactured, a top Chinese official said Monday.

Li Gao, China's top climate negotiator, said that any fair international agreement to curb the gases blamed for global warming would not require China to reduce emissions caused by other countries' demand.

China has surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. But 15-25 percent of its emissions are generated by manufacturing goods for export, Gao said.

"As one of the developing countries, we are at the low end of the production line for the global economy. We produce products and these products are consumed by other countries...this share of emissions should be taken by the consumers, but not the producers," said Gao, who directs the climate change department at the National Development and Reform Commission. Gao made the comments at a briefing Monday at the U.S. Capitol's visitor center.

China's stance could be one of the stumbling blocks facing the U.S., China's largest trading partner, when negotiations to broker a new international treaty begin in Copenhagen, Denmark in December. Gao said China was not alone in thinking that emissions generated by the production of exports should be dealt with by importing countries. (Associated Press)

A fair enough position, too. The EU will hate it, of course, since they are driving this nonsense not out of concern over greenhouse gases but as a means to leverage advantage for their overpriced and inefficient industry. Fortunately carbon dioxide emissions are basically all upside feeding the biosphere with no known negative effects.

‘Green New Deal’ Fails to Get Funding in Britain, Lawmakers Say - March 16 -- Britain’s spending on public transportation and home insulation falls short of a “Green New Deal” needed to forge environmentally friendly growth, a committee of lawmakers said.

A 535-million-pound ($750 million) “green stimulus” announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in November includes only 100 million pounds of new funds, the Environmental Audit Committee said in a report today critical of the plan. Most of the funds are merely accelerated spending on railways and energy efficiency already pledged in future budgets.

“Taking money out of a budget two years down the road and bringing it forward to this year doesn’t really count as a ‘green new deal’ at all,” said committee Chairman Tim Yeo, in an interview. “That’s very disappointing.” (Bloomberg)

D'oh! UK government carbon targets 'too weak' to prevent dangerous climate change, scientists say - Official advice being used to set Britain's first carbon budget is "naïvely optimistic" and will not stop dangerous climate change, experts from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research say

Proposed government carbon targets are too weak to prevent dangerous levels of global warming, according to a new analysis by leading scientists. Ministers are poised to introduce strict limits on UK carbon pollution when they announce Britain's first carbon budget next month. But experts from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research warn today that official advice used to set the budget is "naïvely optimistic" and will not stop dangerous climate change.

It comes after scientists at a global warming conference in Copenhagen last week warned that emissions are rising faster than expected, and that climate change could strike harder and faster than predicted. (The Guardian)

Dopey blighters! Doesn't matter whether people stop emitting carbon dioxide altogether we still can't knowingly and predictably affect the world's climate.

Why should we pay for the beliefs of others? - Christopher Booker is bemused that more that 5,000 UK companies are having to spend millions on "carbon credits".

I was intrigued to note when I bought a £216 air ticket to New York that an additional £80 was charged in tax introduced to combat global warming, When I got home it was reported that 5,000 more UK companies, from banks to hotels, are faced with a yearly cost of £660 million to buy "carbon credits" under the EU's "emissions trading scheme" (ETS). (Daily Telegraph)

The Unwisdom of Solomon, Bad Logic, Bad Science and Bad Policies - Early in 2009, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published “Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions,” by Susan Solomon of NOAA and three colleagues. This lurid paper said that “the severity of damaging, human-induced climate change depends not only on the magnitude of the change but also on the potential for irreversibility,” and that “the climate change that takes place due to increases in CO2 concentration is largely irreversible for 1000 years after emissions stop.”

The Solomon paper talks of “irreversible impacts,” such as dry-season reductions in rainfall leading to “dustbowl” conditions in several regions, and “inexorable sea-level rise” of “several meters.” However, the paper is entirely predicated on two implicit but false assumptions: that the computer modeling on which all of its conclusions are based is competent to predict the state of the climate a millennium or more in the future; and that the effect of atmospheric carbon-dioxide enrichment on global mean surface temperatures will be substantial.

This collection of essays is in direct response to, and sound refutation of, the Susan Solomon paper. It is intended for state and federal policy makers and the public which elects them. No public policy, regardless of how small or large in scope, could wisely be based on the Solomon paper, or any similarly speculative claims. (SPPI)

Kafka at Albany - Last June I reported on the allegations of academic fraud levelled by a British mathematician, Doug Keenan, against Professor Wei-Chyung Wang of New York State University at Albany.

Dr Keenan alleged that in work that has come to be widely cited in climate studies, work that included the collation of data from temperature measuring stations in China, Professor Wang made statements that "cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated."

In August 2007, Dr Keenan submitted a report (pdf) of his allegations to the Vice President for Research at Wang's university and an inquiry was initiated. In February 2008 this was escalated into a full investigation by the Inquiry Committee.

All this was summarised in my earlier post, together with quotations from Dr Keenan's allegation.

So far, things had run as might be expected. A fraud had been alleged, the University at Albany looked into it and decided to hold a formal investigation. Dr Keenan waited to be contacted by the investigation and asked to put his case, in line with the university's Policy and Procedures on Misconduct in Research and Scholarship (.doc). The relevant section of this document runs as follows (emphasis added): (Freeborn John)

Labor heartland turns on ETS as modelling shows greater regional impact - THE mayors of three of the nation's biggest mining cities have demanded Kevin Rudd delay introducing carbon emissions trading, warning it will smash jobs and seriously damage key regional areas.

The mayors of the traditional Labor strongholds of Newcastle, Gladstone and Mount Isa have called for the emissions trading scheme to be put off.

And the managing director of Frontier Economics, Danny Price, who conducted still-secret modelling for the NSW Treasury on the Rudd Government's plan, said the impact of the scheme across industrial regions, including central Queensland, the Hunter and Illawarra in NSW and Victoria's Gippsland, would be "very high" and "very severe". (The Australian)

An ETS won't cut it in this climate - EVERYONE knows that theoretically a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme can deliver the same emissions reduction and price of carbon. One does so by putting a price on carbon (and forcing a reduction in emissions); the other by limiting the supply of permits to emit, raising the price for permits. In principle, either approach could work.

But Fairfax columnist Ross Gittins claims most economists favour a carbon tax because "they believe it would be easier politically". Really? Most economists understand politicians hate new taxes because voters hate all taxes and politicians fear being punished at the polls.

Most economists understand the carbon pollution reduction scheme, with permits issued mainly high up the supply chain, is easier politically. It panders to the public's misapprehension that nasty big polluters will pay and blurs the reality that increased costs will flow to consumers.

Most economists also understand that the CPRS is likely to be inefficient, consuming excessive resources.

Most economists agree that there's not a lot of political courage about. Europe's ETS experience shows it hasn't had the courage to limit permits enough. European Kyoto targets have been more honoured in the breach than in the observance. The carbon price has tanked as permits are flogged by cash-strapped companies during the global financial crisis. Indeed, European permits are a new sub-prime asset.

Gittins has lazily bought the Government's line that trading in permits via the CPRS "fits in better with what other countries are doing", but what are they doing? (Geoff Carmody, The Australian)

Opposition Grows To Australia's CO2 Trade Scheme - CANBERRA - Major political opponents to Australia's carbon trading plans hardened their stance on Monday, adding pressure on the government to make radical changes to get the scheme passed by parliament.

The ruling Labor party needs either the support of two independent and five Greens senators or the main opposition Liberal party to pass the emissions trading laws in the Senate.

But all three have stepped up their opposition, saying it cannot be passed by parliament in its current form. The government unveiled the draft emissions trading laws last week.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, one of the seven swing-vote senators the government needs to support the laws, said the emissions trading scheme (ETS) had no backing outside Labor.

"It should be pretty clear to the government now that in its current form this legislation won't pass the Senate," Xenophon told reporters. (Reuters)

Emissions trading scheme hits brick wall - Plans for emissions trading have hit a brick wall after a majority of senators said they would vote against the government's scheme. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Stupid, feckless, greedy: that’s you that is - spiked reports from the premiere of The Age of Stupid, a cretinous film that unwittingly exposes the elitism and dodgy science of the green lobby.

Imagine a film in which an Asian businessman who spoke loftily of ‘eradicating poverty’ was cast as the villain, while an insufferably middle-class wind-turbine developer from Cornwall was held up as the hero.

Imagine a film in which the audience was encouraged to giggle at the sight of the wealthy Asian using a red carpet to board his plane - ha ha, who do these foreigners think they are! - and was then cajoled into crying when the wind-turbine developer phoned his mum to break the news that Bedford Council refused him permission to build 10 new windmills. Imagine a film which played so promiscuously fast and loose with the ‘scientific facts’ that it strongly implied that the Asian businessman’s penchant for flying was responsible for fatal rainstorms in Mumbai, and that Bedford Council’s rejection of our heroic wind-turbine developer’s planning application led to Bedford’s ‘worst ever floods’ in 2007.

No one would make such a morally warped film, right? (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

At least the picture is attractive:) Ten Studies On Meat & Global Warming - Ten Popular Studies on Meat & Global Warming contains all you need to understand the carbon footprint of meat. Do you like exotic food? Know a Prius or SUV owner? Don’t plan on going vegetarian anytime soon? Hopefully, at least one of these ten studies will help you, or someone you know, to consider eating less meat. (Michael Kwan, Green Muze)

Publication Of The Comment/Reply On Our 2007 JGR Paper Which Raises Serious Questions On The Robustness of The Assessment Of Global Warming Using The Global Average Surface Temperature Trend - The Comment on 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.

has appeared

Parker, D. E., P. Jones, T. C. Peterson, and J. Kennedy, 2009: Comment on Unresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global land surface temperature trends. by Roger A. Pielke Sr. et al.,J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05104, doi:10.1029/2008JD010450.

along with our Reply,

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, 2009: Reply to comment by David E. Parker, Phil Jones, Thomas C. Peterson, and John Kennedy on “Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05105, doi:10.1029/2008JD010938. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

New PNAS paper: Experts surveyed on the probability of climate “tipping points” - A survey of climate scientists reveals uncertainty in their predictions of changes to the global climate, yet finds that they believe there is a real chance of passing a “tipping point” that could result in large socio-economic impacts in the next two centuries. The expert elicitation was conducted between October 2005 and April 2006 with a computer-based interactive questionnaire completed individually by participants. A total of 52 experts participated in the elicitation (see Table S2 in the PDF below for names and affiliations). The questionnaire included 7 events of crossing a tipping point. Elmar Kriegler and colleagues asked the climate experts to estimate the likelihood of impacts to components of the climate system under different warming scenarios. (Watts Up With That?)

An Interview with Roger Pielke, Jr., Center for Science and Technology Policy Research - In May 2007, I did a Q&A with Roger Pielke, Sr. a professor emeritus of meteorology at Colorado State University who is now a senior scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Pielke has become one of the best-known critics of the approach taken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Through his blog, Climate Science, Pielke has also made it clear that he stands apart from other scientists on the issue of carbon dioxide. “I don’t mean that carbon dioxide isn’t a problem. What I mean is that, unfortunately, it may not be our worst problem.”

Pielke’s son, Roger Pielke Jr., is also a noted scholar. He’s a professor in the environmental studies program at the University of Colorado and the director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. Through his blog, Prometheus, the younger Pielke focuses on science policy, and his work has attracted a lot of attention. His book, The Honest Broker was the focus of a recent column by John Tierney of the New York Times. Tierney sums up Pielke’s book as “arguing that most scientists are fundamentally mistaken about their role in political debates. As a result, he says, they’re jeopardizing their credibility while impeding solutions to problems like global warming.”

With regard to climate change, Pielke argues that more attention must be paid to adaptation. Instead, nearly all of the focus has been on trying to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In 2006, in testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform, Pielke said “even if society takes immediate and drastic action on emissions, there can be no scientifically valid argument that such actions will lead to a perceptibly better climate in the coming decades. For the foreseeable future the most effective policy responses to climate-related impacts (e.g., such as hurricanes and other disasters or diseases such as malaria) will necessarily be adaptive.”

The younger Pielke has been on the faculty at the University of Colorado since 2001. Prior to that he was a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. A graduate of the University of Colorado with degrees in mathematics, public policy, and political science, he lives in Boulder. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

UW-Milwaukee Study Could Realign Climate Change Theory - Scientists Claim Earth Is Undergoing Natural Climate Shift

MILWAUKEE -- The bitter cold and record snowfalls from two wicked winters are causing people to ask if the global climate is truly changing.

The climate is known to be variable and, in recent years, more scientific thought and research has been focused on the global temperature and how humanity might be influencing it.

However, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could turn the climate change world upside down. (WISN)

Hmm... Mighty diatoms: Global climate feedback from microscopic algae - EAST LANSING, Mich. — Tiny creatures at the bottom of the food chain called diatoms suck up nearly a quarter of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide, yet research by Michigan State University scientists suggests they could become less able to “sequester” that greenhouse gas as the climate warms. The microscopic algae are a major component of plankton living in puddles, lakes and oceans.

Zoology professor Elena Litchman, with MSU colleague Christopher Klausmeier and Kohei Yoshiyama of the University of Tokyo, explored how nutrient limitation affects the evolution of the size of diatoms in different environments. Their findings underscore potential consequences for aquatic food webs and climate shifts.

“They are globally important since they ‘fix’ a significant amount of carbon,” Litchman explained of the single-cell diatoms. “When they die in the ocean, they sink to the bottom carrying the carbon from the atmosphere with them. They perform a tremendous service to the environment.” (MSU)

... not that just about every researcher trying to get funding for their work isn't trying to hitch their wagon to the gorebull warming star but that doesn't make it a good idea. Statements like "Carbon dioxide buildup, due to a significant extent to burning fossil fuels and deforestation, is identified as the leading cause of climate change." are completely unsupportable -- try the simply form in this page for a demonstration of how absurd are modeled climate forcing and sensitivity estimates. For a simple energy balance model, refined to just 3 adjustable parameters, go here, where you can tweak Earth's greenhouse effect, albedo and incoming solar radiation to see the effect on global mean temperature (not that we have any reason to believe that's such a whiz-bang metric to begin with, but that's yet another story).

Oh... Greenland thaw among feared climate shifts by 2200 - OSLO - A drastic climate shift such as a thaw of Greenland's ice or death of the Amazon forest is more than 50 percent likely by the year 2200 in cases of strong global warming, according to a survey of experts.

The poll of 52 scientists, looking 100 years beyond most forecasts, also revealed worries that long-term warming would trigger radical changes such as the disintegration of the ice sheet in West Antarctica, raising world sea levels. (Reuters)

... we can't forecast 200 hours but 200 years, that's safe to do (because we'll be long gone by the time we are proven wrong).

Hmm... Musical prof a mouthpiece for eco-propaganda - She should know the jury's still out on climate change

What set my teeth on edge last week was not the chilly weather, though Wednesday was the coldest March 11 on record. It was a University of B.C. professor's claim that global warming is largely responsible for the fact folks can no longer make the heavenly-sounding violins they used to hundreds of years ago.

Not that I should be surprised: Global warming gets fingered for virtually everything these days, especially at our eco-infatuated universities. For these grant-hungry institutions, the fashionable notion that humans are mainly to blame for warming the planet is a godsend. It opens up so many fields of study where taxpayer funding can be justified on the grounds of saving Mother Earth and everything on it, including fabulous old fiddles, from climactic Armageddon. (Jon Ferry, The Province)

... actually there is a plausible hypothesis that the growth-unfriendly Little Ice Age conditions contributed to denser wood and that this affected the tone of instruments constructed from it.

Letter of the moment: Our future winters may be colder - It was the year 1799, during the "Dalton Minimum" when the sun was quiet that George Frederick Bollinger led a group of early pioneers from North Carolina to establish early settlements in Missouri. They hoped to cross their largest obstacle, the Mississippi River, on the ice, frozen solid in mid-winter. (James A. Marusek, Greene County Daily World)

People haters... Children come with a high carbon cost - WHAT is your carbon legacy - not the emissions you are personally liable for, but those of your descendants? Ask Paul Murtaugh, a statistician at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

If you have a child, he says, you and you partner are each responsible for half its emissions. If that child has kids, one-quarter of their emissions are down to you, and so on. How it adds up depends on population trends and emission changes in the future. (Nude Socialist New Scientist)

Revkin's Dot Earth Blog: Scientist: Warming Could Cut Population to 1 Billion - Richard Courtney has commented on the following DotEarth Blog Scientist: Warming Could Cut Population to 1 Billion. (Climate Realists)

Given their hatred of people and stated desire to reduce the human population you'd think they'd be happy about gorebull warming (if they really believed in it) and its alleged beneficial byproduct of decimating human populations. So which is it? They don't believe in gorebull warming or they don't believe it'll be bad for people? After all, if they really believed what they claim then it would be in their interests to keep quiet about gorebull warming and let industrial society reduce humanity's numbers without any effort on their part, wouldn't it?

“‘Global warming’ will kill 6 billon” - The scare: In March 2009, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, director of a grand-sounding pressure-group called the “Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research”, said that “global warming” of 7 Fahrenheit degrees would wipe out all but 1 billion of Earth’s 7 billion human population.

Mr. Schellnhuber said, “In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science, because at last we have stabilized something – namely the estimate of the carrying capacity of the planet – fewer than 1 billion people.” The planet, of course, is somehow currently carrying seven times that number. The previous month, Dr. James Hansen of NASA had predicted that “global warming” would raise sea level by 75 meters – equivalent to 246 feet.

The truth: In every respect, Mr. Schellnhuber’s outlandish prediction is as absurd as that of Dr. Hansen. It lacks any credible scientific foundation. We may dispose of Dr. Hansen’s prediction in the single, withering sentence of Mr. Justice Burton in the High Court of England and Wales in October 2007, condemning Al Gore’s suggestion that sea level would imminently rise by less than one-twelfth of Dr. Hansen’s flagrant prediction – “The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view.”

Global temperature will not rise over the coming century by as much as 7 Fahrenheit degrees: or, if it were to do so, humankind would have had little or nothing to do with it. For the following reasons, it is now known, and is well established in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, that the UN’s climate panel has greatly exaggerated not only climate sensitivity – the effect of increased atmospheric CO2 concentration on global temperature – but also the rate at which CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere. (Christopher Monckton, SPPI)

Architects to Push Green Building on St. Patrick's Day - Dozens of architects plant to gather at the Indiana Statehouse on St. Patrick's Day to support a proposal to build or renovate state-owned buildings using green standards. Members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) will meet with legislators to highlight some of the state's most successful "green" projects. The AIA says a bill at the Statehouse would require government buildings to be designed and constructed to achieve or exceed the energy-efficiency levels required under certain rating systems. (Inside INdiana Business)

Climate change makes us boiled frogs, says Prince Charles - PRINCE Charles has compared human inactivity over climate change to frogs being boiled alive, and says we can't see the way the environment is changing because we're too close to it.

British tabloid The Sun reports the heir to the throne made his comments in the Amazon while on a tour of South America to raise awareness of climate change.

“The trouble is it's the old boiled frog syndrome," he said. "You can’t tell if you are in the water that it is gradually heating up. You just get used to the heat and you don’t notice until suddenly it reaches boiling point and it’s too late to do anything about it.”

Boiled frog syndrome refers to the idea that if you put a frog into boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in cold water and slowly raise the temperature, it will be boiled alive. It isn’t true – when the water gets hot the frog will jump out, but it does make a nice metaphor. (NEWS.com.au)

Actually it's a really stupid metaphor -- frogs are exothermic and when they warm up they get both hungry and very lively, no way they are going to just sit and boil, they go looking for a feed. Also, we are spending literal billions monitoring global temperature so serious warming cannot go unnoticed (should it ever occur).

Climate change posers - One of the stranger spectacles of the climate change debate was the sight, earlier this month, of NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen marching hand-in-hand with Hollywood actress Darryl Hannah outside the Capitol Coal Power Plant in Washington, DC.

Hansen promised to brave arrest at what was billed as the world’s largest direct-action climate change protest. Instead, the worst snowstorm in three years reduced the size of the crowd, prevented special guests from arriving, and hindered efforts to use a solar panel to light up a protest billboard. The police reportedly told the crowd that they didn’t want to arrest anybody who didn’t want to be arrested, and nobody was.

That didn’t stop the protesters from proclaiming the event a success. But if stopping global warming were this easy, I — and everybody I know — would be painting placards for the next round of direct action.

Hansen condemns coal-fired power plants as “death factories,” and his belief that coal is evil is widely shared. It is also obviously wrong. If we were to stop using coal tomorrow, we would discover that it remains a vital source of life. (Bjorn Lomborg, Economic Times)

Their scam is falling apart and we are supposed to feel for them: Climate change blues: how scientists cope - COPENHAGEN: Being a climate scientists these days is not for the faint of heart.

Arguably no other area of research yields a sharper contrast between a steady stream of "eureka!" moments, and the sometimes terrifying implications of those discoveries for the future of the planet.

"Science is exciting when you make such findings," said Konrad Steffen, who heads the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) in Boulder, Colorado.

"But if you stop and look at the implications of what is coming down the road for humanity, it is rather scary. I have kids in college -- what do they have to look forward to in 50 years?"

And that's not the worst of it, said top researchers gathered here last week for a climate change conference which heard, among other bits of bad news, that global sea levels are set to rise at least twice as fast over the next century as previously thought, putting hundreds of millions of people at risk.

What haunts scientists most, many said, is the feeling that -- despite an overwhelming consensus on the science -- they are not able to convey to a wider public just how close Earth is to climate catastrophe. (AFP) 'Frozen in fear over climate change' (Agence France-Presse)

What has apparently not occurred to these guys is the reason people are so hard to motivate with these scare stories is that there is absolutely no evidence to back their case. Their models do not reflect the real world and no one lives in the model worlds -- so no one really cares.

As Oil and Gas Prices Plunge, Drilling Frenzy Ends - FORT WORTH — The great American drilling boom is over.

The number of oil and gas rigs deployed to tap new energy supplies across the country has plunged to less than 1,200 from 2,400 last summer, and energy executives say the drop is accelerating further.

Lower prices are bringing to an end an ambitious effort to squeeze more oil from aging fields and to tap new sources of natural gas. For the last four years, companies here drilled below airports, golf courses, churches and playgrounds in a frantic search for energy. They scoured the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Gulf of Mexico and Appalachia.

But the economic downturn has cut into demand. Global oil prices and American natural gas prices have plummeted two-thirds since last summer. Not even an unseasonably cold winter drove down unusually high inventories of natural gas.

The drop has been good news for American consumers, with gasoline now selling for $1.92 a gallon, on average, down from a high of $4.11 in July. But the result for companies is that it is becoming unprofitable to drill. (New York Times)

Oh, this is well thought out... Solar Panels in the Sahara Could Meet All Europe’s Energy Needs - Experts say only a fraction of the Sahara, probably the size of a small country, would need to be covered to produce enough energy to supply the whole of Europe. Written by David Adam at the Guardian.

... except for keeping solar panels clean in a desert, overcoming scour from wind-driven sand...

Harnessing the Sun, With Help From Cities - PALM DESERT, Calif. — Rick Clark’s garage is loaded with fast toys for playing in the sun. He has a buggy for racing on sand dunes, two sleek power boats for pulling water skiers, and a new favorite: 48 solar panels that send his energy meter whirring backward.

Bronzed and deeply lined from decades of life in the desert sun, Mr. Clark is not one to worry about global warming. He suspects that if the planet’s climate is getting hotter, it is part of a natural cycle and will probably correct itself. “Experts have been wrong before,” he said.

But late last year, Mr. Clark decided to install a $62,000 solar power system because of a new municipal financing program that lent him the money and allows him to pay it back with interest over 20 years as part of his property taxes. In so doing, he joined the vanguard of a social experiment that is blossoming in California and a dozen other states.

The goal behind municipal financing is to eliminate perhaps the largest disincentive to installing solar power systems: the enormous initial cost. Although private financing is available through solar companies, homeowners often balk because they worry that they will not stay in the house long enough to have the investment — which runs about $48,000 for an average home and tens of thousands of dollars more for a larger home in a hot climate — pay off.

But cities like Palm Desert lobbied to change state laws so that solar power systems could be financed like gas lines or water lines, covered by a loan from the city and secured by property taxes. The advantage of this system over private borrowing is that any local homeowners are eligible (not just those with good credit), and the obligation to pay the loan attaches to the house and would pass to any future buyers. (New York Times)

And when the systems inevitably fail before being paid for?

Crisis Hampers EU Wind Power In Short-Term - Lobby - MARSEILLE - The economic downturn is delaying wind power projects in the European Union but the negative impact will not last because of strong sector fundamentals, a European wind power lobby said on Monday.

"There is a slowdown in the sector, we are seeing some signs, but much less than in other sectors," Arthouros Zervos, president of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), told Reuters on the sidelines of a wind conference.

"The impact will be short term because the fundamentals are still there for wind development," he said. (Reuters)

Everyone Hates Ethanol - These days, it's routine for businesses to fail, get rescued by the government, and then continue to fail. But ethanol, which survives only because of its iron lung of subsidies and mandates, is a special case. Naturally, the industry is demanding even more government life support.

Corn ethanol producers -- led by Wesley Clark, the retired general turned chairman of a new biofuels lobbying outfit called Growth Energy -- want the Obama Administration to make their guaranteed market even larger. Recall that the 2007 energy bill requires refiners to mix 36 billion gallons into the gasoline supply by 2022. The quotas, which ratchet up each year, are arbitrary, but evidently no one in Congress wondered what might happen if the economy didn't cooperate.

Now the recession is hammering demand for gas. The Energy Information Administration notes that U.S. consumption fell nearly 7% in 2008 and expects another 2.2% drop this year. That comes as great news for President Obama, who is achieving his carbon-reduction goals even without a new carbon tax, but the irony is that the ethanol industry is part of the wider collateral damage.

Americans are unlikely to use enough gas next year to absorb the 13 billion gallons of ethanol that Congress mandated, because current regulations limit the ethanol content in each gallon of gas at 10%. The industry is asking that this cap be lifted to 15% or even 20%. That way, more ethanol can be mixed with less gas, and producers won't end up with a glut that the government does not require anyone to buy.

The ethanol boosters aren't troubled that only a fraction of the 240 million cars and trucks on the road today can run with ethanol blends higher than 10%. It can damage engines and corrode automotive pipes, as well as impair some safety features, especially in older vehicles. It can also overwhelm pollution control systems like catalytic converters. The malfunctions multiply in other products that use gas, such as boats, snowmobiles, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc. (Wall Street Journal)

Indonesia Must Boost Palm Yields To Save Forests - JAKARTA - Indonesia needs to squeeze far higher yields from existing palm oil plantations rather than open up more land in a country with some of the world's swiftest deforestation, a Greenpeace official said on Monday.

Indonesia, the world's top palm oil producer, yields only about 2 tonnes per hectare from its plantations, or just a third of the 6 to 7 tonnes in countries such as Malaysia with better estate management practices, said Annette Cotter, campaign manager for the forests campaign in Greenpeace Southeast Asia. (Reuters)

Australia 'not serious about climate' - The federal government's prohibitive nuclear power policy shows Australia isn't serious about reducing global warming, an industry advocate says.

While acknowledging nuclear power isn't the "silver bullet" to tackle global warming, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation chairman Ziggy Switkowski says the technology could considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (AAP)

One of the biggest cases of academic fraud in medical history - One of the largest known cases of academic fraud and misconduct made the news this week when Anesthesiology News reported that a leading medical researcher was found to have fabricated much, if not all, of the data in his research.

Scott S. Reuben, M.D., of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, is said to have made up and falsified data in at least 21, and perhaps many more, studies published at least since 1996, according to the results of a year-long investigation by Baystate Medical Center. Jane Albert, a spokeswoman for Baystate, said that the fraud was spotted after questions were raised about two studies for which Dr. Reuben had not even received approval to conduct human research. (Junkfood Science)

Another case of human experimentation - One year ago this month, a JFS Special report described the first human experimentation on a fat man who was surgically implanted with electrodes inside his brain and exposed to electrical currents trying to make him lose weight. Fifteen months after the procedure, the man weighed more.

Last week, ABC News Nightline aired the exclusive testimonial from the second person in the United States to under go deep brain stimulation for weight loss. It was one of the clearest examples of media participating in the marketing of medical devices for off-label, non-approved uses.

What viewers didn’t hear was the full story. When it comes to health news, and especially obesity, failing to provide balance has sadly become all too common. But people’s lives should matter more than ratings or profits and the public deserves the rest of the story. (Junkfood Science)

We Go Together Like Salt And Activism - For such an innocuous seasoning, salt made big headlines this week. Some say it’s a natural antidepressant, others say we’re addicted to it, and still others claim it’s a poison. Suffice to say that some of these stories are overreacting to a vital substance that is on every dinner table in the world. (Center for Consumer Freedom)

Acrylamide not linked to endometrial cancer - NEW YORK - Seven years ago, alarms were sounded that acrylamide, a compound found in foods heated at high temperatures, could cause cancer. However, studies have not uncovered links to colon cancer or breast cancer, and now comes word from a Swedish study indicating that long-term intake of acrylamide does not raise the risk of endometrial cancer. (Reuters Health)

Punishing us for that packet of Maltesers - The proposal that officials should tax chocolate is further evidence of the moralism driving the ‘war on obesity’.

It was perfect phone-in show fodder. Last week, a doctor proposed a motion at the British Medical Association conference in Scotland: that a tax should be imposed on chocolate. Amazingly, this speculative idea at an event that no one pays attention to inspired a kingsize selection box of comment.

Dr David Walker proposed that a 20 per cent tax be levied on chocolate, arguing that a 225g bag of chocolate sweets could contain 1,200 calories – that is, half or more of a person’s daily recommended calorie intake. And the concentrated nature of the calories in chocolate means that this huge calorie rush can be wolfed down in no time at all. ‘What I’m trying to get across is that chocolate is sneaking under the radar of unhealthy foods’, said Dr Walker (1).

It’s hard to take Dr Walker’s proposal seriously. Would a person inclined to demolish a half-pound bag of chocolates in a single sitting really be deterred because the bag costs £2.40 instead of £2? Meanwhile, everyone else who enjoys a bar of chocolate – costing roughly 50 pence and containing a mere 250 calories – would be penalised for no good reason. Even if the tax did lead to a small reduction in chocolate consumption, it seems unlikely that it would have any impact on people’s waistlines. It is by no means obvious that going large on confectionery is a major cause of obesity. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

Flies Plus Chicken Droppings Spread "Superbugs" - WASHINGTON - Flies, already blamed for spreading disease, may help spread drug-resistant superbugs from chicken droppings, researchers reported on Monday.

They matched antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from houseflies and the litter found in intensive poultry-farming barns in the Delmarva Peninsula region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The findings, reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment, may help explain some of the spread of drug-resistant bacteria. (Reuters)

EU Calls On Farmers To Start Adapting To Climate - BRUSSELS - Europe's farmers must think how to adapt to climate change in coming decades, altering their practices to cut greenhouse gas emissions, make agriculture more resilient and keep land in use, a European Commission paper said.

The uneven effects of climatic change were likely to widen regional differences across the European Union's farmland and increase economic disparities between rural areas, the Commission said in the draft paper seen by Reuters on Monday.

"In the long run, climatic pressures may lead to further marginalisation of agriculture or even to the abandonment of agricultural land in parts of the EU," the paper said. (Reuters)

MEXICO: Cradle of Maize Rocked by Transgenics - MEXICO CITY, Mar 16 - Mexico has lifted the ban on experimental cultivation of transgenic maize imposed in 1999 in this country where the crop was first domesticated and shaped human culture. Biotech giants have put forward two dozen projects for approval and have announced investments of 382 million dollars up to 2012.

The green light given by the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón to the trials, by means of an executive decree which came into force early this month, has provoked the indignation of activists and campesinos (small farmers) opposed to genetically modified (GM) maize.

GM maize seeds have been subjected to recombinant DNA techniques in the laboratory, to introduce one or more genes from other species which confer desirable properties such as higher yields or resistance to herbicides or disease.

The groups opposing the measure warn that it will consolidate domination of the global market of GM seeds by transnational corporations and jeopardise the rich genetic diversity of native maize, domesticated in this country over 9,000 years ago and regarded as sacred by campesinos and indigenous people.

"The activists wanted to reject experimental cultivation of transgenic maize on behalf of all Mexican farmers, but reason won out," Fabrice Salamanca, head of Agrobio México, told IPS. Agrobio represents the transnational biotech corporations based in this country: Bayer, DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow.

According to Salamanca, these companies are poised to invest in experimental cultivation, related research and infrastructure. "We hope that approval for the first field trials will be given in August," he said. (IPS)

Heat Resistance in Plants Found - Researchers are claiming advancement in the genetic engineering of plants to improve heat tolerance, which is increasingly critical in the global efforts to combat desertification.

In a study published by peer-review journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a team led by Gyeongsang National University scientist Lee Sang-yeol found that controlling the expression of AtTDX, a plant-specific protein, may provide a key in genetically-engineering plans against high-temperature stress. (Korea Times)

March 16, 2009

Richard Lindzen's talk in New York - Richard said a few inconvenient things - like his opinion that most of the best atmospheric physicists do endorse the warming alarm (for the sake of convenience) but the reason to respect them is very different than a work on AGW.

Later, he discussed the dynamically awkward nature of positive feedbacks and the scientifically grotesque one-dimensional simplifications of the climate promoted by the AGW movement. As a path to victory over AGW, which he believes has to occur at some point in the future, he recommends mass resignations from various scientific societies. (The Reference Frame)

Climate sceptics fight tide of alarmism - As the Rudd Government's job-killing carbon emissions trading plans come under fire, a conference of sceptical scientists met in New York this week to discuss developments bolstering the case against human-caused global warming.

A disproportionate number of Australian scientists who lead the charge against climate alarmism spoke at the conference organised by the Heartland Institute, a US free-market think tank. (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

Nobody listens to the real climate change experts - The minds of world leaders are firmly shut to anything but the fantasies of the scaremongers, says Christopher Booker.

Considering how the fear of global warming is inspiring the world's politicians to put forward the most costly and economically damaging package of measures ever imposed on mankind, it is obviously important that we can trust the basis on which all this is being proposed. Last week two international conferences addressed this issue and the contrast between them could not have been starker.

The first in Copenhagen, billed as "an emergency summit on climate change" and attracting acres of worldwide media coverage, was explicitly designed to stoke up the fear of global warming to an unprecedented pitch. As one of the organisers put it, "this is not a regular scientific conference: this is a deliberate attempt to influence policy".

What worries them are all the signs that when the world's politicians converge on Copenhagen in December to discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, under the guidance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there will be so much disagreement that they may not get the much more drastic measures to cut carbon emissions that the alarmists are calling for.

Thus the name of the game last week, as we see from a sample of quotations, was to win headlines by claiming that everything is far worse than previously supposed. Sea level rises by 2100 could be "much greater than the 59cm predicted by the last IPCC report". Global warming could kill off 85 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, "much more than previously predicted". The ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting "much faster than predicted". The number of people dying from heat could be "twice as many as previously predicted".

None of the government-funded scientists making these claims were particularly distinguished, but they succeeded in their object, as the media cheerfully recycled all this wild scaremongering without bothering to check the scientific facts. (Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph)

Who makes up the IPCC? - Guest post by Steven Goddard

Suzanne Goldenberg recently complained in the UK Guardian about the ICCC (International Conference on Climate Change) global warming “deniers” :

The 600 attendees (by the organisers’ count) are almost entirely white males, and many, if not most, are past retirement age. Only two women and one African-American man figure on the programme of more than 70 speakers.

In the UK, profiling like that might be considered a hate crime if it were about any other group other than the one she described. But that isn’t the point. Below is a photo of the vaunted IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change) taken at their last meeting. The spitting image of her description of the ICCC. No doubt Ms. Goldenberg considers the adult white men in the IPCC to be great visionaries, leading the noble fight against climate Armageddon. (Watts Up With That?)

Possibly explaining how whackos manage to run scares... Even Basic Science Is a Mystery to Most Americans - Most of the general population cannot pass basic tests

According to a series of recent surveys among the general population, most US citizens seem to be unable to pass even the most basic science literacy test, a trend that has got experts very concerned. Because individuals lack this ability, they may find it very difficult to interpret scientific articles, and some may even misconstrue presented pieces of evidence and turn them into something they are not, like in the case of global warming. As people miss even the most basic background in science, they cannot actually emit an informed opinion, and the trend is growing with each passing year, experts note.

The California Academy of Sciences (CAS) has commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the new research, which has revealed that only 53 percent of US adults know how much it takes for the Earth to revolve once around the Sun, while just some 60 percent are aware of the fact that the earliest humans and the dinosaurs didn't actually live at the same time, and that they were separated by millions of years and two extinction events.

Only 47 percent of all respondents are in the know of how much of our planet's surface is covered by oceans, with scientists considering the answer to this question correct if questionnaire responders stated anything between 65 and 75 percent. What's even more concerning is the fact that only 21 percent of the people who have replied to these three questions have got all the answers right. The new investigation comes amidst growing pressure on the scientific community to promote innovation in the increasing economic downturn, where science is considered to be the only way out. (Softpedia)

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Misguided, to say the least: Area Churches Join Lenten Trend: Cutting Out Carbons - Instead of giving up chocolate for Lent this year, members of several local churches are cutting back on other luxuries: water, light bulbs and plastic bags.

"What we're doing is taking traditional Lenten practices and applying them to being caretakers of God's creation," said the Rev. Roy Howard, pastor of Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville. (Washington Post)

Since when does "creation care" mean starving the natural world of an essential trace gas? Returning previously lost carbon to biospheric availability is the best thing humans have done and continue to do for life on Earth. Restricting such emissions, or worse, actively removing this marvelous resource from the atmosphere is a crime against all life ultimately dependent on photosynthesis (i.e., plants and everything thing that eats plants and/or plant eaters). Sounds more like creation assault to me.

Environmental catastrophism - The concept of original sin is alive and well and being nurtured by the green movement. Climate change (meaning the manmade variety) is the latest in a long line of impending disasters for which our species is being blamed. It seems more than coincidental that the rise of environmentalism has been at a time when there has been a big drop in religious adherence; the guilt which was felt by previous generations for their imperfection and general unworthiness has now been transferred to our species' impact on Nature (or Gaia, for those who want to make it more personal).

From DDT to GM crops, nuclear power to Brent Spar, there have always been one or more campaigns which the activists have focussed on, generally with great success. But the crucial difference between these issues and climate change is that this time mainstream scientists are allies and, in turn, the political class has been brought on board. It has also seen the evolution of the scientist as activist, a hybrid which has never before wielded such influence. We might expect that, given such a broad coalition, the pressure for action would be irresistible and, indeed, this seems to be true. Until now. (Scientific Alliance)

The Psychology of the Psychology of Denial - Last week, we mentioned an academic conference at the University of the West of England about the psychology of climate change denial, which appeared to be rather lacking on the academic front. It was a gathering of a handful of higher beings - Jungian analysts, climate activists and eco-psychologists - who, having shrugged off the shackles of the human condition, are now able to diagnose what is wrong with the rest of us. (Climate Resistance)

Recession Cools Climate? - UK researchers at the Hadley Centre are reporting a correlation between reduced prosperity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with global warming. They report that since 2000 global greenhouse gases have risen by 2 to 3 percent each year, which is consistent with the global rise in world gross domestic product (GDP). Since then, they conclude that the ½ percent reduction in GDP has led to a comparable ½ percent reduction in greenhouse gases.

Both inherent and disturbing in this research is the recognition that reductions in greenhouse gases will reduce GDP and punish economic prosperity. President Obama’s $410 billion Omnibus Spending Bill projects government receipts of $646 billion from a new national carbon trading system to mitigate greenhouse gases. Such “cap and trade” systems have been tried in the European Union since 2005, and have failed both market and environmental goals. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Save Us From "Save Our Planet" - The call “Save Our Planet” was heard in the halls of Congress on the occasion of President Obama's first speech to a joint session of Congress on February 5. Fulfilling a campaign promise, the president topped the agenda of his new administration with this call to Congress.

In his speech the president declared that truly to transform our economy, to protect our security and to save our planet from the ravages of climate change - formerly known as global warming - we need to make clean renewable energy a profitable kind of energy. President Obama went on to suggest a "cap-and-trade" bill that would address climate change and energy initiatives.

A cap-and-trade bill is fully described by defining each part separately. The Center for American Progress, a think tank led by John Podesta, former Chief of Staff to President Clinton and co-chairman of the Obama-Biden transition team, explains: (E. Ralph Hostetter, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Audio and transcript: Political Will and the Climate Change Bill - Congress is girding for a bruising political battle over global warming. But the toughest fight might not be between Democrats and Republicans but rather between Democrats and Democrats. Living on Earth's Jeff Young tells us why some centrist Democrats from the heartland have problems with President Obama's call for action on climate change. (Living on Earth)

Has Obama Killed Carbon Cap and Trade? - President Obama has driven a stake in the heart of his carbon cap-and-trade program. By transforming it from a relatively cost-effective environmental program into a cash cow to finance his ambitious health and social welfare agenda, he has encumbered it with very expensive baggage. Blue Dog Democrats and conservation-minded Republicans will gag on its cost to an economy now racked by recession.

In broadening the goal of cap-and-trade legislation from the paramount goal of reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), primarily carbon, and mitigating climate change, to that of raising, conservatively, well over $600 billion in revenue for his social programs, the President has raised the ante on this ambitious proposal. He has guaranteed a contentious fight in Congress, strong Democratic majorities notwithstanding. (G. Tracy Mehan, III, American Spectator)

Libs in luck as White House guru backs carbon delay - THE Coalition and business groups have received unexpected backing for their argument that a recession is no time to introduce emissions trading -- from US President Barack Obama's top economics guru.

In a previously unreported academic paper posted on the Harvard University website last August, Lawrence Summers argues that "expenditures for climate change will be far easier to make in economies where per-capita income is growing".

Mr Summers, a former president of Harvard and treasury secretary under former US president Bill Clinton, is currently head of Mr Obama's National Economic Council and works in the White House.

His argument chimes with the position put by Opposition emissions trading spokesman Andrew Robb and Australian Industry Group chief Heather Ridout.

However, it is starkly at odds with the determination of Kevin Rudd and Climate Change Minister Penny Wong to have an emissions trading scheme in place by next year, despite the downturn.

Mr Summers urges policymakers to create "reference points" for the beginning of the economic losses caused by emissions trading, not just for greenhouse levels themselves. (Imre Salusinszky, The Australian)

Let's see climate change as an opportunity - If we continue to pollute the planet at our current rate, terrible consequences will follow. The evidence is there. But our leaders cannot find the will to do anything about it.

No wonder the scientists are frustrated. At a meeting in Copenhagen last week, leading researchers called explicitly for more government action, breaking the taboo that has traditionally held scientific inquiry above the political fray.

The purpose of the conference was to gather the latest data and present it to political leaders who will meet at the end of the year, also in Copenhagen. That summit is meant to begin negotiation on a successor treaty to Kyoto - the 1997 UN agreement that first obliged industrialised countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (The Observer)

How about we recognize gorebull warming for what it really is, an artificial construct of no consequence whatsoever? Unless you live at "Globally Averaged" then a globally averaged temperature is of no value to anyone. People live from hot arid regions to wetlands, from the tropics to high latitudes, from sea level to mountain top and everywhere in between. We, and wildlife, cope with relatively large temperature variations by hour of day and by season and these changes dwarf anything physically possible from increasing atmospheric trace gas. Carbon dioxide is simply not a harmful byproduct of industrial civilization.

Doesn't get dumber than this. Stealing an essential resource from the biosphere: 'Biochar' goes industrial with giant microwaves to lock carbon in charcoal - Climate expert claims to have developed cleanest way of fixing CO2 in 'biochar' for burial on an industrial scale

Giant microwave ovens that can "cook" wood into charcoal could become our best tool in the fight against global warming, according to a leading British climate scientist.

Chris Turney, a professor of geography at the University of Exeter, said that by burying the charcoal produced from microwaved wood, the carbon dioxide absorbed by a tree as it grows can remain safely locked away for thousands of years. The technique could take out billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.

Fast-growing trees such as pine could be "farmed" to act specifically as carbon traps — microwaved, buried and replaced with a fresh crop to do the same thing again. (The Guardian)

Oh... Artificial trees and brightened clouds may help to cool us down - Techniques for geo-engineering are coming under serious scrutiny as temperatures and CO2 emissions continue to rise

THE threat of devastating climate change is now so great that some scientists say it is time to investigate a Plan B - geo-engineering on a planetary scale.

Such methods of altering the world’s climate may become necessary, they say, unless emissions of greenhouse gases fall within five years. (Sunday Times)

Uh-huh... Torrential rain and flooding to get worse in Britain - Torrential rain and flash flooding is to grow more severe across Britain by the end of the century, according to new research.

Scientists predict that warmer air caused by climate change will lead to rain storms becoming more intense and more frequent during autumn, winter and spring.

The quantity of rain which falls during extreme downpours will increase by up to 30 per cent by 2070. For some parts of the country this could mean up to 3.2 inches of rain falling in a day – nearly an inch more than the average rain fall currently experienced in severe storms.

The researchers fear that severe flooding, similar to that which hit much of England during the summer of 2007, will become far more common. (Daily Telegraph)

... "climate change will lead to rain storms becoming more intense and more frequent during autumn, winter and spring" which they compare to events "during the summer of 2007". Right...

But wait! It's even worse: Scientists are grim, economists more optimistic about climate change's effects - COPENHAGEN -- Scientists are gloomy; economists are more upbeat. Such was the bottom line of an epic, three-day international congress of climate change experts that ended here yesterday.

At the congress, it seemed that all the scientists had to share with their peers was bad news, but a number of economists saw the climate crisis rather as an historic opportunity to reorganize the world economy and develop new, clean and job-creating activities.

At the opening of yesterday's session, Lord Nicholas Stern, former chief economist for the World Bank, added his own dose of gloom by saying that his now-famous report on the risks of global warming, written for the British government in 2006, had underestimated them. "The reason is that emissions are growing faster than we thought, the absorption capacity of the planet is less than we thought, the probability of high temperatures is likely higher than we thought, and some of the effects are coming faster than we thought," he explained. (ClimateWire)

They Think You're Stupid - Yesterday, the BBC ran an article with the headline “Earth warming faster than thought.” Yet, as we increasingly see in this context — and as damningly portrayed in Chapter 1 of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, as the media's stock-in-trade, using headlines to lie to the folks who will never read the full article — the piece itself offers no evidence of any such thing. It merely reveals claims of impacts that modelers project would result from a large warming — impacts greater than previously asserted by others, as is how things work when it comes to global warming. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Sail, schmail: Scientists plan to drive the Northwest Passage - VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Scientists preparing for the exploration of Mars are planning history's first car drive through the fabled Northwest Passage, a trip they said on Friday will provide data on global warming and man's potential impact on other planets.

The trip using a modified armored Humvee vehicle will provide comprehensive data about the thickness of winter ice in the waterway through Canada's high Arctic, said Pascal Lee, chairman of Mars Institute and leader of the expedition.

The scientists also hope to learn more about what happens to the microbes left behind by humans as they explore remote areas, amid concerns from some scientists about the detrimental impact of such journeys in space.

"It's not just about protecting men from Mars. It's also about protecting Mars from men," Lee said in an interview. (Reuters)

A Excellent Seminar At The University of Colorado at Boulder “What Goes Around Comes Around” By Gregory R. Carmichael - On Friday, March 6 2009, Professor Gregory R. Carmichael of the Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering at The University of Iowa presented one the most insightful talks I have ever attended. The title of this talk was “What Goes Around Comes Around”.

There were several very important findings that were presented, which include: (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Hmm... the health claims are actually kind of dubious but the global nature of pollution is true enough.

Japanese scientists cool on theories - THREE senior Japanese scientists separately engaged in climate-change research have strongly questioned the validity of the man-made global-warming model that underpins the drive by the UN and most developed-nation governments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

"I believe the anthropogenic (man-made) effect for climate change is still only one of the hypotheses to explain the variability of climate," Kanya Kusano told The Weekend Australian.

It could take 10 to 20 years more research to prove or disprove the theory of anthropogenic climate change, said Dr Kusano, a research group leader with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science's Earth Simulator project.

"Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth," writes Shunichi Akasofu, founding director of the University of Alaska's International Arctic Research Centre.

Dr Kusano, Dr Akasofu and Tokyo Institute of Technology geology professor Shigenori Maruyama are highly critical of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's acceptance that hazardous global warming results mainly from man-made gas emissions.

On the scientific evidence so far, according to Dr Kusano, the IPCC assertion that atmospheric temperatures are likely to increase continuously and steadily "should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis".

Dr Maruyama said yesterday there was widespread scepticism among his colleagues about the IPCC's fourth and latest assessment report that most of the observed global temperature increase since the mid-20th century "is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations".

When this question was raised at a Japan Geoscience Union symposium last year, he said, "the result showed 90 per cent of the participants do not believe the IPCC report". (The Australian)

Eye-roller: Scientists claim global warming ‘can be controlled’ - Amid all the forecasts and warnings of doom and disaster issued by climate scientists there is the hidden message that all is not yet lost.

Ice sheets are melting and ocean acidity is rising, yet most scientists still believe that global warming can be controlled.

Climate researchers are clear that since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007 the problem of global warming has deepened.

Talk has moved on from looking at probable rises over the next century of 2C or 3C, which would pose problems but be bearable, to increases of 4C or 5C, which would have devastating consequences.

Scientists are under no illusion about the scale of the task, yet most still speak of what can and should be done to prevent temperatures rising. (The Times)

Battle of the climate scientists redux – Gray and Theon fire at Hansen - James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and global warming champion came under fire again in recent days from familiar sources. At the International Conference on Climate Change in New York, Dr. William Gray, famed hurricane forecaster, and John Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor, launched attacks on Hansen not only for his controversial outspokenness but also for the science on which he bases his theories. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Adaptation has its limits - The mercury is rising and, whether we like it or not, the world's climate is going to change significantly over the coming decades. For some people this will mean suffering frequent summer heat-waves, for others it will be coping with floods, or an increased likelihood of tropical storms.

One way of mitigating climate change is to accept that it is going to happen and help people to adapt – a philosophy that current policy makers are considering. However, in a paper published in Climatic Change, Neil Adger from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, UK, and colleagues argue that there are limits to adaptation and that we would be unwise to rely solely on adaptation as a mitigation measure. (Environmental Research Web)

Oddly enough, so has "change".

Pikas, penguins and polar bears - KEYSTONE — Pikas in Summit County’s alpine zone, penguins in Antarctica and polar bears don’t have much in common at first glance, but all three animals are losing ground to a changing climate.

As a result, the federal government will have to consider how agency actions affect those species when they permit power plants or set new standards for automobile fuel efficiency, panelists at a Keystone environmental law conference said Friday.

The challenge for officials is how to quantify the impacts of local actions in a global context, said Federico Cheever, director of the environmental and natural resources law program at the University of Denver.

And the Endangered Species Act might not be the best tool for addressing climate change impacts to threatened plants and animals, according to Michael Bogert, former counsel to Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne under the Bush administration. (Summit Daily News)

Um, they've been having to adapt to changing conditions for at least 20,000 years because that's how long Earth has been thawing from the depths of the last major glaciation. Some of their current range was buried under ice not that long ago and cold-loving critters had different ranges throughout the period of that thaw -- a period that will continue at varying pace until the onset of the next great glaciation.

What did they expect? Arctic diary: Explorers' ice quest - A team of polar explorers has travelled to the Arctic in a bid to discover how quickly the sea-ice is melting and how long it might take for the ocean to become ice-free in summers.

Pen Hadow, Ann Daniels and Martin Hartley will be using a mobile radar unit to record an accurate measurement of ice thickness as they trek to the North Pole.

The trio will be sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition.

The Catlin Arctic Survey team started its gruelling trek on 28 February. (BBC)

"Conditions have been hard. We have been battered by wind, bitten by frost and bruised from falls on the ice... The wind chill today will slice us up - it's taking the temperature down to below -50C, so we have decided to take a day's rest to recharge our batteries and soothe the aches and pains."

'So long and thanks for all the plankton,' say Antarctic whales - The flagship German research vessel of the European Union and her science crew of 50 scientists from Germany, India, and around the world have just finished a controversial project to give iron to the Antarctic Ocean, which they claim has been depleted from the world's oceans by CO2 emissions. Here they tell the story.

The Polarstern departed from its Southern Ocean pasture a day or so ago. The ship and her dedicated scientists had prescribed and on January 27th administered 10 tonnes of iron to a several hundred sq. kilometer patch of ocean.

The iron was just the tonic the ocean needed and within days a verdant ocean pasture began to bloom. Ocean satellites picked up an image of the bloom on Valentines Day, what better gift for Mother Earth, than her ocean restored and growing nutritious plankton for every form of sea life from tiny krill to the great whales and everything in between fish, penguins, seals, and seabirds.

The project, years in planning, had run into a brief tempest and delays whipped up by the spin of dark green organizations as it was about to begin.

Claims that the work would be in violation of some mysterious laws, were quickly proven to be false. Those spinning the claims were the same dark greens who in many statements have declared that they are against mitigation of climate changing CO2 that involves the production of carbon offset credits.

As EU president Vaclav Klaus stated earlier this week, environmentalists are less concerned about any crisis posed by global warming than they are eager to command human behavior and restrict economic activity. (Sail World)

The Great Danish Pastry Swindle - The climate conference in Copenhagen that ended this week produced a barrage of startling headlines, many of them from just one man. (Climate Resistance)

The Guardian doing their best to further Al's scam: We will create green new deal, says Gore - Global campaigner and investment sidekick call for 'sustainable capitalism'

For a man with the very survival of human civilisation weighing heavily on his broad shoulders, Al Gore cuts a surprisingly relaxed figure. With a Diet Coke in hand, and chewing gum rolling around inside his mouth, one of the great "what ifs" of modern political history strolls into the boardroom of his London-based asset management firm, located in one of the city's "most environmentally friendly buildings".

Gore is in the capital, as he is every few months, to spend a couple of days meeting with his partners at Generation Investment Management, the "sustainability-driven" asset management firm he set up in 2004 with David Blood, who, as the former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, once managed investments worth $325bn (£232bn). As is the case everywhere, the numbers are somewhat smaller these days, but the firm they both wanted to call Blood and Gore (sadly, it was overruled by the rest of the board) still manages a pot of investments worth billions, according to Blood.

As chairman, Gore, 61, says he spends about "one day a week" working for Generation, but his press handlers won't expand on what investments he holds or remuneration he receives, other than to say he initially used his own money to "experiment with" in trial investments during the two-year period when the company's "structure and philosophy" was being established ahead of any outside investors being invited to join them. It is tempting to see Gore's role at Generation as the day job, allowing him the time and financial security to spend the rest of the working week on his three-decade-long quest to warn the world about the perils of climate change. But he insists that his role at Generation is as important as any of his other high-profile projects. (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)

World will agree new climate deal, says Al Gore - Al Gore, the former US vice-president, delivers an upbeat assessment of the global response to climate change today, saying he believes a "political tipping point" has been reached which will enable leaders to avert environmental catastrophe.

In his first newspaper interview since the US election, the Nobel peace prize winner tells the Guardian that Barack Obama's arrival in the White House, combined with a growing realisation of the problem among business leaders, means there is now enough political momentum to tackle the world's greatest environmental threat.

He believes a global climate deal will be agreed at the UN-brokered climate talks scheduled in Copenhagen for December.

"There is a very impressive consensus now emerging around the world that the solutions to the economic crisis are also the solutions to the climate crisis," he says. "I actually think we will get an agreement at Copenhagen." (Leo Hickman, The Guardian)

The real 'deniers' - William Happer is hardly a climate change "denier." A physics professor at Princeton, he is a former director of energy research for the U. S. Department of Energy, where he supervised work on climate change between 1990 and 1993. He is also one of the world's leading experts on "the interactions of visible and infrared radiation with gases," and on carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect. Two weeks ago, he told the U. S. Congress, "I believe the increase of CO2 (in the atmosphere) is not a cause for alarm."

Claims that an increase of atmospheric CO2 will lead to catastrophic warming "are wildly exaggerated," according to Prof. Happer. While a doubling (we have seen about a 35% rise since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) might lead to a 0.6C rise in global temperature, he told Congress, "additional increments of CO2 will cause relatively less direct warming because we already have so much CO2 ... that it has blocked most of the infrared radiation that it can."

Prof. Happer added that while CO2 concentrations have risen steadily for more than 100 years, warming began before that -- 200 years ago -- and even during the time when temperatures and carbon concentrations have risen together, the link has hardly been consistent. For instance, while CO2 was rising rapidly from 1950 to 1970, temperatures were going through an especially cold period.

Over the past decade, while carbon dioxide concentrations have continued to grow, there has been "a slight cooling," according to the Princeton physicist. Any warming in recent decades, then, "seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing levels of carbon dioxide." (Lorne Gunter, National Post)

Wood is a fossil fuel now? A burning question: Why not use wood stoves? - OTTAWA -- Continuing with our discussion of advanced-technology wood stoves, the question arises: What's not to like? You can now buy wood fireplaces or wood stoves that burn with 95 per cent efficiency and transfer heat with 70 to 80 per cent efficiency - making them competitive with oil and gas furnaces, the other fossil fuel heating options. You can integrate them with your central-heat duct work and regulate the fire with your thermostat. You can rig them so that residual heat runs your furnace fan, ensuring a warm house if you lose electricity for a few weeks in the next Ice Storm.

In the meantime, you can mesmerize yourself with such exuberant flame patterns that Natural Resources Canada describes them - these are scientists speaking - as "entrancing and irresistible."

These energy-efficient fireplaces or stoves emit zero pollutants into your living space, zero visible smoke from your chimney and low emissions of any kind. Environment Canada says they cut emissions by as much as 98 per cent compared with conventional stoves - and use 30 per cent less wood in the process. Natural Resources says they enable Canadians to rekindle their traditional love affair with fireplaces - absent the guilt associated with conventional fireplaces.

As for the cutting down of trees for firewood, what's not to like? Wood differs fundamentally from the other fossil fuels... (Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail)

Pushing the Gas Pedal: Tehran Makes NGVs Top Priority - Iran is aggressively tackling pollution, costly fuel import dependence and international political pressure by increasing its fleet of natural gas-fueled vehicles (NGVs). In less than two years, the number of cars able to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) has increased more than five-fold, a move that has allowed it to replace about 10% of its aging fuel-guzzling vehicle fleet.

But the government, which owns huge stakes in the country’s auto industry, is not stopping there. It has told manufacturers that at least 40 percent of the vehicles made every year must be NGVs. Service stations with natural gas refueling capability are spreading rapidly and mass transportation is being transformed at a record speed.

Over the next five years, Iran plans to have one-third of its vehicles running on natural gas. If the country achieves that goal, it will have about 3.5 million NGVs, which would make it the world’s leader both in overall numbers and as a percentage of the total fleet. The country hopes that the shift to NGVs will allow it to boost its energy exports. (Andres Cala, Energy Tribune)

Stop Stansted Expansion group loses legal battle - Department for Transport welcomes decision to allow additional 10m passengers a year, saying runway capacity is scarce

Campaigners have lost their legal battle to block the expansion of Stansted airport.

The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group opposed proposals for an additional 10 million passengers a year to use the single, existing runway at Britain's third largest airport. The group's lawyers accused the government of unlawfully "steamrollering these plans every step of the way".

But a high court judge, Sir Thayne Forbes, dismissed the legal challenge today and said criticisms of the way the matter had been handled were "unjustified and without substance". (The Guardian)

Plan B: scientists get radical in bid to halt global warming ‘catastrophe’ - THE director of a Nasa space laboratory will this week lead thousands of climate change campaigners through Coventry in an extraordinary intervention in British politics.

James Hansen plans to use Thursday’s Climate Change Day of Action to put pressure on Gordon Brown to wake up to the threat of climate change - by halting the construction of new power stations and the expansion of airports, with schemes such as the third runway at Heathrow.

The move by a leading American researcher is the highest-profile example to date of the way climate change is politicising scientists.

It follows last week’s climate science summit in Copenhagen where 2,500 leading climate scientists issued a stark warning to politicians that unless they took drastic action to cut carbon emissions, the world would face “irreversible shifts in climate”. (Sunday Times)

Truly Green Energy - Local company out to turn algae into fuel of future

The coffee pot was broken at Stellarwind BioEnergy. It was probably just as well, since most of the liquid percolating at its home—in the former Hoosier Orchid Co.—is green and algae-ridden.

It’s in water-cooler jugs and 64-ounce Coke bottles backlit by fluorescent tubes, back in the lab. But the main act at Stellarwind is “the reactor,” a long row of 55 transparent tubes soaring to the ceiling of a greenhouse and bubbling with green glow that would scare the living Hölle out of Dr. Frankenstein.

“About every 52 hours, this stuff doubles. It’s so prolific in nature,” said Keith Masavage, executive vice president of the startup, which took over Hoosier Orchid’s location on Indianapolis’ northwest side early this year.

Welcome to the future of oil production in the United States—or another remake of the 1958 horror film “The Blob”.

Stellarwind is believed to be the first algae-oil company in Indiana and among dozens of others around the country at the forefront of what’s being called the third wave of biofuels production.

To this point, neither ethanol made from corn kernels nor a second generation made from corn stalks and grasses has yet to achieve the seemingly unattainable cost triumph over fossil fuels. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

Lowly maggot to boost income, cut pollution - MARSEILLE, France -- Dirt poor peasants in the tropics could be thrown an economic lifeline after a lucky discovery by French scientists involving a useless palm oil by-product and the lowly maggot.

The synergy of two otherwise nuisance agents produced a virtually cost-free feed for farmed fish while reducing a pungent source of pollution -- a potential boon in countries like Indonesia, one of the world's largest palm oil producers.

"This process will allow us to recycle palm oil refinery waste and turn it into cheap food for fish farms and to produce 'green' fertilizer," Saurin Hem, a researcher at the Institute for Research and Development (IRD) in the southern French port of Marseille, told AFP.

After an IRD team stumbled onto the discovery they perfected the technique with partners from Indonesia, which churns out almost 2.3 million tons of palm oil a year.

Jakarta is set to start using the method this year at a refinery on the western island of Sumatra, IRD said. (Agence France-Presse)

Update: Chocolate tax melted - The British Medical Association’s Scottish local medical committee voted today on Dr. David Walker’s proposal to tax chocolate in order to fight obesity and the “diabetic time bomb.” [Covered here.]

The British Medical Association is a professional association with a membership of more than two-thirds of UK doctors. The medical professionals voted the idea down — by a mere two votes, according to UK news reports. (Junkfood Science)

Babies, Bathtime, and Cancer? - An alarming new report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics claims bath products for babies contain carcinogens, but by the standards it used to measure risk from formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane shouldn't we be even more worried about bathwater, tomatoes and fried chicken? And did the activist group actually measure exposure?

The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a coalition of activist groups that have been campaigning for years about chemical exposure in personal care products has released a new report – No More Toxic Tub – on the apparent cancer risks from baby bath products.

The study was dutifully transcribed by news media outlets, including USA Today, which headlined the piece “Group finds carcinogens in kids bath products.” (Trevor Butterworth, STATS)

Just what no one needs, more chemical hysteria: Bills Would Ban BPA From Food and Drink Containers - Leaders from the House and Senate introduced legislation yesterday that would establish a federal ban on bisphenol A in all food and beverage containers.

The bills, introduced by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), would greatly expand efforts to limit the chemical from products for young children.

The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound's safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Interesting, Begley seems to have got the facts straight here... Anatomy of a Scare - When one study linked childhood vaccines to autism, it set off a panic. The research didn't hold up, but some wounded families can't move on.

Like many people in London on that bleak February day in 1998, biochemist Nicholas Chadwick was eager to hear what the scientists would say. The Royal Free Hospital, where he was a graduate student in the lab of gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, had called a press conference to unveil the results of a new study. With flashbulbs popping, Wakefield stepped up to the bank of microphones: he and his colleagues, he said, had discovered a new syndrome that they believed was triggered by the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. In eight of the 12 children in their study, being published that day in the respected journal The Lancet, they had found severe intestinal inflammation, with the symptoms striking six days, on average, after the children received the MMR. But hospitals don't hold elaborate press conferences for studies of gut problems. The reason for all the hoopla was that nine of the children in the study also had autism, and the tragic disease had seized them between one and 14 days after their MMR jab. The vaccine, Wakefield suggested, had damaged the intestine—in particular, the measles part had caused serious inflammation—allowing harmful proteins to leak from the gut into the bloodstream and from there to the brain, where they damaged neurons in a way that triggered autism. Although in their paper the scientists noted that "we did not prove an association" between the MMR and autism, Wakefield was adamant. "It's a moral issue for me," he said, "and I can't support the continued use of [the MMR] until this issue has been resolved."

That's strange, thought Chadwick. For months he had been extracting genetic material from children's gut biopsies, looking for evidence of measles from the MMR. That was the crucial first link in the chain of argument connecting the MMR to autism: the measles virus infects the gut, causing inflammation and leakage, then gut leakage lets neurotoxic compounds into the blood and brain. Yet Chadwick kept coming up empty-handed. "There were a few cases of false positives, [but] essentially all the samples tested were negative," he later told a judicial hearing. When he explained the negative results, he told NEWSWEEK, Wakefield "tended to shrug his shoulders. Even in lab meetings he would only talk about data that supported his hypothesis. Once he had his theory, he stuck to it no matter what." Chadwick was more disappointed than upset, figuring little would come from the Lancet study. "Not many people thought [Wakefield] would be taken that seriously," Chadwick recalls. "We thought most people would see the Lancet paper for what it was—a very preliminary collection of [only 12] case reports. How wrong we were." (Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK)

... so why is she such an idiot over, inter alia, gorebull warming?

Medical scumbag's masterclass in fraud - Like you, I've developed a sneaking respect for all the fun and interesting tricks a person can use to distort the scientific evidence, so Dr Scott S Reuben, an anaesthesiologist in Bayside Medical Centre in Massachusetts, is a double scumbag: this week, in the biggest fraud case from recent medical history, he has been caught out, rather unimaginatively, just fabricating his data.

How did he get away with it?

Firstly, if you're planning a career in scientific fraud, then medicine is an excellent place to start.

Findings in complex biological systems - like "people" - are often contradictory and difficult to replicate, so you could easily advance your career and never get caught.

And fraud is not so unusual, depending on where you draw the line. In 2005 the journal Nature published an anonymous survey of 3,247 scientists: 0.3% admitted they had falsified research data at some point in their careers, in acts of outright fraud; but more interestingly, 6% admitted failing to present data if it contradicted their previous research. (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

Food nutrition programs don't lead to obesity: USDA - WASHINGTON - Food stamps, school lunch and other public nutrition programs do not contribute to an obesity epidemic affecting millions of children and adults, despite blame levied by critics, U.S. and academic officials said on Thursday.

The Agriculture Department programs will cost about $73 billion in fiscal 2009. They range from school milk to food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children food program.

The large price tag has prompted some critics to point to research blaming the programs as a factor in a global obesity crisis. (Reuters)

Portugal aims to cut stroke deaths by curbing salt - LISBON - Alarmed by high death rates from strokes in Portugal, deputies from the ruling Socialist party submitted a bill to parliament Friday to slash the use of salt in bread, blamed for many blood pressure problems.

The country's key dietary staple -- dried salted cod that is rehydrated and cooked in many different ways -- has made the Portuguese accustomed to using more salt in food than other nations, and bakers add generous amounts to their dough.

Bread is one of the main sources of salt intake and many Portuguese eat it with every meal. (Reuters)

So, because people eat salted fish these guys want to make bread bland and unpalatable to the Portuguese...

Low-energy light bulbs can cause rashes and swelling to sensitive skin, warn experts - The phasing out of traditional light bulbs could cause misery for thousands who have light-sensitive skin disorders, medical experts warned yesterday.

Dr Robert Sarkany said some low-energy bulbs gave vulnerable people painful rashes and swelling.

He backed calls by patient groups for the Government to give medical exemptions for those at risk.

The warning comes as British shops start to clear their shelves of traditional bulbs, which are being replaced by more energy-efficient versions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (David Derbyshire, Daily Mail)

Hitler took over Czech lands 70 years ago - On March 14th, 1939, the Second Republic of Czechoslovakia disintegrated when Slovakia became an independent satellite of the Third Reich: their alternative was to face an occupation by Hungary in a few days. At least, that's what Hitler told them. The Parliament voted for the independence unanimously.

See what The Telegraph wrote 70 years ago.

One day later, on March 15th, Hitler occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia, creating the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The foreign policy and security was transferred to the Reich. Currency and tariffs were unified with Germany. German citizens of the Protectorate became the citizens of the Reich while the Czech citizens either became obedient servants of the new, politically correct regime or were executed.

This is what Václav Klaus wrote about the event today: (The Reference Frame)

The Price Of Pivoting To A Nanny State - The new buzzword in Washington is "pivot," used to describe a fundamental change in public policy.

Team Obama has done a lot of pivoting — on issues both foreign and domestic. Nowhere has it pivoted more, though, than on the economic front.

Clearly, it has turned away from free markets. And while it's not always clear exactly where they are turning to — leading some pundits to suggest they are simply "making it up as they go along" — the general approach is one more commonly seen in Europe.

It assumes that only government can solve key social and economic problems. And it has few qualms about manipulating markets, bypassing institutions of civil society and shouldering aside the private sector to get where it wants to go.

There's a downside to this approach. It directly increases dependency on government and slows economic activity. (William Beach, IBD)

Knock, knock: it’s the council bin snoops - Householders face 're-education' visits for producing too much rubbish after microchipping of two million bins

HOUSEHOLDERS are facing “re-education” home visits for producing too much rubbish after figures released under freedom of information laws revealed that councils have quietly microchipped 2m bins.

The chips can be used to record the amount of rubbish families are throwing away. Those recycling too little will be sent warning leaflets, then visited by council officials who will advise on cutting waste.

Details of the scheme resurrect the long-term prospect of a pay-as-you-throw bin tax, which many thought had died when councils failed to take part in government trials. (Sunday Times)

Mosquito laser gun offers new hope on malaria - AMERICAN scientists are making a ray gun to kill mosquitoes. Using technology developed under the Star Wars anti-missile programme, the zapper is being built in Seattle where astrophysicists have created a laser that locks onto airborne insects.

Scientists have speculated for years that lasers might be used against mosquitoes, which kill nearly 1m people a year through malaria.

The laser – dubbed a weapon of mosquito destruction (WMD) – has been designed with the help of Lowell Wood, one of the astrophysicists who worked on the original Star Wars plan to shield America from nuclear attack. (Sunday Times)

Surging global population adds to water crisis warns UN - The surging growth in global population, climate change, widespread mismanagement and increasing demand for energy have tightened the grip on the world’s evaporating water supplies, warned a new United Nations report released today. (MercoPress)

Liquid water is not in short supply on this planet -- we just need to get potable water to people.

March 13, 2009

Inhofe Speech: ‘Consensus’ Continues Freefall - Why Americans Are Growing More Skeptical

‘High school kids watching Gore’s movie today will be nearing AARP’s retirement age by the time warming allegedly resumes in 30 years’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today delivered a floor speech on the latest global warming poll data and the continuing inconvenient science developments refuting man-made climate fears. See: Inhofe: ‘Consensus’ Continues Freefall: Science and Scientists Challenge Man-Made Global Warming Fears & Inhofe Speech: "Gallup Poll: Record-High 41% of Americans Now Say Global Warming is Exaggerated"  (EPW)

Diversity Abounds at New York City Climate Conference - The Second International Conference on Climate Change, held March 8-10 in New York City, was a great success, with considerably greater attendance than the first conference. Keynote speakers included President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic, Prof. Dick Lindzen, Gov. John Sununu, Harrison Schmitt (last man to walk on the moon), Lord Monckton, and several others. A total of approximately 80 speakers packed a series of four parallel sessions throughout the 2 days of talks.

As was the case last year, several lines of evidence were presented in support of the two most important scientific objections to the currently popular view that humans now rule the climate system: (1) climate sensitivity is much lower than the United Nations claims it is; and (2) nature, not humans, dominate climate change. (Roy Spencer)

Heartland-2 climate conference reports: Heartland-2: session three - John Sunumu: Nature will respond to climate change in the future in a self-stabilising way, as it always has in the past.

Willie Soon: The first order of business is that the null hypothesis is that the climate change we observe is due to natural variability.

Bob Carter: IPCC climate policy (Plan A) – to prevent hypothetical human-caused climate change by reducing CO2 emissions - hasn’t worked and won’t work. Policy Plan B needs to be that countries develop their own capacity to prepare for and adapt to real, natural climate change; they will then be well positioned to cope with hypothetical (human-caused) climate change, should any eventuate.

Lord Christopher Monckton: There was no climate crisis, there is no climate crisis and there will be no climate crisis. The correct solution to global warming is to have the courage to do nothing. (Bob Carter)

Background to Heartland-2 here
Heartland-2: session one here
Heartland-2: session two here

U.S. Deadbeats? - United Nations: It takes some gall to grumble about getting billions in U.S. taxpayer handouts. Does U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expect spend-happy Uncle Sam to give the corrupt U.N. its own stimulus?

It wasn't the way to win friends and influence people in the U.S. Congress — even this spendthrift band of power-drunk lawmakers. (IBD)

UN chief seeks to smooth over 'deadbeat' comment - UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tried Thursday to smooth over his criticism of the United States after the White House objected to his description of the country as a "deadbeat" because of its late U.N. payments.

"My point was simply that the United Nations needs the fullest support of its members, and never more so than in these very demanding times," Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters.

Ban used the word "deadbeat" Wednesday during a private meeting with lawmakers at the Capitol, one day after he met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's "word choice was unfortunate," given that the U.S. is the world body's largest contributor.

The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5 billion operating budget, but is perennially late paying its dues in part because of its budget calendar, but also over political issues. (Associated Press)

Time to boot the parasitic kleptocrats and dictators back where they came from. Can anyone think of a single useful thing achieved by the UN in the last 5 decades?

Activists arrested as ministers fail to decide on climate funding - Economic and finance ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday (10 March) failed to put figures on the table to finance climate change in the midst of global negotiations, despite the calls of over 300 protesters arrested for blocking the entrance of the Council building.

Greenpeace activists from twenty European countries urged ministers not to exit the building without putting money on the table to help developing countries, but little was decided. The Economic and Financial Affairs Council, however, only reiterated the EU's readiness to "contribute its fair share".

Concerns have been raised that the conspicuous absence of formal EU proposals on climate financing show lack of commitment on behalf of the bloc's governments to reaching an ambitious new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The Netherlands called on the ministers to set a deadline for July, but did not receive enough backing for the move. All eyes are now on next week's European summit. (EurActiv)

China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threaten to Double - Can a climate catastrophe still be averted? Scientists voice pessimism in a new study, which concludes that no matter what the Western industrialized nations do, China's greenhouse emissions will be hard to stop.

It sounds like wishful thinking: The United States, under new President Barack Obama, forges an alliance with China to combat emissions. The world's two largest sources of carbon dioxide finally face the problem. The treaty crowns the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, when a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol -- which, as everyone knows, the United States never ratified -- will be adopted. Third World countries and emerging economies never had to do it, but in Copenhagen rising economic powers like China make a binding commitment to curb their emissions.

It probably is wishful thinking. It has almost nothing to do with reality.

"Many Western industrialized nations want China to commit to reducing its CO2 emissions," says Dabo Guan of the Electricity Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge in England. "But the country will not even be capable of doing so." (Der Spiegel)

Discussion of Andy Revkin's climate reporting

We'll Pry Global Warming From Their Cold, Dead Hearts - This is the winter of environmentalists’ discontent. They desperately want the earth to be warming to prove Al Gore’s truth inviolate and they are going to make you pay thousands of dollars for it no matter whether it’s true or not.

But the weather has been inconveniently cold. Thirty-two states have experienced record or near-record lows this winter – poking holes in the predictions of imminent fiery doom. Just ask the diehard global warming activists who showed up in Washington last week to protest the nation’s use of coal. Their event was hampered by nearly a foot of snow in the nation’s capital – enough to freeze out luminaries like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (Dan Gainor, Townhall)

Remembering the Old James Hansen (give him some credit) - I have previously posted on NASA scientist and leading climate alarmist James Hansen as a “scientist behaving strangely.” His mixing of politics and science–controversial science at that–has raised eyebrows among friend and foe.

But then there is the old, more moderate Jim Hansen. Below, I offer some quotations for the historical record. There are undoubtedly other quotations that can be added–and should be in the “comments” section, whether by Hansen or by colleagues of Hansen.

Perhaps Dr. Hansen can say that his thinking has evolved toward greater alarm. But if so, with temperatures little or no higher today than when he wrote a decade or more ago, the question must be asked: why has his alarm gone up rather than down? (Robert Bradley, Master Resource)

Still misreporting: Buoyed by US, UN chief sees climate deal this year - The U.N. chief is predicting that a new global climate deal - with U.S. backing - will be reached this year.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that the United Nations "can and will reach a climate deal that all nations can embrace" at a planned conference in Copenhagen in December.

Ban's comments to reporters followed his meetings with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders this week. Ban said he came away encouraged by new U.S. approaches to global warming.

The administration of Obama's predecessor, President George W. Bush, pulled out of the last global climate treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, citing potential economic harm and lack of participation by developing countries. (Associated Press)

They just can't get past the fact Slick Willy never sent the signed article to the Senate for ratification, knowing full well it should never have been signed in contravention of Senate Resolution 98 (a.k.a. Byrd-Hagel). Dubya merely stopped paying lip service to an irrelevant appendage to a stupid document signed by the 41st President, G.H.W. Bush, in 1992. As far as presidents go, 41 advanced this nonsense, 42 killed it and 43 basically dealt with the reality of the situation that America had not ratified and in fact could not ratify Kyoto. The Clinton-gore Administration engaged in hollow political theater to titillate their green constituents with no risk of actually taking action. Do they understand now?

We Don’ Need No Stinkin’ Treaty! - At Heartland’s International Climate Change Conference in New York this week, I gave a talk addressing the argument made by Brookings’s Nigel Purvis that, when it comes to roping the U.S. into Kyoto’s successor, we need to recognize that “The United States should classify new international treaties to protect the Earth’s climate system as executive agreements rather than treaties,” because “The treaty clause has never worked as the framers of the Constitution intended.”

By that he means, upon clarification, that “The treaty process created by the framers of the Constitution requires an exceptional degree of national consensus that is no longer reasonable given the frequency and importance of international cooperation today,” meaning that which was intended to keep us from doing something too promiscuously has been overtaken by the practice of doing it too promiscuously and must be thrown overboard. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

You suppose he believes any of this? Nicholas Stern: politicians have no idea of the impact of climate change - Politicians had yet to grasp how devastating climate change would be to society in this century, a leading economist said yesterday.

Wars, famines, floods and hurricanes would wreak havoc unless greenhouse gas emissions were controlled, Professor Nicholas Stern told scientists at the conference.

Another speaker warned that Britain could expect severe droughts and that much of southern Europe would be turned into semi-desert, capable of supporting only a fraction of its current population.

Lord Stern, who wrote the highly influential Stern report, which in 2006 alerted the world to the financial costs of climate change, said that not only was the threat underplayed by politicians but that they did not even understand the extent of the problem.

“Do the politicians understand just how difficult it could be, just how devastating four, five, six degrees centigrade would be? I think, not yet,” he said. (The Times)

Senator says Obama driven on climate - One of the US Senate's top campaigners against global warming on Wednesday sought to ease international concerns, vowing President Barack Obama was committed to action on climate change.

Some European nations have voiced uncertainty about whether Obama and the US Congress can follow through on promises to force sharp reductions in carbon emissions due to the terrible state of the US economy.

But Senator Bernie Sanders said tens of billions of dollars would go to action on climate change as part of Obama's package to stimulate the world's largest economy. (AFP)

True, after a fashion: America unprepared for climate change, say policy advisers - National Research Council claims US agencies and political leaders not getting the right information or guidance

America is woefully unprepared for climate change, and the government agencies charged with delivering the latest science to decision makers are not up to the task, a new report said today.

The National Research Council, a policy advice centre that is part of the US National Academy of Sciences, said that government agencies and political leaders, concerned more than ever about climate change, were not getting the information or the guidance they needed. (The Guardian)

Political leaders are most assuredly not getting the right information and as a consequence are misdirecting effort to guard against a situation which cannot possibly occur. Fortunately some seem to be working this out for themselves:

In Hot Pursuit Of CO2 - Climate Change: Washington is about to crack down on carbon dioxide emissions. It had better hurry because it won't have much time before the backlash strikes. The public is losing its faith in the global warming religion.

The Environmental Protection Agency, under new management, wants to regulate emissions of CO2, as well as other greenhouse gases, as part of its campaign against global warming.

The next step is to establish a reporting system, which was proposed Tuesday, so the government can monitor private activity and eventually tax carbon emissions. (IBD)

US senators attack cap-and-trade for climate change - WASHINGTON — The United States should not impose a cap-and-trade system to battle climate change this year because it amounts to a painful tax during a deep recession, senators argued Wednesday.

"Now is not the time to put a national sales tax on every electric bill and every gasoline purchase," Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told reporters.

"I'm open, as are several Republicans, to cap-and-trade, but it's getting increasingly difficult to think about it in the middle of a recession," said Alexander, who represents Tennessee.

US President Barack Obama favors the approach, which sets a cap on the total pollutants companies can emit and then forces heavy polluters to buy credits from entities that pollute less -- creating financial incentives to fight global warming.

Cap-and-trade, already in practice in the European Union, is likely to be reinforced at UN climate talks in Copenhagen this December as the preferred strategy for slashing "greenhouse gases" blamed for climate change. (AFP)

Obama budget lacks votes - President Obama’s budget doesn’t have enough support from lawmakers to pass, the Senate Budget Committee chairman said Tuesday.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said he has spoken to enough colleagues about several different provisions in the budget request to make him think Congress won’t pass it.

Conrad urged White House budget director Peter Orszag not to “draw lines in the sand” with lawmakers, most notably on Obama’s plan for a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions. (Walter Alarkon, The Hill)

Senate budget leaders warn against using spending bill to move climate plan - The leaders of the Senate Budget Committee yesterday warned the Obama administration against pursuing the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation measure as a strategy for moving climate change legislation.

Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) did not explicitly say that using reconciliation is not an option for moving cap-and-trade legislation. But he warned White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag that such a path contained several pitfalls.

One of those, Conrad said, is the so-called Byrd rule, which prohibits the Senate from using reconciliation to move "extraneous" matters. "We've been told by parliamentary experts that if one tried to write comprehensive legislation using reconciliation, the legislation, once the Byrd rule had been applied, would look like Swiss cheese," Conrad said.

The "extraneous matters" are defined under the Budget Act, but its practical implementation remains the subject of interpretation by the presiding officer of the Senate with consultation from the parliamentarian. Any senator can raise a point of order against a provision if he believes it violates the Byrd rule, which can then only be waived by a 60 vote majority.

From a political standpoint, Conrad indicated that a number of senators who are on the fence or close to it when it comes to climate change legislation may jump ship if they stand to lose the opportunity to influence the legislation. "There an awful lot of senators who are on the margins of this issue who would be very concerned if their leverage was reduced by that mechanism," Conrad said.

Conrad's warnings were echoed by Budget Committee ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who said many lawmakers would be uncomfortable with moving such sweeping legislation by using the budget process. (Alex Kaplun, ClimateWire)

AUST ENVIRONMENT FOUNDATION SPELLS OUT THE COST OF AN ETS - The chair of the Australian Environment Foundation, Dr Jennifer Marohasy today spelt out the costs of an Emissions Trading Scheme to ordinary Australians and their jobs to Jason Morrison of Radio 2GB.  Listen to the interview at this LINK and visit the website she mentions www.ListenToUs.org.au to do something about telling the government what you think. (Australian Climate Science Coalition)

Incessant screeching of the apocalypse: Climate scientists warn of "devastating" five-degree world - Latest science shows world is currently on track for catastrophic temperature increases that would cut global population to just one billion people

Climate scientists gathering in Copenhagen today attempted to hammer home the full scale of the threat posed by global warming, warning that we are currently on track for a "five-degree world" where the global population would be slashed from an expected nine billion in 2050 to just one billion people by the end of the century.

Opening the final day of the Climate Congress meeting was Professor John Schellnuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the world's leading climate scientists. He said the evidence gathered since the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "closed the books" on its report four years ago confirmed the outlook was far more bleak than previously thought.

He said that he had recently updated German chancellor Angela Merkel on research that revealed that even if the world achieves the EU target of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, the climate impacts will be far more severe than previously thought. (BusinessGreen)

And who will save us from these guys? Six ways to save the world: scientists compile list of climate change clinchers - Scientists at this week's conference in Copenhagen summarise findings for policy makers to discuss at UN summit in December

Scientists at the international congress in Copenhagen have prepared a summary statement of their findings for policy makers. This was handed today to the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in December he will formally hand this statement over to officials and heads of state at the conference. The full conclusions from the 2,500 scientific delegates from 80 countries that have attended the three-day meeting this week will be published in full in June 2009. The congress was conceived as an update of the science of global warming ahead of the UN summit in December. The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published in 2007 is now three to four years out of date. (The Guardian)

More virtual world nonsense: Global warming to carry big costs for California - SACRAMENTO, California - From agricultural losses to devastation wrought by wildfires, California's economy is expected to see significant costs resulting from global warming in the decades ahead, according to a new report.

Global warming could translate into annual costs and revenue losses throughout the economy of between $2.5 billion and $15 billion by 2050, according to a summary of cost analyses of America's most populous state, which is also the eighth-largest economy in the world. The summary was presented Wednesday to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's climate advisers.

Property damage caused by more devastating wildfires and sea level rise — estimated $100 billion in property loss by the end of the century — could push the costs far higher. (Associated Press)

Nude Socialist: Climate change already shaping society - Human society is already, in small but significant ways, being shaped by global warming. So said a climatologist at the climate change congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Thursday.

Jean Palutikof of the University of East Anglia, UK, pointed to numerous studies warning that climate change is going to deeply transform our society, by increasing the death rate, for example, or changing the way we grow food. If you look in the right places, says Palutikof, it is already possible to see our behaviour changing.

Models and observations tell us which parts of the planet are most likely to feel the heat of climate change – so these "hotspots" are a good place to start looking for such changes. Palutikof focused on two locations: the maize fields of the US Midwest, and south-east Australia. (New Scienctist)

Yes, some part of Australia is always in drought. No, the geological record tells us there is nothing noteworthy about recent dry events (in fact the last few hundred years have been unusually benign as far as rainfall goes).

Great Depression! Global hurricane activity reaches new lows. - Global hurricane activity has decreased to the lowest level in 30 years.

As previously reported here and here at Climate Audit, and chronicled at my Florida State Global Hurricane Update page, both Northern Hemisphere and overall Global hurricane activity has continued to sink to levels not seen since the 1970s. Even more astounding, when the Southern Hemisphere hurricane data is analyzed to create a global value, we see that Global Hurricane Energy has sunk to 30-year lows, at the least. Since hurricane intensity and detection data is problematic as one goes back in time, when reporting and observing practices were different than today, it is possible that we underestimated global hurricane energy during the 1970s. See notes at bottom to avoid terminology discombobulation. (Ryan N. Maue, Florida State University COAPS)

Famed Hurricane Forecaster William Gray Rips AMS, NASA's Hansen; Calls Media 'Sycophantic Followers' - Prominent hurricane forecaster Dr. William M. Gray, a professor at Colorado State University, appeared at The Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC) in New York on March 11 to elaborate on his theory that a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures related to the salinity (the amount of salt) in ocean water was responsible for some global warming that has taken place.

Gray also distributed a document containing a scathing critique of Dr. James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who is widely known for his outspokenness on the issue of manmade global warming. Gray's document criticized the American Meteorological Society (AMS), an organization that issues a "seal of approval" to broadcast meteorologists, for awarding Hansen the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal. (Jeff Poor, NewsBusters)

Oh... "Mad" microplants show Antarctic climate change - WASHINGTON - You just don't want to make phytoplankton mad.

These microscopic sea plants are at the bottom of the food chain in the waters that surround the Antarctic peninsula, and when they're unhappy, everything that depends on them suffers, including fish, penguins and possibly, eventually, people.

A new study published on Thursday in the journal Science indicates that some of these Antarctic phytoplankton have become increasingly grumpy over the last 30 years.

Like most plants, phytoplankton need food and sunlight to survive. For some that live off the west coast of the Antarctic peninsula, getting these essentials has been an increasing challenge, with a 12 percent decrease in phytoplankton populations seen in the last three decades. (Reuters)

... there's been an increase in winter cloud along the northern section of the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula (and a decrease in the southern part, so winter clouds might have shifted a little further north in the southern hemisphere -- or not) and this makes phytoplankton pull on their cranky-pants in one region but take them off in another...

Just think, hard working taxpayers probably funded this, uh... study.

Carbon tax only way to keep planet cool: Hansen - Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut more quickly and deeply than thought only two years ago to avoid dire consequences, and a straight-up carbon tax is the only realistic way to do it, top climate scientist James Hansen said in an interview.

New research paints an even gloomier picture of global warming than the already grim report put out in early 2007 by the UN's Nobel-winning scientific panel, he told AFP at the margins of a major climate conference. (AFP)

EPA set to raise prices on everything, control your life - "The Obama administration is fast-tracking its response to the Supreme Court's 2007 climate decision with plans to issue a mid-April finding that global warming threatens both public health and welfare, according to an internal U.S. EPA document (pdf) obtained by Greenwire. (Heliogenic Climate Change)

Assisted Economic Suicide - Climate Change: Sen. John Kerry warns that deferring cap-and-trade in a recession is a "mutual suicide pact." In an effort to keep the glaciers from melting, he proposes putting the American economy in the deep freeze.

"You don't enter a mutual suicide pact because the economy is having a hard time right now," the failed presidential hopeful and noted climatologist said Wednesday. "Climate change is not governed by a recession."

But trying to prevent a bogus apocalypse can drive one into a depression.

Kerry ignores the growing body of evidence presented by reputable scientists and including satellite observations, not computer models, that the earth has been cooling demonstrably since 1998 due to declining solar activity and other natural factors.

He also ignores the warnings of cap-and-trade's economic consequences. (IBD)

Cap and Trade Primer: Eight reasons why cap and trade harms the economy and reduces jobs - The most popular way to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is through a cap and trade program. President Obama and many policymakers support some form of this regulatory policy. Cap and trade aims to cap emissions of carbon dioxide at a politically-determined level and then have the users and producers of oil, coal, and natural gas buy, sell, and trade their allowance to emit a given amount of carbon dioxide. Cap and trade will increase the price of oil, coal, and natural gas in an effort to force users to switch to other, less reliable, more expensive forms of energy.

These proposals are very, very costly and economically damaging. If enacted, last year’s flagship cap and trade proposal, the Lieberman-Warner bill, would increase the cost of gasoline by anywhere from 60 percent to 144 percent and increase the cost of electricity by 77 to 129 percent.

Up to four million Americans would lose their jobs under the program, which amounts to a $4,022 to $6,752 loss in disposable income per household. In return, we could have expected a 63 percent emissions cut. President Obama’s budget proposes to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 83 percent. If successful, it’s reasonable to conclude it would lead to even greater economic hardship than envisioned under Lieberman-Warner.

Other problems inherent in cap and trade exist, and they are manifold. What follows is a brief explanation of some of the most glaring: (IER)

A NASA Press Release “Drought, Urbanization Were Ingredients for Atlanta’s Perfect Storm” - There is a very interesting news release on March 11 2009 by NASA that documents yet another major influence of land surface processes on weather and climate. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Climate Change Congress: threshold for Greenland melt could be double previous figure - Once an ice sheet starts to melt, the surface of the ice gradually decreases in altitude and becomes warmer, leading to yet more melting in a positive feedback effect. According to Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol, UK, speaking at the Copenhagen session on tipping points, that makes the process pretty much irreversible once it’s started in earnest - you’d need a very substantial cooling for the ice sheet to return.

The complete collapse of the Greenland ice sheet would lead to around 6.5 m of sea level rise. So scientists are keen to know at what temperature melting of the ice sheet is likely to become irreversible. A few years ago Jonathan Gregory calculated this threshold at 3 degrees of temperature rise but Bamber says there are two lines of evidence that suggest this is wrong - the past and the modelling future. “I think there are other processes in there that may be important,” he said. In the Eemian Greenland was about 5 degrees warmer than today, considerably above Gregory’s threshold, but there was still an ice sheet present (although probably about half its present volume) and it remained in place for 20,000 years. (Environmental Research Web)

Not that well ever know because there is no such foreseeable temperature rise. Even if we go by Charnock & Shine's absurdly hypersensitive estimate and managed to increase atmospheric carbon dioxide to 1,200 ppmv (roughly 4 times the 1950 level) that still only equates to a clear sky forcing of less than 3 °C -- less than 2 °C when calculated with Earth's ~40% cloud cover. That's why grant (or otherwise) motivated modelers employ the marvelous magical multipliers of "positive feedback" -- enhanced greenhouse is simply not that interesting without these mystical fear-inducing magnifiers.

Heir to George III's legacy? Prince Charles: world must act now to save planet - Britain's Prince Charles warned on Thursday that mankind has 100 months or less to save the planet from a climate-caused disaster.

Charles told some 150 business leaders in Rio de Janeiro that "the best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behavior before we risk catastrophic climate change and the unimaginable horrors that this would bring."

"Any difficulties which the world faces today will be nothing compared to the full effects which global warming will have on the worldwide economy," he said. "It will result in vast movements of people escaping either flooding or droughts, in uncertain production of foods and lack of water and, of course, increasing social instability and potential conflict."

"It will affect the well-being of every man, woman and child on our planet," the prince added, calling for urgent steps to curb deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. (Associated Press)

Climate Change Congress: Raj Pachauri heads to Yale - Raj Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, is to take up a half-time position as director of a new climate and energy institute at Yale University, US, starting in the autumn. The announcement came at the Copenhagen Climate Congress. (Environmental Research Web)

Statement of National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow R.J. Smith on the Defeat of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (S. 22) on the House Floor Wednesday

"The Democrat leadership's omnibus land lock-up bill to shut down oil, gas and coal exploration and production in the midst of a recession and a domestic energy shortage -- and to prevent the public from using their lands by placing tens of million more acres in restrictive non-use categories -- was narrowly defeated Wednesday by a bipartisan group of 141 Republicans and three heroic Democrats.

We are still finding out how bad the Omnibus is. We knew the section of the Omnibus with the prohibition on gathering fossils gave the federal government the authority to seize people's vehicles and equipment, but the Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences believes the language actually gives the federal government the authority to seize private lands as well. So if you had some pretty pieces of petrified wood or a few trilobites or a tiny fish skeleton on your fireplace mantle -- the federal government might be able to seize your ranch or farm or home.

And yet there were 282 votes for this monstrosity. One of the real dangers of rolling 170+ individual bills into one 1,294-page, 9-inch thick omnibus. I would bet NO ONE ever read it all. Who knew what evils lurked in there? One would hope if there had been hearings and mark-ups and committee votes on all the individual components, plus full debate on the House floor -- that far fewer Congressmen would have voted for such a destructive draconian piece of legislation. (Press Release)

The World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Lies - No doubt you’ve seen the ads: The music is dramatic. The scene is tragic. The message emotional. Polar Bears, holding on for dear life to bits of ice, their artic habitat destroyed by Global Warming. And the narration tells you of the tragic fate of the bears, all because of man and his selfish destruction of the earth. Of course, the ad ends with a plea for funds to help the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) protect the bears and stop Global Warming. Cute, fuzzy animals always do the trick. (Tom DeWeese, Townhall)

More: Atmospheric 'sunshade' could reduce solar power generation - The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new NOAA study. The findings appear in this week's issue of Environmental Science and Technology. (NOAA)

Readers supplied these clip links: South Park; Simpsons

Chicken manure sorts out oil spills - Bacterial degradation of oil is under investigation as a more environmentally friendly means of cleaning up after spills. Other schemes that use chemicals such as detergents can in turn pollute the area themselves.

Often the bacteria used in such bioremediation require the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus to act as nutrients and promote their growth. Whilst researching the enrichment of microbial cultures at Wuhan University, China, Bello Yakubu found that adding chicken manure as a nutrient source also decreased the content of hydrocarbons in the soil. (Environmental Research Web)

Scientists claim first-generation biofuels here to stay - Experts predict first-generation biofuels will be with us for several decades and call on biofuel industry to focus on improving agricultural yields as best means of limiting impact on food prices. (BusinessGreen)

Obese people respond differently to food, study shows - Obese people overeat because the food reward centre in their brain is so sluggish, it takes more food to feel satisfied, new research suggests.

In a study of young girls and women, scientists tested the brain’s response to a “highly palatable food” - chocolate milkshakes. They found that the part of the brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine in response to eating is less active in the obese. (Sharon Kirkey, Canwest News Service)

Ozone danger called grave - Ozone pollution increases the yearly risk of death from respiratory diseases by 40 percent to 50 percent in heavily polluted cities like Los Angeles and by about 25 percent throughout the rest of the country, researchers reported Thursday.

Environmental scientists already knew that dramatic increases in ozone during periods of heavy pollution cause short-term effects, such as asthma attacks, more hospitalizations and deaths from heart attacks.

But the 18-year study of nearly a half-million people, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first to show that long-term, low-level exposure to the pollutant also can be lethal.

The findings come as the Obama administration hints that it will revisit new limits on ground-level ozone, or smog, that were set last year by the Bush administration. (Los Angeles Times)

There is no doubt lower atmosphere ozone is an irritant, which is one of the reasons we originally disputed the absurd EPA 'benefits' of the Montreal Protocol on 'ozone depleting substances'. According to the EPA protecting ozone would deliver multitrillion-dollar health benefits and, by their bizarre accounting, all ozone is of near-infinite value (it matters not if an ozone molecule is 2 meters or 20,000 over your head, if it intercepts UVB [and UVB actually turns out to be harmful, as De Fabo et al contend, links here] then it has 'protected' you).

Bush limits on toxic reports removed - WASHINGTON - The $410 billion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed Wednesday will reinstate detailed toxic chemical reporting at more than 3,500 facilities nationwide.

The Bush administration in 2006 reduced the amount of information that facilities storing and releasing smaller amounts of toxic chemicals had to submit to the federal government. Companies using less than 5,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, or releasing less than 2,000 pounds, could use shorter, less detailed forms. Congressional auditors said the change would have cut by a quarter the number of emissions reports the government receives each year.

A provision in the spending bill eliminates the Bush change, which was pushed by the White House to reduce the regulatory burden on industry. Democratic lawmakers have criticized the regulation, and a dozen states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency arguing it reduces the information available to the public about chemical hazards in their communities. (AP)

Realistically all this does is increase pointless hysteria and industry bashing. Just another facet of the antimodernists increasing your costs to reduce your discretionary spending and hence consumption to 'save' Gaia (from you).

Peter Foster: Let the auto companies fail - Mixed economies guarantee systemic failure, just like government-controlled ones. The only difference is it takes longer

Chrysler this week threatened to pull out of Canada unless it gets union concessions, government loan/handouts, and a favourable tax ruling in an ongoing case with Revenue Canada. The union is crying “blackmail,” while Ottawa — which has already promised US$2.3-billion to the company — waffles on about negotiating with Washington over industrial salvation.

The Post’s Don Martin suggested yesterday that “[T]here’s no political way to sacrifice tens of thousands of General Motors [and presumably Chrysler] jobs on the altar of ideology.”

But what “ideology” would that be? The pursuit of economic reality? (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health - The late Tom Anderson, the family doctor in this little farm town in northwestern Indiana, at first was puzzled, then frightened.

He began seeing strange rashes on his patients, starting more than a year ago. They began as innocuous bumps — “pimples from hell,” he called them — and quickly became lesions as big as saucers, fiery red and agonizing to touch.

They could be anywhere, but were most common on the face, armpits, knees and buttocks. Dr. Anderson took cultures and sent them off to a lab, which reported that they were MRSA, or staph infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) sometimes arouses terrifying headlines as a “superbug” or “flesh-eating bacteria.” The best-known strain is found in hospitals, where it has been seen regularly since the 1990s, but more recently different strains also have been passed among high school and college athletes. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that by 2005, MRSA was killing more than 18,000 Americans a year, more than AIDS.

Dr. Anderson at first couldn’t figure out why he was seeing patient after patient with MRSA in a small Indiana town. And then he began to wonder about all the hog farms outside of town. Could the pigs be incubating and spreading the disease? (Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times)

Another Green Revolution - Genetically modified food offers hope for the world’s malnourished.

Shortly after the Second World War, a “Green Revolution” began to transform agriculture around the globe, allowing food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth. By means of irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, and plant breeding, the Green Revolution increased world grain production by an astonishing 250 percent between 1950 and 1984, raising the calorie intake of the world’s poorest people and averting serious famines. The revolution’s benefits have tapered off, however, as the number of mouths to feed has grown ever larger and as conventional breeding of new plant varieties has produced diminishing returns. What’s needed is a new revolution. Luckily, most agricultural scientists believe that the planet’s requirements for agricultural production could be met through genetic modification (GM)—if environmental activists don’t keep it from happening. (Bjørn Lomborg, City Journal)

March 12, 2009

After all the money spent on indoctrination campaigns: Increased Number Think Global Warming Is “Exaggerated” - Most believe global warming is happening, but urgency has stalled

PRINCETON, NJ -- Although a majority of Americans believe the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high 41% now say it is exaggerated. This represents the highest level of public skepticism about mainstream reporting on global warming seen in more than a decade of Gallup polling on the subject. (Gallup)

UN climate chief: US carbon cuts could spark 'revolution' - The head of the UN body charged with leading the fight against climate change has conceded that Barack Obama will face a "revolution" if he commits the US to the deep carbon cuts that scientists and campaigners say are needed.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said domestic political constraints made it impossible for the US president to announce ambitious short-term climate targets similar to those set by Europe. And he questioned the value of a new global climate deal without such a US pledge.

His words come as scientists at the Copenhagen conference said that modest IPCC estimates of likely sea level rise this century need to be increased. Extra melting in Greenland could drive sea levels to more than a metre higher than today by 2100, they said. (The Guardian)

No Progress in the Climate Change Debate - When preparing my today’s remarks, I took into my hands – looking for an inspiration – my last year’s speech here, at the Heartland Institute’s Conference. It did not help much. It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress and that the much needed, long overdue exchange of views has not yet started. All we see and hear are uninspiring monologues.

It reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era. Whatever you said, any convincing and well prepared arguments you used, any relevant data you assembled, no reaction. It all fell into emptiness. Nobody listened, especially “they” did not listen. They didn’t even try to argue back. They considered you a naive, uninformed and confused person, an eccentric, a complainer, someone not able to accept their only truth. It is very similar now. (Václav Klaus)

Warming to Cockburn and Vice Versa - In visiting the Heartland Institute's second International Conference on Climate Change, which concluded yesterday in New York, one couldn't help but be impressed by the change in mood among the 800 global warming skeptics gathered there.

Many of the scientists present felt that the intellectual tide had finally started to turn away from the conclusions of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That panel concluded global temperatures may already have reached crisis levels, and that human release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere was a major factor.

While it was fascinating to interview noted scientists who have renounced some of their earlier support for global warming theory, my most memorable exchange was with Alexander Cockburn, the left-wing columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the Nation magazine. Mr. Cockburn has undergone blistering attacks since he first dissented from the global warming "consensus" in 2007. "I've felt like the object of a witch hunt," he says. "One former Sierra Club board member suggested I should be criminally prosecuted."

Mr. Cockburn was at the conference collecting material for his forthcoming book "A Short History of Fear," in which he will explore the link between fear-mongering and climate catastrophe proponents. "No one on the left is comfortable talking about science," he told me. "They don't feel they can easily get their arms around it, so they don't think about it much. As a result, they are prone to any peddler of ideas that reinforce their pre-existing prejudices. One would be that there is a population explosion that must be dealt with by slowing down economies."

I asked him how he felt hanging around with so many people who have a more conservative viewpoint than he does. "It's been good fun and I've learned a lot," he told me. "I think what they are saying on this topic is looking better and better." (John H. Fund, Hawaii Reporter)

What Planetary Emergency? - Dispatch from day two of the International Conference on Climate Change in New York - March 9, New York—Assume that man-made global warming exists. So what? That was the premise of a fascinating presentation by Indur Goklany during the second day of sessions at the International Conference on Climate Change. Goklany, who works in the Office of Policy Analysis of the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the author of The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet, made it clear that he was not speaking on behalf of the federal government. (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

Gore Ducks Debate... Again - Quixotic climate crusader, Oscar and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has again declined a direct challenge from noted environmental skeptic Bjorn Lomborg to debate the issues of global climate change. In last week’s Wall Street Journal economics conference in California, Gore indignantly replied: “it’s kind of silly to keep debating the science.” Gore went on with his melodramatic claims of a universal scientific consensus for an imminent global warming disaster, with calls for radical government actions to control climate change. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Global Warming ‘Realists’ Meet in New York - We’ve all heard about carbon dioxide and its effect on temperature world-wide. But have you heard that temperature increases first, then hundreds or more years later carbon dioxide levels rise? My guess is probably not. A children’s book with a mislabeled graph shows temperature following carbon dioxide; a leading science journal took over ten years to set the record straight; Al Gore blames carbon dioxide. Yet, there has been no temperature increase in the last nine years in spite of increasing carbon dioxide levels. Clearly, we need to find another culprit. (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

Heartland Meeting of Climate “Realists” a Huge Success - Over 800 scientists and economists from 24 countries were in attendance this week at the Second Annual ICCC in New York City organized by the Heartland and with 60 co-sponsoring organizations including Icecap. They heard talks by 80 scientists from 14 countries. The presentations of the keynote speakers which included Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic and the European Union, Dr. Richard Lindzen, Astronaut Harrison Schmidt, former Hansen boss Dr. John Theon, Former Governor Dr. John Sununu, Dr. Arthur Robinson, Dr. Bob Carter, Lord Monckton, and Dr. Willie Soon will soon be all available on the Heartland ICCC 2009 web site. The others were all videotaped and will be made available over upcoming weeks. Sections from the talks will be combined into other videos that tell the real climate story and distributed to decision makers and schools and groups that care about the truth or wish to hear both sides of the story. (Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap)

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt: Climate change alarmists ‘intentionally mislead’ - Last month Apollo 17 astronaut and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt added his voice to the growing chorus of scientists speaking out against the anthropogenic [manmade] global warming (AGW) theory. In strongly worded comments he said the theory was a ‘political tool.’ Now, in a speech at the International Conference on Climate Change he outlined his argument in great detail saying, “the science of climate change and its causes is not settled.” (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Former Hansen Supervisor Calls for the Global Warming Alarmist's Dismissal - Retired NASA atmospheric scientist John Theon tells ICCC that Hatch Act is grounds for media darling's firing.

Is it possible that one of the most outspoken figures of the global warming alarmist movement has violated ethical, if not legal boundaries in his job? John Theon, a retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist said he believed so.

Theon an audience at The Heartland Institute’s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC) in New York on March 11 that the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James Hansen, should be fired. Hansen is widely known for his outspokenness on the issue of manmade global warming.

“I have publicly said I thought Jim Hansen should be fired,” Theon said. “But, my opinion doesn’t count much, particularly when he is empowered by people like the current president of the United States. I’m not sure what we can do to have him get off of the public payroll and continue with the campaign or crusade. I think the man is sincere, but he is suffering from a bad case of megalomania.”

In 2001, Hansen received a $250,000 Heinz Environment Award for his research on global warming, an award named for deceased Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa. His widow, Teresa Heinz Kerry is now married to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who ran for president in 2004. Hansen later publicly endorsed Kerry for the presidency and according to Theon, that’s a problem for Hansen.

“Yes, that is absolutely illegal,” Theon said. “There is a law called the Hatch Act, which prevents any civil servant, including Jim Hansen from endorsing any political cause publicly and he certainly did that. That alone is grounds for firing, and if not imprisonment or fine.” (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Oh... Recession byproduct - a cut in emissions - But low level may hurt cap and trade program - New figures being released today show the recession helped drive down global warming emissions from Northeast power plants last year to their lowest levels in at least nine years.

Northeast power plant emissions dropped about 9 percent last year from 2007, according to preliminary projections by Point Carbon, a consulting and research firm. The Norway-based company attributed the drop to the economic slowdown, combined with the fact that power plants are burning cleaner natural gas.

The drop in emissions may be good for the environment, but was not seen as reason for celebration. "What does this say about the state of the economy?" said Robert Rio, senior vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts "We could get 100 percent below the cap if we shut every business and moved them out of state."

The reduction in emissions came with another drawback: It has the unintended effect of delaying a longer-term and potentially more important effort to reduce greenhouse gases over the next decade. (Beth Daley, Boston Globe)

And if you believe this they'll tell you another (they probably will anyway): Some good news on climate change - At last, there is some good news on climate change.

Thousands of the world's climate experts have gathered in Denmark to hear the latest on global warming.

The news on the science is bad: climate change is happening faster than was thought only a few years ago.

But conference participant and Australian National University (ANU) academic Will Steffen says there is a glimmer of hope.

Experts are reporting the success of energy efficiency measures, which are slashing greenhouse gas emissions "at absolutely no impact on lifestyles or economies". (AAP)

Video: Harold Ambler (author of the infamous HuffPo climate skeptic column) appears on Fox News Channel’s Red Eye - Harold Ambler, a self-described liberal, achieved instant climate skeptic hero status in January when he somehow managed to get his column, “Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted” printed in the Huffington Post. Ambler recently appeared on the Fox News Channel’s Red Eye program. (Gore Lied)

If only this were true: Climate change - is it all the climate scientists fault? - Chastising a scientist for not being a great orator is a bit like moaning at a footballer for not giving enlightening post-[match] interviews - it's not really their job.

Inherently, scientists don't do rhetoric. They do facts, cold hard facts that can be tested, re-tested and tested again, and what's more we would not have it any other way. It is only through the rigourous application of scientific processes, of hypotheses proposed, tested and refined, that we end up with reliable, accurate evidence from which to make decisions.

Bold predictions, made without a correct assessment of variability and uncertainty are anathema to this process, handing easy wins to those who for whatever reason wish to discredit your research.

And yet, when the research you are undertaking points to a planetary emergency is there not an obligation to frame it in the manner that garners the most attention?

This, in a nutshell, was the argument made yesterday by John Ashton, climate change special envoy to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who warned that if we are to ensure carbon emissions peak within the next six years then there "has to be much better communication between the world of science and politics". (BusinessGreen)

Unfortunately, so-called climate scientists, at least those found in the media, don't do facts but are quite adept at the rhetoric thing.

Environmentalist desperation? - Winter 2009 should have been the winter that cooled environmentalist’s planetary doom and gloom, yet there they were, morons standing in a foot of snow and frigid temperatures in Washington DC, chanting and beating the drum of dire consequences of anthropogenic global warming. The weather was so bad that Pelosi herself had to cancel a flight on her carbon emitting chariot.

One would think that there was a rational mind in that crowd of idiots. But alas, this was not the case. Indeed, even that scientist extraordinaire, James Hansen was there chanting along with his environmentalist brethren; and he expects us to listen and believe his apocalyptic message. Yeah, right…here’s a bit of news for your Hansen, it gets cold in the winter and warm in the summer and it’s been doing this since time immemorial.

Now, why do you think that these environmentalists and the erudite, James Hansen were out there in frigid weather yelping about global warming? (Steve LeMaster, Global Warming Skeptics)

Climate change means bigger medical, council and property bills - Climate change concerns like melting icecaps, increased desertification, loss of coral reefs and the extinction of species like polar bears can seem a distant concern in our everyday lives. Little attention, however, has been paid to the likelihood of increased bills, through tax and insurance charges, that will be incurred as the UK climate changes. (Institute of Physics)

Especially if (when) it gets colder...

Media Blackout - At the Second Annual International Conference on Climate Change this week, Harvard University astrophysicist and geophysicist Willie Soon lamented that the few scientists who wrote the IPCC reports have captured the scientific process and framed the narrative that Earth faces a global warming crisis.

But I would give the mainstream media equal culpability in covering up scientific evidence, as well as championing such flawed green leaders as James Hansen and Al Gore. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)

A New Paper On Solar Climate Forcing “ACRIM-Gap And TSI Trend Issue Resolved Using A Surface Magnetic Flux TSI Proxy Model By Scafetta Et Al 2009 - At the December 2008 NRC meeting “Detection and Attribution of Solar Forcing on Climate” [see] there was extensive criticism by Gavin Schmidt and others on the research of Nicola Scafetta with respect to solar climate forcings. She was not, however, invited to that December meeting.

There is now a new paper that she has published that needs to be refuted or supported by other peer reviewed literature (rather than comments in a closed NRC meeting in which the presentors would not share their powerpoint talks).

The new paper is Scafetta N., R. C. Willson (2009), ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L05701, doi:10.1029/2008GL036307. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

New Paper Demonstrates Anthropogenic Contribution to Global Warming Overestimated, Solar Contribution Underestimated - A new paper has been published in GRL by Scafetta and Willson entitled: ‘ACRIM-gap and TSI trend issue resolved using a surface magnetic flux TSI proxy model’

The Abstract states: “The ACRIM-gap (1989.5-1991.75) continuity dilemma for satellite TSI observations is resolved by bridging the satellite TSI monitoring gap between ACRIM1 and ACRIM2 results with TSI derived from Krivova et al.’s (2007) proxy model based on variations of the surface distribution of solar magnetic flux. ‘Mixed’ versions of ACRIM and PMOD TSI composites are constructed with their composites’ original values except for the ACRIM gap, where Krivova modeled TSI is used to connect ACRIM1 and ACRIM2 results. Both ‘mixed’ composites demonstrate a significant TSI increase of 0.033%/decade between the solar activity minima of 1986 and 1996, comparable to the 0.037% found in the ACRIM composite. The finding supports the contention of Willson (1997) that the ERBS/ERBE results are flawed by uncorrected degradation during the ACRIM gap and refutes the Nimbus7/ERB ACRIM gap adjustment Fröhlich and Lean (1998) employed in constructing the PMOD.” (Climate Research News)

A NATURAL LIMIT TO ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING - March 11th 2009: Science advisor to the ACSC, William Kininmonth presented the following paper, which counters the 'runaway global warming' argument, at the International Climate Conference in New York on March 9th. (Australian Climate Science Coalition)

Negotiators urged to ditch "reckless" cap-and-trade gamble - Leading US economist argues carbon tax offers proven and more effective means of putting a price on carbon

One of the top economists in the US has today urged political leaders to abandon the "reckless gamble" of the Kyoto Protocol's approach to carbon trading and instead adopt carbon taxation as a proven and more effective means of putting a price on carbon.

Professor William D Nordhaus of Yale University is one of the first economists to study the impacts of climate change and an advisor to the US government on the Congressional Budget Office Panel of Economic Experts. He said that carbon taxes would provide greater price certainty to businesses, make it easier to encourage emerging countries to enter into an international deal on climate change and would be less susceptible to corruption than alternative cap-and-trade measures.

"Tax systems may be hated," he admitted. "But they are tried and tested in every country."

He argued that conversely the current fixation with cap-and-trade and the carbon trading mechanisms set out under the Kyoto Agreement were largely untested and "inherently" resulted in price volatility.

"To bet the world climate system on an untested approach with such clear flaws is, in fact, a reckless gamble," he warned. "It would be better to recognise this failure and act now." (BusinessGreen)

Correct other than being completely wrong. Not about the Kyoto system being inherently flawed, it is, rather it's wrong about atmospheric carbon dioxide being anything but an asset.

Accelerated sea-level rise? - I mentioned a few days ago a report that sea levels are rising faster than predicted by the IPCC. There is another such report just out here.

Below is an email on the subject from Professor Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a leading world authority on sea levels and coastal erosion who headed the Department of Paleogeophysics &Geodynamics at Stockholm University: (Greenie Watch)

Another eye-roller: Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say

• Scientists say 4C rise would kill 85% of the Amazon rainforest
• Even modest temperature rise would see 20-40% loss within 100 years

Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.

The research, by some of Britain's leading experts on climate change, shows that even severe cuts in deforestation and carbon emissions will fail to save the emblematic South American jungle, the destruction of which has become a powerful symbol of human impact on the planet. Up to 85% of the forest could be lost if spiralling greenhouse gas emissions are not brought under control, the experts said. But even under the most optimistic climate change scenarios, the destruction of large parts of the forest is "irreversible".

Vicky Pope, of the Met Office's Hadley Centre, which carried out the study, said: "The impacts of climate change on the Amazon are much worse than we thought. As temperatures rise quickly over the coming century the damage to the forest won't be obvious straight away, but we could be storing up trouble for the future." (The Guardian)

Apart from convective activity making tropical temperatures very difficult to raise what makes them think tropical forests would be troubled anyway? Anyone who has stood under the tropical sun knows that direct exposure is impressive even though air temperatures are relatively low and that while shade temperatures might be around 26 °C the canopy might easily be experiencing direct insolation temperatures twice that. That will not increase with enhanced greenhouse even if the shade temperature were to rise. Since the tropical lower atmosphere is already infrared opaque and tropical heat is lost through transport higher in the atmosphere or polewards in both the atmosphere and oceans there is no serious expectation of significant tropical near-surface warming through enhanced greenhouse to begin with.

Climate change transforming rainforests into major carbon emitters, warn scientists - Although carbon dioxide encourages growth trees die younger, claims researcher

Drought, rising temperatures and deforestation are causing tropical forests to change from carbon sinks into a major carbon emitter, warn scientists from the UK and Australia.

Climate modellers had assumed, the scientists said, that rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase the growth of trees because CO2 can encourage plants to grow, and in turn absorb more of the greenhouse gas. However, the models are said to have left out one key factor: trees also die younger as their metabolic rate is increased. (The Guardian)

Farming part of the carbon solution - Scientists worldwide recognise the very real opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere through storing carbon in biological systems.

The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, Professor Ross Garnaut (in his report on Climate Change) and, indeed, the Australian Government have all confirmed carbon capture including through soils, crops and pastures is a reality.

One problem is realising the potential. How do we monitor, measure and evaluate the net emissions and/or storage of carbon, let alone, across Australia's 155,000 farms?

Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke recently announced $32 million to study the role soil plays in storing greenhouse gases. (Canberra Times)

Why is a more productive biosphere viewed as a problem?

Warning flaw in carbon scheme helps polluters - The Rudd Government has not fixed a critical flaw in its carbon trading scheme that allows big polluters to reap benefits from community actions to cut emissions, a leading Australian economist says.

The warning comes as a series of United Nations climate change reports has urged Australia to improve its greenhouse emissions accounting methods to meet Kyoto protocol standards.

British economist Lord Nicholas Stern has also called for a global emissions trading scheme with a ''common carbon price'' and global sanctions against ''dirty countries'' persisting with high-carbon growth. (Canberra Times)

Greening America – At What Cost? - The President’s budget aims at restructuring American energy production to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. His primary policy vehicle for achieving this is a “cap-and-trade” scheme that will essentially tax greenhouse gas emissions, making energy that generates them more expensive. However, the program is so ambitious as to stretch the bounds of plausibility. If America is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions substantially, prolonged recession may be the only way to do it. (Iain Murray, DC Examiner)

"Use less energy" campaign: Vladimir Putin - Standard Oil of California (1879), renamed to Chevron Corporation in 1984, is doing the most logical thing that a sane petrochemical company should do for itself and its consumers. In a new ads campaign, it's begging you to use less energy so that they have lower profits and everyone is happier. The campaign shows a few average-level personalities who promise that they will use less energy, too. (The Reference Frame)

All this to waste a marvelous resource: Chu: FutureGen price tag may be $2.3 billion - WASHINGTON — The price tag for a futuristic coal-burning power plant that President Barack Obama is thinking of reviving seems to still be going up, though a congressional report Wednesday said the Bush administration overstated the cost when it canceled the project last year.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu acknowledged that when the plant was canceled a faulty cost analysis put the price of the proposed FutureGen project in central Illinois higher than it should have been — at as much as $1.8 billion.

While disavowing any responsibility for the mistake, Chu said now that even the $1.8 billion figure may be low. "The current price as I understand it is still very high," he told senators when asked about the Government Accountability Office's report.

Later Chu told reporters that because of commodity costs and other factors, some estimates now put the price of the plant at $2.3 billion. (Associated Press)

Atmospheric 'sunshade' could reduce solar power generation - The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new NOAA study. The findings appear in this week's issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

Not to mention damping the biosphere's power supply...

Wind energy just 15 years from grid cost parity - Study finds renewables could provide 40 per cent of global electricity by 2050

Renewable energy technologies could meet 40 per cent of global electricity demand by 2050 as long as governments show the sector the same degree of support they provide the nuclear and traditional fossil fuel industries.

That is the conclusion of new research from the Helsinki University of Technology unveiled at the Climate Congress conference in Copenhagen, which estimated that financial support of just €10bn (£9.3bn) to €20bn a year – a fraction of recent stimulus packages – would establish wind and solar energy as mainstream technologies over the coming decades.

"If wind and solar are treated as favourably as nuclear was in the 1970s and 80s and there is the necessary financial support then wind will break even [with the cost of grid electricity] by 2020-2025 and solar by 2030," said Peter Lund of the Helsinki University of Technology's Advanced Energy System Department.

He added that both sectors were currently 30 to 50 per cent more expensive than fossil fuel power and needed subsidies to cover this gap, but predicted that this gap would close as the industries scale up. (BusinessGreen)

There's a major difference (no, we don't mean 'renewables' have already had many decades of support without useful result) -- fossil and fission provide useful baseload power virtually on demand and wind does not, even solar is limited to diurnal input.

Aid Needed To Boost World's "Green" Energy - COPENHAGEN - Wind and solar power could produce 40 percent of the world's electricity by 2050, but only if government subsidies are secured for the next two decades, scientists said on Wednesday.

The technologies will each need global support totaling 10 billion to 20 billion euros ($12.76 billion to $25.51 billion) per year, said Peter Lund, professor in advanced energy systems at Helsinki University of Technology.

Without financial and political support, he said wind and solar power would only account for less than 15 percent of the world's energy output. (Reuters)

Government study reveals US will miss biofuel targets - Department of Energy research finds that based on current policies, US will miss goal of 36bn gallons of biofuel a year (BusinessGreen)

A Time For Shared Sacrifice? - According to Barack Obama, our current economic downturn is a time for shared sacrifice. We will all have to sacrifice in the form of higher taxes on the economy to pay for a continuing series of bailouts and stimulus plans. We will all have to sacrifice in the form of higher energy costs to pay for environmental initiatives designed to fight forecasted warming. We will all have to sacrifice (especially future generations) to repay the exponentially escalating debt obligations that are being daily auctioned by the Treasury to finance the expansion of a government that we already cannot afford. Businesses will have to sacrifice freedoms. Healthcare companies will have to sacrifice profits. Consumers will have to sacrifice choices.

And if you believe Obama, even he is joining in the sacrifice. But seeing as his inaugural budget proposal is a record-smashing $3.6 trillion behemoth, I’m not sure what of his ambitions he’s sacrificing. This budget is so large and so unbalanced that it will more than double the entire national debt of the United States.

In his first 100 days in office, Obama will commit to borrow more money than every President before him combined. There are, apparently, very few “worthy priorities” for which Obama cannot find dollars – be they taxed, borrowed or newly printed. And it is not just the scale of the budget that is striking, but its composition. In one of the most remarkable coincidences in all of human history, it turns out that the solution for our current financial crisis is – to do everything that Obama wanted to do before the crisis even existed. (Mac Johnson, Energy Tribune)

Queen Nancy: Fly as I Say, Not as I Fly - Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the Jennifer Lopez of congressional travel—fickle, demanding and notoriously insensitive to the time, costs and energy needed to accommodate her endless demands. On Tuesday, the indispensable government watchdog Judicial Watch released a trove of public records through the Freedom of Information Act on Pelosi’s travel arrangements with the U.S. military.

As speaker of the House, Pelosi is entitled to a reasonable level of military protection and transport. But it’s the size of the planes, the frequency of requests and last-minute cancellations, and the political nature of many of her trips that scream out for accountability.

And, of course, it’s the double-barreled hypocrisy. There’s the eco-hypocrisy of the Democratic leader who wags her finger at the rest of us for our too-big carbon footprints, and crusades for massive taxes and regulation to reduce global warming. Then there’s the Bay Area hypocrisy of the woman who represents one of the most anti-military areas of the country soaking up military resources to shuttle her (and her many family members) across the country almost every weekend. (Michelle Malkin, CNSNews)

Ten wasted years: UN drug strategy a failure, reveals damning report - The UN strategy on drugs over the past decade has been a failure, a European commission report claimed yesterday on the eve of the international conference in Vienna that will set future policy for the next 10 years.

The report came amid growing dissent among delegates arriving at the meeting to finalise a UN declaration of intent.

Referring to the UN's existing strategy, the authors declared that they had found "no evidence that the global drug problem was reduced". They wrote: "Broadly speaking, the situation has improved a little in some of the richer countries while for others it worsened, and for some it worsened sharply and substantially, among them a few large developing or transitional countries."

The policy had merely shifted the problem geographically, they said. "Production and trafficking controls only redistributed activities. Enforcement against local markets failed in most countries." (The Guardian)

Red List of endangered species 'inaccurate' claim conservationists - A high-profile list of endangered species is inaccurate and could be hampering efforts to protect other animals, conservationists have warned.

The annual Red List is wrongly directing time and money to save "safe" species, while others move towards extinction, they claim.

"The Red List should be a high standard, scientifically based, transparent system, but in reality it hasn't been," Matthew Godfrey, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission in Beaufort, told New Scientist magazine. Species are placed "at risk" if their numbers fall below set thresholds. But these can throw up inconsistencies and some conservationists claim they are biased towards mammals.

Scientists also condemned the "precaution principle" encouraged by the Red List. This results in groups demanding stronger proof that species numbers have risen than fallen, potentially exaggerating extinction risks. "There is a tension between following scientific principles or precautionary conservation principles", said Grahame Webb of Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia.

The Red List, which covers 45,000 species, raises millions of pounds to protect wildlife across the world. (Daily Telegraph)

March 11, 2009

EPA May Require Factories to Report Warming Emissions - March 10 -- Chemical, steel, automobile and other energy-intensive factories would have to submit annual reports to the federal government on their greenhouse gas emissions under a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that lays a foundation for fighting global warming.

About 13,000 facilities that account for as much as 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions would have to comply, the EPA said in a statement today. The first reports would be submitted in 2011 and cover emissions in 2010, according to the proposal. Car and engine makers would begin their reports for 2011 models.

The agency’s action follows a directive passed by Congress in 2007 for a detailed inventory of the emissions that scientists say contribute to global warming. A lack of emissions data set back the European Union’s efforts at the start of its carbon market in 2005, Representative Edward Markey said. (Bloomberg)

Sillier and sillier: 'More bad news' on climate change - More bad news on climate change is expected as more than 2,000 climate scientists gather in Copenhagen.

They will be trying to pull together the latest research on global warming ahead of political negotiations later in the year.

The scientists are concerned that the 2007 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are already out of date.

Their data suggests greater rises in sea levels this century. (BBC)

As Nils-Axel Mörner has already pointed out (GPC 62 (2008) 219-220), there is no such trend in the satellite altimetry data so a "personal correction" (fabrication?) has been applied to fit IPCC projections. "Their data" (above) is the correct term because it was not empirically measured but synthetically created.

Increasingly hysterical (and desperate?): Stern: Climate change deniers are 'flat-earthers' - Economist Nicholas Stern warns of 'absolute lunacy' of do-nothing approach of Czech president Václav Klaus and fellow climate change sceptics

Climate change deniers are "ridiculous" and akin to "flat-earthers", according to Sir Nicholas Stern, who advised the government about the economic threat posed by global warming. The respected economist compared climate naysayers to those who deny the link between smoking and cancer or HIV and Aids in the face of mounting scientific evidence. (The Guardian)

Top scientist: don't trust politicians on climate change - Politicians were willfully ignoring and misunderstanding the science of global warming, a government adviser said today.

John Ashton, who is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's special representative on climate change, warned scientists that they could not trust in the honesty of politicians.

Speaking at the start of the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mr Ashton said that the truth could be lost to political expediency or mischief and urged scientists to couch their conclusions in terms that could not be misunderstood or go unheard. (The Times)

NOAA Meteorologist Claims 'Gross, Blatant Censorship' for Speaking Out Against Climate Change Alarmism - You often hear scientists who promote the theory of man-made global warming allege they are victims of censorship. But when it is the other way around – that scientists who dispute that claim are victims of the same thing, you never hear a peep.

That’s what Stanley Goldenberg, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) Hurricane Research Division, told an audience at the The Heartland Institute’s 2009 International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC) in New York on March 9. Voices that counter global warming alarmism are often subject to censorship, he said. (Jeff Poor, Business & Media Institute)

Peter Foster: The crumbling case for global warming - Voters should ask politicians one simple question: ‘Why do you want to raise my energy prices?’

One young radical turned up at the Heartland Institute’s climate change skeptics’ conference in New York this week to declare that he had never witnessed so much hypocrisy. How, he asked the panelists of a session on European policy, could they sleep at night? Clearly puzzled, one of the panelists asked him with which parts of their presentations he disagreed. “Oh,” he said “I didn’t come here to listen to the presentations.”

The conference — titled “Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?” — attracted close to 700 participants. Most of those I met displayed almost joy at being among people who dared to stand up to the mindless climate “consensus” and the refusal to debate, or even look at, the facts, as typified by that righteous young radical.

President Obama is considering a cap-and-trade system with which Canada would be forced to co-ordinate its own policies. The conference made clear how damaging and pointless such a policy would be. (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Has the canary in the coal mine died--of frostbite? - Nenana Ice Classic: Ice now 60% thicker than it was five years ago. (Tom Nelson)

Eye-roller du jour: Climate change deaths could soar - The number of people dying from the effects of heat in cities because of climate change by the end of the century could be twice as many as previously estimated, scientists have warned.

Research being presented to a scientific conference on climate change in Copenhagen showed the number of people dying in London could increase from a current average of 120 each summer to nearly 500 people by the 2080s.

The researchers took into account the likely increase in the number of extremely hot days as well as warmer average temperatures expected as a result of climate change.

Simon Gosling, of the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, said previous studies which ignored the effect of increased variability in day-to-day temperatures are likely to have underestimated the number of deaths by about a half.

He said: "We can expect a lot more extreme temperatures. It's generally going to be warmer but there will also be more days when it's really hot.

"The frequency of hot days is going to increase as well as average temperatures." (PA News)

Killer whales benefit from global warming: Researchers - WINNIPEG — Scientists fear melting sea ice could one day make killer whales the Hudson Bay's top predator, a startling ecosystem shift and a blow for Inuit populations already reeling from dwindling polar bear numbers.

After four years of studying the Arctic's little-known orcas, or killer whales, researchers have more evidence that their numbers have gone up in recent decades, a change that's particularly noticeable in the western Hudson Bay bordering Manitoba. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Critters exploit every available niche? Who knew... No surprise its allegedly bad though :)

Controlling Carbon a Bureaucrat’s Dream - “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.” Mary McCarthy.

In the battle for proper climate science free from politics there are two levels at which bureaucracy is a modern form of despotism. In most countries it is in departments of meteorology, weather, climate or environment. At the global level it is in the United Nations. Regardless of location it is essentially unaccountable and represents the enemy within.

Instead of working for the people by being apolitical and identifying all sides of an issue so people and politicians can make informed decisions, they have pushed an unproven hypothesis and defended it in the face of contradictory evidence. As a result governments everywhere are introducing or entertaining completely wrong policies. Although the issue is weather and climate the implications are much wider because the position taken in the officially responsible departments influences policy in most other departments including energy, agriculture, construction, transport and so on. For example, if the weather and climate departments say warming is the only future then all other government departments will use that as the base for their planning. A perfect example of the pervasiveness of climate-based policy across all parts of a society is cap and trade in the Obama stimulus package and budget. (Tim Ball, CFP)

Green Protest At EU HQ, 350 Arrested - BRUSSELS - Green protesters demanding more money to tackle climate change blocked the main entrance to European Union headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday and Belgian police said they arrested more than 350 of them.

"Save the climate, bail out the planet," chanted the group of Greenpeace activists, who chained themselves to the gates outside the EU Council, where ministers were discussing how much the bloc should contribute to a climate change fund.

The United Nations plans to meet in December to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol, the main U.N. tool against global warming, and success could hinge on finding cash for the fund to persuade poor nations to help tackle the problem.

Belgian police spokesman Christian De Coninck said police arrested over 350 demonstrators. All would go free on Tuesday but could be prosecuted for taking part in an unauthorized demonstration, he added. (Reuters)

Possibly the most inept argument ever mounted: Carbon regulation - it's only natural - I have just listened to the most eloquent and convincing defence of the case for carbon regulation that I have yet heard.

It was delivered by Professor Katherine Richardson of the University of Copenhagen at the opening of the International Association of Research University's Climate Congress, and it goes, in abbreviated form, like this.

When mankind first worked out that it could grown and harvest crops it did so wherever it liked in an entirely subsistence manner. At this point it was impossible for our ancestors to conceive that at some point this activity might have to be managed and regulated. (BusinessGreen)

People have competed over prime agricultural land and decaying refuse has been a health hazard so an essential trace gas must be limited? Sheesh!

The carbon cult's death wish - "The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on all parties in the looming [Australian] state election to make a clear statement on their policies regarding Emissions Trading and Carbon Taxes.

The Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, Mr Viv Forbes, said that politicians in a state so overwhelmingly dependent on carbon energy, carbon food and taxes on carbon products can no longer hide behind hypothetical anti-carbon scare stories based on dubious climate forecasts for 100 years ahead.

“We have a real present emergency with growing fear among investors and shareholders in anything associated with mining, power generation, tourism and farming – the backbone industries of Queensland.”

“Much of this fear is generated by an insane campaign to demonise carbon dioxide, the natural atmospheric gas on which all life depends.” (Viv Forbes, Carbon Sense Coalition)

New Paper “Amplification Of The North American ‘Dust Bowl’ Drought Through Human Induced Land Degradation” By Cook Et Al - There is a new paper that is in press in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It is “Amplification of the North American ‘Dust Bowl’ drought through human induced land degradation By B. I. Cook, R. L. Miller and R. Seager.

This paper was also presented on Monday, March 9 2009 at the University of Colorado in Boulder at INSTARR. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Chinese climate scientists tactfully tell the IPCC that surface air temperature (SAT) trends over north China include a large component of urban warming - Ren et al 2008 measure urban warming in a north China grid box 33 to 43 degrees North and 108 to 120 degrees East by comparing temperature trends in groups of stations of different population size for the period 1961-2000. For a concise summary of the Ren et al 2008 paper, Urbanization Effects on Observed Surface Air Temperature Trends in North China. (Warwick Hughes)

More Notes From Heartland’s Climate Change Conference - Some more odds and ends from excellent speeches at the conference we’ve been covering:

Barun Mitra gave an interesting argument on ethical economics — and their polar opposite. His fundamental point is that efforts to cap carbon have the practical effect of stunting economic growth and opportunity for developing countries and their peoples.

Mitra pointed out that the U.S. actually has a much better ratio of energy use per GDP than countries like India and China, which would not be subject to most international plans to cap carbon.

One key takeaway: “poverty can be a pollutant” in that if countries are not allowed to grow their economies by using cost-efficient energy they will have fewer resources to clean up major environmental problems.

Christopher Booker (whom we’ve interviewed for The Chilling Effect) gave a compelling history of the international alarmist machine. Each time they come up with a new scare, it’s “the same age-old pattern” he said.

Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute made the case that “environmentalism preys on our unease” and our moral system (essentially that we are guilted into something that is not rational).

He noted that if you look at the environmental movement the way an investor considers allocating money, enviros wouldn’t be a good bet because “time and time again told us stuff that turns out to be false”. (Chilling Effect)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

Irreversible CO2-Induced Global Warming?: Not on this planet!

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 679 individual scientists from 398 separate research institutions in 40 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from North American Great Plains, USA. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Coral Reefs (Responses to Temperature Stress): Corals possess the capacity to respond to the challenge of global warming via adaptive measures that enable them to accommodate rising water temperatures.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results (blue background) of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Coolibah Tree, Night-flowering Catchfly, Rice, and White Potato.

Journal Reviews:
Severe Storms of Sub-Mediterranean Slovenia: How have they changed over the past six centuries?

Chinese Dust Storms: How are they related to global warming?

Global Warming and Tornadoes: Do rising temperatures increase the frequency or intensity of the dangerous storms?

Selecting Rice Varieties of the Future: How Asia, Africa and Latin America intend to benefit from the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.

Defense-Related Flavonoids of Soybeans: How are they affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment? (co2science.org)

Australia Faces Growing Opposition To Carbon Trade Law - CANBERRA - Australia's government faced new objections to its pioneering carbon trading scheme from both ends of the political opposition on Tuesday, just as it unveiled the legislation it hopes to pass by the middle of this year.

The draft laws contained few changes to what could be the most sweeping cap-and-trade system in the world, including a commitment to cut emissions by 5 percent of 2000 levels by 2020.

Instead, lawmakers from the Greens and the conservative opposition banded together to establish a two-month inquiry, saying they will not support the scheme without major changes.

Greens politicians want tougher targets and conservative opposition parties want the scheme delayed to soften the blow for businesses that will shoulder higher costs during a recession.

"This scheme, in its current form, cannot get through," Opposition spokesman Andrew Robb told reporters. (Reuters)

Big Oil, Big Taxes - Ed. Note: This piece appeared yesterday on Carpe Diem, the blog of Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. While the graphic explains itself, it’s worth noting that amid all the talk about “green jobs” and a “green collar economy” the oil and gas companies are paying an enormous amount of taxes. That’s not a message heard much in the mainstream media. (Mark J. Perry, Energy Tribune)

Well, Duh - Today’s News & Observer of Raleigh (one of McClatchy’s tanking newspapers) reports that one of North Carolina’s two investor-owned utilities, Progress Energy (Duke Energy is the other major one), has announced that it will not be able to meet renewable portfolio standard mandates enacted by the state a couple of years ago: (Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch)

March 10, 2009

Pronouncement of Global Warming’s Demise On Thin Ice - What’s up with global warming? Has it given way to global cooling, as some are suggesting? Let’s take a look. By Dr. Bill Chameides

PopSci.com welcomes back Dr. Bill Chameides, dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Chameides blogs at The Green Grok to spark lively discussions about environmental science, keeping you in the know on what the scientific world is discovering and how it affects you – all in plain language and, hopefully, with a bit of fun. Now, PopSci.com partners with The Green Grok to bring you exclusive new blog posts a week before they hit the Grok's blog. Give it a read and get in on the discussion!

Hey, how about we ask a way more important question? We know the near-surface amalgam is fraught with issues of urban heat islands, discontinuity, poor spatial distribution etc. and we know we have a pretty good satellite-era coverage of the mid troposphere, where enhanced greenhouse theory insists we should observe the strongest warming signal. Here's the simultaneous plot of both the UAH and RSS interpretations of that data. We see no warming trend prior to the El Niño "blip" of 97/98 and maybe a warm anomaly 2001-2005. So, the question is, since humans are supposed to drive carbon dioxide levels and carbon dioxide levels are supposed to drive enhanced greenhouse, why don't we see a mid-troposphere temperature track consistent with the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis?

Heartland-2: session one

President Vaclav Klaus reports latest poll from the Czech Republic: only 11% of people believe that man has a significant influence in warming the climate.

West Australian Joanne Nova’s Climate Skeptics Handbook launched, and a 150,000 print run announced.

“We will win this debate”, says Dr Richard Lindzen, “for we are right and they are wrong”.

The opening session of the Heartland-2 Conference opened with a bang here in Manhatten tonight [Sunday evening March 8, 2009]. With registrations of around 700 persons, the conference is almost twice the size of its predecessor last year. The audience for the two opening plenary talks, held over dinner, included an eclectic mixture of scientists, engineers, economists, policy specialists, government representatives and media reporters. (Bob Carter, Quadrant)

New York Times Wishful Thinking - The NYT is allegedly covering the Heartland conference with a variety of speakers pointing out the numerous problems with global warming hysteria. Of course in one of the very few events of its kind, the NYT spends more than half the article refuting the claims by those presenting. When you get sick of the NYT, Anthony Watts has a nice post on the first day of presentations HERE. (The Air Vent)

Czech president gives keynote address to climate change doubters - Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, addressed an audience of doubters of the manmade climate change theory at the second International Conference on Climate Change yesterday. The two-and-a-half day conference titled, "Global warming: Was it ever really a crisis?” features a number of speakers from the political and scientific communities and is billed as ‘the world’s largest-ever gathering of global warming skeptics.’ See the organization's video below for more on the event. (Tony Hake, Denver Weather Examiner)

Heartland ICCC conference II - This Heartland conference is very interesting and there are many friends and soulmates over there but I won't cover it because I don't have access to any information that would significantly exceed what you can read elsewhere, e.g.: (The Reference Frame)

The 'NRDC Mafia' Hunkering Down in D.C.? - Although I've seen more interesting stories about former Bush Administration officials who are "burrowing" into civil-sector jobs in D.C., I couldn't resist the headline of an article in the Greenwire this morning (reprinted and publicly available on NYTimes.com): "'NRDC mafia' finding homes on Hill, in EPA." (Matthew Wheeland, GreenBiz)

Waxman makes climate-change mark - On Capitol Hill, whole careers can be defined by the names on a bill.

McCain-Feingold, Gramm-Rudman, Sarbanes-Oxley.

The race is on to see which names will brand a landmark climate-change measure. But at this rate, “Waxman” is a leading contender for naming rights.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, a longtime champion of more stringent environmental standards, is quietly dominating the climate debate even though there are other chairmen with skin in the game.

Waxman kicked off his chairmanship earlier this year with a hearing on the issue, and he now plans to hold at least two hearings a week until he rolls out a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s environmental policy before the Memorial Day weekend. (Patrick O'Connor, Politico)

Who Pays for Cap and Trade? Hint: They were promised a tax cut during the Obama campaign.

Cap and trade is the tax that dare not speak its name, and Democrats are hoping in particular that no one notices who would pay for their climate ambitions. With President Obama depending on vast new carbon revenues in his budget and Congress promising a bill by May, perhaps Americans would like to know the deeply unequal ways that climate costs would be distributed across regions and income groups.

Politicians love cap and trade because they can claim to be taxing "polluters," not workers. Hardly. Once the government creates a scarce new commodity -- in this case the right to emit carbon -- and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs would inevitably be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher prices. Stating the obvious, Peter Orszag -- now Mr. Obama's budget director -- told Congress last year that "Those price increases are essential to the success of a cap-and-trade program."

Hit hardest would be the "95% of working families" Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat "unless you use energy." Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.

The Congressional Budget Office -- Mr. Orszag's former roost -- estimates that the price hikes from a 15% cut in emissions would cost the average household in the bottom-income quintile about 3.3% of its after-tax income every year. That's about $680, not including the costs of reduced employment and output. The three middle quintiles would see their paychecks cut between $880 and $1,500, or 2.9% to 2.7% of income. The rich would pay 1.7%. Cap and trade is the ideal policy for every Beltway analyst who thinks the tax code is too progressive (all five of them).

But the greatest inequities are geographic and would be imposed on the parts of the U.S. that rely most on manufacturing or fossil fuels -- particularly coal, which generates most power in the Midwest, Southern and Plains states. It's no coincidence that the liberals most invested in cap and trade -- Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey -- come from California or the Northeast. (Wall Street Journal)

A great American tradition - When the pioneers opened up the West, in their trail were hosts of others of only a slightly less pioneering spirit – whores, lawyers, gamblers, bankers, real estate agents etc. Among them were a group we celebrate today, the snake oil salesmen. (Number Watch)

Emissions trading scheme laws set to miss deadline - CLIMATE Change Minister Penny Wong has conceded that the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme might not become law by its June deadline, as the Coalition and the Greens set up a two-month Senate committee to canvass the scheme's flaws and alternative approaches. (The Australian)

Hopes of climate change accord 'are sinking' - Two leading climate scientists have broken ranks with their peers to declare that hopes of getting a meaningful deal on halting global warming this year are already lost.

Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Professor Trevor Davies, one of the centre's founders, told The Times that it was time to start looking for alternatives to an international deal. (The Times)

That's good because a 'climate deal' is about the last thing we want.

Obama's shaky trust in science - On stem cells, he's for the science. But not on climate change – unless the EPA acts.

In stem cell research, President Obama plans to keep the politics out of the science. But not so for global warming. He's ignoring key advice from most climate scientists that developed countries must act quickly to reduce carbon emissions. To Mr. Obama, the politics of avoiding a public backlash against tough curbs on CO2 trumps the science.

The evidence for early and drastic action is clear to the body set up by the UN to develop a scientific consensus on global warming. (Christian Science Monitor)

Silly blighters -- IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and is by definition political.

Climate change decisions should be based on science, not political activism - Bjørn Lomborg: Stefan Rahmstorf is a respected climate change scientist but by labelling me a 'spin doctor' who 'fools the public' he shows weakness in his argument on sea level rises (Bjørn Lomborg, The Guardian)

The Prince of Precaution - Big Tim's little monster - New book from geologist Marc Hendrickx that explains the precautionary principal to little skeptics and their parents alike.

The Prince of Precaution: Big Tim's Little Monster available from Little Skeptics Press. For copies email details to littleskepticspress@gmail.com. (Marc Hendrickx)

Recycling this nonsense, again: Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs - Chemical change placing 'unprecedented' pressure on marine life and could cause widespread extinctions, warn scientists. (The Guardian)

Before getting excited about this nonsense people should look at the geological evidence -- life thrived in the oceans when Earth had atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 10-20 times those of today. Another little point they omit is that the reason mollusk shells tend to be thicker when the globe is cooler is that cold water absorbs more CO2 than warm, meaning there's more available material which which to construct calcium carbonate shells.

Coral reefs may start dissolving when atmospheric CO2 doubles - Rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting effects on ocean water are making it increasingly difficult for coral reefs to grow, say scientists. A study to be published online March 13, 2009 in Geophysical Research Letters by researchers at the Carnegie Institution and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem warns that if carbon dioxide reaches double pre-industrial levels, coral reefs can be expected to not just stop growing, but also to begin dissolving all over the world. (Carnegie Institution)

Corals evolved in the Ordovician, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels ranged between 4,000 and 5,000 parts per million -- i.e., in excess of 10 times what they are now. Either these guys know this, which makes their claims knowingly false, or they don't, in which case they appear unqualified to make any claims to begin with.

Further Comments Regarding The Concept “Heating In The Pipeline” - Climate Science has shown why there is, at present, no “heat in the pipeline” [or an equivalent term "unrealized heat"]; e.g. see

Is There Climate Heating In “The Pipeline”?

Can The Climate System “Mask” Heat?

We were alerted to two weblogs that incorrectly discuss this issue and further illustrate why this concept is being misinterpreted. These weblogs are here and here.

The 2008 bravenewclimate weblog includes the text

“In brief then, we are NOT currently feeling the impact of 450 ppm CO2-e. Because of aerosols and other cooling factors, we are most probably experiencing the partial result of the extra energy being trapped by about 375 ppm CO2-e. Indeed, we are not even feeling all of that, at least in terms of changes in air temperature, because so much energy is currently going into heating large bodies of water and melting huge chunks of ice.”

The writer of this weblog is in error as, since mid-2003, there has not been heating of large bodies of water, and the amount of melting of ice, in term of Joules, is quite small (see Table 1 in this paper). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Huge Urban Heat Island UHI contamination in Hadley Centre-Jones-IPCC CRUT3 land temperature data over Eastern China - Now that the NASA-UAH satellite temperature data extends over a clear 30 years 1979-2008, this is a timely opportunity to check again the old IPCC canard that the various global temperature datasets are in agreement. In this case I compare the Hadley Centre CRUT3 land only data 1979-2008 with the NASA MSU LT data from University of Alabama at Huntsville, all data downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer.

For this grid-box over Eastern China 110 to 120 degrees East and 20 to 40 degrees North, satellites show the lower troposphere warms at 0.20 degrees per decade while the Hadley Centre land data warms at 0.46 degrees per decade. This suggests that there is 0.26 degrees per decade of urban warming in the Hadley Centre-IPCC data. A rate equivalent to 2.6 degrees per century.

This is twenty years after the UHI contamination in these Jones et al datasets was brought to the authors attention by Dr Fred Wood. (Warwick Hughes)

New thread started at SolarCycle24.com: Causes and Consequences of the Minimum of SC23

Oh dear... Human, animal breath creates 50% of GHGs, pessimist warns Other Opinion - Early in the Second World War, a bright young kid named James Lovelock was a chemistry student at Manchester University in England. He was accused of cheating on his exams for getting perfect marks.

But he proved to be the real thing and later put in 20 years in medical research, invented a few hush-hush items for Britain's spy agency, and worked on the nascent NASA space program, eventually looking for ways to detect life on other planets. Few will likely remember him for those accomplishments.

But Lovelock, now in his 90s, will be forever remembered for developing the Gaia concept, which holds that Earth acts like a complex, living, self-regulating organism. His thoughts made him the unwilling father of a quasi-religious cult.

A couple weeks ago, he all but repudiated his Gaia worshippers, proclaiming that it's too late to save Earth, that we were never capable of saving Earth in the first place, and that if Gaia exists at all, she is already rendering Earth unfit for widespread human habitation.

... Just the breath of seven billion humans adds 23 per cent of all the carbon emissions going into the Earth's atmosphere, he says.

Add in all our pets and farm animals, and the total ramps up to more than 50 per cent. That's more than 10 times the amount of all airline traffic in the world.

"Just cutting back on fossil-fuel burning, energy use and the destruction of natural forests will not be a sufficient answer to global heating," he wrote, "not least because it seems climate change can happen faster that we can respond to it and may be irreversible." (Canadian Press)

... no one should laugh at senile old men but we do need to point out that mammalian respiration has no effect on net atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. The reason is simple, our food (source of the carbon component of exhaled CO2) is constructed from carbon drawn from the air during photosynthesis either directly by plants we eat or by plants eaten by animals we eat and we recycle it back to the air for a net addition of exactly nothing. If anything animals delay the return of carbon to the atmosphere by retaining it as body mass while we live.

Cold reality of climate change - I have terrific news that should help you take your mind off the fact that you are broke and jobless.

You will be thrilled to know that our efforts to fight global warming are already paying huge dividends. According to Environment Canada this winter has been colder than normal across Canada except in parts of Atlantic Canada.

I'm sure like me you are especially jealous of the good people of Manitoba and Saskatchewan where they have had one of their coldest winters in decades. What a special moment to be standing in the parking lot outside of the curling rink in Rosetown, Sask., at 11 p.m. in -40 C weather knowing that as a nation we have sent global warming packing.

What fun to see your sigh of relief instantly crystallize and turn into a small snow flurry.

Personally I think the Liberal Party's Green Shift has had more than a little to do with all of this. Sure they weren't actually able to implement it, but just the thought of it leaves me cold and makes me shiver. See what I mean! (Monte Solberg, Edmonton Sun)

Browne backtracks on carbon trading - Lord John Browne, the former chief executive of BP and one of the earliest proponents of carbon trading to tackle climate change, has conceded his enthusiasm was misplaced.

In an interview given at the British Government's low carbon industrial strategy summit last week, he said: "My view has shifted over time. Pinning all your hopes on the European Union ETS [emissions trading scheme] and carbon trading is wrong."

Until recently, energy companies and governments all around the world - particularly Britain's - argued that carbon trading was the best way of reducing global emissions. Under the EU scheme - the first of its kind in the world - companies are awarded carbon credits. If they pollute more than their allocation allows, they have to buy extra credits on the market.

But the scheme has been dogged by controversy. In the first phase, starting in 2005, companies were given too many credits, allowing them to bank billions of pounds of credits without having to clean up their act.

Now, the price of carbon is so low that it provides little incentive for companies to cut their emissions. In the next phase, companies will have to buy more of their credits, rather than receive them all for free. (Tim Webb and Terry Macalister, The Observer)

US Mitigation Math - The mathematics of United States carbon dioxide emissions are not actually that complicated. The figure below from the U.S. Energy Information Agency shows that the 5,991 million metric tonnes (MMt) of carbon dioxide emitted by the U.S. came from 3 sources: coal, natural gas, and petroleum (see three inputs in the upper left of the graph). (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

US biofuel industry calls for rise in ethanol ceiling - Having signalled his support for biofuels, Obama now faces calls to increase amount of ethanol that can be blended with conventional fuels (BusinessGreen)

Higher Ethanol Blends? The Answer Should be No - Within the next few months the EPA may face a decision on whether it should allow higher levels of ethanol in gasoline. The biofuel lobby is already working to push its agenda. Yesterday, representatives from the biofuel industry testified before Congress asking for an extension of its already substantial government subsidies and tax incentives. Before taking any action, agency officials should first review two recently-released studies on biofuels. (Michael Economides, Energy Tribune)

Australia's Queensland State May Drop Uranium Ban - SYDNEY - Australia's resource-rich Queensland state may drop its ban on uranium mining and join other states in producing more of the nuclear fuel if conservatives win office at Queensland elections this month.

Lawrence Springborg, whose opposition party is rated a strong chance to win the state election due on March 21, told reporters in a mining town on Monday that Queensland was losing job opportunities because of the current government's stand.

"I see absolutely no sense in cutting off job opportunities for Queenslanders when just across the border in the Northern Territory, in South Australia, in Western Australia, thousands of Australians are being employed in the uranium industry...," Springborg was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press. (Reuters)

A Lesson in Scale And Why We’re Going to Need Nuclear, Renewables, Hydrocarbons, and Everything Else - Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published my piece “Let’s Get Real About Renewable Energy.” The piece used basic arithmetic to show that solar power and wind power – while growing dramatically – are not going to replace hydrocarbons any time soon.

Without sounding like a braggart, I have to say that the response to the article has been remarkable. It has been one of the most e-mailed articles on WSJ.com. And I have been getting dozens of emails and lots of phone calls – nearly all of them positive. (One negative call came from a long-time solar power booster here in Austin who insisted my math was wrong.)

The response to the article, while flattering, leads me to two additional points: People are eager for information that helps them understand the problems of scale in any energy transition; and second, when it comes to future energy sources, we are going to need them all. (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

Canada's ground temperatures rising, study finds - Scientists aim to estimate potential for geothermal power - Global warming has caused ground temperatures across the country to rise over the past few decades, in some cases by as much as a few degrees, according to the first comprehensive assessment of Canada's shallow geothermal resources.

The study suggests that some of that thermal energy can be harvested with geo-exchange technologies and used for heating homes and buildings during the winter.

"There was this realization that we had a heat pulse going into the ground and it was a function of climate warming. It's really one of the best records of climate warming there is in Canada," said study co-author Stephen Grasby, a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada. "Depending on where you are ground temperature has increased by a few degrees." (Tyler Hamilton, Toronto Star)

The Stem Cell Decision — Don’t Expect a Breakthrough Soon - No doubt when President Obama lifts the Bush administration limits on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research today he will hail the moment as providing new hopes for cures for diseases such as Parkinsons, cancer and diabetes.

But seven years after President Bush restricted federal funding on moral grounds, it has become clearer than ever that such research is likely to deliver far less than hoped for, if it delivers anything at all. (Steven Milloy)

Bailing Out Bad Science - Bioethics: The president keeps a promise by lifting restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research — what he calls "the gold standard" of such research. Judging by results, fool's gold is more like it.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama said: "I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations."

With all due respect, that is nonsense. With Obama lifting the restrictions on Monday, we will now be federally funding research that has yet to produce a single therapy or a single treatment of an actual human being, at least one that works. It has generated a lot of hope but very little change. It is he who is putting ideology over science.

What has handcuffed our scientists is the difficulty of controlling embryonic stem cells and what they develop into. They're called pluripotent because they can develop into any type of human tissue, sometimes all at once.

Embryonic stem cells have a tendency to develop into one of the most primitive and terrifying forms of cancer, a tumor called a teratoma. Adult stem cells don't have that problem. (IBD)

Australians refused insurance because of poor genes - AUSTRALIANS have been refused insurance protection because of their genetic make-up, researchers have shown in the first study in the world to provide proof of genetic discrimination.

Most cases were found to relate to life insurance. In one instance, a man with a faulty gene linked to a greater risk of breast and prostate cancer was denied income protection and trauma insurance that would have let him claim if he developed other forms of cancer.

The findings have led to renewed calls by experts for policies to ensure the appropriate use of genetic test results by the insurance industry.

The director of the Centre for Genetics Education at Royal North Shore Hospital, Kristine Barlow-Stewart, said the research also showed consumers needed to be better informed about their rights. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Salt, Sugar And Water Avert Diarrhoea Deaths - WHO - GENEVA - A pinch of salt, a handful of sugar and some clean water is all that is needed to save up to two million children who die each year from diarrhoea, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Children in poor countries suffer the dehydrating condition on average about four times a year, according to the United Nations agency.

Instead of focusing on ways to stop diarrhoea from striking, the WHO said health authorities ought to ensure care-givers know how to use the rehydrating recipe, which can be home-made.

"Given the consequences of the disease in terms of persisting child mortality, the level of urgency in dealing with this problem is very different than for other chronic diseases," the authors of a study in the PLOS Medicine (Public Library of Science) journal said.

"This should be reflected in health research policies and investment strategies of the major donors."

Four children die every minute from diarrhoea, which causes one-fifth of all child deaths worldwide, with most concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. (Reuters)

Warm Weather Could Cause Migraines, Study Finds - LONDON - Warmer weather and changes in atmospheric pressure may trigger headaches and migraines, rather than pollution, researchers said on Monday.

A US research team showed that each temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius -- about 9 degrees Fahrenheit -- appeared to increase the risk of severe headaches by nearly 8 percent compared to days when the weather was cooler.

Air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure are often cited as a reason for headaches but until now there has been little concrete evidence to back this, Kenneth Mukamal of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and colleagues said. (Reuters)

Uh-huh... what about cold weather-induced headaches?

Terence Corcoran: The Future of Big Government - New Financial Times series delights in the ‘end of capitalism’

The end of capitalism is near. Nay, it has arrived, officially proclaimed yesterday by the world’s leading media panjandrum of economic doom. In a staggeringly glib, sensationalistic and over-the-top 2,000-word rantorama, Financial Times’ economics columnist Martin Wolf yesterday launched what the Times calls its major new series, The Future of Capitalism.

That’s the official title, which unfortunately has nothing to do with the actual content of the series. It’s really about the Future of Big Government, and why we need Big Government and why it’s inevitable because there’s no alternative. The pink pages of the FT have been waging war on free markets for decades, pandering instead to its global readership among hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats in government offices, the IMF, the OECD and other breeding grounds of global statism. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Something To Fear - Politics: This administration continues to express its desire to take advantage of the economy's downturn. It's now clearer than ever what President Obama meant when he talked about "change" on the campaign trail.

In his Saturday radio address, the president declared our "great crisis" to be a "great opportunity," indicating, as two members of his administration already had, that this White House is not above exploiting public anxiety to press an extremist agenda.

"We've experienced great trials before," Obama said. "And with every test, each generation has found the capacity to not only endure, but to prosper — to discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis."

Taken alone at a time of uncertainty, the president's words should be reassuring and inspirational. But in this case, considering this administration's eagerness to radically alter America's social and political landscape, unnerving is more like it. (IBD)

The Administration’s Threat to Philanthropy - The Obama plan would reduce charitable giving by $4 billion—the equivalent of closing the Gates Foundation.

The unveiling of President Barack Obama’s first budget has prompted a mixed reaction in the philanthropic world. On the one hand, it marks a clear shift toward increased spending on the kinds of initiatives nonprofit groups have long favored, especially in education and health. On the other, it would reduce the incentive for the rich to give by curtailing the value of their charitable tax deductions. As a result, leaders in the nonprofit sector are being confronted with a tough choice: Do they favor greater public spending or increased charitable giving? A recent statement signed by many such leaders suggests that if they cannot have both, they would prefer a more active government. That would be a mistake. (Leslie Lenkowsky, The American)

This what happens when you don't keep up with useful pesticide development and use: Bedbugs return to British hotels - The voracious Cimex lectularius, scourge of sleepers for centuries, has returned to Britain's hotels. Martin Hickman reports on a plague in a mattress near you

They are reddish brown, most active in the hour before dawn and making a comeback in a hotel near you. Bedbugs, the scourge of the night for many Britons before being substantially eliminated in the second half of the 20th century, have become resurgent in the hospitality industry.

Environmental health officers have discovered the nocturnal blood-sucking insects at hotels and hostels costing up to £270-a-night across the UK, some inflicting more than 100 bites on guests. London is particularly badly hit, with more than a dozen confirmed infestations, but bedbugs were also found last year at hotels in Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. (The Independent)

Monsanto Submits Drought-Tolerant Corn To USDA - KANSAS CITY - Monsanto Co said on Monday it was closer to releasing what could be the world's first drought-tolerant biotech corn by completing regulatory submissions in the United States and Canada.

St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto, a global leader in development of genetically modified crops, said it applied for approval of its new corn with the US Department of Agriculture and various Canadian agencies. The company in December made a regulatory submission to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Monsanto is collaborating with Germany's BASF in development of the drought-tolerant corn. The companies hope to launch the product in 2012.

Monsanto has said that bringing drought-tolerant crops to market is among its top priorities.

"Water availability, water usage, is one of the key limiting factors when it comes to crop production around the world," Mark Lawson, Monsanto's yield and stress platform lead executive, said in a recent interview. Lawson estimates two-thirds of yield losses farmers experience are due to drought. (Reuters)

March 9, 2009

Climate Change Forecasts Are Useless - New Policies Ruin America - Even as we struggle with serious global financial and economic difficulties, some people believe manmade global warming is a real problem of urgent concern. Perhaps this is because, almost every day, media outlets quote "experts" who predict that soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, increasing storms, prolonged droughts and other disasters will result from human activity.

NASA scientist James Hansen claims "death trains" carrying coal are putting our planet "in peril." If we continue using hydrocarbon energy, he predicts, "...one ecological collapse will lead to another, in amplifying feedbacks." He further forecasts that only by eliminating coal-fired power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide can we prevent the collapse.

The situation recalls a 1974 CIA report that concluded there was "growing consensus among leading climatologists that the world is undergoing a cooling trend"... one likely to cause a food production crisis. Dr. Hansen would probably appreciate the frustration those CIA experts must have felt when Congress ignored their forecasts and recommendations.

If it makes sense to enact measures to reduce CO2 emissions when experts forecast warming, then surely it also makes sense to emit extra CO2 when experts forecast cooling. Or perhaps not.

Perhaps any link between climate change and carbon dioxide is not so strong or important. Consider the historical record. (Kesten C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong, and Willie Soon, Post Chronicle)

Where's global warming? - SUPPOSE the climate landscape in recent weeks looked something like this:

Half the country was experiencing its mildest winter in years, with no sign of snow in many Northern states. Most of the Great Lakes were ice-free. Not a single Canadian province had had a white Christmas. There was a new study discussing a mysterious surge in global temperatures - a warming trend more intense than computer models had predicted. Other scientists admitted that, because of a bug in satellite sensors, they had been vastly overestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice.

If all that were happening on the climate-change front, do you think you'd be hearing about it on the news? Seeing it on Page 1 of your daily paper? Would politicians be exclaiming that global warming was even more of a crisis than they'd thought? Would environmentalists be skewering global-warming "deniers" for clinging to their skepticism despite the growing case against it?

No doubt.

But it isn't such hints of a planetary warming trend that have been piling up in profusion lately. Just the opposite. (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)

Whadda Charlie... Prince to warn: 100 months to save world - A DIRE climate-change warning will be issued by the Prince of Wales when he tells the world we have "less than 100 months to act" before the damage caused by global warming becomes irreversible.

The Prince will repeat the prediction made by experts that there are around eight years in which to make further cuts to CO2 emissions, halt deforestation and take other measures to stave off a permanent problem.

The comments will form part of a speech titled 'Less Than 100 Months to Act' made to business leaders in Rio de Janeiro this week as the Prince tours South America with the Duchess of Cornwall. (The Scotsman)

Czech leader joins meeting of climate change deniers - It is billed as the largest ever gathering of climate change deniers, a convention that kicked off last night with a title suggesting global warming is a thing of the past, and a guest list that includes a hurricane forecaster, a retired astronaut and a sitting European president.

Entitled Global Warming: Was It Ever Really a Crisis? and featuring some of the most prominent naysayers in the climate change debate, this week's conference in New York sets out to escalate its confrontation with the scientific establishment, the vast majority of whose members subscribe to the view that humans are the principal cause of climate change.

Conference organisers were celebrating something of a coup in securing as a keynote speaker the Czech president, Václav Klaus, at a time when his country holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Klaus, a Eurosceptic, believes that efforts to protect the world from the impact of climate change are an assault on freedom.

In his remarks last night, Klaus accused European governments of being "alarmist" on the subject of climate change and in thrall to radical environmentalists.

"They probably do not want to reveal their true plans and ambitions to stop economic development and return mankind several centuries back," he said.

He received a standing ovation. But Klaus admitted that his position was a lonely one. (The Guardian)

Always with the "deniers" thing. Do we actually know the globally averaged temperature and do we even care since no one is known to live at "globally averaged"?

What?

There's no such place?

Then what's the value of having its temperature even if we can get it?

Two Days of Climate Realism in NYC - Many of us are off to NYC this coming week for the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change, being held on Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10 at the Marriott Marquis-Times Square.

I like to call this event the “skeptics conference”, but only because that rolls off the tongue easily. I suspect some don’t appreciate that label since it makes it sound like we don’t believe in global warming…which, of course, is wrong. We just don’t believe that mankind is responsible for global warming…or at least not very much of it.

Personally, I think the first place we should look for causes of climate variability is Mother Nature, not in the tailpipe of an SUV.

Those of us who were lucky enough to be asked to speak at the conference will present a wide variety of views on all things related to global warming…er…I mean climate change: the latest science, politics, economics, etc.

Of course, I’m most interested in the science…and there are a number of different opinions on what controls changes in the climate system. For instance, I now believe that most of the warming in the last 100 years was due to natural cloud variations caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will be presenting evidence for that on Tuesday morning, along with new evidence that the climate system is much less sensitive than the alarmists claim it is. (Roy W. Spencer)

Climate 'denial' is now a mental disorder - Christopher Booker is bemused by the wild rhetoric of the climate change lobby. (Daily Telegraph)

Natural Global Warmings Have Become More Moderate - This week, at the 2nd international conference of man-made warming skeptics sponsored by the Heartland Institute in New York, I’ll predict the earth’s warming/cooling trends for the 21st century.

I will be among splendid company such as John Coleman, founder of the weather channel, Ross McKitrick, who debunked the “hockey stick” study, physicist Willie Soon, and many other presenters with brilliant credentials. A thousand scientists, economists, and skeptics from every walk of life will meet to discuss the current climate indicators. (Dennis Avery, CFP)

Global warming is for sissies, here's a macho problem - We have gone through a cold spell in Britain, with heavy snowfalls in many parts of the country. I knew, then, that it was coming and it did come - right on the first day: a newspaper article reassuring us that these fluctuations in weather conditions are no more than noise and do not affect the well-established existence of man-made global warming.

I will not discuss this or similar articles because it is evident that a local short-term temperature change is meaningless against the long-term pattern. I am, though, interested in the predictability of the appearance of these stories in the media. The campaign on global warming is on and it has to be more explicit in moments like this when our subconscious may make us waver just so faintly. Lest we forget.

The article in the Daily Telegraph said that this spell of bad weather was not simply irrelevant, but was yet another confirmation of global warming. Curiously, it is a feature of man-made global warming that every fact confirms it: rising temperatures or decreasing temperatures, drought or torrential rain, tornadoes and hurricanes or changes in the habits of migratory birds. No matter what the weather, some model of global warming offers a watertight explanation. (Javier Cuadros, Mercatornet.com)

Anti-CO2 Campaign Like An Atom Bomb On U.S. Economy - The CO2 wars have begun. Presumably following White House directions, the EPA is ready to issue an "Endangerment Finding" on carbon dioxide, paving the way for regulations to control CO2 emissions. But with over one million "major stationary sources," a full-blown application of the Clean Air Act would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the US economy — all without any scientific justification. Hence there is speculation that the White House strategy is to use the threat of EPA regulation to force Congress to take action. (S Fred Singer, IBD)

Cap and Trade: Wall Street's Latest Scheme - One sector is immune from the economic downturn: global warming lobbyists. A new report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) finds that over 2,000 lobbyists have wielded their influence to affect the outcome of the debate over the costly federal regulation of greenhouse gases. Included in the lobbying ranks were Wall Street firms that were bailed out by the American taxpayer.

According to the CPI study, lobbyists for Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase were involved, and, in total, "the finance industry has as large a lobbying force on climate as the alternative energy industry, with about 130 reps working the issue last year..."

JPMorgan got $25 billion in TARP money last fall while Goldman obtained $10 billion. The stated purpose of the cash infusion was to recapitalize the banks so they could resume consumer lending.

It can be assumed that this lobbying bonanza will only increase in scope since President Obama, in his February 24 speech to Congress, asked for “…legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America." (Tom Borelli, Townhall)

Obama Administration Breaks with IPCC, Focuses on Art of the Possible - Todd Stern, chief US climate negotiator in the State Department, gave a speech two days ago in which he laid out some of the principles that will guide the Obama Administration’s approach to climate policy. In it he recognizes that what is politically possible will be the most important factor guiding the pace of policy implementation. He says the following: (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

Hint of US delay for emissions trading gives Rudd breather - A hint in the past week from President Barack Obama that there may be a delay to emissions trading in the US was more than likely a source of comfort for the Rudd government.

A delay to the end of the year or into 2010 would give the Obama administration time to calibrate its emissions trading scheme in the wake of the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December.

It would also give some breathing space to a traumatised US economy caught in its worst downturn since the great depression.

In Australia, the Opposition's argument for a delay to emissions trading until after the UN summit has attracted growing support among business. (Independent Weekly)

They still don't know what happened... Could climate prove a change too far for Obama? - European enthusiasm for President Barack Obama's ambitious programme of US renewal does not hide deep uncertainty over the likelihood of his delivering on measures to combat climate change.

Nine months from UN talks in Denmark, where world leaders will try to wrap up agreement on a new global climate change treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012, there are real fears that events may conspire against Obama.

The depth of the disaster that has befallen the US economy in particular -- witness Friday's announcement of over 650,000 jobs lost in February alone -- and the difficulties Obama has faced getting Congress to greenlight his rescue plans underscore significant obstacles ahead.

Besides, given the US failure to meet its Kyoto commitments -- the protocol was signed by Bill Clinton's administration in 1997 but subsequently rejected by Senate -- European partners retain bitter memories of promises broken. (AFP)

... in fact the Senate voted prior to Kyoto that they would not accept any appendage to the Rio Treaty in the form that Al subsequently signed, so Slick Willy never sent it to the Senate at all. It was always a bit of empty theater by Clinton and Gore, never meant for action.

Stupid or cynical? EU finance chiefs to tap industry for climate fund
* Industry should supply most of climate fund for poor -draft
* Draft says any new mechanism should be carefully assessed
BRUSSELS, March 5 - Industry should be the main source of money for a climate fund to coax the world's poorest nations into a global deal to tackle climate change in December, a draft report for a European finance ministers meeting said.

The draft report for the meeting on March 10 also warned against creating new mechanisms to deal with the climate issue, alarming environmentalists who say fresh tools are vital.

Success at the Copenhagen talks to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol -- the U.N.'s main tool against global warming -- will largely hinge on whether funding can be found to persuade poor nations to help tackle the problem.

They blame rich countries for causing climate change and say they do not do enough to help the poor adapt to its impacts, by means such as creating crops that are resistant to drought or floods and helping build barriers to rising sea levels.

Europe and the United States are seen as the main donors, and the EU is now debating the size and source of its share.

"The Council recognises that international financial support is crucial for reaching an ambitious agreement in Copenhagen," said the draft, seen by Reuters on Thursday.

"The Council underlines that for financing mitigation and adaptation actions... private funding will be, via appropriate policy frameworks, the main source of the necessary investments," added the draft, which may change during the ministerial meeting.

That would imply that the EU is moving towards funding poorer nations through a scheme linked to carbon markets, like the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, rather than contributions from governments mulled by environment ministers on Monday. (Reuters)

So, do the socialist intelligentsia of Europe really believe cash-strapped industry will meekly underwrite their proposed wealth transfer to the developing world while going bankrupt or are they fully aware industry cannot and are just setting up industry as the fall guy for inevitable failure? Honest, we would have saved the world but those nasty capitalists blocked us at every turn...

China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Threaten to Double - Can a climate catastrophe still be averted? Scientists voice pessimism in a new study, which concludes that no matter what the Western industrialized nations do, China's greenhouse emissions will be hard to stop.

It sounds like wishful thinking: The United States, under new President Barack Obama, forges an alliance with China to combat emissions. The world's two largest sources of carbon dioxide finally face the problem. The treaty crowns the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, when a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol -- which, as everyone knows, the United States never ratified -- will be adopted. Third World countries and emerging economies never had to do it, but in Copenhagen rising economic powers like China make a binding commitment to curb their emissions.

It probably is wishful thinking. It has almost nothing to do with reality.

"Many Western industrialized nations want China to commit to reducing its CO2 emissions," says Dabo Guan of the Electricity Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge in England. "But the country will not even be capable of doing so." (Der Spiegel)

CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES BASED ON 'UNCRITICAL & OVER-PRESUMPTIVE' PROCESSES - An incisive analysis of serious deficiencies in the responses by governments to unsettled science about causes and effects of climate change, by Professor David Henderson, of the University of Westminster, and former Head of the Department of Economics and Statistics of OECD. In a paper to be published in World Economics (Vol 10, No 1) he begins: "In this paper I question the characteristic treatment of climate change issues by fellow-economists, as seen in recent articles, books and reports. The focus of the paper, however, is not on economics. My main theme is what I see as the uncritical and over-presumptive way in which these various sources have dealt with the scientific aspects of the subject." (New Zealand Climate Science)

Sustaining Idiocy - Former National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) lobbyist Richard Cizik lost his job late last year after telling National Public Radio (NPR) that he supports same-sex unions. But Cizik is more renowned as an enthusiastic Global Warming alarmist. Not surprisingly, Cizik is now a senior fellow at the Ted Turner-funded United Nations Foundation.

In 2007, Cizik created the Scientists and Evangelicals Initiative with leftist Harvard biochemist Eric Chivian, best remembered for his 1980’s activism with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The activist physicians, which included Soviet doctors presumably acting at the behest of their regime, agitated for the Soviet-backed, failed nuclear freeze movement. For their dubious efforts to disarm the West and enshrine Soviet strategic superiority, they naturally received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

Flaking for Soviet-backed “peace” initiatives is now passé. So Chivian moved on to Global Warming as his next cause, founding Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment with other like minds who saw “global and environmental changes as Armageddon in slow motion.” Cizik and other evangelicals anxious for the New York Times' approval embraced climate activism as a cause that would elevate them above unsavory religious conservatives in the public consciousness. For a time, the strategy worked. Last year, Time magazine hailed Cizik and Chivian as among the world’s 100 most important people. Although now no longer affiliated with NAE, Cizik recently appeared at Harvard with Chivian on Charles Darwin’s birthday to tout their mutual goals of spreading climate alarmism. (Mark D. Tooley, FrontPageMagazine.com)

Global warming "Bait-And-Switch" Scientific "consensus" - Shady Tactics - Fred Schwindel's TV City ad promises 40" flat screen televisions for $200. You rush to his store, to learn he's "fresh out" – but has some 42" models for $1000.

That's "bait-and-switch," and Fred could be prosecuted for consumer fraud.

In the political arena, however, bait-and-switch is often rewarded, not punished – especially in the case of global warming alarmism. Instead of fines or jail time, politicos get committee chairs, presidencies, speaking fees and Nobel Prizes. Scientists and bureaucrats receive paychecks, research grants and travel stipends for Bali. Activists get secretive government payments for "public education" campaigns. Companies get government contracts, subsidies and seats at the bargaining table. And all are lionized or canonized for supporting Climageddon theories and policies.

Global warming bait-and-switch starts with simple statements that few would contest – then shifts seamlessly to claims that are hotly disputed and supported by little or no evidence. (Paul Driessen, Post Chronicle)

Will on warming: The cold facts - After George F. Will wrote a column last month questioning the faulty premises and apocalyptic predictions of global-warming alarmists, he caught holy heck from America's "eco-pessimists." He and his editors at The Washington Post were blasted with thousands of angry e-mails, most of which challenged Will's assertion that global sea ice levels have not been dramatically reduced by man-made global warming, as environmentalists claim, but are essentially the same as they were in 1979. Will, who had used data from the Arctic Climate Research Center as his source, also was accused of multiple inaccuracies by The New York Times' Andrew Revkin. Will wrote a second column defending his data and returning fire at Revkin.

All is calm now and Will is getting ready for the start of his favorite season -- baseball season. I talked to him by phone on Thursday from his office in Washington. (Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review)

New Report On The Lack Of Recent Global Warming - There is an interesting article on at MSNBC from the Discovery Channel titled “Warming might be on hold, study finds Authors sense hibernation, but warn of ‘explosive’ rise later” by Michael Reilly.

This article finally (although implicitly) acknowledges in the media that there a substantive issue with the predictions of the IPCC and CCSP models.

It includes the revealing comments that “according to a new study, global warming may have hit a speed bump and could go into hiding for decades.” and  ”It is possible that a fraction of the most recent rapid warming since the 1970’s was due to a free variation in climate,” Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Princeton, New Jersey wrote in an email to Discovery News. “Suggesting that the warming might possibly slow down or even stagnate for a few years before rapid warming commences again.”

Swanson thinks the trend could continue for up to 30 years. But he warned that it’s just a hiccup, and that humans’ penchant for spewing greenhouse gases will certainly come back to haunt us.

“When the climate kicks back out of this state, we’ll have explosive warming,” Swanson said. “Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive.”

First, these statements clearly indicate that the IPCC and CCSP global model predictions (which are being used as the basis for making expensive and difficult to implement government policies) are seriously flawed. 

Second, the authors are inaccurately reporting on climate physics, as they claim that “Thirty years of greenhouse gas radiative forcing will still be there and then bang, the warming will return and be very aggressive”. This statement, unfortunately, incorrectly assumes that the heat for these 30 years would accumulate in a hidden location (i.e. “unrealized heat) and then suddenly reappear after this time period.

As was discussed yesterday on Climate Science in the weblog Is There Climate Heating In “The Pipeline”? , however, this is an inaccurate statement on how the climate system actually works. If the heating were to suspend for 30 years, and then recommenced, the rate of heating would be determined by the radiative imbalance at that time.

Finally, if the global heating continues to remain suspended (for whatever reason) in the coming years, it will seriously damage the credibility of the climate science community as represented by IPCC and CCSP assessments. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Oh dear... Former VP Gore to Receive Scripps Oceanography Prize - Scripps Institution of Oceanography is awarding its first-even Roger Revelle Prize to former Vice President Al Gore. Gore will be in La Jolla Friday evening to receive the award. The award will be given out during a dinner marking the 100th birthday of the institution's late former director. UCSD said Gore was selected for his efforts to raise awareness of global warming. (CBS)

Gore's Gruesome New Prize - To celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Dr. Roger Revelle, the oceanography institute he once directed is today presenting an award in his name to his most famous disciple – Al Gore. And, while this charlatan should never seriously be considered for any scientific tribute, the specific intent of this one makes Gore a particularly unworthy maiden recipient, and he knows it. (Marc Sheppard, American Thinker)

Roger Revelle & Al Gore: Coleman's Video Report - Revelle was a powerful man, a noteworthy scientist and a significant force in San Diego in the 1950s. There is no doubt he is largely responsible for the respect given Scripps Institute of Oceanography and for locating the University of California at San Diego, UCSD, in La Jolla.

While serving as Director of Scripps, Revelle and one of his researchers wrote the first modern scientific paper that linked carbon dioxide released into the air from the burning of fossil fuels and the greenhouse effect and the warming of temperatures. This triggered an avalanche of research that eventually became the impetus behind the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the entire global warming movement.

In the 1960s Revelle moved to Harvard to establish a Center for Population Studies. There is where Professor Revelle encounter student Albert Gore. He involved Gore and his class mates in tabulating the data from a carbon dioxide study. Gore was so impressed he wrote about it in his 1992 book, " Earth in the Balance ". That became the story for the movie "an Inconvenient Truth". The Oscar and Nobel Peace Prize and some people say 100 million dollars came from that effort. There is no doubt Roger Revelle had a major impact on Vice President Gore's life.

But there is a twist. In 1988 Roger Revelle was having major second thoughts about whether carbon dioxide was a significant greenhouse gas. He wrote letters to two Congressmen about it. And in 1991 he co-authored a report for the new science magazine Cosmos in which he expressed his strong doubts about global warming and urged more research before any remedial action was taken.

At that point Mr. Gore pronounced Revelle as senile and refused to debate global warming. He continues to refuse to debate today. Many offers of 10s of thousands of dollars have been made such a debate. Today Gore sequestered the media at this event and set forth rules, no questions, no interviews.

I have learned that in 1991 Roger Revelle made a speech at the high powered, very private Summer enclave of powerful men and politicians at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California, where he apologized that his research sent so many people in the wrong direction on global warming.

He worried about the political fallout from the UN IPCC and Al Gore. A man named Donn Michael Schmidtman who lives in the San Francisco area was there that day and remembers the Revelle speech very well. He has told about it in some detail.

So think of the irony. Today Al Gore received the first Roger Revelle award, an honor named after the man who sent Gore on his global warming campaign.

But the truth is; Revelle realized that it was a false alarm and the science was flawed before he died.

Revelle died of a heart attack in 1991.

It would be interesting to know if Revelle had lived whether he would have approved of this award tonight or perhaps be joining me at the International conference of global warming skeptics in New York next week. (Coleman's Corner, KUSI News)

Carbon cuts 'only give 50/50 chance of saving planet' - As states negotiate Kyoto's successor, simulations show catastrophe just years away

The world's best efforts at combating climate change are likely to offer no more than a 50-50 chance of keeping temperature rises below the threshold of disaster, according to research from the UK Met Office.

The key aim of holding the expected increase to 2C, beyond which damage to the natural world and to human society is likely to be catastrophic, is far from assured, the research suggests, even if all countries engage forthwith in a radical and enormous crash programme to slash greenhouse gas emissions – something which itself is by no means guaranteed.

The chilling forecast from the supercomputer climate model of the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research will provide a sobering wake-up call for governments around the world, who will begin formally negotiating three weeks today the new international treaty on tackling global warming, which is due to be signed in Copenhagen in December. (Michael McCarthy, The Independent)

Uh, Michael? Climate models don't and can't produce "predictions" mate but they are getting quicker at churning out garbage, gotta give 'em that...

Further from reality every day: Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures - Rising sea levels pose a far bigger eco threat than previously thought. This week's climate change conference in Copenhagen will sound an alarm over new floodings - enough to swamp Bangladesh, Florida, the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Climate change - it's part of natural cycle - A carbon tax is unnecessary and will ruin the Australian economy, a leading academic has warned.

With an arm-long list of achievements, Adelaide University geology Professor Ian Plimer told the PGA Convention that there were fundamental problems in the science being put forward in favour of climate change.

"An emission trading scheme is based on flawed science and its constraints will destroy the agricultural industry," Prof Plimer said.

"And the interesting thing about ruminants, which is a main argument for climate change, is that there are more of them on earth now than there were 20 years ago, however the methane deposit is going down; so how do we explain that? (Farm Weekly)

The Incurious Case of the Carbon Alarmists - A popular blog aiming to discredit "climate skeptics" is the epitome of the alarmist movement’s anti-intellectual approach.

Question global warming theory by commenting on an alarmist-based site and a reply will likely direct you to the writings of blogger Coby Beck. A self-described software developer specializing in “artificial intelligence,” Mr. Beck is the author of “How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic” — a series of phenomenally popular blog posts seen as unassailable dogma among his fellow believers.

Had it been his intent, Beck could not possibly have forwarded more solid grounds for delegitimizing his movement. “Climate Skeptic” is a mash of remarkably cursory, blinkered responses, leaving unanswered questions readily apparent to the cold, scientific observer. Yet Beck’s charges seem quite willing to battle with his tinfoil-and-cardboard, Hanukkah-play weaponry, swinging madly and wondering why the supposed faith-based and unenlightened are so slow to die or convert. (David Steinberg, Pajamas Media)

Obama's Global Warming Straddle - Lord, make me carbon neutral . . . but not yet.

In his February 24 address to Congress, President Obama asked for "legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution." But don't assume that this administration, in contrast to its predecessor, is overly concerned about the threat to humanity from global warming.

When the president unveiled his budget later that week, it became clear that even if so-called cap-and-trade legislation is passed this year, the administration has no plans to start taxing emissions until 2012. A president who warned of catastrophe should Congress delay implementing his economic agenda seems in no particular rush to cut down on greenhouse emissions. No doubt he has been quietly briefed on just how devastating his cap-and-trade regime would be to a fragile economy.

So it's a hollow victory for climate alarmists. As it happens, besides being an election year, 2012 is also supposed to be the point of no return for action on climate change. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and co-recipient with Al Gore of the Nobel Peace Prize, warned after collecting his prize in Norway that "if there's no action before 2012, that's too late."

Last year Gore himself opined that "we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis." Such warnings have become routine--20 years ago, in 1989, the head of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program, Noel Brown, issued the same dire prediction, claiming that there was a "10-year window of opportunity" to stop the runaway train of global warming. (Michael Goldfarb, Weekly Standard)

Coal plants checked by enviro campaigns, costs - Beneath the frozen plains of eastern Montana and Wyoming lie the largest coal deposits in the world - enough to last the United States more than a century at the nation's current burn rate.

The fuel literally spills from the ground where streambanks cut into the earth, hinting at reserves estimated at 180 billion tons. But even here lawsuits over global warming and the changing political landscape in Washington are pummeling an industry that has long been the backbone of America's power supply.

In recent weeks, a group of rural Montana electric co-ops abandoned a partially built 250-megawatt coal plant, ending a four-year legal campaign by environmentalists to stop the project. The co-ops plan to instead get their electricity from a natural gas plant - more expensive for customers but also more likely to get built.

A few miles away, the U.S. Air Force dropped plans for a major coal-to-jet fuel plant once touted as the harbinger of a new market for coal. There are no signs it will be revived.

Other plants are moving forward in Montana and at least a dozen other states, but the exodus from coal has hit every corner of the country. On Thursday, two more were shelved - plants in Iowa and Nevada that would have generated enough power for 1.6 million homes. (Associated Press)

Calif. says carmakers can meet strict limits - Industry disagrees on proposed new emission rules

LOS ANGELES - California officials told the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday that major automakers are already on track to meet the state's strict proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Auto industry supporters disagreed, however, at a daylong hearing over whether the EPA should grant California's request to allow it and 13 other states, including Maryland, to set their own emissions standards.

Automakers and dealers raised concerns over several points of California's plan and said they would welcome a nationwide standard for emissions limits. State officials said they wouldn't accept any national standard that fell short of their own. (Los Angeles Times)

Levin protests California fuel rules, seeks U.S. standard - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Michigan Sen. Carl Levin asked the Obama administration Thursday to deny California's attempt to limit global-warming emissions from cars and trucks, saying the country needed a nationwide rule.

Levin's testimony to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing followed California officials who contended the state had met the legal burden to prove it could set such limits, and that global warming was worsening the state's pollution problems.

"Global warming is not unique to California, and to suggest that it is actually undermines the argument that it is a global threat that knows no boundaries," Levin said.

The EPA hearing comes after President Barack Obama ordered the agency to revisit the Bush administration's decision blocking a waiver that would have allowed California's rules to take effect. The waiver also would allow other states to adopt California's rules; 13 other states and the District of Columbia already have done so, while four more are moving toward them.

As a candidate, Obama had vowed to allow California's rules to take effect. But the president has said he favors a national standard for greenhouse gas limits, and his administration has begun crafting new rules for vehicles that would likely supplant California's law if the EPA lets it proceed as expected. (Free Press)

Lawrence Solomon: Gangreen energy act - Ontario’s new energy plan heavily subsidizes green energy projects at the expense of conservation (Financial Post)

A Need to Clear the Air - Gov. David Paterson of New York, whose list of friends in the political world seems to be growing shorter by the week, could soon be forced to cross off another group: the environmental community.

Environmentalists — and for that matter anyone who worries about climate change — were disturbed to learn on Friday that Mr. Paterson had agreed in a closed-door meeting with energy executives last fall to reopen rules governing New York’s participation in a landmark pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The news followed other setbacks, including proposed budget cuts that seemed to environmentalists to disproportionately impoverish the Environmental Protection Fund, which finances critical open-space projects. The governor has promised to refill the fund with a new and more ambitious bottle redemption program. But the new bottle bill is hardly a sure thing, and the beverage industry has hired some of Albany’s most powerful lobbyists to beat it. (New York Times)

Little Impact Is Foreseen Over Change for Emissions - A move by Gov. David A. Paterson to increase the free allowances for carbon-dioxide emissions that New York gives power plants is unlikely to undermine efforts by nine other states that signed a landmark pact to reduce global warming, officials said on Friday.

Last fall, 10 states from Maryland to Maine agreed to cap the emissions from hundreds of power plants and to make them pay for polluting. Under this carbon-trading pact, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, each state issues its own tradable permits, or allowances, for each ton of carbon-dioxide pollution.

States auction most of the allowances, but many power producers have complained about being forced to pay for them.

Mr. Paterson’s willingness to increase free allowances angered environmentalists and surprised officials in the other states. They reacted by reaffirming their commitment to the current carbon-trading pact.

“We think it’s a New York issue, and we don’t see it having any impact in other states, including New Jersey’s program,” said Jeanne Herb, the policy director for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, in a widely echoed sentiment. “Nor do we envision that it will have any real impact on the auction prices.”

Officials in Massachusetts and Rhode Island said they expected little impact in their states. (New York Times)

What part of "No" don't they understand? Carbon capture and storage - Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and storing it underground is seen as a crucial technology to reduce the global warming impact of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, on which the world will continue to rely for decades. (EurActiv)

Obama's Nuclear Freeze - President Obama seems to have followed through with another one of his campaign promises. While throwing unprecedented billions at progressive social programs, he wants to slash the budgets of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the national nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain Nevada. These cuts will impair the maintenance and expansion of clean, safe, reliable, carbon-neutral electric power from our 104 nuclear power plants. These nuclear plants now supply 20% of our power; and therefore have mitigated the release of 8.7 trillion tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that would have been emitted from conventional coal-fired power over the last 15 years. As many as 30 to 50 new nuclear plants will be needed this century to accommodate future demands. (Paul Taylor, LA Ecopolitics Examiner)

Nuclear sunrise - STOCKHOLM: Exactly 11 days from now, Sweden will turn into law one of the most significant policy U-turns for a warming planet. The government will introduce a bill in parliament to allow modern new nuclear power plants to be built on existing sites. The change in policy is significant because Sweden was one of the pioneers of the global anti-nuclear campaign in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979.

Sweden may be showing the way forward to other nations who want to reduce greenhouse emissions even as they meet their people's energy needs.

The Swedish about-turn is seen to be a particular surprise because the Centre Party, which is part of the governing Alliance, fought the 2006 elections on the anti-nuclear plank. But now, Sweden's leading politicians clearly feel the popular view of nuclear power has changed enough for them to propose building replacement reactors at 10 sites, while phasing out the old ones.

Observers say Sweden's change of heart isn't surprising. The country is aiming for zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and this can only happen if carbon dioxide-producing fossil fuels, such as coal are phased out. (Times of India)

Friday funny: A bad hair day - Laughing while you’re driving is now against the law in the police state. As Nigel Bunyan from the Telegraph reports: (Junkfood Science)

Grading compliance — the information free for all begins - As predicted, private electronic medical records of consumers are being freely accessed, exchanged and used to document and grade doctors and hospitals according to their compliance with performance measures set by the state. The nation’s first such statewide program has just been launched in Georgia. (Junkfood Science)

Dr. Computer - In a perfectly titled Op-ed, “The computer will see you now,” Dr. Anne Armstrong-Coben, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia, shared the reality of adopting electronic medical records. She highlighted the greatest thing we’ll sacrifice…

The loss of humanness of medicine and the private and personal relationships built between patients and their doctors. (Junkfood Science)

Victims Of Socialism - Deadly Rationing: The gatekeeper for Great Britain's national health care system is denying cancer patients drugs that would extend their lives. Why? Because the medication is considered too expensive.

What's a life worth? Apparently not much in Great Britain.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the government agency that decides which treatments the National Health Service will pay for, has effectively banned Lapatinib, a drug that was shown to slow the progression of breast cancer, and Sutent, which is the only medicine that can prolong the lives of some stomach cancer patients.

Banning beneficial drugs due to cost is nothing new in Britain. NICE, which has to be one of history's most ironic acronyms, forbade the use of Tarceva, a lung cancer drug proven to extend patients' lives, and Abatacept, even though it's one of the only drugs that has been shown in clinical testing to improve severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Once again, we have to ask: Do we really want to use the British system as the model for a U.S. health care regime? (IBD)

Now here's a message for you: hey kids, drink coke, it's better for the planet than nasty fruit drinks :) Questions over ratings as Coke publishes carbon footprint - One is a fruit drink made by a boutique company with a clutch of foodie awards and an impeccable ethical brand, which even boasts a halo on its logo. The other is a fizzy pop, famous for rotting teeth, made by a corporate giant almost synonymous with globalisation.

But when it comes to the environmental issue of the moment - the carbon footprint of their products - the bottle of Innocent smoothie comes off worse than a can of Coke. At least at first glance.

Coca-Cola today becomes the biggest global brand to publish the greenhouse gases produced by making, packaging, transporting, chilling, and disposing of their most popular products. The study, done with the government-funded Carbon Trust, shows a standard 330ml can of Coke embodies the equivalent of 170g of carbon dioxide (CO2e), and the same sized Diet Coke or Coke Zero 150g.

Coke's UK business follows Innocent, which helped the Carbon Trust pioneer its footprinting, and whose 250ml bottle of mango and passion fruit smoothie has a carbon footprint of 209g.

Innocent's co-founder, Richard Reed, questions whether it is fair to compare a bottle of crushed fruit and something largely made of water. Reed's defence highlights a wider issue: how to balance the importance of global warming with other attributes of a product - nutrition, helping poor farmers, careful nurturing of soil, or the welfare of animals. Innocent, for example, donates 10% of profits to charity. "The classical economic response is you implicitly reduce them to a common currency, which leads to money; but my view is these things are just not comparable," said Mike Mason, founder of carbon offset company ClimateCare. (The Guardian)

When Barack Obama and Gordon Brown see 'opportunity', we really do have a crisis - The Left is threatening our freedom by using the downturn to bolster the power of the state, says Janet Daley.

The story so far: some capitalists behaved very badly. While this was going on, the socialists didn't ask questions because they were too busy spending the receipts that flowed from that behaviour. Now, the socialists – who were happy to look the other way during the good times or even to delude themselves into thinking that they were responsible for them – want to use the ignominy of the capitalists to seize the kind of power they thought they had lost forever.

You may quibble at my use of the word "socialist" to describe people who generally present themselves as friends of the free market, and who have repudiated full-scale nationalisation (even of the banks at a moment when that option might have appeared irresistible). So, as someone who spent her formative years on the Left, let me make clear that I am using the word to designate those who accept the primary tenet of Marxist ideology: that the economy can and should be controlled by the state.

In the hard version of this creed, it is acceptable for government to become totalitarian in order to accomplish such control. The softer version – which prevailed in much of Western Europe and Britain – was committed to achieving this through democratic means. By the end of the 1980s, the hard version had collapsed and the soft version was discredited.

Then, suddenly – a miracle! Free-market economics, which seemed to have won the historical argument hands down, is imploding. Now the very people who had embraced it as, at the very least, a milch cow for public-spending adventurism, can see an "opportunity". Yes, that is the word that both Gordon Brown and Barack Obama have taken to using to describe the current economic apocalypse. (Daily Telegraph)

Why Obama Wants America to Fail - "Not letting a good crisis go to waste."

This idea popped up multiple times in the past seven days as multiple members of Obama's administration seemed to be in total agreement. Their conclusion: by not quickly solving the crisis of the American economy, we can create drastic social and structural change. Not surprisingly, this is the path even President Obama alluded to in his Saturday address to the nation.

On Saturday the President challenged his country to see its hard times as a chance to "discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis."

"That is what we can do and must do today. And I am absolutely confident that is what we will do," Obama said in his address.

But is that what "we the people" hired him to do? To use "great opportunities" to change the face and fabric of the nation? (Kevin McCullough, Townhall)

The Crone never met an activist court it didn't like, until perhaps now: Clean Slate on Clean Air - In a series of major decisions, the federal courts have effectively done away with nearly all of the Bush administration’s clean-air regulations — most of them wrongheaded. That gives President Obama a clear shot at fashioning a new and coordinated attack on pollutants like smog, soot and mercury.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently struck down as inadequate national air-quality standards for fine particulates — small particles of soot from power plants and diesel engines that have been linked to heart and lung diseases.

And the Supreme Court let stand a 2008 ruling from the same appeals court striking down — as not only inadequate but illegal — Bush rules governing mercury emissions from power plants. These two rulings clear the way for Mr. Obama’s team to come up with more robust regulations on fine particles and on mercury.

Mr. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency must also deal with a third ruling from the D.C. Circuit that, confusingly enough, invalidated a genuinely worthy Bush initiative — a market-based emissions trading program that sought to curb pollution from power plants east of the Mississippi. In that case, the court said the E.P.A. had exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act, a rare complaint against an administration that usually did too little. (New York Times)

Federation of Canadian Municipalities asks members to ban bottled water - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked Canadian cities and towns to phase out the sale and purchase of bottled water on municipal property.

The federation board of directors passed the anti-bottle resolution at a meeting in Victoria on Saturday.

The move carries no legal weight and aims simply to encourage municipalities to speak out against bottled water and avoid distributing it when possible. (CBC News)

Darn your socks to help save planet, says minister - SCOTS should be darning their socks and looking to their grandparents for advice in order to lead greener lifestyles, according to the new environment minister.

Roseanna Cunningham's advice came as a survey revealed that people in Scotland saw the environment as a global issue rather than a local one.

The results of the Ipsos Mori survey of more than 3,000 Scots showed an equal number of people – 35 per cent – believed the economy and the environment were among the most important issues facing the world today.

However, just 12 per cent thought the environment was one of the most important issues facing Scotland. (The Scotsman)

Dopey woman. Her grandparents did things that way because a) they had no choice and b) they were thrifty because they were impoverished (has she no idea about post war austerity?).

Don't feel guilty: Use soft toilet paper on your derriere - Arguments about 'virgin fibre' nonsense, environmentalist says

Greenpeace, with strong support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, has come out against the sale of soft toilet tissue made with "virgin" fibre. It claims that using trees to make toilet paper is worse for the environment than driving Hummers or building McMansions.

My old organization wants Canadians to use recycled paper for TP and it's targeting Kimberly-Clark, Procter and Gamble, and other large tissue producers. Apparently hair shirts aren't sufficient, now we must wipe with scratchy paper to rid ourselves of eco-guilt.

It makes a good story and news outlets around the world have dutifully picked it up. But it is absolute nonsense, for a number of reasons. (Patrick Moore, Vancouver Sun)

Saint Bob and Bono's halos slip - Finally somebody has shown the chutzpah to say "enough already" to those wealthy world-weary worrywarts Bono and Bob Geldof. Sydney-bound Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born economist, says the singers have glamorised aid to Africa to such an extent that it is damaging the very people it is supposed to help.

Moyo's book Dead Aid has received huge publicity in the US and Europe, not least because she is been bold enough to speak out against the beatific Bono and the sainted Sir Bob and such feel-good moments as the Live Aid concert of 1985. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Corn-Fed Nation - WASHINGTON -- Tom Vilsack, Iowa's former governor, calls his "the most important department in government," noting that the Agriculture Department serves education through school nutrition programs and serves diplomacy by trying to wean Afghanistan from a poppy-based (meaning heroin-based) economy. But Vilsack's department matters most because of the health costs of the American diet. If Michael Pollan is right, the problem is rooted in politics and, in a sense, Iowa.

Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food," says that after World War II the government had a huge surplus of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of explosives -- and fertilizer. Furthermore, pesticides could be made from ingredients of poison gases. Since 1945, the food supply has increased faster than America's population -- faster even than Americans can increase their feasting.

Agricultural commodity prices generally fall. But when a rare surge in food prices gave the Nixon administration a political scare, government policy, expressed in commodity subsidies, has been, Pollan writes, to sell "large quantities of calories as cheaply as possible," especially calories coming from corn. (George Will, Townhall)

March 6, 2009

Hilarious: Speaker says Gore is wrong: Climate change is even worse - MUNCIE -- Global warming is one of the top five problems facing humankind, according to Thomas Friedman, a New York Times journalist and three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Friedman spoke Wednesday at Ball State University.

Mother Nature is a lot like us, he said. If your temperature rises just a few degrees, you get sick. If it rises a few more degrees, you go to the hospital. (Star Press)

This is a continuation of the "humans are a disease" metaphor so beloved by the green whackos. If humans are an Earth Mother pathogen then the disease for which we are responsible would have to be "life" since the biosphere quite literally booms under conditions of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide, particularly in conjunction with less-cold temperatures and human activity both restores previously lost carbon to the cycle and causes at least local warming. It seems greens would prefer the Earth as a sterile ball of rock and ice -- at least it wouldn't have a fever :)

Who knew greenies hate all life and not just humans?

Washington new center of global warming battle - European ministers are flocking to Washington drawn by the new administration's pledge to help lead the fight against climate change, an issue largely put on ice for eight years here.

Ministers from across Europe as well as Canada are taking part in a whirl of meetings here this week to gauge prospects of Congress adopting key climate-change legislation ahead of a major UN climate conference in December. (AFP)

Obama Climate Envoy: Bush Approach Too Ambitious - I'd say you can't make this stuff up — what, it only gets a headline in a WSJ blog, not the NYT? — but I did, or at least predicted the blistering double-standard that being applied to Presidents Obama and Bush when it comes to all things Kyoto.

Obama "climate envoy" Todd Stern "said the road map of greenhouse-gas emission reductions laid out at a 2007 summit in Bali was simply too ambitious. 'We need to be very mindful of what the dictates of science are, and of the art of the possible,' he said. The Bali targets — a 25% to 40% cut by industrialized nations by 2020 – were simply too ambitious. 'It’s not possible to get that kind of number. It’s not going to happen'.” (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Not all senators warming to Obama cap-and-trade emissions proposal - President Obama’s cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon emissions hasn’t swayed key senators who blocked a similar bill last year.

The president’s plan, outlined in his budget blueprint, would set new limits on carbon emissions and require companies to purchase pollution credits in an auction.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who opposed cap-and-trade last June, said that Obama’s plan would lead to an increase in energy costs and would drive American firms abroad.

“It really does say to manufacturing, ‘Go to China, where they have weaker environmental standards,’” Brown told The Hill. “And that’s a very bad message in bad economic times — in any economic times.”

Brown added that he hasn’t seen any improvements in Obama’s plan over last year’s bill.

That legislation was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and championed by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and then-Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), but it still fell far short of the necessary 60 votes. The 48 senators who voted to move the bill ahead included most of the Democratic Conference and a handful of centrist Republicans. More senators, however, either voted against it or didn’t vote at all. (Walter Alarkon, The Hill)

Certain Rocks Found to Pull CO2 From the Air and Lock It Away Like Trees Do - To slow global warming, scientists are exploring ways to pull carbon dioxide from the air and safely lock it away. Trees already do this naturally through photosynthesis; now, in a new report, geologists have mapped large rock formations in the United States that can also absorb CO2, which they say might be artificially harnessed to do the task at a vastly increased pace.

The report, by scientists at Columbia University's Earth Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey, shows 6,000 square miles of ultramafic rocks at or near the surface. Originating deep in the earth, these rocks contain minerals that react naturally with carbon dioxide to form solid minerals. Earth Institute scientists are experimenting with ways to speed this natural process, called mineral carbonation. If the technology takes off, geologic formations around the world could provide a vast sink for heat-trapping carbon dioxide released by humans. (CleanTech)

But we don't want to lose the resource...

Stop them! They're stealing our CO2! Massive algae bloom swirls off coast - Scientists are worried that global warming might have contributed to creating an algae bloom off the west coast of Vancouver Island that is so big it can be seen from space.

At the Institute of Ocean Sciences in North Saanich, researchers are tracking the swirling mass that runs the length of the Island's west coast. They believe it consists mainly of coccolithophore, a naturally occurring, single-cell phytoplankton.

It's the biggest algae bloom institute physicist Jim Gowen has seen.

"The bloom is good in that it means there are lots of nutrients out there for things to grow," he said. "But what we're worried about is that if global warming is going to really kick in and start warming everything up, then the prediction has to be that we'll see more of these things more often. It's certainly worrying when you see the biggest one, because you think that it's a sign things are getting worse." (Times Colonist)

Gosh darn coccolithophores, busily building their shells from carbonate which will sink to the sea floor and be lost to the biosphere! Now we'll have to mine and liberate more carbon to make up for it...

Right... Amazon's 2005 Drought Created Huge CO2 Emissions - OSLO - A 2005 drought in the Amazon rainforest killed trees and released more greenhouse gas than the annual emissions of Europe and Japan, an international study showed on Thursday.

The report said rainforests from Africa to Latin America may speed up global warming if the climate becomes drier this century. Plants soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they die and rot.

... Paradoxically, the forest's accumulation of carbon before 2005 may have been aided by global warming, which improved plant growth. (Reuters)

U.S. Energy Secretary Pledges To Fight Global Warming - WASHINGTON - U.S. energy secretary Steven Chu on Thursday pledged to work with Congress to pass legislation that would impose a cap-and-trade system to curb greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming.

"Such legislation will provide the framework for transforming our energy system to make our economy less carbon-intensive, and less dependent on foreign oil," Chu said at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

The Obama administration wants to cap carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sites, then auction permits to exceed those limits. Plants that then lower their emissions could in turn sell their permits to other facilities that pollute more. (Reuters)

Capping Economic Growth - President Obama sends his emissaries to Congress to explain why an economy-killing tax on energy — a tax all Americans will pay in all aspects of their lives — is necessary to save the Earth. (IBD)

Total-Auction U.S. Climate Bill Unlikely: Lawmaker - WASHINGTON - Any climate bill that passes the Senate is unlikely to adhere to an Obama administration plan that the government auction all of the permits to emit greenhouse gases because it would be too harsh on big industry, a key democratic lawmaker said on Thursday.

Instead, Senator Jeff Bingaman said any system capping and trading emissions developed by Congress will likely include a mix of carbon allowances that are given to polluters -- like cement factories and coal-burning power plants -- and the sale of permits. (Reuters)

Climate change committee chief signals support for carbon "floor price" - Lord Adair Turner urges government to consider imposing a floor price on EU carbon allowances

Calls for a "floor price" on carbon allowances received influential backing yesterday when Lord Turner, the chairman of the government's Committee on Climate Change, signalled he would support such a move.

The price of carbon credits under the EU emission trading scheme (ETS) has collapsed from €31 last summer to about €8 last month, prompting calls for a " floor price" to be imposed that would provide firms with greater confidence that investments in low carbon infrastructure will deliver long term returns.

Jonathon Porritt, chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, said recently he would like to see a "floor price" imposed on carbon that would effectively combine the flexibility of a market-based approach to driving down emissions with the certainty offered by a carbon tax.

Speaking yesterday, Lord Adair Turner told MPs on the energy and climate change select committee that the EU should give serious consideration to the proposal, arguing that if the price of EU allowances (EUAs) remain at their current level it will remove the incentive for firms to invest in low carbon technologies. (BusinessGreen)

Low Prices, Downturn Could Alter Aussie CO2 Scheme - LONDON/SINGAPORE - Low international carbon prices and a global recession might force Australia to change its planned 2010 emissions trading scheme days before the government releases draft legislation.

Some analysts also question if low prices will drive Australian firms to clean up their operations or buy cheap U.N. carbon offsets under the Kyoto Protocol to meet their obligations.

The draft legislation is to be released on March 10 and is expected to enshrine the target of cutting emissions by least 5 percent by 2020 from 2000 levels.

The Australian government already faces intense pressure to change, delay or scrap its carbon scheme, with business groups saying a recession is the wrong time to introduce it. Greens want the scheme hardened to meet tougher emissions targets. (Reuters)

Emissions plans still up in the air - Industrial emitters are caught in a triangle of uncertainty.

On one side is the law, in the form of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) legislation passed in the dying days of the previous Parliament, under which they will be bound by the ETS and accountable for their emissions from next year.

They will receive an allocation of free units, at the taxpayer's expense, to cover 90 per cent of their collective emissions at first. But how they will be allocated and how quickly or slowly the allocation will be phased out remain up in the air.

The second side of the triangle is the Government's desire to align the New Zealand scheme - assuming there will still be one - with Australia's.

The third side is the review of the ETS by a special parliamentary select committee set up under National's government-forming agreement with the Act Party. Its terms of reference are extremely broad and pursued thoroughly it could take years. It has received 276 submissions. (New Zealand Herald)

Green Energy and Jobs: Proceed With Caution - The creation of “green-collar” jobs is a major component of President Obama’s energy and economic strategy. Opportunities for achieving realistic goals should certainly be pursued, and many “green” projects do represent sound economics.

“Smart meters” and better attic, wall and window insulation reduce energy expenditures, and quickly pay back investments. Better sequencing of traffic lights speeds commuters to workplaces, saves gasoline, cuts pollution, and reduces accidents. Telecommuting also saves energy.

New technologies enable smelters and factories to recycle waste heat, to power turbines and generate electricity. Energy-efficient computers and servers mean big savings in power-hungry data centers that facilitate banking, Internet searches, modern business operations and YouTube.

Such initiatives also create “green” jobs. Renewable energy and energy efficiency industries already generate 8.5 million such jobs in the United States, claims a 2007 report from the American Solar Energy Society, and could create “as many as 40 million” by 2030.

However, numerous other green initiatives would not survive without mandates, renewable energy standards, tariffs and taxpayer-financed subsidies that borrow money or take funds from one economic sector and transfer it to another. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

U.S. steel firms eye China fix in climate bill - WASHINGTON, March 5 - U.S. legislation to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions should include protections to keep U.S. steel industry jobs from moving to China and other developing countries, a top U.S. steel industry official said.

"There's going to be a lot of steel demand in this new green economy and it ought to be made here, which is the most efficient and the most environmentally-protected place in the world to make the steel," Tom Gibson, president of the American Iron and Steel Institute, told Reuters.

The push to pass U.S. climate change legislation comes as countries are aiming to reach an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the year. (Reuters)

Environmental doublespeak - As global warming threatens the world's most vulnerable people, EU leaders can only spout empty rhetoric

Political language, George Orwell wrote nearly 60 years ago, is "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind".

It is a pity that Orwell won't be around over the next few weeks to deconstruct the double-speak that passes for the European Union's official discourse on climate change.

Whereas the magic of nature was celebrated at spring festivals in Pagan times, an annual gathering of presidents and prime ministers in March is dedicated to crafting an illusion. Our leaders seek to convey the impression that they are as concerned about the environment as the crustiest tree-hugger, while subtly embracing policies that accelerate the planet's destruction.

Angela Merkel is one of the worst culprits. In 2007, the German chancellor used the occasion to warn: "It's not five minutes to midnight. It's five minutes after midnight." Since then, she has been doing everything possible to wreck the green agenda so that a cabal of industrialists who view it is as too costly (in the short-term, needless to say) can be appeased.

The preparations for this year's summit indicate that this pattern of duplicity will continue. (David Cronin, The Guardian)

I'd have titled it "Environmental gibberish" as rather more fitting...

Poor dears seem a bit miffed now they've figured out people actually only make soothing sounds to them while getting on with real life, don't they?

Tropical Cyclone Activity [still] Lowest in 30-years - Tropical cyclone (TC) activity worldwide has completely and utterly collapsed during the past 2 to 3 years with TC energy levels sinking to levels not seen since the late 1970s. This should not be a surprise to scientists since the natural variability in climate dominates any detectable or perceived global warming impact when it comes to measuring yearly integrated tropical cyclone activity. With the continuation (persistence) of colder Pacific tropical sea-surface temperatures associated with the effects of La Nina, the upcoming 2009 Atlantic hurricane season should be above average, as we saw in 2008. Nevertheless, since the Atlantic only makes up 10-15% of overall global TC activity each year (climatological average during the past 30 years), continued Northern Hemispheric and global TC inactivity as a whole likely will continue. (Climate Research News)

U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories - Guest post by Indur M. Goklany

In a recent op-ed in the Guardian that WUWT commented on, James Hansen of global warming fame, argued for closing coal fired power plants asserting that “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

So what’s happened to US life expectancy as the number of coal fired death factories have multiplied and as the climate has gotten warmer? (Watts Up With That?)

Is There Climate Heating In “The Pipeline”? - A new paper has appeared Urban, Nathan M., and Klaus Keller, 2009. Complementary observational constraints on climate sensitivity. Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L04708, doi:10.1029/2008GL036457, February 25, 2009. in press, which provides further discussion of this question. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

Short answer? No.

SPPI Monthly CO2 Report: February

The ultimate in wishful thinking: Arctic Summer Ice Could Vanish By 2013: Expert - OTTAWA - The Arctic is warming up so quickly that the region's sea ice cover in summer could vanish as early as 2013, decades earlier than some had predicted, a leading polar expert said on Thursday.

Warwick Vincent, director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec, said recent data on the ice cover "appear to be tracking the most pessimistic of the models", which call for an ice free summer in 2013.

The year "2013 is starting to look as though it is a lot more reasonable as a prediction. But each year we've been wrong -- each year we're finding that it's a little bit faster than expected," he told Reuters.

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and the sea ice cover shrank to a record low in 2007 before growing slightly in 2008. (Reuters)

While an ice-free Arctic would be really handy from a resource extraction perspective (and would certainly drown fewer narwhals) it is highly unlikely, especially given the Sun's current funk.

Looking at thermometer placement and heat in the infrared - Google can be a great aid to serendipity. Doing some Googling the other day I was surprised to find a couple of my images from How not to measure temperature, Part 42 being used by a company that sells thermal imaging equipment. The company, Thermographix, wrote quite a long essay claiming that the IPCC missed a component of global warming in their reports by not addressing the heat from buildings and land use change on surface temperatures. (Watts Up With That?)

Obama's endangered species ruling could allow climate legal action - President Obama orders review of Bush-era changes to the Endangered Species Act designed to head off legal action against carbon-intensive industries

President Obama took another step towards regulating carbon this week, calling on agency officials to review changes to the Endangered Species Act imposed during the last months of the Bush adminstration that limit the prospect of climate change-related legal action against carbon-intensive projects.

Rule 50 CR Part 402 eliminated a requirement under the Endangered Species Act for agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). These agencies, which fall under the Department of the Interior, are responsible for ensuring that the Act is upheld. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

Something New for Climate Doomsters to Fear: Political Backlash - Global warming used to be such fun for eco-activists and their political allies when it was a stick they could use to beat George W. Bush. For years, the Left milked global warming as a political-theater platform for partisan attack, direct-mail fundraising, and endless moral posturing. But now that they’re running the show in Washington, D.C., climate doomsters know they’ll be blamed if their policies de-stimulate our ailing economy. On two key battlefronts, these vociferous advocates of urgent action are now proceeding with caution. (Marlo Lewis, Planet Gore)

Terence Corcoran: Ontario’s war on carbon - The province's green energy plan is turning Ontario into a green police state

This is our third day with Ontario’s new Green Energy Act (GEA), a likely model for similar policy moves across Canada. We begin with a brief look at the latest in green police-state thinking. It’s modelled on the war on tobacco and the war on drugs: the war on carbon. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

Do C.F.L.’s Increase Greenhouse Gases? - A Canadian utility claimed that widespread use of the cooler-burning fluorescent bulbs (center) were causing chilly customers to turn up the heat to compensate.

For those wondering if the benefits of the increasingly ubiquitous compact fluorescent lightbulb have been overstated, a report last night from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation offers a little something to chew on. The report suggested that the energy savings associated with the bulbs — which use far less electricity than their incandescent predecessors — may be offset by higher heating bills, and more greenhouse emissions.

CBC News has found that in some cases compact fluorescent bulbs (C.F.L.’s) can have the adverse effect of increasing greenhouse gas emissions, depending on how consumers heat their homes.

Physics professor Peter Blunden at the University of Manitoba said C.F.L. bulbs are certainly more energy efficient than older incandescent bulbs.

But in cold-weather climates such as Canada’s, Blunden said older incandescent bulbs do more than just light our homes. During the long winter months, they also generate heat. The new C.F.L. bulbs, on the other hand, produce minimal heat so the loss has to be made up by fossil-fuel burning gas, oil or wood to heat your home.

“To some extent, the case [in favor of C.F.L.'s] has been oversold” because of the offset in higher heating costs, he said.

This curious side effect of the efficient bulb received official acknowledgment in a recent filing by B.C. Hydro, the third largest utility in Canada, before the British Columbia Utilities Commission, which regulates energy rates. (Green Inc.)

The antis will go nuts over this but it's true enough. It's the same reason we have always pointed out the absurdity of exhorting people not to boil "too much" water for their pot of tea (a very English hand-wringer) because it "wastes energy" -- not. The simple fact is people seek hot drinks when they are cold and "boiling the billy" helps heat their dwelling and helps up the humidity too, a win, win situation in chilly climates. Pushing CFLs is no more and no less than an assault on consumer spending power -- the loonies want to deplete your discretionary spending power and hence your consumption to "save Gaia" from those awful people critters.

Bad Information Breeds Harmful Legislation - As Congress continues to deliberate energy and global warming bills, President Bush’s new climate initiative has altered the debate, at least at the international level. Clearheaded analysis and accurate information is essential – or narrow political and economic interests could run roughshod over consumers.

The recent “Coal is filthy” ad campaign underscores this danger. Featuring misleading claims about pollution from coal-fired electrical generating plants, it urged citizens to tell government officials, “No more filthy coal plants.”

But the Coalition wasn’t another gaggle of environmental pressure groups, like those listed on its CleanSkyCoalition.com website. It was a cabal of natural gas companies, led by Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma. Their goal wasn’t helping Americans get “clean skies” and “live longer.” It was fattening corporate wallets.

The cabal hoped new laws would make it harder to build more coal plants, or retrofit old ones to meet tougher air quality standards. Utilities would have to switch to natural gas, supplies would tighten, prices would surge, and Coalition partners would get rich. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)

Costs To keep U.S. Carbon Storage From Coal Elusive - NEW YORK/HOUSTON - Capturing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the biggest U.S. source of the main greenhouse gas, is unlikely to play a big role in President Barack Obama's immediate plans to slow global warming, despite billions of dollars in incentives.

Obama's economic stimulus package contained $3.4 billion for the Department of Energy's office of fossil fuel, much of which is slated for development of carbon capture and storage, the fancy name for trying to store emissions of carbon dioxide permanently underground.

And he wants to join the country with the rest of the developed world in setting mandatory carbon limits. His short-term goal would cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

But many experts say burying carbon from coal-fired power plants will still be in its infancy for years beyond 2020. (Reuters)

It's also a criminal waste of a magnificent resource -- get it out into the biosphere where it can do some major good!

Alliant Cancels Iowa Sutherland Coal Power Project - NEW YORK - Alliant Energy Corp's Interstate Power and Light Co on Thursday said it canceled plans to construct the proposed 649-megawatt Sutherland 4 coal-fired power plant in Iowa.

The company said in a release it canceled the project based on several factors including, the current economic and financial climate, increasing uncertainty regarding regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and the terms placed on the plant by regulators. (Reuters)

Green energy police: Is that a beer fridge in your basement? - Ontario’s Green Energy Act, as proposed by the McGuinty government, would give the province new powers of search and seizure. Under a section dealing with “Mandatory conservation and energy efficiency practices,” the act aims to enforce energy- and water-use efficiency standards. To aid enforcement, a section of the act deals with the methods to be used. Here are some excerpts: (Financial Post)

EU Worried By Russian Threat To Cut Ukraine Gas - BRUSSELS - The European Union said on Thursday it was concerned about Russia's warning that it could again halt gas deliveries to Ukraine -- and possibly to Europe -- over a payment dispute.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the 27-nation EU's relations with the two countries could suffer if their dispute cut supplies of Russia's natural gas to the bloc, as they did at the beginning of the year.

"We are very concerned with the latest news from Ukraine and comments of (Russian) Prime Minister (Vladimir) Putin," Barroso told a news conference. (Reuters)

UN calls on global car industry to halve emissions - Coalition of international agencies sets out road map for auto industry to deliver 50 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency using existing technologies (BusinessGreen)

Schwarzenegger reiterates commitment to tougher gas emissions standards - LOS ANGELES, March 5 -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday reiterated his commitment to moving forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles.

He made the statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began hearing to reconsider a 38-month old waiver request to enforce California's greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks.

"Today marks renewed hope that California and a growing number of states will finally get to move forward with a commonsense policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles," the governor said." California's standard is the equivalent of taking 6.5 million cars off the road and will make our air cleaner, save drivers money at the pump and reduce our nation's dependence on imported oil."

Schwarzenegger said that with nearly 40 percent of California's greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation, "putting cleaner cars on the road is critically important to meeting California's environmental goals." (Xinhua)

U.S. Looking At Interim Options For Nuclear Waste - WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Thursday that his department is now considering short-term options for storage of nuclear waste since President Obama does not support moving forward with the planned nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain.

The department will consider solidifying liquid radioactive waste that is currently held at 121 locations across the nation, as the government works to develop a permanent solution for safe nuclear waste disposal. Chu said the department could solidify waste at current sites without environmental risk.

"The interim storage of waste with solidification is something we can do today," Chu told lawmakers at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (Reuters)

The nuclear option - Clean energy and new technologies to produce environmentally-friendly products will play a major part in Ontario’s economic renewal program. Given its ability to produce reliable, emission-free, base load electricity, Ontario’s nuclear industry can and should play a central role in the creation of a stronger and more sustainable provincial economy. (Armand Laferrère, Financial Post)

Hmm... ARGENTINA: Countryside No Longer Synonymous with Healthy Living - BUENOS AIRES, Mar 4 - Once a serene refuge from urban pollution and chaos, the Argentine countryside has now become a place fraught with risks for many local residents. The massive use of pesticides on fields of soy, the country’s top export, is creating a "health catastrophe" in the rural sector, environmentalists warn. (IPS)

... apart from the fact the rural poor have traditionally much worse health (and health care) than urbanites, what is their basis for claiming harm from glyphosate overspray? I can recall a crush injury to a worker injured by a pallet loaded with glyphosate but that's about it. Anyone know of a confirmed case of harm from this compound? Seriously, we are not talking about Ms Brundtland suffering a headache because someone telephoned her from a call box next to some weeds that had been sprayed but an actual demonstrated case of harm from exposure to glyphosate, does anyone know of one? Let me know.

Probing Question: How does antibiotic resistance happen? - Before Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1928, there were any number of unpleasant ways that bacteria could kill you. Countless women died from infection after childbirth, and a simple chest cold could turn into deadly pneumonia.

Need surgery? Not so fast—without antibiotics, the risk of sepsis was dangerously high. In fact, any injury that broke the skin was potentially fatal: Lord Carnarvon, the discoverer of King Tut’s tomb, died in 1923 from an infected shaving cut. It's no wonder that penicillin—the name for a class of antibiotics developed from Penicillium fungi—was hailed as a miracle drug and earned Fleming a Nobel Prize.

Today, our ability to treat infection is threatened by the evolution of new strains of bacteria that have proven themselves resistant to antibiotics. As of 1994, strains have been identified that are resistant to all currently available antibiotic drugs. Are we headed back to the days of life-threatening shaving accidents? (Penn State)

Low vitamin D may be a bigger problem than thought - NEW YORK - Many U.S. teenagers -- including half of African Americans -- would be considered vitamin D-deficient if the definition of deficiency were changed to what many experts recommend, a new study finds.

Right now, people are considered to have an overt deficiency in vitamin D when blood levels drop below 11 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), but there is debate over how the optimal vitamin D level should be defined.

Some experts consider a level of 30 ng/mL or higher to be desirable for overall health, and many argue that the cutoff for deficiency should be 20 ng/mL.

In the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that adopting the 20 ng/mL standard would push many more U.S. teenagers into the vitamin D-deficient category.

Using data from a government health survey of nearly 3,000 12- to 19- year-olds, they found that 14 percent would be deficient in vitamin D -- compared with 2 percent when the current standard was applied.

What's more, 50 percent of black teenagers would be considered vitamin D-deficient, up from 11 percent under the current definition. (Reuters Health)

Senate puts off vote on huge spending bill - Senate Republicans, demanding the right to try to change a huge spending bill, forced Democrats on Thursday night to put off a final vote on the measure until next week.

The surprise development will force Congress to pass a stopgap funding bill to avoid a partial shutdown of the government.

Republicans have blasted the $410 billion measure as too costly. But the reason for GOP unity in advance of a key procedural vote was that Democrats had not allowed them enough opportunities to offer amendments.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., canceled the vote, saying he was one vote short of the 60 needed to close debate and free the bill for President Barack Obama's signature. (Associated Press)

Ehrlich revisited, rise of the misanthropists: Population explosion 'heralds disaster' - THE world is overpopulating itself to a catastrophic future of terrorism and climatic disaster, according to a Melbourne University professor of reproductive biology.

Professor Roger Short will tell an international conference in Sydney today that for the first time in history, human activity is outstripping the natural world's ability to cope. The reason, he says, is exploding and uncontrolled population growth.

He is calling for a vast increase in the availability and use of contraception to slow the birthrate worldwide, and says only one country — China, through its one-child policy — has shown the way to future stability and sustainable environmental and economic growth. (The Age)

China to plough extra 20% into agricultural production amid fears that climate change will spark food crisis - Wen Jiabao announces extra money to boost farm yields, raise rural incomes and invest in renewable energy

China will increase spending on agricultural production by 20% this year amid warnings that climate change could spark a future food crisis .

Prime minister Wen Jiabao's announcement of an extra 121 billion yuan (£13bn) to boost farm yields and raise rural incomes was a central part of his annual budget speech at the Great Hall of the People.

The government's spending pledge also included extra money for renewable energy and improved power efficiency, but these environmental benefits were outweighed by moves to boost overall domestic consumption and a likely emphasis on intensive agriculture. (The Guardian)

Hey lookit! They've discovered aerial fertilization with CO2: Wheat crop produces more in climate change test - Most news we hear about climate change is bad news for agriculture - but here's something a bit more positive.

Research carried out by the Department of Primary Industries in Victoria has shown that wheat crop yields could jump by up to 20 per cent under global warming.

The trial pumped more carbon dioxide into the air around the wheat, to the level that's expected in 2050.

Glenn Fitzgerald, from the DPI, says that it's not all good news though.

"The caveat there is that that assumes sufficient water and nitrogen," he says.

"We're looking at basically how the fertilisation effect of C02 can offset some of the reductions in water that we know are coming." (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Really? And what "reductions in water" do we "know are coming"?

Food, Farms The New Target For Venezuela's Chavez - CARACAS - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has put food and farms at the center of his socialist revolution, tightening the government's grip on supplies of staples in a strategy that risks sparking social unrest.

Chavez nationalized a local unit of U.S. food giant Cargill on Wednesday and threatened to take over the South American country's top food producer, Empresas Polar.

Since winning a referendum vote three weeks ago that allows him to run again for re-election in 2012, Chavez has moved against food companies, imposing output quotas and sending troops to grain mills.

Chavez risks disrupting the supply chain with the aggressive steps, but the former paratrooper is gambling he can rein in soaring prices for staples and at the same time maintain production with a renewed focus on farming.

If he fails, he will anger Venezuelans. Sporadic food shortages in the past dented his popularity and attempts to boost farm output via land reform led to rural violence.

This week, he imposed tough new quotas forcing companies to direct most of their output to products with price caps. He took over Cargill's rice plant for producing only parboiled rice, which is exempt from the price controls. (Reuters)

Monsanto's Uphill Battle in Germany - Business is booming worldwide for US biotech giant Monsanto but in Germany the company has encountered fierce resistance. A colorful alliance of beekeepers, anti-capitalism protestors and conservative politicians are in the process of chasing the global market leader out of the country. (Der Spiegel)

March 5, 2009

Make up your mind, dopey! US urged to take lead against recession - Gordon Brown on Wednesday pleaded with Congress to avoid pressures to turn inwards on America and to "seize the moment" to lead the world in the fight against recession, global warming and protectionism. (George Parker, Financial Times)

Does he want to fight recession or aid misanthropic warmists? These are mutually exclusive aims.

Oh dear... Keynote Remarks at U.S. Climate Action Symposium - Thank you, Lord Stern. Thank you Jonathan Lash and WRI; Fred Bergsten and the Peterson Institute; and Nancy Birdsall and the Center for Global Development. You and your colleagues have done so much to ensure the right response to the climate crisis, and we all deeply appreciate that. And today, you’ve brought us together for a very important discussion. (Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change)

Northwest Scientists Testify To Congress On Warming - Conservation leaders from the Northwest are finding themselves in high demand from Congress as majority Democrats plot their climate change strategy.

Two environmental scientists from the Rogue Valley and a Nisqually Indian leader testified at the nation’s capital this week.

Oregon State University professor Mark Harmon also testified. He told lawmakers they need to set up a national system to verify that the “carbon credits” companies buy and sell really do offset pollution. (OPB)

Statement to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming - Rising amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere pose worrisome challenges. There are many obstacles, however, impeding the process of forming climate policy that can successfully address these challenges. Nonetheless, the United States can make substantial progress in climate policy if it acknowledges three key considerations: a seeming global consensus on the need to halt rising greenhouse gas levels masks a lack of consensus on willingness to pay the required costs; the U.S. alone cannot create global consensus where none exists; and the needed global consensus on greenhouse gas curbs will be long in coming. Given these considerations, expanding research and development directed at adaptation to climate change would prove quite useful in the long-term. (Lee Lane, AEI)

Industry leaders better informed than UK's 'science minister': Industry leaders denying climate change, says UK science minister - Lord Drayson says there is an urgent need to restate the scientific evidence for global warming and calls for companies to focus on their environmental obligations

Senior figures in the manufacturing industry do not accept that human activities are driving global warming or that action needs to be taken to prepare for its effects, the UK government's science minister said today.

Lord Drayson said recent discussions with leaders in the car industry and other businesses had left him "shocked" at the number of climate change deniers among senior industrialists. Of those who acknowledged that global temperatures were rising, many blamed it on variations in the sun's activity. (The Guardian)

What utter rubbish: Thatcher saw climate threat - Now is as good a time as any to tackle global warming, as a former British PM knew

IN 1990, way before climate change became an issue fought from behind fixed lines, a government leader made a plea for action.

"The danger of global warming is as yet unseen but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations," she said.

She argued there was a clear case for precautionary international action, action that would be sensible in any event if it improved energy efficiency, developed alternative and sustainable sources of energy and replanted forests.

Margaret Thatcher's interest in global warming dates back to earlier in her prime ministership. Unlike most politicians, she had some professional acquaintance with the area, graduating in chemistry from Oxford University and working for a period as a research scientist. (Mike Steketee, The Australian)

It has always been a farce driven by Crispen Tickell under the guise of giving light-weight and highly unpopular Education Secretary "Milk-snatcher Thatcher" the illusion of substance. See "Global Warming: How It All Began" by Richard Courtney.

Senators Debate Global Warming Policy Despite Global Cooling Evidence - Democratic senators told CNSNews.com on Tuesday that despite a recent study that shows global temperatures have been dropping since 2001 and that projects the globe will continue to cool for the next several decades, they think the United States should continue to push forward with aggressive action to curb climate change.

Two Republicans, however, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned that while some action is necessary, lawmakers must act in a deliberate and fiscally responsible manner.

The study, released on Jan. 28 by Kyle L. Swanson and Anastasios A. Tsonis, who are professors in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, found that the Earth has been cooling since 2001 and projected that due to “global variation” the climate would continue to cool for the next 20 to 30 years.

Democratic senators told CNSNews.com that despite new studies and reports of variations in global temperatures, the federal government should move quickly to implement policies because they believe the debate over global warming is over. (CNSNews.com)

It’s not the end of the world as we know it - Hysterical claims that we have only 93 months to ‘save our climate’ are based on ignorance of human ingenuity.

Did you know that we have only 93 months to ‘save the world’?

According to the 100 Months Project, a collection of green groups and charities based in Britain and beyond, in around seven or eight years’ time we will reach the climate’s ‘tipping point’ after which there will be ‘no return’. Unless we severely slash our carbon-use now, and lower our horizons, the world will effectively end. The 100 Months website comes complete with a big red ticking clock counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, days and months to the point of ‘no return’. At the time of writing, there are 93 months, or 2,737 days or 65,688 hours, to save our planet.

It is a powerful illustration of the end-of-world fantasies of many in the green movement and at the top of society. Behind all the PC and seemingly reasonable talk of ‘tipping points’, ‘scientific findings’ and ‘carbon calculating’, this is a modern-day, secular version of the countdown to the End of Days that gripped earlier apocalyptic movements in human history. Yet if we are going to have a serious debate about the environmental issues facing our society, and the political challenges associated with them, then we need to state one simple but currently heretical idea: the end of the world is not nigh and, more to the point, humans are the potential makers of history, not merely its unwitting victims. (Robin Walsh, sp!ked)

Following California -- off the cliff - "Despite consistently describing the economic situation as being dire, President Barack Obama is rapidly moving forward with policies that have the potential to seriously harm American industry. He has tasked Vice President Biden to promote the cap-and-trade program that the envirolobby has been seeking after for over a decade. (Heliogenic Climate Change)

Labouring with Labels - It’s often hard to have a discussion about the climate change debate without recourse to language about ’sides’.

We are certainly not the only ones to have argued that the conventional portrayal of the debate as a polarised one between warmers/alarmists and sceptics/deniers is counter-productive. Not only does it too easily translate into a battle between good and evil, but it is a misleading description of climate change debates.

Moreover, while such debates are principally about what to do - the politics - the existing categories relate to what is believed about the material reality - ‘the science’. For instance you could attract the label ‘denier’ (and many do) by arguing that there’s no urgent need for ‘drastic action’ to avoid climate change in spite of holding that CO2 is influencing the climate, and will cause problems, and that it would be a good idea to cut emissions in the longer term.

The polarisation of the political debate using scientific terms is an impediment to understanding the actual arguments being made. An individual’s views on the science aren’t always sufficient to explain the ’side’ he ends up on, or which label is applied to him. To label someone in a way that relates to ’science’ when their views are essentially political is like determining what football team someone supports according to how they dance. It might work in some more extreme cases if you’re armed with some cultural knowledge, but broadly speaking, it’s just silly.

How then, should we sensibly identify ’sides’ in the debate? We think we have the germ of an answer. (Climate Resistance)

Why Alarmism? - When it comes to global warming, dire predictions seem to be all we see or hear. But is the alarmism justified?

In today’s Cato Daily Podcast, climatologists Patrick Michaels explains why the news and information we receive about global warming have become so apocalyptic. According to Michaels, a Cato senior fellow in environmental studies, science itself has become increasingly biased, with warnings of extreme consequences from global warming becoming the norm. That bias is then communicated through the media, who focus on only extreme predictions.

Click here to listen to this insightful commentary. It is likely to change the way you perceive the media’s portrayal of global warming. (William Yeatman, Cooler Heads)

Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News - Alarmists get snowed in for Washington, D.C. rally; networks mostly ignore signs of cooling temps, 'record' cold.

Temperatures have plummeted to record or near-record lows in 32 states this winter. On March 2, a global warming protest in Washington, D.C. was buried by nearly a foot of snow. And a new study warns that the Earth could be in for a 30-year cooling trend. Reality is not cooperating with the network news’ global warming theme, yet reporters are unwilling to even discuss the possibility that the Earth is cooling.

Global warming alarmists repeatedly link weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, ice melt, droughts and wildfires with global warming and the media embrace the stories. Yet, when cities or regions are buried in snow like the city of Chenzhou, China was in February 2008 there wasn’t a word about climate change in the cooling direction. (Julia A. Seymour, Business & Media Institute)

The ever-moving target: Rich Nations Revise Up Greenhouse Gas Problem - OSLO - Industrialized nations have added greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual totals of France or Australia to a 1990 baseline against which cuts required by U.N. climate treaties are measured.

Emissions reported by 34 nations for the 1990 base year that underpins U.N. efforts to rein in global warming have risen 3.5 percent overall to 17.6 billion tons in the most recent annual data from 17.0 billion in the first U.N. compilation in 1996, a Reuters survey showed on Wednesday.

That difference -- adding about 600 million tons of gases emitted mainly by burning fossil fuels to the problem -- is more than the current annual emissions of countries such as Italy, Australia or France.

The biggest rises have been by the United States and Russia.

Governments refine their emissions counts year by year, in some cases adding new gas sources. In many cases revisions to the 1990 baseline also add to emissions in subsequent years, swelling totals that are contributing to warm the planet.

"One possible reason for a small upward trend could be the permanent improvement in the completeness of national greenhouse gas inventories," said Sergey Kononov, head of the unit at the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat that compiles emissions data. (Reuters)

Ludicrous: EU Carbon Scheme Not Hurt By Low Prices, Yet - LONDON - Falling carbon prices have raised questions about the credibility of the European Union's flagship trading scheme as the bloc's main weapon to fight global warming.

But traders and analysts insist the scheme is working as a market mechanism should and concerns over persistent low prices detract from what the scheme was intended for.

Since 2005, the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme has imposed a cap on carbon emissions from factories and power plants in the 27-nation bloc using a fixed quota of emissions permits, called EU Allowances.

Since the economic slowdown, cash-strapped firms have been selling their permits to raise funds, causing prices to hit a low of 8.05 euros ($10.18) in February from nearly 31 euros last July.

The scheme was designed to cap emissions, which it is achieving. As industrial output declines due to the recession, there are less emissions which means companies have less demand for permits, meaning they should meet the cap. (Reuters)

Working how? Governments swamped the markets lavishing vast oversupply of free certificates to ensure their own industries were not disadvantaged and the excess is being dumped. How is that capping anything?

Emissions Exchange Trading Volumes Soar In 2009 - LONDON - Exchange-traded volumes for European Union emissions permits and Kyoto Protocol carbon offsets traded so far in 2009 are double last year's average, data from the exchanges showed.

Nearly 700 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), or more than the annual CO2 emissions of Canada, were traded over six European exchanges in February, according to the data.

At a weighted average price of 9.68 euros per metric ton, this represents a trade value of 6.71 billion euros ($8.49 billion). (Reuters)

They just forgot to mention this is because companies are cashing out every tradable asset (including these government gifts) in an effort to remain viable in a recession.

Libs owe Nelson an apology - Liberals must admit their former leader's stand on climate change was right, contends Tom Switzer | March 04, 2009

IN the past fortnight, the politics of climate change has changed dramatically. What only six months ago was the conventional wisdom -- that Australia should lead the world on combating global warming and make deep cuts to carbon emissions via a cap-and-trade model -- has been turned on its head.

Today, Kevin Rudd is isolated on his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and climate change has turned into his perfect storm. Meanwhile, business leaders such as Heather Ridout and Don Argus support either a time-out of two years or a carbon tax to replace emissions trading. And more and more Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators want the Opposition to sharpen the difference with Labor, even before the Government releases the draft legislation next week. Someone should apologise to Brendan Nelson. (The Australian)

Large Uncertainty In The Simulation Of The Global Average Surface Temperature By The IPCC Models - A Study Reported On The Weblog “The Blackboard” - There is an excellent and very informative weblog at the website The Blackboard: Where Climate Talk Gets Hot!

It is Fact 6A: Model Simulations Don’t Match the Average Surface Temperature of the Earth.

There is a figure titled “Figure 1: IPCC Model Simulations Prediction of Earth Surface Temperature” which documents the large variations of the IPCC model predicted surface temperatures. This weblog clearly documents an issue with the use of the global average surface temperature as the primary metric to diagnose and predict climate change. We discussed the definition of a global average surface temperature  (see Section 2) and other issues in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

The differences in the model results are several degrees Celsius as presented in the figure presented on The Blackboard. Since the outgoing long wave radiation to space is proportional to T**4, these differences among the models is significant.  These differences from the observations cannot be ignored, even though the IPCC focuses on the changes (trends) of these temperatures over time.

We look forward to the appearance of Lucia’s outstanding evaluations of the IPCC model skill in the peer reviewed literature, and will report on Climate Science when it does. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

South East Australian heatwave in January 2009 is not detectable in “global warming” data - Increasingly, we are hearing in the media that the January-February south east Australian heatwave and disastrous bushfires in Victoria that have killed over 200 people are the result of climate change or global warming. (Warwick Hughes)

Did the Climate ‘Shift’ in 2001/02? - Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis have a new GRL paper ‘in press’ entitled: ‘Has the climate recently shifted?’ (Climate Research News)

A Peek behind the Curtain - On Feb 26, Garth Paltridge, Alan Arking and Michael Pook's report on a re-examination of NCEP reanalysis data on upper tropospheric humidity was published online by Theoretical and Applied Climatology. Upper tropospheric humidity is a critical topic in assessing the strength of water vapor feedbacks - knowledge that is essential to understand just how much temperature increase can be expected from doubled CO2. Paltridge and Arking are both senior climate scientists with lengthy and distinguished publication records. They reported: (Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit)

Big problems need big solutions - Climate change is a massive problem that needs big and bold solutions, says Professor Tim Lenton. In this week's Green Room, he outlines the reasons why "geo-engineering" projects, such as reflecting sunlight back into space, could help win the battle against dangerous climate change. (Tim Lenton, BBC)

Perhaps if we type it slower they'll understand.  W e  d o  n o t  w a n t  t o  c o o l  t h e  p l a n e t !  Sheesh!

It's the New BTU Review, Coming Right at You - As I have written here previously, Obama's global warming tax is an even bigger, and therefore riskier, stab at the politically disastrous BTU tax that failed in the last Democratic president's first budget. Back then, Democrats held healthy majorities in both houses of Congress — majorities that were wiped out the next year, thanks — according to Al Gore — to the BTU debacle. As I have also written, it will be Democrats, not Republicans, who kill this most recent iteration.

Monday's Congressional Quarterly has an article (h/t Benny Peiser) presaging this familiar outcome, which is about as unpredictable as professional wrestling, so long as business does not succumb to the administration's effort to sell them window insurance as a threat to some holdouts (the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Manufacturers) to spare the administration the political fight over trying to impose it.

Just as the Democrats have telegraphed their (rightful) fear over such a fight, they are also terrified of being tagged with having imposed an even bigger disaster through an EPA rulemaking. It's still theirs. Why do you think they labored so hard to get Bush to take ownership before he left office? Hold your position, lads, they're trying to tell you something, and it's that they don't have what it takes to make this happen. (Chris Horner, Planet Gore)

Real greenhouse effect: This is Thanet Earth - cucumbers in February that will cut food miles - It is not quite spring and temperatures are barely above freezing, but the summery taste of home-grown cucumbers is with us already.

The first batch of cucumbers grown in Britain’s biggest greenhouse has gone on sale.

They will soon be followed by crops of tomatoes and peppers in a development intended to cut agricultural energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Thanet Earth complex in Kent is expected to boost British production of salad vegetables by 15 per cent, as well as cutting food miles and keeping the lights on in 25,000 homes. When the complex is complete, its seven enormous greenhouses will be linked to 14 combined heat and power generators that keep the buildings warm and will also provide electricity for thousands of homes.

Tomatoes grown there should result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions than those flown in from Spain. Peppers and cucumbers are expected to have a smaller carbon footprint than any others for sale in Britain.

Researchers addressing the issue of food miles said that it appeared that the complex, which currently has three greenhouses and five generators in operation, succeeds in offering year-round vegetable production with a comparatively small carbon footprint. (The Times)

A controlled (and necessarily contained) environment with added heat and carbon dioxide (how lovely for the plants and workers within).

Back in the virtual realm: Mediterranean Sea level could rise by 61 cm - A Spanish-British research project has come up with three future scenarios for the effects of climate change on the Mediterranean over the next 90 years, using global models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The conclusions show that ocean temperatures in this area will increase, along with sea levels.

In order to understand and correctly predict risks for the Mediterranean coast, researchers from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA, a joint centre run by the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and the Spanish National Research Council, CSIC) and the National Oceanography Centre of Southampton in the United Kingdom have analysed simulations based on three scenarios related to climate change and the rise in greenhouse gases. Their goal was to predict the temperature, sea level and salinity of the Mediterranean in the 21st Century.  (Plataforma SINC, Spain)

Another bizarre Rahmsdorf rant: We must shake off this inertia to keep sea level rises to a minimum - Björn Lomborg's claim that sea levels are not rising faster than predicted are unfounded and used by those wanting to downplay climate change

Global sea level is rising, and faster than expected. We need to honestly discuss this risk rather than trying to play it down. (The Guardian)

Rahmsdorf claims sea levels have risen by about 8" over the last 130 years (possible), which is about the estimated rate per century for the last few millennia. We're shocked, shocked, we say.

Peter Foster: Pew’s long trip from oil scion to climate shill - Sun Oil money is now being used to lobby for a Kyoto Treaty whose primary victims will be America’s energy companies

Environment Minister Jim Prentice faced some influential big money opposition when selling the merits of the oil sands this week in Washington. One of the more ironic sources is the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts. That’s because the foundation was started by the family that first commercialized the oil sands. Great Canadian Oil Sands was the vision and creation of J. Howard Pew, son of the founder of Sun Oil, and forms the basis of Suncor.

Responding to a recent Post article citing Pew as part of the “Anti-Oil Sands industry,” Steve Kallick, director of Pew’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign, admitted that “We anchor an international partnership of First Nations, scientists, corporations and environmental groups working to protect one of the Earth’s most valuable natural systems: Canada’s Boreal Forest.” But the oil sands are also in the foundation’s sights because of its strong support for draconian climate change legislation.

Pew — whose endowment stands at around US$4-billion and which gave out US$213-million in its latest financial year — is far from the only charitable foundation that has pursued interests at odds with those of its founders. The capitalist wealth behind foundations with names such as Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie and McArthur has frequently wound up promoting big government. Nevertheless, Pew is claimed to stand out. Martin Morse Wooster, an expert on trusts and their deviation from founders’ intent, has cited Pew as “perhaps the most egregious violation of donor intent in existence.” (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

Santos Halts $450 Million Moomba Carbon-Storage Plan -- Santos Ltd., Australia’s third- biggest oil and gas producer, suspended its Moomba carbon- storage project, a victim of weak government support and plunging prices for permits to release greenhouse gases.

Credit prices to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are too low to underpin the investment planned for central Australia’s Cooper Basin, Matthew Doman, a spokesman at Adelaide-based Santos said today. Santos has estimated the project would cost more than A$700 million ($450 million).

Governments and energy companies worldwide are revising plans to build underground storage for carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming, because stalled economies and lower permit prices are making them less attractive.  (Bloomberg)

That and the fact they are a stupid idea to begin with...

Shale Gas: The Black Swan in the Gas Patch

Editor’s Note: H. deForest Ralph has been working in the US energy business for more than four decades. He recently sent me this piece on shale gas, which first appeared in The Gas Price Report. It’s a succinct analysis of the US gas business.

A Black Swan has landed in the North American natural gas business. A “Black Swan Event” as put forth by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his recent book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is an event that was unexpected; has a major, even disruptive, impact; and is then “explained” by hindsight. The Black Swan that has landed in the gas patch is shale.

The numerous shale plays (Barnett, Haynesville, Marcellus, etc.) are disrupting the conventional thinking, and planning, that the industry has relied upon for years. The accepted wisdom was that natural gas supply in the contiguous 48 US states was on a treadmill and losing ground and that external supplies would have to be ever increasing. Thus, there was planning for Alaska gas, LNG import terminals, more gas from Canada, maybe even (shades of the 1970s) syn-fuels. Forget about all that now, and maybe for decades. The new paradigm is that US production will be limited to market demand and that we won’t need massive imports. We will have all the domestic supply we need. The reason – the shale resources are large, pervasive, and can now be made highly productive at reasonable cost. The first glimmers of what is happening began to show up last year, when domestic supply increased and new well productivity increased.

The implications, at least to this humble observer, are huge. Imports will be at the margins of the US and not essential to meet demand. The LNG imports that come will only be sent to the US when they have nowhere else to go, and they will be at distressed prices. There will be little need for a pipeline from Alaska, particularly if the upper Midwest is served by gas from shale plays in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The price of natural gas will most likely be set by the dynamics of the well costs for shale wells and the marginal costs of production, as the animal spirits of producers will most likely create a constant state of excess supply potential. In short, the shale plays are a major disruptive force in the US natural gas industry and the future will be unlike the past. (H. deForest Ralph, Jr., Energy Tribune)

Energy audits a waste of energy - Forcing energy audits on sellers is both inefficient and problematic

To many people, the Ontario government’s recent announcement that all homes must have an energy audit before being sold must sound like a good idea. In fact, the legislation states that an energy audit is required prior to all real property transactions, including leases. So much the better, some may say.

The legislation does not actually specify that an independent audit is required. That intention was announced by the government, and would have to be spelled out in regulations. The legislation actually specifies that sellers must provide “information, reports or ratings” on “energy consumption and efficiency.” The government says the audits should cost about $300. However, a province-wide audit infrastructure does not yet exist so the market price for audits once they are in demand is yet to be determined.

There are certainly positive aspects to mandatory audits. Everyone who buys a home will get some information on the energy efficiency of the home (property) they are buying. It will increase consumers’ awareness about this aspect of real estate. And it will incent some potential sellers to take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. (Vince Brescia, Financial Post)

Pathologising dissent? Now that’s Orwellian - Ahead of a conference on the psychology of climate change denial, Brendan O’Neill says green authoritarians are treating debate as a disorder.

A few months ago, for a joke, I set up a Facebook group called ‘Climate change denial is a mental disorder’. It’s a satirical campaigning hub for people who think that climate change denial should be recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association, and that its sufferers – who probably engage in ‘regular chanting and intensive brainwashing sessions in cult-like surroundings’ – should be offered ‘eco-lobotomies’ to remove ‘the denying part of their brain’. The group now has 42 members. Yes, some have signed up because they get the joke, but others are serious subscribers to the denial-as-insanity idea. ‘Thank God I’ve found this group’, says one new member, who is sick of other Facebook groups being ‘hijacked’ by unhinged eco-sceptics.

The idea that ‘climate change denial’ is a psychological disorder – the product of a spiteful, wilful or simply in-built neural inability to face up to the catastrophe of global warming – is becoming more and more popular amongst green-leaning activists and academics. And nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent. The labelling of any criticism of the politics of global warming, first as ‘denial’, and now as evidence of mass psychological instability, is an attempt to write off all critics and sceptics as deranged, and to lay the ground for inevitable authoritarian solutions to the problem of climate change. Historically, only the most illiberal and misanthropic regimes have treated disagreement and debate as signs of mental ill-health.

This weekend, the University of West England is hosting a major conference on climate change denial. Strikingly, it’s being organised by the university’s Centre for Psycho-Social Studies. It will be a gathering of those from the top of society – ‘psychotherapists, social researchers, climate change activists, eco-psychologists’ – who will analyse those at the bottom of society, as if we were so many flitting, irrational amoeba under an eco-microscope. The organisers say the conference will explore how ‘denial’ is a product of both ‘addiction and consumption’ and is the ‘consequence of living in a perverse culture which encourages collusion, complacency and irresponsibility’. It is a testament to the dumbed-down, debate-phobic nature of the modern academy that a conference is being held not to explore ideas – to interrogate, analyse and fight over them – but to tag them as perverse. (Brendan O’Neill, sp!ked)

March 4, 2009

A world of interesting perspectives: A Conversation with a Climate Scientist

[UPDATE: Michael Tobis responds and clarifies in the comments, be sure to read these remarks as well.]

I am beginning to get a better understanding why some scientists react so strongly to some of the things we write here at Prometheus. For instance, one climate scientist suggests that my calling out Al Gore for misrepresenting the science of disasters and climate change (as well as Andy Revkin’s comparison of that to George Will’s misrepresentations) to be morally comparable to killing 1,000 people. I kid you not. I wonder how many climate scientists share this perspective. (Roger Pielke, Jr., Prometheus)

How anyone claiming to be a scientist can even try to defend the utter rubbish espoused by Al Gore is a mystery to me.

Hansen belittles models, carbon trading, Kyoto; calls for coal-destroying carbon tax - Last week’s House Ways & Means Committee hearing on “scientific objectives for climate change legislation” contained much grist for skeptical mills. Dr. James Hansen did not challenge any of Dr. John Christy’s specific arguments that UN climate models overestimate climate sensitivity. Instead, he advised Congress to ask the National Academy of Sciences for an “authoritative” assessment, because the science is “crystal clear.” Hansen was quite harsh in criticizing Kyoto (an “abject failure”) and carbon trading (a politically unsustainable hidden tax for the benefit of special interests). He outlined a proposal for what he calls carbon “Tax & Dividend,” whereby 100% of the revenues would be refunded to the American people via monthly deposits to their bank accounts. As I discuss here, Hansen’s beguiling proposal could decimate coal-based power in a decade or two, pushing electricity prices up faster than dividend payments increase, and saddling the economy with a growth-chilling energy crisis. (Marlo Lewis, Cooler Heads)

‘Stimulating’ Scientists Into Proving Global Warming - The trillion-dollar plus porkapalooza Wreak-America Bill just passed by Congress will throw a huge amount of money into scientific research. This will be a good thing for certain scientists, but a very, very bad thing for science.

Young scientists do most of the great science. Einstein was 26 when he published his relativity theory. In 1980, when I got my first government research grant at the age of 33, some 22 percent of National Institute of Health (NIH) [1] grants were given to scientists under the age of 35. In 2005, only three percent of NIH grants went to those under 35, while the percentage given to those over 45 increased from 22 to 77.

Increasingly, government grants are used to defend dogma, not discover new truth: 28 percent of the scientists supported by NIH admitted recently to cooking data to support establishment theory, and 66 percent admitted to cutting corners to achieve the same end. I myself no longer trust the data claims appearing in the leading science journals. (Frank J. Tipler, Pajamas Media)

Global Warming Teach-In - Global warming is not a crisis, but it may be creating a crisis of intellectual integrity.

Last month, college campuses held a “National Teach-in on Global Warming Solutions.” The thrust of the message was that there is a crisis because global temperatures are rising, endangering the world’s future, and humans are to blame.

I agree that there may be a crisis, but I don’t believe that it is a crisis of impending heat; it is, rather, a crisis of intellectual integrity.

First, let me point out something that most people may not realize. Since 1998, there has been no trend in world temperatures, neither up nor down, in spite of population growth, greater resource use, and lots of carbon dioxide production. True, 1998, was the warmest year on record, and we are still in a warm period, but world temperatures are no higher than when today’s college seniors began middle school. The likelihood of the catastrophic effects that gave Al Gore a Nobel Peace Prize is weak.

The crisis that concerns me stems from the way that scientists are addressing the issue. Ever since 1988, when James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, alerted a congressional committee to global warming, climate change has been a political issue.

Methods and standards that have stood the test of time since the Enlightenment have been shunted aside in order to promote a political objective. Climate experts are no longer expected to create hypotheses and test them but to assume that global warming threatens the planet and to use their expertise to justify this claim. Scientists who question aspects of the orthodoxy have been silenced or fired. (Jane S. Shaw, Pope Center)

Climate change double-think - The Earth has been cooling for a decade. While it may be true (or not, depending on whose figures one uses) that 1998 was the second-warmest year on record, and that seven or eight of the years since were in the top 10, no year since has been warmer than 1998 and nearly every one has been cooler than the one before it.

The trend is decidedly downward. Indeed, the drop in temperatures since late-2007 has been so precipitous --nearly a full degree Celsius-- that almost all of the global warming that has occurred since the late-1970s has disappeared.

One of the criticisms of global warming predictions is that models cannot even reproduce climate for which we already have detailed records. So last spring, when climate scientists at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology managed -- finally -- to use their supercomputer to recreate the climate of the past half-century, there was much anticipation of what their predictions would be for the next half. What they said was that global temperatures would continue to fall for at least another decade, perhaps longer.

When I wrote last year that this 20-year intermission in upward temperature trends bruised the credibility of global warming scientists and alarmist environmentalists, several of them wrote me to say they had never predicted steadily rising temperatures. No, no, they insisted, all along they had expected periods -- even some long ones -- in which temperatures would retreat before surging ahead again. So the currently cooling fit right in with what they had been predicting all along.

This, of course, was revisionist hogwash -- if only because the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed there was no doubt that disastrous manmade warming was already upon us. The IPCC further predicted temperatures this decade would rise 0.3C and by similar amounts every decade through 2100. (Lorne Gunter, National Post)

In global warming we trust - Today, we are urged to believe that within the next few decades the globe will become intolerably warmer. The world as we know it will be drastically altered unless we act now to reverse our wayward lifestyles, especially our wasteful energy practices.

But wait. Aren't we all just essentially being pressured to believe in a long-range climate forecast? And isn't this pressure largely being applied by politicians and political organizations no less? Who today would bet serious money on a weather prediction made a month in advance let alone decades ahead? Yet the developed nations of the world are under the gun to invest hundreds of billions of dollars on a climate prophecy when worldwide financial stability is tottering. Doesn't President Barack Obama have enough global headaches to buffer to worry about a trillion-dollar climate prescription? (Anthony Sadar and Susan Cammarata, Washington Times)

The Prince of Precaution: big Tim's little monster
The much anticipated book by geologist Marc Hendrickx is now in pre-press!
ISBN 978-0-9805943-2-4

Big Tim is the Prince of Precaution. He has seen an Angry Green Warty monster in the cave off Mint Fry Lane. He rushes back to town to warn everyone. After hearing Prince Tim's hair raising description the townsfolk drop everything to help rid the kingdom of the beast. They prepare for the battle through the harsh winter and eventually they are ready. As they approach the cave to confront the beast they realise it's not quite what they expect it to be. It seems that Big Tim has some explaining to do. (The Little Skeptic)

Obama’s 'Cap and Trade' Plan Imposes Huge Tax - In his February 24 speech, President Obama asked Congress to send him “…legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.” But by “market-based cap” he means that the government would mandate carbon dioxide emission permits – which are essentially permits to use energy – that companies would then be able to sell among themselves.

His budget assumes a staggering $650 billion in revenue from this scheme. But who picks up the tab? Who ultimately pays the cost of buying these slices of global warming baloney, and why would industry support such a scheme?

The answer is that you and I do, as does everyone who buys anything requiring energy, just like we pay the cost of all the other taxes paid by manufacturers. It’s a tax, folks. Plain and simple, Obama’s “market-based cap” plan is a tax on American business. (Christopher C. Horner, Human Events)

The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households - On March 2, 2009, the George C. Marshall Institute released The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households which documents the economic burdens a cap-and-trade program to control greenhouse gas emissions will impose on American households.

"As the nation’s policy makers consider caps on greenhouse gas emissions, taxes on carbon dioxide, or other measures to control greenhouse gas emissions, namely energy use, they will regulate economic activity and personal behavior with the real costs being borne by the already stressed families of the United States," Institute President Jeff Kueter said. "Policy proposals that would drastically alter our energy system or confront the climate change risk must be considered in light of turbulent and uncertain economic circumstances. President Obama and the Congressional leadership have signaled their support for cap-and-trade. The Cost of Climate Regulation for American Households ought to temper the enthusiasm for this approach and encourage our leaders to examine other alternatives."

Authored by Bryan Buckley and Sergey Mityakov of Clemson University, the study discusses the burdens that could be placed on families throughout the United States. Using the popular cap-and-trade proposal discussed in the U.S. Senate last year as a point of reference, the study examines the likely impact of that system on personal consumption and welfare, national economic growth, employment, and the price paid for energy (electricity, natural gas, and gasoline). (Bryan Buckley and Dr. Sergey Mityakov, Marshall Institute)

Perhaps Obama can convince the holdouts - Polling before the US presidential election showed that Australians supported Barack Obama over John McCain by a margin of about 5 to 1.

Among environmental and green groups the support was even stronger. Obama was the green candidate in that election who strongly supported carbon reduction and an emissions trading system. So perhaps it is timely to see where the Obama Administration is going on this issue.

In a televised address in November to a bipartisan summit of US governors organised by California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Obama pledged "a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change". He pledged to introduce a federal cap and trade system with annual targets to "reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020".

That is one way of putting it. Another way of explaining that target is to say that by 2020 the US aims to make no reduction in the levels of emission measured against 1990. That's right, Obama's 2020 target is a reduction of zero per cent. (Peter Costello, Sydney Morning Herald)

Check out the nonsense these guys read: ‘‘Climate Change Does Not Wait For Recessions’’ - KAMPALA, Mar 3 - Lack of money and technical know-how makes it difficult for poor farmers to participate in the Kyoto Protocol’s carbon trading mechanism aimed at reversing global warming. Meanwhile, the global economic crisis may further undermine investment in carbon trade in African countries.

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, allows for carbon trade which involves industrialised countries lowering their greenhouse gas emissions by financing emission reduction projects in developing countries where investment is cheaper. This is called the clean development mechanism (CDM).

The protocol requires that industrialised countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions between the years 2008 and 2012 to levels that are 5.2 percent lower than those of 1990.

The global carbon market was worth around 116 billion dollars at the end 2008, rising 84 percent from the previous year due to higher trading volumes and prices.

Research by New Carbon Finance predicted that the market's value could rise to 150 billion dollars in 2009, in spite of the gloomy backdrop of a global recession, and to 550 billion dollars by 2012. New Carbon Finance is a company providing services for investors in the renewable energy and low-carbon sectors. (IPS)

Meanwhile: Low carbon prices give EU jitters - As the price of EU emission allowances (EUAs) remains under €10, Ed Miliband, the UK's energy and climate change secretary, last week joined those demanding EU measures to prop up the market. Many experts, however, have warned against such intervention.

Carbon prices have collapsed amidst the economic downturn due to reduced demand for energy. The falling prices have raised concerns that the market mechanism does not guarantee high enough prices to give adequate impetus for industries to switch to cleaner sources of energy or retrofit their coal plants with carbon capture and storage technology.

"A trading scheme is the right way to go, but it is challenging when prices fall to eight euros," Miliband told a parliamentary committee on 25 February. "We need to structure it as best we can to have a proper carbon price," he said.

In the meantime, Deutsche Bank released a new report calling for action from EU policymakers if EUA price weaknesses were to intensify ahead of UN talks on a succesor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in Copenhagen.

"With so much political capital invested by the EU in establishing a global carbon market, a very weak EUA price and potentially significantly reduced activity in new CDM origination in the months leading up to Copenhagen would in our view be very difficult for the EU to sustain politically," the report said. (EurActiv)

Idiot. the "proper carbon price" for CO2 emissions is exactly nothing.

Obama's cap, trade irk some in party - Senate Democrats are breaking with President Obama over his plan for sweeping new climate-change laws that he says will rake in billions of dollars to help offset massive budget deficits.

The dissenters, mostly Democrats from Rust Belt states likely to be hit hardest by the proposed environmental rules, question the economic impact of the program that would cap carbon-dioxide emissions and then sell to businesses the right to emit that carbon dioxide.

The senators also want their states to get a chunk of the windfall from selling the credits - $646 billion over 10 years by Mr. Obama's estimate. (S.A. Miller, Washington Times)

The Heat Is On True Believers - A Sunday New York Times story described an expected sea change in international global warming policy. The story noted that President George W. Bush, "pressed by the Senate, rejected" the Kyoto global warming protocol in 2001, but now President Obama is eager to negotiate a robust international global warming treaty to be signed in Copenhagen in December.

Prominently missing from the 1,584-word story was any mention of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. That's a surprising omission considering that Gore negotiated the treaty for Clinton in 1997, and that Clinton never asked the Senate to ratify the pact, which mandated that the United States reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Then again, Clinton knew that the Senate would not ratify the pact. Before Gore flew to Kyoto, the Senate had voted 95-0 in favor of a resolution that declared that Washington should not be a signatory to any protocol that exempted developing nations, like India and China.

Wrongly, Gore nonetheless agreed to a pact that set no limits on nations like China and India. And all those geniuses in the -- all bow -- international community agreed to a pact that the U.S. Senate had opposed unanimously. They were so dazzled by their good intentions that they botched their entire mission. (Debra Saunders Real, ClearPolitics)

Financial gloom buys time for climate fight: Garnaut - THE Rudd Government's handpicked climate change adviser believes the economic downturn sparked by the global financial crisis has bought Australia at least two years of "breathing space" in the fight against climate change.

In comments that will be leapt on by business groups pushing for the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme to be delayed, Professor Garnaut said yesterday the economic crisis had clamped down on industrial production, which had put a lid on greenhouse gas emissions.

"At this stage it looks like we've transferred two years ... it might turn out to be longer than that if this turns out to be an even worse economic crisis," Professor Garnaut said. "But we need it, because the world's a long way behind where it needs to be."

Professor Garnaut did not comment on the emerging debate about the timing of the introduction of the emissions trading scheme.

The Rudd Government has been facing growing pressure to delay the scheme until the worst effects of the global financial crisis have passed. (The Australian)

Cooler Heads Digest, 27 February 2009

Ironic Snowfall for Resource-Rich Greenies - Environmentalists characterize themselves as petite Davids battling gargantuan corporate Goliaths in order to grab media attention. But hundreds of green activists demonstrated today to raise awareness of global warming and against coal production in front of the Capital Power Plant in southeast Washington D.C. The group had plenty of resources ranging from a raised stage with microphones, to trucks loaded with food and coffee, to green plastic helmets, all the way down to fluorescent caps and fancy colored anti-industry signs. (Silvia Santacruz, Cooler Heads)

The Gore Effect - Driving snow froze the hopes of organizers of "the biggest global warming protest in history" Monday in Washington. With the government on a two-hour snow delay and the speaker of the House unable to attend because her flight was grounded by inclement weather, shivering protestors gathered on the west front of the Capitol, the latest victims of a climatological phenomenon known by the scientific community as the Gore Effect.

The Gore Effect was first noticed during a January 2004 global warming rally in New York City, held during one of the coldest days in the city's history. Since then, evidence has mounted of a correlation between global warming activism and severely cold weather.

A year ago a congressional media briefing on the Bingaman/Specter Climate Bill was cancelled due to a cold snap. In October 2008 London saw the first snow since 1922 while the House of Commons debated the Climate Change Bill. That same month Al Gore's appearance at Harvard University coincided with low temperatures that challenged 125-year records. Tellingly, the average global temperature for each of the 366 days in 2008 was below the average for Jan. 24, 2006, the date Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was released at the Sundance Film Festival. (Washington Times)

New Book “Climate Of Extremes” By Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr.

There is a new book on climate that should be a must read regardless of your perspective on the role of humans in the climate system.

It is Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know by Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr.

Both of these peer reviewed published climate scientists have been active in seeking to promote a wider discussion on the science of the climate system. The authors select a set of climate metrics and show that the reality is quite a bit more complex and often at variance with that reported in the IPCC and CCSP reports. Their chapter 7 also effectively documents a significant bias in the reporting of climate change by the media, which has misled the public and policymakers on the real world behaviour of the climate and the role of humans within it.

This book is a challenge to the IPCC and CCSP editors and lead authors. If they disagree with the conclusions in this book, they should report on this with scientific documentation. If they are silent and ignore the book, however, this will, by itself, help further document the bias that Michaels and Balling discuss in their book.

I highly recommend this book by two very qualified climate scientist for everyone who is open-minded about climate science, and want to learn that there are scientifically supported perspectives which are not being reported by the media and the IPCC and CCSP assessments. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

The Arctic wasn't quite so cold and: Sweden's ozone layer thickest in decades: institute - The ozone layer over Sweden was thicker in February than it has been in decades, the Swedish meteorological institute SMHI said on Tuesday.

Measurements taken at SMHI's station in Norrkoeping, just south of Stockholm, showed the ozone layer was at its thickest in February since recordings there began in 1988, with a measurement of 426 Dobson units (DU).

At the Vindeln station in northern Sweden, where measurements started in 1991, a record high of 437 DU was recorded.

"We have to go as far back to the measurements taken in Uppsala between 1951 and 1966" to find levels that high, SMHI said in a statement.

There, the highest level for February was in 1957, when a value of 439 DU was recorded.

The circumpolar whirl over the Arctic -- a polar high pressure system formed of a distinct column of cold air that develops during the long polar night -- disappeared very quickly in mid-January, and the stratosphere warmed up quickly in the space of a few days, SMHI explained.

As a result, "the low temperatures that usually cause rapid depletion of the ozone layer did not take place," it said.

The institute, which only a year ago recorded the second-thinnest levels of ozone ever, said it was too early to tell whether the ozone layer was improving in general. (AFP)

This is a really stupid game.

Speaking of stupid games: Preparing to confront the unknowable - Any way you look at it, the numbers on climate migration are staggering. The problem is, there are a lot of ways to look at it.

One study says 100 million people will be displaced by global warming. Another puts it at 250 million. Meanwhile, a sweeping report from Christian Aid warns that 1 billion people, an almost unthinkable crush of humanity, could be forced from their homes by midcentury because of climate change and the increase in natural disasters, which will exacerbate regional conflicts.

How can the numbers be so wildly disparate? The truth is, researchers acknowledge, that though climate migration may be the defining issue of the century, it is calculated with fuzzy math.

"The most widely accepted estimate, and it's really a guesstimate, of how many people could be on the move because of environmentally related factors, including climate change, is an extra 200 million," said Koko Warner, who heads the U.N. University's migration section within the Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany.

"You could see maybe a doubling. Maybe more. But we don't know. There's so much we don't know about climate change," she said. (ClimateWire)

Any way you look at it the numbers are completely fabricated.

Climate hockey stick is broken (Google translation from original Danish) - It has been shown in many contexts and has been the icon of where things have gone wrong with the climate since the pre-industrial times. This is known as the Mann curve or 'hockey stick' curve that shows the development of the Northern Hemisphere surface temperature over the last 600 years. A new Danish study breaking foundation of the curve.

"Hockey stick curve does not," says klimaforsker Bo Christiansen from Denmark's Climate Center and add. "That does not mean that we cancel the anthropogenic greenhouse effect, but the foundation has become more nuanced."

It caused great sensation, as Michael Mann and several others in 1998 published a curve of temperature evolution over the last 600 years in the northern hemisphere. The curve shows a steady, almost constant temperature of the first five centuries, interrupted by a sharp increase after 1900. It can be interpreted as if the natural variations are small compared to the anthropogenic warming. There followed a heated debate both inside and outside professional circles - a debate that will run yet.

Researchers at DMI now shows that the mathematical methods that are used for climate recontruction, has serious limitations.

"Popular, one could say that the flat piece of hockey stick is too flat. The earlier reconstructions underestimate the potency of the natural climate variability," says Bo Christiansen and add. "In addition, this method a large element of chance." (Danish Meteorological Institute)

From CO2 Science this week:
Editorial:

Tree-Based Climate Reconstructions in CO2-Accreting Air: How good are they when they don't account for physiological effects of the historical increase in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 675 individual scientists from 394 separate research institutions in 40 different countries