The British Health Care Invasion (from

By Gilbert Ross, M.D.
Posted: Friday, November 19, 2010
Publication Date: November 17, 2010

(Originally published in, Nov. 17, 2010)

Britain's health secretary just made a historic announcement.

In late October Andrew Lansley announced that the British government's drug rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), would be stripped of its power to refuse new medicines based on cost.

Patients cheered. For years, in an effort to save the government money, NICE has denied Britons access to the latest drugs for cancer, Alzheimer's and other ailments. This has resulted in countless fights with patient groups who recognize the value of putting care over cost.

But just as Britain is moving away from destructive cost-control policies in its health system, the U.S. seems to be embracing them. If American health policy-makers begin putting cost before quality, doctors might soon lose the freedom to treat patients without being obstructed by regulators. Countless patients could lose access to life-saving treatments.

In recent months there have been several troubling examples of the American government's move toward a more cost-obsessed health care system. (ACSH)


Austere times demand healthcare efficiency: OECD

Cash-strapped governments can no longer raise spending to improve healthcare at the breakneck pace of recent decades, so they must make systems more efficient to offer quality care at no extra cost, the OECD said Monday. (Reuters)


Americans Want, and Expect, Repeal

The latest Rasmussen poll of likely voters shows that Americans support the repeal of Obamacare by a margin of 21 percentage points (58 to 37 percent), independents support repeal by 24 percentage points (59 to 35 percent), and Americans think that Obamacare is more likely to be repealed than not. Only 39 percent of voters think it's likely that Obamacare will survive, compared to 47 percent who think it's likely that it won't and 14 percent who aren't sure. Moreover, only 9 percent of voters think it's "not at all likely" that Obamacare will be repealed. Rasmussen writes, "Belief in the likelihood of repeal has now edged to its highest level to date."

Whether the Obama administration and its allies want to face it or not, wholesale repeal -- and replacement with real reform -- is a very real prospect going forward. (Jeffrey H. Anderson, Weekly Standard)


How Do You Dry Your Hands In a Public Washroom?

BY JACK DINI – I always rub my hands vigorously when using warm air dryers in public restrooms. Bad practice– according to recent research from two institutions in the UK. Using paper towels to dry your hands is far more hygienic than using electric hand dryers which can actually increase the amount of bacteria on hands and can spread cross contamination in public washrooms, note researchers at the University of Westminster (1) and the University of Bradford. (2)

Keith Redway and Shameen Fawdar from the University of Westminster report that paper towel drying reduced the average number of bacteria on finger pads by up to 76 percent and on the palms by up to 77 percent. By comparison, electric hand dryers actually caused the average number of bacteria counts to increase by 194 percent on the finger pads and by 254 percent on the palms. Jet air dryers increased the average number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42 percent and on the palms by 15 percent. (1)

The researchers also carried out tests to establish whether there was the potential for cross contamination of other washroom users and the washroom environment as a result of each type of drying method. (Hawaii Reporter)


Bad headline, poor article: Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – now for humans

Harvard scientists were surprised that they saw a dramatic reversal, not just a slowing down, of the ageing in mice. Now they believe they might be able to regenerate human organs (Guardian)

Now for humans? Mice aren't "little men" and these results are not transposable. What they've done is alleviate the accelerated aging in knock-out mice (mice that have genetically engineered morbidities). That is not at all the same as "reversing aging" although addressing the lack of telomerase did allow the mice to recover more akin to their chronological age.


Food Safety Bill Will Not Make Food Safer, Will Increase Food Costs and Budget Deficit

Today, the Senate is likely to vote on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (S510). But the bill is little more than an enormous grant of money and power to the Food and Drug Administration and a lot of reporting burdens imposed on the private sector. Those who favor a smaller, leaner government should oppose it.

Read more... (Jim Prevor, Weekly Standard)


This certainly got legs: Study suggests that being too clean can make people sick

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Young people who are overexposed to antibacterial soaps containing triclosan may suffer more allergies, and exposure to higher levels of Bisphenol A among adults may negatively influence the immune system, a new University of Michigan School of Public Health study suggests.

Triclosan is a chemical compound widely used in products such as antibacterial soaps, toothpaste, pens, diaper bags and medical devices. Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in many plastics and, for example, as a protective lining in food cans. Both of these chemicals are in a class of environmental toxicants called endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), which are believed to negatively impact human health by mimicking or affecting hormones. (University of Michigan)

Obviously it has been very effectively promoted but it is unclear why it has drawn so much attention. Granted throwing phrases like "endocrine disrupting compounds" around makes this sound scary but is anyone aware of a single case where humans have been shown to be so afflicted? Check out BPA on, the Triclosan page is still a stub but has links to some articles of value.


The world and its [completely imaginary] dangers, according to Freddie: Interview: A Blunt Warning On the Risks of BPA in Our Lives

The synthetic chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, is found in everything from plastic bottles, to the linings of aluminum cans, to cash register receipts. But in addition to being a mainstay of the plastics industry, BPA is a potent, estrogen-mimicking compound. One of the world’s leading researchers into the adverse health effects of BPA is Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri’s Endocrine Disruptors Group, and he warns that the ill effects of our frequent exposure to the chemical — which include an increased risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and damage to the reproductive system — are far higher than either industry or U.S. regulators concede. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, vom Saal excoriates the U.S. chemical industry for covering up the dangers of BPA and U.S. officials for relying on shoddy studies to avoid regulating the chemical. The regulatory system, says vom Saal, “has fossilized to the point that it is absolutely perverting the sense that they are engaging in any kind of rational process of evaluating the health effects of chemicals.” (e360)

If e360 had any credibility at all they just killed it off. Freddie vom Saal... sheesh!


Dr. Ross talks about BPA's safety on KCTV5

Publication Date: November 5, 2010

ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross appeared on Kansas City’s KCTV5-TV Nov. 4, 2010, to explain why we shouldn’t be afraid of bisphenol A (BPA). (ACSH)


Human excreta may help secure future food security

Human excreta could have a key role in securing future food security, helping prevent a sharp drop in yields of crops such as wheat due to a shortage of phosphorus inputs, a UK organic body said on Monday. (Reuters)

Biosolids are already extensively used in agriculture (except where organic cranks have agitated to exclude them) but there are a number of caveats: treatment must be adequate to destroy pathogens, medications and hormones (natural and synthetic), for example and industrial effluent may be included in the waste stream, which can increase monitoring and treatment costs significantly. Still, it's nice to see our more superstitious farmers considering readily available resources.


EPA Sued to Force Regulation of Lead-Based Ammunition, Fishing Gear

WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2010 (ENS) - Conservation and hunting groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to regulate toxic lead in ammunition and fishing gear. The groups complain that these pieces of lead poison and kill eagles, swans, cranes, loons, endangered California condors and other wildlife throughout the country.

Earlier this month, the EPA denied a formal petition from these groups to ban lead in fishing tackle. Earlier this fall the agency declared that it has no jurisdiction over lead in hunting ammunition and so could not address a petition from the groups to ban lead shot. (ENS)


U.S. Designates Critical Habitat for Threatened Polar Bears

WASHINGTON, DC, November 29, 2010 (ENS) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated more than 187,000 square miles of on-shore barrier islands, denning areas and offshore sea-ice as critical habitat for the threatened polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

The designation identifies geographic areas containing features considered essential for the conservation of the bear that require special management or protection.

"This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations," said Tom Strickland, assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks. "Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species."

"The critical habitat designation clearly identifies the areas that need to be protected if the polar bear is to survive in a rapidly melting Arctic," said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. "However, unless the Interior Department starts to take seriously its mandate to actually protect the polar bear's critical habitat, we will be writing the species' obituary rather than its recovery plan." (ENS)


Right To Self-Defense

Self-Protection: Pennsylvania's governor vetoes a bill expanding a citizen's right to protect self and family outside one's residence rather than exercise a "duty to retreat." It is a victory for predators over victims.

On Saturday, while people were still sleeping off their turkey feast or celebrating their Black Friday goodies, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a bill that would have expanded the state's so-called Castle Doctrine to expand the permissible use of deadly force in self-defense outside of the currently allowed home and workplace.

The Castle Doctrine gets its name from the saying that a man's home is his "castle." As such, the homeowner or occupant has the right to protect the home from invasion and potentially deadly attack. Outside the home or workplace, the Pennsylvania citizen under attack is said to have a "duty to retreat" when confronted by an attacker,

The bill would permit law-abiding citizens to use force, including deadly force, against an attacker not only in their homes but also any places outside of their home where they have a legal right to be.

It is clearly stated that there would be no "duty to retreat" from an attacker, allowing law-abiding citizens to "stand their ground" outside the home to protect themselves and their family.

There are 18 states with a Castle Doctrine law, one state with Stand Your Ground, and 12 states with both. In total, there are 31 States with some form of Castle Doctrine and/or Stand Your Ground.

Gov. Rendell wants Pennsylvania to remain what we would call a "run and hide" state. (IBD)



Tax grab? What tax grab? Carbon tax will double to €30 per tonne

ENVIRONMENT: THE €15 per tonne carbon tax, introduced for the first time in the 2010 budget, is to double over the life of the plan to €25 per tonne in 2012 and 2013 and €30 per tonne by 2014.

Originally touted by Minister for Environment John Gormley as a “revenue neutral” measure, with the funds used to lower carbon emissions, support energy efficiency and alleviate fuel poverty, the plan states it will now contribute €330 million to the “overall correction”. (Irish Times)


There are black days ahead for the carbon industry

As delegates arrive in Cancun for the UN climate conference, the carbon trading lobby is desperate for an accord, says Christopher Booker. (TDT)


EDITORIAL: Climate craziness cools in Cancun

Environmental radicals are losing political momentum

Today, U.N. negotiators will begin two weeks of meetings in Cancun, Mexico, looking for a way to move the climate action agenda forward, impose global carbon emissions caps and compel countries to pay a series of new international taxes to underwrite environmental programs. Maybe they'll get what they want when hell freezes over.

The mood of climate alarmists going into Cancun is decidedly downbeat. The sense of impending doom they had cultivated over the last decade or so has largely evaporated. The Climategate scandal took a severe toll on the credibility of some of the climate theology's leading high priests, and subsequent investigations into some of the more outlandish claims on which their doomsaying was based found them to be either exaggerated or fabricated. The November demise of the Chicago Climate Exchange - which sought to transfer billions of dollars to political insiders trading in government-rigged carbon markets - signaled that there was no money in the game anymore. Last week, even Al Gore admitted his fallibility when he retracted his earlier support for ethanol fuels. The god bleeds. (Washington Times)


Can environmentalism be saved from itself?

Just a year ago, 15,000 of the world’s leaders, diplomats, and UN officials were gearing up to descend on Copenhagen to forge a global treaty that would save the planet. The world’s media delivered massive coverage. Important newspapers printed urgent front-page calls for action, and a popular new U.S. President waded in to put his reputation on the line. The climate talks opened with a video showing a little girl’s nightmare encounter with drought, storms, eruptions, floods and other man-made climate disasters. “Please help the world,” she pleads.

fter two weeks of chaos, the talks collapsed in a smouldering heap of wreckage. The only surprise was that this outcome should have come as a surprise to so many intelligent people. These people actually seemed to believe that experts and politicians have supernatural powers to predict the future and control the climate. They believed that experts know how fast temperatures will rise by when, and what the consequences will be, and that we know what to do about it. They believed that despite the recent abject failure of Kyoto (to say nothing of other well-intentioned international treaties), the nations of the world would willingly join hands and sacrifice their sovereignty in order to sign on to a vast scheme of unimaginable scope, untold cost and certain damage to their own interests.

Copenhagen was not a political breakdown. It was an intellectual breakdown so astonishing that future generations will marvel at our blind credulity. Copenhagen was a classic case of the emperor with no clothes. (Globe and Mail)


Risk? U.N. climate talks "risk losing relevance": EU

International climate talks risk "losing momentum and relevance" if they fail to achieve concrete progress in the next two weeks, the Europe Union's climate chief warned on Monday. (Reuters)

How can they lose something they never had?


Cancun -- Latest Stop for the Great Global Warming Circus

And so the great global warming circus moves on. For the next two weeks the world’s carboncrats will gather in Cancun for the latest United Nations climate conference. The aim is to negotiate a vast new international emissions trading scheme that Barack Obama wants the United States to join.

But the delegates are in a state of severe, almost clinical, denial if they think they will sign a legally binding and genuinely global agreement to slash greenhouse gases. Al Gore’s moment has come and gone.

For one thing, the political climate has changed dramatically in the past year. Opinion polls suggest the public in many nations has become more sceptical about global warming science. For example, one BBC survey found that only 26 per cent of Britons believe that “climate change is happening and now established as largely manmade.” A poll by the German magazine Der Spiegel showed that only 42 per cent of Germans feared global warming. (Tom Switzer,


Scientists: 'world should press on without US in climate change deal'

The world should progress towards an international deal on climate change without the US, scientists have suggested, as talks kick off with little hope of the superpower agreeing to cut emissions. (TDT)


Still chasing the money: UN's Chief Climate Envoy Urges Compromise at Talks on $100 Billion Finance

The United Nations’ diplomat leading climate talks urged countries to move beyond their differences to break a deadlock over how to curb greenhouse gas emissions and channel up to $100 billion a year to developing nations.

“When the stakes are high and the issues are challenging, compromise is an act of wisdom that can unite different positions in creative ways,” Christiana Figueres, general secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said today at the start of two weeks of talks in Cancun, Mexico. (Bloomberg)


Rightly: Cameron refuses to attend UN climate change talks

PM turns down Mexico's invite to summit where backroom deals show how progress can be made despite low expectations (Guardian)


Australia Brings Forward Decision On Carbon Price

Australia's government intends to wrap up an agreement next year on pricing carbon, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Monday, testing the strength of her minority rule and pressing the accelerator on Canberra's climate change fight.

As world climate talks got underway in Mexico, Gillard said the government would bring forward by a year a decision on how to price carbon emissions, but left unclear whether a previous 2013 date for implementation of any scheme would stay in place. (Reuters)

Actually it is the Gillard rainbow conglomerate government which will not stay in place. Australia will not have a "carbon price".


No Reason To Ration

Radicalism: A group of academics wants to force rationing in developed countries to turn back what they see as the carbon threat. How does this differ from a socialist group demanding the seizure of private property?

Negotiators from 192 nations will be in the Mexican beach resort of Cancun through Dec. 10 trying to hash out a deal they believe will curb global warming. The hot air won't be from the ocean breezes but from the negotiators' own carbon dioxide emissions. There will be plenty of nonsense from politically motivated academics, starting with Kevin Anderson, director of the U.K.'s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The British Telegraph reports that Anderson believes the only way to cut carbon emissions enough while letting poor nations continue to develop is to stop economic growth in wealthy nations over the next 20 years. Anderson admits it would be hard to persuade the developed world to voluntarily cut its emissions-emitting activities, so he favors consumption limits set by law.

"The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face," he told the Telegraph. (IBD)


NYTimes lets facts intrude on alarmist narrative

A funny thing happened on the New York Times’ way to climate alarmism today — a paragraph of debunking facts.

In an above-the-fold, front-page story, the Times’ Leslie Kaufman tried to tell a sad tale about global warming-induced sea-level rise wreaking havoc in Norfolk, VA.

If the moon is going to be full the night before Hazel Peck needs her car, for example, she parks it on a parallel block, away from the river. The next morning, she walks through a neighbor’s backyard to avoid the two-to-three-foot-deep puddle that routinely accumulates on her street after high tides.

For Ms. Peck and her neighbors, it is the only way to live with the encroaching sea.

As sea levels rise, tidal flooding is increasingly disrupting life here and all along the East Coast, a development many climate scientists link to global warming.

And of course, what tale of global warming would be complete without an “expert”?

Many Norfolk residents hope their problems will serve as a warning.

“We are the front lines of climate change,” said Jim Schultz, a science and technology writer who lives on Richmond Crescent near Ms. Peck. “No one who has a house here is a skeptic.”

Kaufman’s tale of woe then ends with the “bitter reality” of global warming:

“The fact is that there is not enough engineering to go around to mitigate the rising sea,” he said. “For us, it is the bitter reality of trying to live in a world that is getting warmer and wetter.”

Unfortunately for the Times, Kaufman and Schultz, some editor (with an ironic sense of humor) inserted the following text into the middle of the story:

Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring. The result is that Norfolk has experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast — 14.5 inches since 1930, according to readings by the Sewells Point naval station here.

So climate alarmism and Norfolk have much in common. Both were built in on a faulty foundation. Not unexpectedly, both are now sinking.

What’s remarkable about the Times’ coverage of both is that facts — even when printed in plain English in the middle of the story — just don’t matter. (Green Hell Blog)


Lawrence Solomon: Europe’s press (and Canada’s) turns against global warming

A major German media outlet joins others in Europe in jumping on the growing bandwagon for global warming scepticism, and in style, with a cover emblazoned with “Great Climate!” for the benefits that global warming has brought us. “Rethink: Global warming is good for us,” says Focus, one of the country’s largest newsmagazines, in a break with a German taboo.

Inside, readers are treated to a lead article with the surprising title, Warm periods mean good times, that explains warmth helps crop and forests to grow and deserts to shrink. Other  articles debunk false claims about global warming, and describe distinguished scientists who don’t buy the conventional wisdom on climate change.

In another departure, Volkskrant, one of the largest dailies in the Netherlands, reversed its position of blacklisting sceptics by prominently interviewing one last week. The British and French media in the last year has been healthily sceptical.

On this side of the Atlantic, Canada’s two national dailies, the Globe and Mail and National Post, tilted a tad further to climate realism. The Globe’s contribution came from columnist Margaret Wente, who derided those who “actually seemed to believe that experts and politicians have supernatural powers to predict the future and control the climate.”  The National Post’s contribution appeared as a front page story entitled Cooling climate change that explained, as did the Globe column, why the climate change issue is all but dead.

The articles are all appearing to help usher in the UN’s Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico, which begins tomorrow. Unlike last year’s meeting in Copehagen, the diplomats in attendance have low expectations, which are likely to be met.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers. Disclosure: Margaret Wente is also a member of Energy Probe’s board of directors.


Things must be getting better - we're back up to 10 years to save the planet ;-) Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world

Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.

In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.

Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration. (TDT)

My but haven't we had a lot of false starts for those "only 10 years"? Meanwhile, despite all the talk of having just experienced the warmest or second warmest of years in the thermometric record, the tropical mid troposphere (where enhanced greenhouse theory insists warming must be 130%-160% of that experienced at the surface) we find... nothing exciting:

Parenthetically, I don't recall noticing December 1990-March 1991 all having the identical value 0.16 on previous views. Is that kosher or is there a bit of a processing glitch there? Anyone know without harassing our overworked curators of the UAH MSU time series?


Worst Case Study: Global Temp Up 7.2F Degrees By 2060s

World temperatures could soar by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the 2060s in the worst case of global climate change and require an annual investment of $270 billion just to contain rising sea levels, studies suggested on Sunday.

Such a rapid rise, within the lifetimes of many young people today, is double the 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) ceiling set by 140 governments at a U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last year and would disrupt food and water supplies in many parts of the globe.

Rising greenhouse gas emissions this decade meant the 2 degree goal was "extremely difficult, arguably impossible, raising the likelihood of global temperature rises of 3 or 4 degrees C within this century," an international team wrote.

The studies, published to coincide with annual U.N. climate talks in Mexico starting on Monday, said few researchers had examined in detail the possible impact of a 4 degrees C rise above pre-industrial levels. (Reuters)

As seen in the previous graphic, warming in the expected "signature hot spot" of the tropical mid-troposphere is... disappointing. It would take 10,000 years to warm 4 °C (R2 0.0258) and that warming should well-exceed that of the surface. Empirical measure suggests rather longer than their useless models, about 200 times longer, in fact.


Facing the consequences

Global action is not going to stop climate change. The world needs to look harder at how to live with it (The Economist)

True in the sense that adaptation has been the only option ever available to us but false in its expectation emission of an essential trace gas will cause catastrophic global warming.


Back to this excuse for the lack of warming: Global warming has slowed because of pollution

Global warming has slowed in the last decade, according to the Met Office, as the world pumps out so much pollution it is reflecting the sun’s rays and causing a cooling effect. (TDT)

Well, guess we better stop cleaning the air and get polluting then because apparently that clean air will kill us all through gorebull warbling. Mandating a minimum 85% coal-fired electricity, are we? How about insisting on a minimum sulfur content for fuel? May need to mandate an increase in energy use, too, gotta keep those power stations belching, after all.

Who knew world-saving was as simple as driving larger automobiles and using more coal? But Hansen's trying to kill us all:


Oh dear... Climate change protesters' anger was justifiable, says Nasa Scientist

Activists accused of conspiracy to trespass were arrested before they carried out plan to force E.ON's coal plant at Ratcliffe-on-Soar to shut down

The anger of 114 activists who planned to break into a coal plant near Nottingham was understandable because of the "lies" told by governments about climate change, Nasa's top scientist told the trial of 20 climate campaigners.

Professor James Hansen, the NASA scientist credited with doing the most to raise awareness of climate change, had flown from the US to be the star witness.

Twenty activists are accused of conspiracy to trespass on private property. They were arrested last Easter before the group were able to carry out their plan to force E.ON's coal plant at Ratcliffe-on-Soar to shut down for a week.

The activists claim that had they succeeded, 150,000 tonnes of CO2 would not have been emitted.

Hansen, a vocal critic of coal power, told Nottingham crown court: "The fact that we continue to burn more coal and build more coal plants shows governments are not telling the truth "If they are saying they understand climate problem but will continue to burn coal its easy for me to understand that young people get upset, because they know governments are lying or kidding themselves." (Guardian)

So, now Hansen actually believes his own bullshit? Seems highly unlikely but he has been dining out on this nonsense for a very long time and he isn't getting any younger. And the previous item suggests coal-fired generation is our protection against gorebull warbling - what's he trying to do?


Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) blames “climate change” for poor forecasting

November 24th, 2010 by Warwick Hughes

Yes – you have to pinch yourself but the shameless BoM did say this.

In 2009 there was an “Inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia” (long term = 1 to 3 months) – by the Australian Parliament House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation. If you download the full pdf report – you will find on pdf page 35 of 120; 2.46

BoM stated that existing seasonal forecasts for Australia appear to have reached their peak level of performance, and may even be declining in skill as the climate changes.

Taking another look through the Nov 2009 ISI Committee report “Inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia” – I doubt that any good can come from this committee “Inquiry”.

I can now see that this process has come from within the Govt – through Senator the Hon Kim Carr, the Australian Government Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research – where of course the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) resides.

I have just been told by a House of Reps Clerk that – “Due to the change in Committee allocations, there is no longer a Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation.” I think this is code for – “…this Inquiry is now dead and buried”.

IMHO this so called “Inquiry” was always just a thinly veiled campaign to justify wringing more taxpayers money from Govt to fund BoM ongoing empire building. (Warwick Hughes)


Truth in observation

Satellites show there’s been no global warming for 12 years

On 1 November, the widely-respected Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) published its satellite-derived average temperature of the lower atmosphere for October. The smoothed running average for October was level with the 1998 figure – showing that for the past 12 years, there’s been no global warming. Yet in those same years carbon dioxide in the air rose by 6%. So what’s going on? Either the warming influence of man-made CO2 has been offset by unspecified cooling – or the man-made global warming theory must be questioned. (Alex Stuart, Quadrant)


Lawrence Solomon: Massive Canadian carbon sink disappears

The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, a recipient since 2000 of $110-million in federal taxpayer funding, is shutting its doors after failing to convince federal and provincial governments to keep it afloat. The foundation describes itself as “Canada’s premier funder of university-based weather and climate research.”

In 2010, this foundation, one of Canada’s biggest sinks for carbon-related research dollars, funded, among other works, “Wind Energy in Canada: the Basics, the Resource, the Opportunity” a video for high school and university students whose goal “is to expand knowledge about wind energy and to encourage its acceptance and increased use.”

The foundation’s coup for the year, however, may have been “Integrated Climate Change Learning Resource for Grade 6.” Produced by Andrew Weaver at the University of Victoria, considered by many to be Canada’s most accomplished climate scientist, this work addressed what it saw as a pressing elementary school need – introducing children to the climate change imperative: “While global warming is the most significant environmental issue of our time, it receives little attention in the Canadian school system,” the foundation explained.

All told, the foundation supported over 200 major scientific initiatives through research grants totalling more than $117-million at 37 Canadian universities.

It will be sorely missed by its many grant recipients.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Might be efficient recycling: Converting waste plastic back to oil

Sound in Japanese, with English subtitles

In an efficient and safe effort to save us from the ill-effects of plastic waste, Akinori Ito has developed a machine which converts plastic back into oil.

The machine produced in various sizes, for both industrial and home uses, can easily transform a kilogram of plastic waste into a liter of oil, using about 1 kW·h of electricity but without emitting CO2 in the process. The machine uses a temperature controlling electric heater instead of flames, processing anything from polyethylene or polystyrene to polypropylene (numbers 2-4). Comment: 1 kg of plastic produces one liter of oil, which costs $1.50. This process uses only about 1 kW·h of electricity, which costs less than 20 cents! (Original source appears to be UN University)

I'm not big on recycling due to generally poor economics but if these numbers are correct and you have plenty of cheap, coal-fired electricity then it could be an efficient use of end-of-life plastic.


China Imports and Burns Coal, from Horror of Horrors, the United States

China Imports and Burns Coal, from Horror of Horrors, the United States

There was a time when I used to read the New York Times daily. It was supposed to have “all the news that fit to print” and I guess I could not be a student, or later a young professional “intellectual,” that would live without the Times analysis.

But as of late I began to cringe, not knowing what nonsense flim-flam will come next in the paper and although I have yet to use the conservatives’ boogeyman MSP (mainstream press) I am starting to see their objections. I guess mainstream means adopting the most conventional, least intelligent and least out of the box thinking. This includes adopting the hypes du jour and in my area of interest, energy and geopolitics, there are plenty.

So, I was of course drawn by the impressively titled story by Elisabeth Rosenthal on November 21: “Importing Coal, China Burns it as others Stop.” The story is simple. China has emerged as one of the world’s largest importers of coal and this should not be surprising since they burn about 50 percent of all coal currently consumed in the world. (Michael J. Economides, ET)


US energy secretary warns of 'Sputnik moment' in green technology race

Steven Chu says US must invest urgently in research and innovation to keep pace with China and other countries (Guardian)

So, Chu's not just "out to lunch" but "off, looking for Sputnik"... explains a lot.


The Calculator: Fossil Fuel Consumption, CO2 Emissions, and Costs with Wind (Part I)

by Kent Hawkins
November 29, 2010

[Editor note: Kent Hawkins has been at the forefront of devising a model (the Calculator) to estimate the lost wind-related emission reductions due to the fact that backup fossil-fuel generation (to firm wind) must operate less efficiently. This two-part series (today and tomorrow) provides Mr. Hawkins' latest thinking. While technical, the Calculator is a very important line of analysis that will continue to be revised by its open-minded author. So critical comments are especially welcome.]

There is no convincing proof of the ability of utility-scale wind electricity generation to provide any of the incredible benefits claimed for it. In light of the massive costs (hundreds of $billions) of the extensive implementations projected by some governments, and equally large changes to electricity grids required to support wind’s ineffectiveness, it seems reasonable to expect that such claims be properly substantiated beforehand.

Among the more important claims are fossil fuel and CO2 emissions reductions. In the absence of (1) any verification of these, ignoring of course the many uncritical testimonials by government bodies, environmentalist organizations and the media, and (2) the necessary public information to objectively analyze wind’s performance, the Calculator was developed as an interim tool to assist in understanding some of the realities of integrating wind into electricity systems. It shows the fossil fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and associated costs, based on a range of input factors.

This update is based on feedback from the Calculator series and comparisons with studies involving some level of actual results by Bentek and le Pair and de Groot. (A copy of the Calculator can be obtained here). There are no changes to the approach taken, but improvements have been made, including a better user-interface. Note that input should be entered only in cells that are outlined or by using the provided sliders. Other cells contain calculated amounts or references.

Critics have charged that the Calculator is not based on any production data to support the results reported in the Calculator series. But, this misses the point. Considering that there is not sufficient, appropriate data available publically to permit a comprehensive analysis, the calculator expresses a working hypothesis based on the important factors that bear on wind integration:

  • Impact of wind volatility on fossil fuel plants required to balance wind production
  • The need to introduce fast-reacting but less efficient gas plants into the generation portfolio
  • Focus on the effects of the intertwined nature of wind plants and fossil fuel plants versus macro analyses, for example, at the country or state level
  • Seasonality of wind production
  • Consideration of the likelihood that some fossil fuel plants in the wind-balancing role may be able to operate “normally”, for example in periods of low wind production, including no wind conditions.

So the Calculator does not “prove” that wind plants increase CO2 emissions but shows the impact of a number of considerations. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Cape Wind, Cape Fear

Cape Wind, Cape Fear

It was the day before Halloween. The chill of autumn was in the air and an early morning mist shrouded the New England landscape like fog on a Hollywood moor as I awoke. Groggy, I stumbled down the stairs, unaware of the horror that awaited me. I opened up the Boston Herald and there on the home page was an editorial – BY TED KENNEDY.

“OH MY GOD!” I thought, they buried in him in that Pet Cemetery from the Stephen King movie. He’s back. He’s like Jason in “Halloween.” Just when you think he’s gone and the horror is over… “Oh wait, the editorial is by Ted Kennedy, Junior. Well that’s not the same thing at all,” I thought.

I mean, that’s like Barney the Dinosaur compared to an actual dinosaur – equally bothersome in a different way, but clearly not the same threat. Almost as surprising as the author was the theme of the essay; written in a style I can only call “Tenth Grade Debate Club.” (Obviously then, Ted Jr. is grade or two ahead of his sibling Patrick, The Honorable Representative from the State of Inebriation).

The piece was yet another Kennedy Family Diatribe against the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project that is finally nearing the start of construction after years of delays at the hands of the Denizens of the Kennedy Compound and their uber-wealthy neighbors. But at least America’s elite has a good, high-minded reason for opposing the project: they are afraid the distant wind turbines might mar their million dollar views of the Atlantic Ocean, which they think of as their private pleasure pond. Attacking Cape Wind is now something of a Kennedy Family tradition. Ted Sr. did it, as did Patrick and Robert Jr. and some of the more minor Kennedys. (Mac Johnson, ET)


Special Report: Nuclear's Lost Generation

On a flat, low-lying island nestled in crisp waters off the west coast of Finland, the first nuclear power plant ordered in Western Europe since 1986 is inching toward start-up.

Over 4,000 builders and engineers are at work on the sprawling Olkiluoto 3 project, whose turbine hall is so cavernous it could house two Boeing 747 jets stacked on top of each other.

When it is dark, which in winter is most of the day, enormous spotlights throw into focus scores of scaffolding towers and the red hauling equipment that encircle the grey, unfinished reactor building.

The heavy reactor vessel, made to withstand temperatures over 350 degrees Celsius, has been gingerly lifted into place by two cranes.

Inside the building, a dozen workers carrying a single pipe across their shoulders create a human caterpillar that carefully wends its way through tarpaulin-covered tunnels lit by lamps and chinks of daylight.

Walking through the expansive complex, still missing a domed cover on the reactor building, it takes a while to make out a peculiar but important detail: many of the engineers and building experts working here are in their late 50s and early 60s; some are in their 30s, but few are in between.

There's a hole in the nuclear workforce, not just in Finland but across the Western world. For the moment, the operator of the Olkiluoto 3 plant, power utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), is getting by with its most experienced staff. As those workers retire, though, the skills shortage could become a crisis. (Reuters)


“Birds of Prey Remain at Risk” (Windpower’s ‘avian mortality’ issue today)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
November 24, 2010

“Citing a dearth of applicable wind-generation modifications, Dick Anderson of the California Energy Commission suspects that current bird fatality levels in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (WRA) will mirror those revealed by a 1991 CEC study.  ‘Very little has been done by the wind companies to effectively change the situation,’ Anderson recently said.  Though studies have yielded a ‘better understanding’ of avian causalities, few measures appear to be reducing avian impacts.”

- Staff Article, “Altamont Avian Mortality Continues; Improvements Grounded,” California Energy Markets, January 23, 1998, p. 2.

Last week, my post “Cuisinarts of the Air” (Revisiting an environmentalist term for windpower)” ended with the question and a request for readers:

So what has happened in the last decade regarding industrial wind in bird-sensitive areas? Comments and updates welcome!

Well, as if led by an invisible hand, Science magazine published a letter-to-the-editor (November 12, 2010: p. 913), “Birds of Prey Remain at Risk.”

The authors contend that the California bird problem has not gone away. But where is the outrage? Why does Big Environmentalism (BE) look the other way?

The answer, I believe, is that BE must accept industrial wind as part of their cap-carbon-to-cap-capitalism crusade given the dearth of other supply-side options. But windpower gives little emission reduction for the government buck and has a host of side issues–so the question again arises: why?

I believe that the real reason why environmentalists are wind-intoxicated is because the photo-shoped, no-sound images of wind turbines represent the PR front for a whole agenda. Wind is BE’s (environmental) loss leader, so to speak, and part of the consolation prize is higher energy prices, which is a per se good to them. But this is putting form over substance a la Enron. The bubble of misdirection will eventually burst.

The letter follows:

E. Kintisch’s News story “Out of site” (special section on Scaling Up Alternative Energy, 13 August, p. 788) discusses the bird-of-prey deaths (including golden eagles) caused by wind turbines. The story implies that the problem at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in California has been reduced by spacing turbines farther apart and removing turbines from problematic sites. These statements are misleading.

[Read more →] (MasterResource)



Something else to be thankful for: Health Law Faces Threat of Undercut From Courts

WASHINGTON — As the Obama administration presses ahead with the health care law, officials are bracing for the possibility that a federal judge in Virginia will soon reject its central provision as unconstitutional and, in the worst case for the White House, halt its enforcement until higher courts can rule.

The judge, Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court in Richmond, has promised to rule by the end of the year on the constitutionality of the law’s requirement that most Americans obtain insurance, which takes effect in 2014.

Although administration officials remain confident that it is constitutionally valid to compel people to obtain health insurance, they also acknowledge that Judge Hudson’s preliminary opinions and comments could presage the first ruling against the law. (NYT)


A Geneticist's Cancer Crusade

The discoverer of the double-helix says the disease can be cured in his lifetime. He's 82.

'We should cure cancer," James Watson declares in a huff, and "we should have the courage to say that we can really do it." He adds a warning: "If we say we can't do it, we will create an atmosphere where we just let the FDA keep testing going so pitifully."

The man who discovered the double helix and gave birth to the field of modern genetics is now 82 years old. But he's not close to done with his life's work. He wants to win "the war on cancer," and thinks it can be won a whole lot faster than most cancer researchers or bureaucrats believe is possible. (WSJ)

Hmm... Wonder why they didn't ask him about his 1998 claim that cancer would be cured in two years, as reported by Gina Kolata?


Fish health benefits may outweigh mercury concerns

It may be a red herring to worry over whether people who eat lots of fish may lose whatever heart benefits they might have gained because of an increased exposure to mercury, a new study shows.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish is thought to rank high on the list of heart-healthy foods. But it has a potential dark side: many fish species that wind up on the plate have high levels of mercury, a known neurotoxin.

The scientists studied more than 900 Swedish men and women who answered questionnaires about the amount of fish in their diet. The researchers also analyzed the subjects' red blood cells for levels of mercury and selenium, another element that has been tied to heart health.

Mercury levels in the subjects were generally low by Scandinavian standards, the Swedish team found, but higher than much of the U.S. population. But people whose red blood cells showed elevated amounts of mercury did not have a higher risk of cardiac problems than those whose red cells had less of the toxin.

In other words, "the protective nutrients in fish override any harmful effect of mercury at these low levels of mercury," says Maria Wennberg, a public health researcher at Ume University and a member of the study team. (Reuters Health)

More likely it's simply a case of people believing the nonsense about mercury's alleged "hyper toxicity". If you spend 20-30 years in a miasma of mercury vapors shrinking fur felt and blocking hats then you will likely suffer significant ill-effect, maybe even become "as mad as a hatter" but we have no evidence of any ill-effect whatsoever at the trace exposures discussed here. The hysteria over mercury owes more to the campaign against cheap and abundant energy than to any real toxicology. Before gorebull warbling it was the misanthropists' most useful cudgel in the campaign against coal-fired electricity, which, being abundant and cheap, is far too good for humanity and therefore "bad for Gaia".


Definitely fits under "unnecessary medical imaging": Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’ Chairs

Because children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to radiation, doctors three years ago mounted a national campaign to protect them by reducing diagnostic radiation to only those levels seen as absolutely necessary.

It is a message that has resonated in many clinics and hospitals. Yet there is one busy place where it has not: the dental office.

Not only do most dentists continue to use outmoded X-ray film requiring higher amounts of radiation, but orthodontists and other specialists are embracing a new scanning device that emits significantly more radiation than conventional methods, an examination by The New York Times has found.

Designed for dental offices, the device, called a cone-beam CT scanner, provides brilliant 3-D images of teeth, roots, jaw and even skull. This technology, its promoters say, is a safe way for orthodontists and oral surgeons to work with more precision and to identify problems that otherwise might go unnoticed.

But there is little independent research to validate these claims. Instead, the cone beam’s popularity has been fueled in part by misinformation about its safety and efficacy, some of it coming from dentists paid or sponsored by manufacturers to give speeches, seminars and continuing education classes, as well as by industry-sponsored magazines and conferences, according to records and dozens of interviews with dentists and researchers. (NYT)

I've never really understood the propensity for people who panic over negligible exposure to electromagnetic radiation from power lines or appliances to willingly nuke themselves or their children. Granted there is an extraordinary amount of quite absurd fear over radiation of any flavor but if there is no desperate need to nuke your kid, why do it? Unless you intend to frame portraits of your kids' individual teeth do you really need snazzy 3D images of their teeth?


Eat more protein, fewer refined carbs to stay slim

A team of European researchers confirms what many weight-loss gurus have claimed: eating more protein and fewer refined carbohydrates helps to keep the pounds off. (Reuters Health)


Models and virtual mortalities: Second-hand smoke kills 600,000 a year: WHO study

Around one in a hundred deaths worldwide is due to passive smoking, which kills an estimated 600,000 people a year, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers said on Friday.

In the first study to assess the global impact of second-hand smoke, WHO experts found that children are more heavily exposed to second-hand smoke than any other age-group, and around 165,000 of them a year die because of it.

"Two-thirds of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia," the researchers, led by Annette Pruss-Ustun of the WHO in Geneva, wrote in their study.

Children's exposure to second-hand smoke is most likely to happen at home, and the double blow of infectious diseases and tobacco "seems to be a deadly combination for children in these regions," they said. (Reuters)

Gosh, highest in Africa and south Asia. Given that these regions are notorious for wood and dung fires as the primary cooking energy source and most likely to have open fires or inefficient stoves in poorly ventilated dwellings, which leads to much higher incidence of respiratory morbidity and carries a significant death toll, how on Earth do they claim to have isolated the health impact of the trivial additional respiratory insult from environmental tobacco smoke? There's major health gains to be made by getting affordable, reliable baseload power, potable water and sanitation to these people before fart-arsing around with politically correct but negligible health return anti-tobacco campaigns.


Meanwhile: Air Pollution Exceeds Safety Limits In Big Asian Cities: Report

Air pollution in major cities in Asia exceeds the World Health Organisation's (WHO) air quality guidelines and toxic cocktails result in more than 530,000 premature deaths a year, according to a new report issued on Tuesday.

Issued by the U.S.-based Health Effects Institute, the study found that elderly people with cardiopulmonary and other chronic illnesses were especially vulnerable and they tended to die prematurely when their conditions were exacerbated by bad air. (Reuters)


Anti industry fear mongers win another one: EU to ban Bisphenol A in baby bottles in 2011

The European Union will ban the use of organic compound Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles from 2011 with the backing of a majority of EU governments, the EU's executive Commission said Thursday.

"There were areas of uncertainty, deriving from new studies, which showed that BPA might have an effect on development, immune response and tumor promotion," said John Dalli, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, in a statement.

"The decision ... is good news for European parents who can be sure that as of mid-2011 plastic infant feeding bottles will not include BPA."

EU states will outlaw the manufacture of polycarbonate feeding bottles containing the compound from March 2011, and ban their import and sale from June 2011, the Commission said. (Reuters)

They keep chipping away at useful compounds, destroying the future ForTheChildren™ they claim to want to "protect"


Beware E. coli when drinking raw milk: study

A government investigation published this month has tied raw milk consumption to a 2008 outbreak of E. coli in Connecticut, which landed four people in the hospital with life-threatening illnesses.

It also puts a price tag on the outbreak: $413,402. And it hints the infection spread beyond those who drank the allegedly tainted milk.

The report is the latest to warn against raw or unpasteurized milk, which experts say is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.

"There has been a movement away from highly processed foods to organic foods," said Bill Marler, a Seattle-based lawyer who represented three of the sickened people in Connecticut. He recently settled the cases with the Simsbury farm that made the milk and the grocery store that sold it, but would not give the amount of the settlement.

"There are so many internet sites out there that talk about raw milk as if it cured everything from autism to erectile dysfunction," said Marler. (Reuters Health)


Vaccine alliance says 5-in-1 vaccine cost to fall

The price of a life-saving vaccine against five deadly diseases is expected to drop further in 2011, allowing more of the world's poorest children to be immunized, the global vaccines group GAVI said on Friday.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization said that thanks to increased demand for the pentavalent, or five-in-one vaccine and a reduced price offer by an un-named emerging market vaccine manufacturer, the average price will drop to $2.58 next year compared to the current average price of $2.97.

This represents a decrease of 30 percent over the last seven years, GAVI said in a statement.

The pentavalent vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and hepatitis B, is routinely given to children in wealthy nations but price has kept it out of the reach of some poorer nations.

The shot is very much needed in low-income countries where access to health services is often limited and mothers have find it hard to bring their babies to be regularly vaccinated. (Reuters)


EU guidelines clear way for biosimilar antibodies

European regulators on Friday set out broad guidelines for the approval of biosimilar antibody drugs, including lower hurdles than for new medicines and allowing the possibility of different diseases being addressed by the same copy antibody.

The long-awaited guidelines pave the way for cheaper copies of multi-billion-dollar medicines used to treat cancer and other serious diseases, although analysts said the requirements would still limit competition to a few well-funded companies. (Reuters)


Bless the Orange Sweet Potato

As we all prepare to gain a few pounds over Thanksgiving, I promise not to be a buzz kill wagging my finger about starva ... well, never mind. You see, this is that rarest of birds: a happy column about hunger.

And our hero, appropriate for this season, is a high-tech and heroic version of the vitamin-packed, orange-fleshed sweet potato. Along with a few other newly designed foods, it may help save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives each year.

If there’s any justice in the world, statues may eventually be erected of this noble root, the Mother Teresa of the dinner plate. But, first, the back story. We think of starvation as a shortage of calories, but researchers are finding that the biggest reason people die of malnutrition is simply lack of micronutrients.

Without enough zinc, children die of diarrhea. Without enough iron, children are anemic and women die in childbirth. Without enough vitamin A, small children often go blind or die. More than one-third of African preschoolers lack vitamin A, and hundreds of thousands die as a result. (Americans get enough vitamin A because of a more varied diet and fortified foods.)

Unicef and other aid organizations like Helen Keller International have been working frantically to distribute vitamin A capsules and iron and zinc supplements in poor countries, or to fortify foods with minerals and vitamins. But it’s a long, hard slog. A vitamin A capsule costs only a couple of cents, but delivering the capsules to remote villages can cost as much as $1 each.

So a decade ago scientists began experimenting with a different approach: What if they tinkered with crops so that they naturally contained iron, zinc or vitamin A?

And that’s where our hero, the sweet potato, comes in. (NYT)


UK watchdog adviser: Cloned cattle meat likely safe

Meat and milk from cloned cattle show no difference in composition from that of traditionally bred cows and so are unlikely to pose a food safety risk, an advisory committee to Britain's food safety regulator said.

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, following an open meeting on Thursday, said that consumers still may want to see effective labeling of products from clones and their offspring partly due to animal welfare concerns. (Reuters)


German Court Upholds GMO Planting Curbs

Germany's top court on Wednesday rejected a complaint that restrictive laws on cultivating crops with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) violate the constitution.

The constitutional court in Karlsruhe turned down a complaint from the state government of Saxony-Anhalt that restrictions on GMO cultivation unfairly damaged the interests of farmers interested in growing GMO crops.

Germany compels farmers growing GMO crops to keep a minimum distance from conventional plantings and makes them liable to pay compensation to neighboring farmers if traces of GMOs are found on their conventional crops. (Reuters)



Brought to you by T. Boone Pickens? Energy and the Lame Duck

This Congress’s record on energy and environmental issues is shameful. The Senate, paralyzed by Republican opposition and indifferent Democratic leadership, could not muster the 60 votes to pass legislation to reduce carbon emissions. It even failed to respond to the gulf oil spill.

The next Congress is sure to be worse. The Democratic majority in the Senate will be smaller. And the House — which has led the way in recent years — and its committees will be dominated by Republicans who are loudly skeptical about the science behind climate change and determined to cripple President Obama’s authority to use regulation to tackle the problem.

There is little chance of a major breakthrough in Congress’s remaining weeks, but it is still possible to get some important legislation through.

One bill worth pressing is a creative measure with bipartisan support in both houses that would ramp up the use of natural gas in heavy-duty trucks and create a pilot program for building a network of recharging stations for electric vehicles. Converting trucks to natural gas could save 1.2 million barrels of oil by 2035; electric cars could eventually be a real game-changer. (NYT)

Certainly looks like someone has been reading the Pickens Scheme for Self Enrichment Plan, doesn't it? No lawmaker-selected winners and losers, no mandated energy mix, ever.


Retrained for green jobs, but still waiting on work

OCALA, FLA. - After losing his way in the old economy, Laurance Anton tried to assure his place in the new one by signing up for green jobs training earlier this year at his local community college.

Anton has been out of work since 2008, when his job as a surveyor vanished with Florida's once-sizzling housing market. After a futile search, at age 56 he reluctantly returned to school to learn the kind of job skills the Obama administration is wagering will soon fuel an employment boom: solar installation, sustainable landscape design, recycling and green demolition.

Anton said the classes, funded with a $2.9 million federal grant to Ocala's workforce development organization, have taught him a lot. He's learned how to apply Ohm's law, how to solder tiny components on circuit boards and how to disassemble rather than demolish a building.

The only problem is that his new skills have not resulted in a single job offer. Officials who run Ocala's green jobs training program say the same is true for three-quarters of their first 100 graduates.

"I think I have put in 200 applications," said Anton, who exhausted his unemployment benefits months ago and now relies on food stamps and his dwindling savings to survive. "I'm long past the point where I need some regular income."

With nearly 15 million Americans out of work and the unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent for 18 consecutive months, policymakers desperate to stoke job creation have bet heavily on green energy. The Obama administration channeled more than $90 billion from the $814 billion economic stimulus bill into clean energy technology, confident that the investment would grow into the economy's next big thing.

The infusion of money is going to projects such as weatherizing public buildings and constructing advanced battery plants in the industrial Midwest, financing solar electric plants in the Mojave desert and training green energy workers.

But the huge federal investment has run headlong into the stubborn reality that the market for renewable energy products - and workers - remains in its infancy. The administration says that its stimulus investment has saved or created 225,000 jobs in the green energy industry, a pittance in an economy that has shed 7.5 million jobs since the recession took hold in December 2007.

The industry's growth has been undercut by the simple economic fact that fossil fuels remain cheaper than renewables. Both Obama administration officials and green energy executives say that the business needs not just government incentives, but also rules and regulations that force people and business to turn to renewable energy. (Washington Post)

Of course. Just look how well places that have forced renewable percentages are doing. Oh...


Well duh! States Diverting Money From Climate Initiative

In New York, government officials found $90 million to pay for schools by dipping into money generated by a multistate greenhouse gas initiative.

In New Hampshire, the state took $3.1 million from a similar environmental fund. And in New Jersey, the government diverted its whole share: $65 million.

At least three financially troubled states have discovered in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system, a convenient pool of money that can be drawn on to help balance state budgets.

In just over two years, the initiative, known as RGGI, has generated more than $729 million for the 10 states that have participated. Each state is supposed to use its share of the money raised to invest in renewable energy and to promote energy efficiency and consumer benefits, like programs that help low-income electricity customers pay their utility bills.

But the money is proving too much of a temptation for states not to use in other ways.

Critics say that diverting money from the fund for general spending, instead of using it on emissions control and energy savings, makes the initiative little more than a hidden tax on electricity. (NYT)


The Green Bubble Is about to Burst

There is a revolution coming that is likely to burst the green global warming bubble: the temperature trend used by the IPCC (the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to support their conclusion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is likely to turn out to be fake. The situation will become clear once Virginia's attorney general, Kenneth Cuccinelli, obtains information now buried in e-mails at the University of Virginia. Or Hearings on Climategate by the U.S. Congress may uncover the "smoking gun" that demonstrates that the warming trend used by the IPCC does not really exist.

It has become increasingly clear that any observed warming during the past century is of natural origin and that the human contribution is insignificant. It is doubtful that any significant warming is attributable to greenhouse gases at all. (S. Fred Singer, American Thinker)


Global Warming Skeptics Ascend in Congress

Cap-and-trade may be just the first casualty of the science-doubters in the House and Senate

"I am vindicated," says Republican Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, who was ridiculed by environmentalists in 2003 when he declared that man-made global warming was the "greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people."

He has reason to crow: His party's sweep of the midterm elections will bring into office almost four dozen new lawmakers (11 senators and at least 36 House members) who share his skepticism about climate change, according to ThinkProgress, an arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a Washington research group allied with Democrats. They join a smaller group of Republican incumbents, some of whom will assume powerful committee positions in January, who also reject that global warming is an immediate threat.

Their influence could be felt soon. When Obama Administration negotiators arrive in Cancun, Mexico, on Nov. 29 for 12 days of climate-change talks, they will no longer be able to claim that their policy agenda—to push for global action on climate change—has the full backing of Congress. (Businessweek)


U.N. seeks climate progress; deal may be years off

OSLO, Nov 24 - The world will seek to break a U.S.-China standoff and agree modest steps to rein in global warming at U.N. talks in Mexico next week amid worries that the first climate treaty since 1992 may still be years away. (Reuters)


From Copenhagen to Cancun

A challenging year for the climate story

It’s been a challenging time for the climate change story on just about every front. A year ago, the unauthorized release of a cache of controversial e-mails written by prominent climate scientists created a media firestorm just before the United Nations climate-change summit in Copenhagen. The international effort to strike a treaty that would limit greenhouse-gas emissions went down in flames. It’s been a slow burn ever since, for scientists and journalists alike.

After the intense media attention to Copenhagen in late 2009, the amount of climate-change coverage in 2010 declined significantly in some major American newspapers—to a four-year low—with the focus increasingly on domestic and foreign politics, according to a recent survey using Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Senate tossed climate-change legislation onto the pyre, and recent mid-term elections brought a slew of Republicans to town that don’t believe the climate science and are likely to fight federal action. Meanwhile, the Gulf oil spill comprised the bulk of environmental coverage and consumed the time of many reporters who also cover climate science and policy.

With a new UN climate meeting starting Monday in Cancun, environment reporters and climate scientists alike are regrouping, lowering expectations for the Mexico meeting and figuring out how to cover climate change going forward. (Columbia Journalism Review) --h/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot.


Cancun climate conference picks up where Copenhagen left off

CANCUN, Mexico - Familiar battle lines emerged on Sunday on the eve of a conference to restore the credibility of the UN’s talks on climate change after last year’s near-disaster in Copenhagen.

Campaigners said the interests of the environment and poor countries would not be sacrificed to help boost the faltering process, while the European Union called on China, the United States and India to agree to “fair” curbs on their carbon emissions. (AFP)


Japan Says Extending Kyoto Pact Is "Meaningless"

Japan opposes extending the Kyoto Protocol binding only rich nations to limit carbon emissions and will fight for a broader deal even if it finds itself isolated at U.N. talks, a senior official said on Thursday. (Reuters)


Sigh... Stalled on treaty, climate talks turn to money

CANCUN, Mexico — Facing another year without a global deal to curb climate change, the world's nations will spend the next two weeks debating how to mobilize money to cope with what's coming — as temperatures climb, ice melts, seas rise and the climate that nurtured man shifts in unpredictable ways. (AP)


Same old extortion effort: Cancún climate summit: Rich accused of 'holding humanity hostage'

Latin American leaders claim poorest nations imperilled by lack of action on global warming (Guardian)


UN "Permanent Emergency Session" Sought for Kyoto

By on 11.26.10 @ 9:33AM

The Scientific Alliance (UK) newsletter is out and contains a remarkable follow-on to last week's admission by German IPCC official/economist Otto Edendorfer that "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy", that climate change policy is instead about how "we redistribute de facto the world's wealth...." (really?).

As summarized in pertinent part by the SA:

"Although I am loathe to characterise all true believers in man-made climate change as primarily left-ish politically...the narrative which comes from that part of the political spectrum [is] driven by a certainty that something has to be done and that people cannot be allowed to decide for themselves.

[George Dvorsky, a director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies] summarises his preferred way forward as follows 'Given the failure of Copenhagen, I'm inclined to believe that semi-annual conferences are not the way to go. Instead, I'd like to see the United Nations assemble an international and permanent emergency session that is parliamentary in nature (i.e. representative and accountable) and dedicated to debating and acting on the problem of anthropogenic climate change (a sub-parliament, if you will). The decisions of this governing board would be binding and impact on all the nations of the world.'" (italics in the original)

With Son-of-Copenhagen kicking off Monday in Cancun, the coming two weeks should be rife with such outbursts as the Kyoto enterprise grinds ever closer, one hopes, to its inevitable, de facto (and 'permanent') collapse. (American Spectator)


CFACT’s Climate Depot on climate redistribution

Marc Morano appears on the news discussing IPCC working group co-chair Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer of Germany’s recent candor about climate policy and redistribution of the world’s wealth (CFACT EU)


In the rent-seekers corner: Investors Hope U.N. Talks Keep Climate Deal On Track

Investors in "green" assets hope that upcoming U.N. climate talks in Mexico will salvage a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in 2011, and in the meantime widen and simplify existing carbon markets. (Reuters)


Cooling climate change: Environmental inaction seems to be taking hold

Hand it to Mark Jaccard for keeping his chin up, and pressing on when he knows he faces little hope. The professor of environmental economics at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University -- who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize given to scientists behind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), along with Al Gore -- even went ahead and released a policy prescription for reducing carbon emissions this week. From the C.D. Howe Institute, it explains how Canada could tax carbon emissions and return the money to the emitting provinces to cut taxes, so even Alberta and Saskatchewan could retain most of their investment competitiveness while still penalizing emitters.

But, Jaccard acknowledges, it's not likely to happen. "The government we have in Canada today doesn't seem to want to do anything," he says.

The global effort to fight climate change that environmentalists have been trying for two decades now? Almost certainly a bust. "I think it's highly likely that humanity will not act on this problem, and that we will have grave consequences." (Kevin Libin, National Post)

Some actually seem to really believe carbon dioxide to be a problem although we have no evidence of anything but significant benefit. Weird.


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Nov. 25th 2010

(Daily Bayonet)


China Says It Is World's Top Greenhouse Gas Emitter

China acknowledged on Tuesday it is the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases stoking global warming, confirming what scientists have said for years but defending its right to keep growing emissions. (Reuters)

Sheesh! "... gases stoking global warming... " Written with such confidence but in total ignorance. During the 20th Century the world warmed, cooled (or ceased warming), warmed and cooled (or ceased warming) in roughly equal periods. Atmospheric CO2, however, did not so fluctuate in trend, rising ever so slowly but resolutely through that period. That's a really lousy cause and effect relationship.


Lomborg's Partly Right Problem and Wrong Solution

Bjorn Lomborg has been energetically courting publicity for his new film, “Cool It,” which has attracted minimal box office sales thus far. But he’s been publishing articles at an impressive clip, in a quest for more exposure, influence and funding.

He correctly observes that public discussion about global warming is largely between two entrenched camps of opinion. Lomborg is also right about our needing a “Plan B” climate policy that defuses the current rancorous and unproductive debate about “the manmade climate problem.” His first camp is inhabited by warming alarmists, supported by the majesty of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most major institutions in western society have joined their funereal fugue (and funding pipeline) in supportive chorus.

In Lomborg’s other camp, empiricists (including a majority of independent scientists) argue implacably that we still await actual, factual evidence that our planet is still warming at all – let alone dangerously, let alone because of human carbon dioxide emissions.

Reality, of course, is a lot more nuanced. For example, it is simply incorrect to say, as Lomborg does, that most independent scientists argue that “global warming was a fabrication.”

The truth is, all competent scientists agree on three things. Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago, and its climate changes frequently. Human activities (not just CO2 emissions) definitely affect local climate, and combined together have the potential to affect global climate, perhaps measurably. Third, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, albeit a minor one.

The real scientific debate is not about any of this. It is, rather, about the direction and magnitude of global human effects, and their likely significance when considered in the context of natural climate change – which has been occurring ever since Earth developed its oceans, atmosphere and climate many eons ago.

After spending more than $100 billion since 1990 to support research by thousands of scientists, we are still unable to isolate and measure human influence on global temperature. That influence remains buried deeply in the noise and natural variation of Earth’s climate system. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)


Hyperbolic Robbie never seems to improve much: A billion people will lose their homes due to climate change, says report

British scientists will warn Cancún summit that entire nations could be flooded (Robin McKie, The Observer)


Oh... Climate legislation is insurance for the planet

There continues to be controversy concerning climate change – whether it is real and, if so, what the ramifications might be.

The San Diego Foundation recently did a comprehensive regional assessment of climate change impacts to San Diego County. The foundation estimated that by 2050 local sea levels will rise 18 inches if no changes are made in global carbon dioxide gas emissions. This would flood many areas of Mission Beach and other low-lying areas of our coastline. Summer daytime peak temperatures in the coastal regions of San Diego County will be higher by 6 degrees or more. We will face severe water shortages and wildfires will be more frequent and intense. The future is difficult to predict. These predictions may be overestimates of the changes we face. On the other hand, they might equally as likely be underestimates. (Sign on San Diego)

Is it worth insuring when the annual cost of insurance is many orders of magnitude greater than the "risk" posed? Climate superstition is the disease, not the cure.


Um, no: On Global Warming, Start Small

THE conference on climate change that begins tomorrow in Cancún, Mexico, will be the 13th such annual meeting since 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol, the first and only international agreement to place a cap on emissions of greenhouse gases, was written. This year there will be no such treaty. Why not? Excuses will abound, but finger-pointing misses the crux of the matter, which is that climate change is the most complicated and challenging problem mankind has ever faced. (NYT)

"On 'global warming,' don't start at all" should be recommendation. Why? Because even if by some extraordinary fluke one of the modeled storylines were true (and it would be by complete accident since models have zero predictive competence) there is no value or defense in hampering energy availability/reliability or wealth generation - both being necessary for societies to protect themselves from adverse conditions. It is the proposed "cure" that threatens humanity and the consequences will be dire.


Cancún and global warming apocalypse

How can you tell when another climate conference is about to kick off?

When predictions of global apocalypse reach fever pitch, that’s how. (Daily Bayonet)


Hmm... Met Office says 2010 'among hottest on record'

This year is heading to be the hottest or second hottest on record, according to the Met Office.

It says the past 12 months are the warmest recorded by Nasa, and are second in the UK data set, HadCRUT3.

The Met Office says it is very confident that man-made global warming is forcing up temperatures.

Until now, the hottest year on record has been 1998, when temperatures were pushed up by a strong El Nino - a warming event in the Pacific.

This year saw a weaker El Nino, and that fizzled out to be replaced by a La Nina cooling event.

So scientists might have expected this year's temperatures to be substantially lower than 1998 - but they are not. Within the bounds of statistical error, the two years are likely to be the same.

"It's a sign that we've got man-made global warming," said Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice at the Met Office. (Roger Harrabin, BBC)

Interestingly, this piece also contains:

"Climate sceptics say that until now, warming has plateaued over the last decade. The Met Office agrees that the rate of warming has slowed - but it maintains that is due to natural variability, not because man-made warming has stopped.

They think factors in the slower warming may have been - a natural downturn in solar radiation; a small reduction in water vapour in the stratosphere; a possible increase in aerosol emissions from Asia; and the fact that strong warming in the Arctic is poorly represented in the way data is collected.

Dr Pope says the slowdown in temperature rise is consistent with projections from climate models. She also says she expects warming to increase in the next few years.

"The long-term warming trend is 0.16C," she says. "In the last 10 years the rate decreased to between 0.05 and 0.13.


"There is a question over how many times the Met Office has forecast a record previously. Dr Pope said they had not done so from her recollection.

But a Met Office press release shows a forecast that 2007 would probably beat 1998. And a BBC report implies that they made the same prediction for the other El Nino year of 2003.

Sceptics say this could prove the third time they have been wrong.


"Professor John Christy, a climate sceptic from the University of Alabama in Hunstville, said global temperature had plunged in the past two weeks, so 2010 was likely to remain in second place.

He challenged the Met Office conviction that greenhouse gases were to blame for the warmth.

"The cause of the warmth is speculation. There are numerous feedbacks at work (many of which are poorly modelled if at all), and it seems to me unimaginative to conclude that greenhouse gases are the dominant cause," he said.

"There is no proof of such a cause in classical scientific sense - so we end up with a lot of opinions on the matter. Evidence is strong that centuries in the past 10,000 years were warmer than today without influences from human-related greenhouse gases."

Rather unusual for a Harrabin/BBC production.


but everything's alright though: World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office

Report comes as scientists predict 2010 could be hottest year on record (Guardian)


Pick a number, any number... Climate change scientists warn of 4C global temperature rise

Team of experts say such an increase would cause severe droughts and see millions of migrants seeking refuge

The hellish vision of a world warmed by 4C within a lifetime has been set out by an international team of scientists, who say the glacial progress of the global climate change talks that restart in Mexico today makes the so-called safe limit of 2C impossible to keep. A 4C rise in the planet's temperature would see severe droughts across the world and millions of migrants seeking refuge as their food supplies collapse. (Guardian)

They seem to forget, or assume we will, that water is the marvelous magical multiplier required to convert the trivial and benign warming possible from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide to catastrophic global warming. How they presume to massively increase water vapor in the atmosphere while inducing increased drought (i.e., reduced precipitation) remains one of those little mysteries. This stupid game becomes increasingly tedious.


Slowing a little of the waste: Climate-change agency winds down as federal funding ends

OTTAWA — A Canadian climate-change research foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary, but has already begun winding down its operations after failing to get new funding from the Harper government.

The budget crunch at the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences comes on the heels of revelations that the government is leasing out the Amundsen, a coast guard icebreaker equipped to monitor climate change in the North, to a pair of fossil-fuel companies for oil exploration in the region. (Vancouver Sun)


Eye-roller: Study Sees Polar Bears Losing Out To Grizzlies

Polar bears are likely to lose out to grizzly bears in fierce competition for food as climate change drives the two species closer together into shared habitat, biologists concluded in a study released on Tuesday.

The research was based on 3-D computer modeling that compared the skull and jaw strength of the two bruins and found polar bears ill-suited to the tougher chewing demands posed by the largely vegetarian diet of their grizzly cousins. (Reuters)


Head shaker... Could Climate Change Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner?

Warmer temperatures could affect just about everything you'll see on the dinner table. (Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News)


It's gotten warmer since the depths of the Little Ice Age (scary!) World warmer, Short-Term Trends Need Study: Report

The global average temperature has increased over the past 160 years, but short-term trends in temperature and sea ice seem to be at odds with each other and need more research, the UK Met Office's Hadley Center said.

In a report on long and short-term climate trends, the Hadley Center found several factors that indicate a warming world and said 2010 has been one of the warmest years on record.

The report drew on the work of more than 20 institutions worldwide and used a range of measurements from satellites, weather balloons, weather stations, ocean buoys, ships and field surveys. (Reuters)


How a Scientific Integrity Act Could Shift the Global Warming Debate

By Sean M O’Brien

Up until now, peer review has been held up as the gold standard in scientific discourse. Recent developments in the climate science arena, such as Climategate, have led many to conclude that peer review is not all that it is cracked up to be. Having said that, peer review may well be perfectly adequate as a scientific standard when the issues in debate are the mating habits of squirrels. However, if the issue in debate is whether or not trillions of dollars should be spent combating global warming, perhaps a new more rigorous standard should be applied. (The Air Vent)


Study could mean greater anticipated global warming

Current state-of-the-art global climate models predict substantial warming in response to increases in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The models, though, disagree widely in the magnitude of the warming we can expect. The disagreement among models is mainly due to the different representation of clouds. Some models predict that global mean cloud cover will increase in a warmer climate and the increased reflection of solar radiation will limit the predicted global warming. Other models predict reduced cloudiness and magnified warming. In a paper that has just appeared in the Journal of Climate, researchers from the University of Hawaii Manoa (UHM) have assessed the performance of current global models in simulating clouds and have presented a new approach to determining the expected cloud feedbacks in a warmer climate.

Lead author Axel Lauer at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) at UHM notes, "All the global climate models we analyzed have serious deficiencies in simulating the properties of clouds in present-day climate. It is unfortunate that the global models' greatest weakness may be in the one aspect that is most critical for predicting the magnitude of global warming." (University of Hawaii at Manoa)


Cloud atlas: Texas A&M scientist maps the meaning of mid-level clouds

Clouds play a major role in the climate-change equation, but they are the least-understood variable in the sky, observes a Texas A&M University geoscientist, who says mid-level clouds are especially understudied. The professor, Shaima Nasiri, is making those "in-between" clouds the focus of her research, which is being funded by NASA.

Mid-level clouds are so understudied, Nasiri says, that scientists have yet to develop a common nomenclature for them. "We do not have a unified definition, so the scientific community can't look at the statistics with a shared level of understanding. Also, because mid-level clouds are formed either from water droplets or ice crystals or a combination of both, they can be more difficult to model.

"Only in the past few years have we focused on the physical properties of mid-level clouds. This means that previous climate models are incomplete," Nasiri says. "All cloud formations are important tracers in the climate-change equation. But we must accurately define and measure the middle layer before we can have a complete picture." (Texas A&M University)


U.S. Carbon Trading Goes Up in Smoke

Buying and selling carbon permits in the emerging market designed to control global-warming pollution is no longer a career prospect in the U.S., though California is moving ahead with its own program (Roben Farzad, Businessweek)

We already have an enormous and robust global carbon trade, a trade which underwrites human well-being. See how many millions of articles are available from a search like "trade coal oil gas". Genuine carbon trading is thriving, only the absurd hot air trade is in trouble and rightly so.


EU Plans 2013 Ban On Disputed HFC Carbon Offsets

The European Union's executive Commission has proposed banning from 2013 the most common types of carbon offsets, mostly from India and China, to help restore credibility to the disputed system.

The move introduces a new note of controversy into climate talks in Cancun, Mexico next week, but may help by boosting the flow of money to offset projects in the poorest countries. (Reuters)


BP Oil Spill Update: Bird Death Fines Depend On Who Kills the Birds

BY JACK DINI - What’s a brown pelican worth? What about an eagle, a bat, or a desert tortoise? Regarding brown pelicans, USA Today says, “It’s a question that could consume environmental economists and scientists for years as they try to put price tags on the animals killed and habitat destroyed by the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill- an environmental analysis federal officials describe as the largest of its kind. The federal and state authorities ultimately will send their bill to BP and other companies responsible for the spill.” Interior Department Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland, who overseas fish, wildlife and parks adds, “Putting a price on a brown pelican is like trying to put a price on a sunset. The value of a brown pelican is really a replacement brown pelican.”

Hard to debate these words, yet strange as it may seem, the same rhetoric has not been applied to eagles, owls, and desert tortoises. (Hawaii Reporter)


Dopey buggers: Conservative pre-election coal plant emissions promise goes up in smoke

Energy companies will only have to fit CCS technology to a third of coal plants, rather than two-thirds under the original plans (Guardian)

Shouldn't engage in such stupidities as CCS for any reason.


A Shale-Gas Bonanza

Obama’s State Department is pitching the new hydrofracking technology worldwide, and Halliburton is delighted.

Over the past two years, a controversial new drilling technique has unlocked massive reserves of U.S. natural gas, transforming the prospects for domestic energy production. The State Department has begun promoting the technology abroad, saying that if it were adopted in China, Eastern Europe, and India, it would boost exports, significantly reduce Russian and Middle Eastern influence in those regions, and fight climate change. Still, many environmentalists are unimpressed. (National Journal)


China To Develop Unconventional Gases In 10 Years: Woodmac

China will start developing unconventional gas sources within 10 years to fuel its massive economy, possibly bringing down global liquefied petroleum gas prices, a senior energy consultant said on Thursday.

The expanding country faced with flat to declining production of normal gas sources in 20 years aims to do geologic tests and approve projects within a decade for resources such as shale gas, said Gavin Thompson, China gas research director with the UK-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Those developments could impact world liquefied petroleum gas prices as China demands less, a change welcomed by other Asian countries that still depend on it, Thompson told Reuters.


Japan looks to offshore methane hydrates to cut reliance on energy imports

Japan, which imports more than 95% of its carbon-based fuel needs in the form of oil, gas or coal, has for decades looked for the means to reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers and increase its energy security.

It's one of the reasons Japan, the world's largest importer of LNG, has been so adamant in staking its claim to the possible gas reserves underneath the waters surrounding the various disputed isles of the East China Sea. (Platts)


Arctic's 'fiery ice' is potential new energy source

Scientists drill through permafrost to assess challenges in harnessing gas hydrates, a source of clean-burning methane (The Gazette)


Power Line Project Faces Challenges in California Valley

EL CENTRO, Calif. — The sun is so strong here that people often talk about the temperature being “in the teens,” meaning 113 or above. The wind is so powerful that west of town, signs on an Interstate display the number of miles remaining in which drivers will face dangerous winds, like signs that give the distance to the next city.

And to the north, near the end of the San Andreas fault, water underground, hot enough to make steam, flows up through cracks nearly to the surface.

Together, those resources constitute “the most productive renewable energy fields in the world,” as Michael R. Niggli, the chairman of San Diego Gas & Electric, the region’s biggest utility, bullishly puts it. “Where else in the world in the same area do you have wind, spectacular solar and geothermal?” he said.

This cluster of resources, a little over 100 miles east of San Diego, would seem to be a boon, given that California requires utilities to meet quotas for shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Mr. Niggli’s company, for example, is lagging, and it is avidly pursuing agreements with solar plants.

But the problem, sometimes insurmountable, is how to get the energy to consumers. In what may be a dress rehearsal for skirmishes across the country over renewable energy and transmission, San Diego Gas & Electric has spent seven years and $100 million trying to start work on a 117-mile high-voltage line to reach the resources of El Centro.

The $1.9 billion line would run from the depths of the Imperial Valley over a range of mountains and back down to the southern end of the urban sprawl that runs from Los Angeles through San Diego to the Mexican border. It would double the capacity for transmitting electricity from the valley to the coast, to 2,000 megawatts.

Although the line won approval from the United States Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the State of California after the utility submitted an 11,000-page environmental impact statement, neighbors and wilderness advocates have filed lawsuits challenging those decisions.

Opponents argue that the transmission line is not mainly about renewable energy. It could also carry electricity from a plant in northern Mexico that burns natural gas brought in by tanker to a port in Baja California, they say, with attendant fossil fuel emissions. Both the tanker terminal and the power plant were built by San Diego Gas & Electric’s parent, Sempra Energy. (NYT)


Oh, they aren't getting enough of your taxes.... Clean energy funding slumps

Start-up funding for clean energy companies around the world has slumped in the last quarter, falling nearly a fifth since the previous three months, according to a new report.

Investment by venture capital and private equity firms in clean technology and renewable energy companies has fallen from €4.3bn to €3.5bn ($5.5bn) since the second quarter, the survey found.

The report blamed a lack of consistent government support for the drop. Douglas Lloyd, the chief executive of VB Research, which carried out the study for Taylor Wessing, the law firm, said: “A lack of a solid, consistent policy will undermine investor support, and there is a lot of that going on.” (Financial Times)


Al Gore's Ethanol Epiphany

He concedes the industry he promoted serves no useful purpose.

Anyone who opposes ethanol subsidies, as these columns have for decades, comes to appreciate the wisdom of St. Jude. But now that a modern-day patron saint—St. Al of Green—has come out against the fuel made from corn and your tax dollars, maybe this isn't such a lost cause.

Welcome to the college of converts, Mr. Vice President. "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol," Al Gore told a gathering of clean energy financiers in Greece this week. The benefits of ethanol are "trivial," he added, but "It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

No kidding, and Mr. Gore said he knows from experience: "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for President."

Mr. Gore's mea culpa underscores the degree to which ethanol has become a purely political machine: It serves no purpose other than re-electing incumbents and transferring wealth to farm states and ethanol producers. Nothing proves this better than the coincident trajectories of ethanol and Mr. Gore's career. (WSJ)



Scourge of smallpox and rabbits was a 'genuine hero'

FRANK FENNER, the eminent Australian virologist who oversaw the eradication of smallpox, has died in Canberra at the age of 95.

In 1980 Professor Fenner announced what is regarded as the greatest public health achievement of the World Health Organisation - the end of the terrible disease that had killed millions and left many more disfigured.

His expertise in pox viruses, and his demonstration that there was no animal reservoir of the deadly virus left on earth, was instrumental to this success.

He was awarded the Japan Prize in 1988, the equivalent of the Nobel prize for applied science, for this work as chairman of the Global Committee for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication, with two other researchers. (SMH)


One More Step toward the Right Medicare and Medicaid Reforms

The President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is not set to release its final recommendations on how best to tackle deficit spending and entitlement reform until December 1. However, several of its members have already gone public with proposals to reduce runaway spending and put Medicare and Medicaid, two of the fastest-growing entitlement programs, on the road to solvency.

The commission co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, released a report that takes several positive steps in reforming Medicare, including opting to repeal the Sustainable Growth Formula. Alice Rivlin and Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI), also members of the commission, released transformative, long-term solutions to Medicare and Medicaid that would better serve patients and reduce the tremendous upward pressure these programs place on federal spending. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


The Mirage Of Environmental Justice

One might think that the federal government has harmed the poor enough with policies that undermine opportunity and prosperity in the name of some variant of social justice.

But, poverty serves as an irresistible excuse for expanding government. And what better way to expand government than with policies that keep that excuse alive by further hampering the ability of the poor to improve their conditions, and doing it in the name of an elusive goal such as environmental justice?

Not being content with efforts to fine-tune global temperatures, the Environmental Protection Agency is also concerned with achieving a pattern of environmental quality consistent with social justice. This concern was first raised in 1994 when President Clinton signed an executive order to eliminate "environmental racism" and promote "environmental justice."

President Obama is now following up on Clinton's order and on one of his campaign promises by making environment justice an EPA priority. Guidelines for achieving environmental justice have been issued by the EPA and numerous environmental justice grants have been given to selected communities.

It is true that poor people, whether minorities or otherwise, typically live in more polluted areas than do rich people. But this is the result of poor people having the freedom to make their own decisions about what is best for them and their families, not the result of a social injustice that can be eliminated by government policy.

Even if pollution were distributed in a random way, completely independent of race and wealth, the EPA would still see environmental injustice as an evil to be combated.

Property values in those areas with more pollution would be lower than in comparable areas with less pollution. This pattern of property values would reflect people's preference for nicer places to live, not racism or social injustice.

Those with lower incomes would naturally be more likely to choose living in the more affordable areas with less environmental quality than would those with higher incomes. Any government attempt to prevent the poor from making such a choice would make them worse off by restricting their options. (J.R. Clark and Dwight Lee, IBD)


REINing in Regulation

The REINS Act would require that the House, Senate, and president approve every new major administrative rule proposed by a federal agency before it takes effect.

With a Republican tsunami having swept Democrats out of control of the House of Representatives and the Senate now significantly less Democratic, the upcoming 112th Congress offers an opportunity to reconsider the nation’s regulatory state. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), has recently introduced the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2010 (REINS). In 2009, Representative Geoff Davis (R-Kentucky) introduced similar legislation in the House. Both bills have significant Republican co-sponsorship, including Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive Speaker of the House in the next Congress.

The REINS Act would require that every new major administrative rule proposed by a federal agency be approved through simple majority vote by the House, Senate, and the president before such rule takes effect. This legislation defines a “major rule” as one that the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget deems may result in an annual economic effect of $100 million or greater, a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, or significant adverse effects on the economy.

Federal regulations cost American businesses and taxpayers $1.75 trillion in 2008, an amount equal to 14 percent of U.S. national income this year.
This legislation contrasts with the existing regulatory approval process instituted under the Congressional Review Act of 1996, whereby major administrative rules take effect unless Congress passes and the president signs a joint resolution disapproving them. (Thomas A. Hemphill, American Magazine)


Typical acetaminophen dose no threat to kids' livers

Concerns about liver injuries in kids who take the common painkiller acetaminophen -- sold as Tylenol in the U.S. -- are unfounded, researchers said on Monday.

"None of the 32,000 children in this study were reported to have symptoms of obvious liver disease," said Dr. Eric Lavonas of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver. "The only hint of harm we found was some lab abnormalities."

With more than eight million American kids taking the drug every week, acetaminophen is the nation's most popular drug in children.

It's toxic to the liver in high doses, and can be fatal if taken in excess. Very rarely, adults may also get liver damage at normal doses, so doctors had worried if the same was true for kids.

"This drug is used so commonly that even a very rare safety concern is a big concern," said Lavonas, whose findings appear in the journal Pediatrics. (Reuters Health)


Cough and cold meds withdrawal is working: study

The number of young children going to the emergency room after taking too much cough and cold medicine was cut in half after drug companies took medications for their age group off the market, according to a new study.

Doctors say the research, published today in the journal Pediatrics, shows that taking the medications off the shelves did what it was intended to do - but that there is still more that both drug makers and parents can do to protect kids from ending up in the emergency room. (Reuters Health)


Early puberty and obesity are linked in young girls, genetic research finds

Early sexual maturity and obesity are genetically linked in women, a study has shown.

The discovery came after British scientists identified 30 genes that control the age at which girls begin puberty.

It is known that bodyweight is linked to early puberty with girls beginning their monthly cycles once they reach around six stone [~85 pounds but that seems somewhat light - by maybe 20 pounds - Ed.]. Overweight young girls are more likely to start puberty early.

Reaching puberty early can increase the lifelong risk of diseases including breast cancer which are linked to female hormones.

Many of the genes were also found to play a strong role in how fat is processed, establishing a biological link between early puberty and an increased risk of obesity.

The new international study, involving more than 100,000 women from Europe, the US and Australia, found that many sexual maturity genes are important for the regulation of body weight.

Puberty and metabolism may be linked because reproduction depends on the body having enough nutrients. (TDT)


Health Tyrants

Do federal, state and local governments have a right to intervene in our lives when it comes to choices affecting our health?

Recently, San Francisco's board of supervisors voted to forbid restaurants from giving gifts with meals that contain too much fat and sugar, a measure aimed at McDonald's Happy Meals. The reasoning of these tyrants is to prevent McDonald's from using toys to lure children into liking foods the board deems non-nutritious.

Fortunately, San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, by no means a libertarian, has threatened to veto the measure saying, "Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices."

If the board of supervisors gets away with this intrusion into parental responsibilities and choices, we can bet the rent money that they will not stop with McDonald's Happy Meals. The reason is that Happy Meals are not the only contributors to child obesity. What and how much they eat at home, what time they eat and how much they exercise play a role.

When the San Francisco supervisors see that their Happy Meal ban has not produced the desired results, they'll seek to widen their reach. That might include laws that set purchase limits on non-nutritious items in the city's grocery stores.

Depending on family size, there would be a limit on the purchases of delights such as Twinkies, Pop Tarts, lard, salt and other threats to good health. Maybe the Board of Supervisors would issue ration stamps that a person would need in order to purchase foods that threaten obesity.

There will be other challenges. Not every California city has banned Happy Meals. Happy Meals lovers can just go across the Bay Bridge into Oakland or the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito to dine on Happy Meals or smuggle them into San Francisco. Maybe a Happy Meal black market would emerge. That means the board might make random stops of cars coming into the city and have its police make Happy Meal arrests.

You say, "Williams, you're really stretching it; they'd never go to those extremes!" There's no limit to what do-gooder zealots will do to accomplish their mission. (Walter Williams, IBD)


Getting people to exercise

My latest HND piece examines what it takes to get people to exercise. One sure way to NOT accomplish this is with education, along the lines of "If folks only knew the benefits, they would surely begin an exercise program."

As I note--

Human nature being what it is, we seldom do anything unpleasant unless we get paid for it, or the consequences of not doing it are even more unpleasant, if not immediately life-threatening.

Instead, we've got to make exercise enjoyable. Fun, even.

The article discusses group versus individual exercise, and has a few things to say about one of the most popular programs out there...Zumba®.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


More guesses about "ozone depleting substances": New interpretation of atmospheric bromine sources during Arctic spring

Bromine, which destroys ozone, is emitted into the atmosphere during Arctic spring from inorganic sources including sea-salt aerosols, frost flowers, and cracks in sea ice. It had been believed that all additional atmospheric bromine observed from space at high latitude during spring originated from these sources at Earth's surface. However, a new analysis by Salawitch et al. suggests that previous satellite measurements may have been misinterpreted.

Their analysis of satellite, aircraft, and ground-based observations during Arctic spring shows that significant contributions to geographic variations in atmospheric bromine column abundance come from the stratosphere as well as the troposphere. Stratospheric enhancements are associated with weather systems that cause sporadic, severe depressions in the height of the tropopause. The bromine responsible for some of the observed enhancements appears to be resident in the lower stratosphere and is produced by biological activity in the tropical oceans rather than by inorganic processes at high latitude. The authors suggest that prior studies may have overestimated the extent of elevated tropospheric bromine in the Arctic by associating all enhancements with high-latitude surface emission. Understanding the tropospheric and stratospheric contributions to atmospheric bromine as well as the strength of various sources is important for properly quantifying the effects of bromine on ozone.

Title: A new interpretation of total column BrO during Arctic spring

Authors: R. J. Salawitch: Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA; Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA.

For the names of the 40 co-authors, please follow the link below.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL043798, 2010

We are still trying to sort out polar atmospheric chemistry, have no indication there is or ever was a "problem" with the conceptual "ozone layer" but we are still burdened with the absurd Montreal Protocol, which acts as a template for ever more ridiculous excuses to impose global taxation, governance and the suppression of human endeavor and well-being.


Texas Battles Back

by William Yeatman
22 November 2010 @ 9:35 am

The Washington Examiner last week ran an excellent three part series by Kathleen Hartnett White and Mario Loyola, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, on a burgeoning conflict between the EPA and the State of Texas.

Part 1: EPA Is Offended by Texas’s Successful Permitting Rules
Part 2: Putting a Lid on Texas’s Economic Growth
Part 3: Doing the Environmentalists’ Dirty Work

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


When Sheep Didn’t Have Wool, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA—Today, farmers are accused of “tampering with Nature.” But farmers have been doing such tampering for thousands of years. We had to, for survival. As one dramatic example, wild sheep didn’t have wool. Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep still don’t! Nature gave sheep a long, coarse hair coat instead. In the beginning, the wool was just a short insulating undercoat with fuzzy fibers too short to make thread. For the first 4,000 years we herded sheep, it was only for their meat.

But, as farming spread out into colder climates, humans had trouble keeping warm. The supply of bearskins, for example, would quickly have become inadequate as farming supported more people and the local bear population was reduced by hunting pressure.

Wooly sheep are a mutation of nature, which probably occurred naturally. It may have happened as sheep were taken into more northern climates were they weren’t native, such as the highlands of Iran and Turkey. Once longer wool occurred, generations of farmers encouraged it by selectively breeding their sheep for longer and longer wool fibers. (CGFI) Responds to Al Gore Attack on Koch Industries; Aimed to Counter

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2010 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- today launched the web site as a response to, Al Gore's attack on Koch Industries for opposing climate alarmism.

"I think Al Gore may come to regret his desperate and juvenile attack on Koch Industries," said publisher Steve Milloy. "Gore has now inspired us to accumulate documented facts about Gore and to present them to the public in a single web site dedicated to spotlighting Gore's habitual hypocrisy, dishonesty and creepiness." Milloy added.

The Gore attack on Koch Industries is just the opening salvo in what Milloy expects to be an ugly campaign of personal attacks that Gore and other anti-fossil fuel activists and business interests seem likely to run over the next two years.

"Media reports indicate that environmental activists will be working to make political gains in the 2012 elections so that they can get their agenda back on track in 2013," Milloy observed. "Between now and the 2012 elections, I expect that Al Gore and his allies will conduct a slash-and-burn attack campaign against their opponents," said Milloy.

But as the defeat of cap-and-trade indicates, Milloy and his allies are up to the challenge.

"In early 2009, conventional wisdom was that cap-and-trade was a done deal," said Milloy. "But hard work by skeptics, along with a lousy economy, the rise of tea parties and the Climategate expose, ultimately drove a stake through junk science-fueled and economy-killing cap-and-trade," noted Milloy.

Surprisingly, Milloy credits environmentalists with helping to defeat their own agenda.

"Al Gore is one of the most polarizing personalities in American politics and it was always a mystery why the environmental movement allowed Gore to co-opt their Marxist-socialist movement so he could to advance his personal profiteering – but it made arguing the skeptics' position much easier and we thank them for it," Milloy added.

One of the facts on is Al Gore's braggadocio that poets will be singing his praises 1,000 years from now.

"Meantime, the rest of us can look forward to the next two years of hilarious Gore gaffs. If the greens are lucky, maybe the they'll get their agenda back on track in a thousand years," Milloy concluded.

Steve Milloy is the publisher of and author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.



America Gets Gored

The former vice president basks in adoration at Tennessee State University in 2006, before acknowledging his stand on ethanol was self-serving.... View Enlarged Image

Energy: Former Vice President Al Gore admitted Monday that his pivotal 1994 Senate vote for ethanol subsidies was bad policy but good politics. That says a lot about the reality of environmentalism in government.

As the ethanol tax credit comes up for renewal in Congress on Dec. 31, it's worth noting it only came about because the vice president cast the decisive 51st vote in favor of it in 1994.

At the time, he packaged it as a big move to preserve the environment in a market-friendly, sustainable manner, and for years defended his vote because it was supposedly good for us.

"The more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely-used product, the better-off our farmers and our environment will be," he recounted in 1998.

Now the real story emerges. On Monday he matter-of-factly told a bankers group in Greece it was actually about helping himself.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president," the former vice president said.

One is tempted to praise a man who admits mistakes, but the magnitude of what Gore actually did through his cynically cast vote as an elected leader in a position of trust suggests sorry isn't enough.

Gore's vote drove food prices higher, trashed the environment, and drew American capital into inefficient energy sources over efficient ones. This should be an object lesson in the importance of not trusting politicians on the environment. (IBD)


Al Gore cries crocodile tears over ethanol

Al Gore admitted today that corn ethanol was “not a good policy,” according to Reuters — but that’s not the end of the story.

Though he campaigned for ethanol in the past, Gore said,

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol… First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small… It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going… One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president… The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices… The competition with food prices is real.”

Gore then went on to support so-called second generation technologies which do not compete with food, for example cellulosic technologies which use chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from fiber in wood, waste or grass. He said,

“I do think second and third generation that don’t compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels.”

Is this a genuine mea culpa on the part of Gore or crocodile tears?

If we turn to the investment portfolio of the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers (KPCB) where Al Gore is a partner, we find that KPCB has invested in Mascoma Corporation, whose business is cellulosic ethanol. Here’s how KPCB’s web site describes Mascoma,

Leading in the development of bio and process technology for cost-effective production of cellulosic ethanol, an inexpensive and source of renewable energy. Cambridge, MA

In 2008, Mascoma received $61 million in financing from a group that included KPCB. In 2006, KPCB was part of a $30 million financing package for Mascoma.

And who knows what other cellulosic ethanol ventures KPCB and Gore have going?

The Reuters reporters didn’t ask Al Gore about his cellulosic ethanol business interests and, of course, Honest Al Gore didn’t volunteer those revealing tidbits either.

So while Al Gore appears to be lamenting bad policy that he supported, instead he is really just trashing corn ethanol in hopes of advancing cellulosic ethanol and his investment in Mascoma. (Green Hell Blog)


Um... no: Republicans Learn the Perils of Being Politically Incorrect on Climate Change

Defeat came for Republican Rep. Bob Inglis because he slid to "Satan's side."

That's how South Carolina voters perceive Inglis' newfound belief in climate change, says the outgoing lawmaker, who lost his primary bid in June to tea party candidate, and now representative-elect, Trey Gowdy.

Inglis reflected on several blasphemies he committed in the eyes of voters in a departing interview last week, held in his congressional office. They ranged from opposing President George W. Bush's troop surge in Iraq to supporting his Troubled Asset Relief Program. But none of those, Inglis said, had as strong an impact as his assertions that atmospheric warming is a scientific certainty.

"The most enduring heresy was just saying that climate change was real," he said. "That was the one that was most damaging, I'm convinced." (ClimateWire)

The headline is wrong -- Inglis toed the politically-correct but scientifically-flawed CAGW line. But Satanism? More likely he got his butt kicked because, just like Ahnold, he's a RINO supporting misanthropists against voters and their well-being. Does anyone associate misanthropy with Satanism? I guess that case could be made given that the watermelon brigade are inherently evil trying to kill off "those little brown people riotously breeding with the irresponsibility of codfish" but I can't say I've heard it expressed as Satanism per se.


Cap-and-trade likely to be buried by new Congress

This is what the 2010 midterm elections will change about U.S. climate policy: Cap-and-trade was dead. Now it will be deader.

The Republican rout on Nov. 2 swept in dozens of new representatives and senators opposed to using a cap-and-trade scheme to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. By one estimate, almost half of GOP freshman legislators don't even believe there is sound science behind the theory of man-made climate change.

But, observers say, the election may do relatively little to alter U.S. climate policy before U.N. climate talks begin in Cancun, Mexico, on Nov. 29.

The Republican victories will finally bury the Obama administration's Plan A, which included passing a landmark climate bill in Congress. But that plan was, in essence, already defunct. And the new GOP majority will have few easy options for undoing the White House's Plan B, a set of new regulations that will cut emissions from power plants and factories. (David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Easy options or not, undone this nonsense must be. If the new batch of Congressmen don't get busy on that they'll soon find themselves looking for a real job, won't they?


ClimateGate 1 Year Later: Networks Barely Cover Scandal, But Defend and 'Exonerate' Accused Scientists

It’s been a year since thousands of emails and files were leaked from a prominent climate science group at the University of East Anglia, with startling comments including this one: “We can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment.”

Other leaked emails showed potential manipulation of temperature data, a willingness to destroy information rather than release it under the British Freedom of Information (FOI) law and the intimidation of publications willing to publish skeptical articles. The files also indicated that the temperature data was in a “hopeless” state.

Even though many considered it a huge scandal, the three broadcast networks didn’t think so. They ignored the story for roughly two weeks, and have only mentioned it in a dozen stories in the past year. (Julia A. Seymour, NewsBusters)


Job Openings In IT Support At The CRU And Nature Publishing Group

Email management boffins, and more or less anybody that has ever fathomed the extremely-complex (or not) world of how to archive messages using MS Outlook or any other email package, are urgently sought at world-famous UEA’s CRU and at the Nature Publishing Group, following a plea for help by a computer-challenged climate modeler and a critical-thinking-challenged scientific journalist:

Climate researcher Tim Osborn is next door, struggling with a familiar problem. “My inbox is full and I need to delete some e-mails.” Then, with a thin smile: “But I’m not allowed to now, am I?

It’s really heartwarming (without even having to surround one’s internal organs with greenhouse gases!!) to find that people that want to save the world by running complex computational models on supercomputers, are so (un)familiar with using common features of simple apps; and that people assigned by major international scientific publications to keep us informed about a problem that might engulf the planet, are (in)capable of showing much intelligent reasoning and to probe a situation with thoughtful questions and unprecedented insight.

ps On a more serious note, it’s telling that:

Same old, same old? (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


On and on... The Holland redaction

This is a guest post by David Holland.

Late last Friday afternoon, the University of East Anglia released some further information that should be of interest to anyone who has followed the minutiae of Climategate.

There is, for instance, a breakdown of the costs of the Russell Review at the end of the response letter. However, of most interest to me, and bearing directly upon the “rigour and honesty” of the Russell Review and UEA’s scientists, is Professor Boulton’s email of 6 May to Professor Briffa. This email (in the zip file here) concerned Briffa's work on the IPCC AR4 Report and the assistance he had received from Eugene Wahl. In his email, Boulton asks Briffa to reply to my allegation that the deadline for cited papers to be “in press” was changed to allow the citation of the Wahl and Ammann 2007 paper, which had missed the original deadline. Without it, IPCC WGI would have had to record the fact that the last word in the peer-reviewed literature was that the Mann et al “hockey stick” studies were invalidated by McIntyre and McKitrick.

Click to read more ... (Bishop Hill)


What could be worse than "complete fabrication"? Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations leaders will demand "concrete results" from the looming Cancun climate summit as global warming is accelerating, a top UN organizer of the event said Monday.

Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one. (AFP)


The New Guard of Climate Questioners: Get Ready for the Next Round of Climate Science Debate

by Chip Knappenberger
November 22, 2010

Last Wednesday, November 17, 2010, the Subcommittee on Energy & Environment of the Committee on Science and Technology of the U. S. House of Representatives held a hearing on climate change titled “A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response.” In a clear deference to the incoming make-up of the House, there were a relatively high number of panelists that were invited by the sitting minority, which made this hearing more “rational” and fascinating that than most subcommittee hearings in some time.

The Republican invitees were Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, and Judith Curry.

The first two are stalwarts of the let’s-just-hold-on-a-minute view of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. And, true to form, at the hearing each presented compelling evidence as to why anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions might not rapidly push up global temperature—not now, nor in the future. The testimony of Lindzen and Michaels can be found here and here respectively. And while their arguments are met with considerable opposition from the global-warming-is-a-dire-problem types, the ideas espoused by Lindzen and Michaels are scientifically compelling.

The third Republican invitee, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Dr. Judith Curry, is a new addition to this group (her testimony can be accessed here). In fact, not too long ago, she was starring for the Democrats at Congressional hearings. She also endorsed Joe Romm’s book, Come Hell and High Water, upon its release in 2006.

But all this changed about a year ago, when Dr. Curry started delving into the contents of the Climategate emails (which just celebrated the one-year anniversary of their release). She did not like what she found and spoke up.

At the time, when expressing her initial concern about the behavior on display (and its implications) in the Climategate emails, hers was one voice among several that came from folks who were typically apart from the usual (critical) suspects.

However, as time went on, the other voices have grown dimmer, while Judith’s has grown louder—primarily because of her continued investigations and her conviction borne upon what she has found.

Her primary interest, as of late, concerns the recognition and representation of uncertainty in our scientific knowledge. She holds the opinion that the level of true uncertainty is suppressed in the IPCC documents, and that its full revelation is essential in presenting a fair description of the state of scientific knowledge.

Her frank discussion on this topic has made her rather unpopular among her past supporters (she was at one time deemed the “high priestess of global warming” but now labeled a “heretic”) and is what has landed her in the anchor seat of the Hearing last week.

Here is a snippet of how she describes her personal journey: [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Climate Scientists Fight Back (Minus The Climate Scientists)

Funny people, the climate scientists. One would expect, for example, that behind a website sporting a “new rapid response team of climate scientists [that] promises to connect reporters and editors with a team of experts” (in the words of The Guardian), there would be at least the one climate scientist ready to put their face where their internet connection is.

Alas, one would be wrong. For who’s organizing the Climate Rapid Response?

  • Dr. John Abraham, “Associate Professor of Thermal and Fluid Sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering.[1][2] His area of research includes thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow, numerical simulation, and energy“ (from Wikipedia)
  • Scott A. Mandia,  “Professor of Earth and Space Sciences and Assistant Chair of the Physical Sciences Department [...] He received his M.S. – Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1990 and his B.S. – Meteorology from University of Lowell in 1987” (from Wikipedia)
  • Dr. Ray J. Weymann, “Staff Member Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Carnegie Observatories” (as far as I can tell, an astronomer)

As far as I can tell, the combined scientific output of the public faces of the Climate Rapid Response Team is zero. Or maybe one, by stretching things a bit.

This is not to criticize anybody, esp. Prof. Mandia, who after a couple of decades of teaching introductory climatology may know a thing or two, so to speak. But in absence of original research by its leaders, we can only expect the  Climate Rapid Response Team to be a campaigning (political) platform, not a scientific one. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Politicized Science vs. Anti-Science Republicans

Just because the motives of many climate change advocates are questionable, even evil, does that mean the entire global warming proposition is a fraud? (Rick Moran, PJM)

We're more concerned that it is not underwritten by any science or empirical evidence whatsoever. "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming" is a complete fabrication and fraud. Who really cares about the motivations of those pushing this particular barrow? Junk science is junk science, period.


Oreskes’ Brave Old World

Source:  American Thinker

by Robert Ferguson

The effort to discredit global warming skeptics is warming up globally. Australian blogger Graham Readfearn reports on Naomi Oreskes’ speaking tour of Australia:

As a celebrated historian, Professor Naomi Oreskes is interested in the origin of things – where ideas start from, what drives them and ultimately who propagates them.

Oreskes, Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego, has just arrived in Australia on a whistle-stop speaking tour promoting her new book, co-authored with Erik Conway, titled Merchants of Doubt – How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming.

The book, five years in the writing, ultimately concludes that much of the world’s scepticism on climate change – whether that be over the validity or certainty of the science of climate change, its causes or the need to act – is chiefly driven by a paranoid ideological fear of socialism and an unbending faith and belief in free-markets.

Put simply, free-market think-tanks such as the George C Marshall Institute, the Heartland Institute, The Science and Public Policy Institute and the Why-Can’t-You-Just-Leave-us-Alone-While-We-Make-Oodles-of-Cash Institute (not a real institute) don’t like industry to have to be held accountable.

Oreskes spoke to the ABC’s Lateline program on this brand of scepticism which also drove shoulder-shrugs over acid rain, tobacco smoke and ozone depletion.

Says Oreskes, “It’s part of this whole ideological program of challenging any science that could lead to government regulation, because it’s part of an ideological conviction that all regulation is bad, that any time the government steps in to ‘protect’ us from harm, that we’re on the slippery slope to socialism, and this the ideology that you see underlying a kind of almost paranoid anti-communism. So even after the Cold War is over, these people are seeing reds under the bed.”

Has Oreskes’ snarky book indulged what Freud called “projection”? It is certainly demonstrable that her book’s “carbon footprint” and “greed” slams on skeptics are so filled with hypocrisy they “stink on ice.”

But this has to be the topper:

The book, five years in the writing, ultimately concludes that much of the world’s scepticism on climate change – whether that be over the validity or certainty of the science of climate change, its causes or the need to act – is chiefly driven by a paranoid ideological fear of socialism[.]

As an average six-year-old might ask, “Gee, ya think?” (See an in-depth response to Oreskes here.) Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


Game Over in the Carbon War, as CCX Closes?

By Peter C Glover 
Nov. 22 2010, 12:25 EST

While the next climate summit in Cancun, Mexico at the end of this month will make a show of sifting the geopolitical wreckage from last December’s climate summit, any real prospect for coordinated international action is, post-Copenhagen, dead in the political water. [Read More] (ET)


Government accused of lobbying against action on climate change

The Harper government is on the defensive over its climate-change policy amid charges it is conspiring with the oil industry and Alberta to lobby for weaker emissions rules in the United States and Europe. (Globe and Mail)


U.N. meeting to tackle smaller climate issues

As prospects dim for a major agreement on capping pollution worldwide, deforestation, renewable energy and other smaller steps that target global warming will take center stage at a United Nations meeting next week, observers predict.

Beginning Monday in Cancun, Mexico, the 12-day United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will pick up where last year's meeting in Copenhagen left off: a global community seeking the fairest way to deal with a warming world.

"I would not look for any major agreement," says energy expert Reid Detchon of the United Nations Foundation, which supports U.N. causes. "I would look toward small agreements for progress being made." (Dan Vergano, USA TODAY)


Why The UK Will Definitely Fulfill Its Climate Change Act Emissions Reduction Target For 2020

Roger Pielke Jr is skeptical about the absurd task the UK has given itself regarding a “34% target for emissions reductions below a 1990 baseline by 2020“. He’s obviously not knowledgeable enough about the ways of the British governments re: targets. Let me explain.

Many years ago somebody had the bright idea to declare a target for UK train punctuality by a certain date. Scrambling for a solution in the face of certain failure, shortly before the deadline the rail companies agreed on artificially lengthening their schedules, thereby guaranteeing they could reach the target even if in practice they had done nothing of the sort.

Then it was Mr Blair’s government’s turn to declare a target on waiting list at the NHS by a certain date. Scrambling for a solution in the face of certain failure, shortly before the deadline the NHS structures decided to operate a double waiting list system, with the “official” one designed to consistently reach the target, and the “unofficial” one a parking area for patients that were simply not counted by the target system. Everybody had therefore guaranteed they could reach the target even if in practice they had done nothing of the sort.

This practice, i.e. an extension of “creative accounting“, has permeated the whole public system in the country. Even during the Dec 31, 1999 celebrations in London, the expected “river of fire” with 60ft+ tall flames was declared a success despite having been mostly invisible to the crowds, by redefining the meaning of “river of fire“.

And yes!, this may all sound familiar to people that have read about attempts to “redefine what the peer reviewed literature is“. Of course.

Please do not be surprised therefore if, come 2020, we will be talked into believing that the “34% target for emissions reductions below a 1990 baseline by 2020” will have been achieved, regardless of what the true figures will tell. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Um... Who cares? EU Says May Unveil CO2 Credit Curb Plan In Cancun

The European Commission said on Monday a proposal to limit the use of some carbon credits from industrial gas projects in its emissions trading scheme might be unveiled during a United Nations climate summit in Mexico next week. (Reuters)


Global Impact Of EU 30 Pct Carbon Cut Small: IEA

New European Union proposals for a tough cut in carbon dioxide emissions would have only a limited impact on the global warming process, International Energy Agency chief economist told Reuters on Monday.

The EU has agreed a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, but proposals have surfaced that the cut should reach 30 percent.

Fatih Birol, of the IEA, said the gains from the tougher EU reduction target would roughly equal only two weeks of China's emissions.

"The United States and China are essential for combating climate change globally. We estimate extending Europe's plan to cut emissions from 20 to 30 percent would roughly equal China's two-week gas output," Birol said in an interview.

Birol was skeptical about the chance of a breakthrough in the forthcoming United Nations climate summit in Mexico. (Reuters)


Climate Costs Set To Rise, Technology Can Help: U.N.

Costs of combating global warming will rise inexorably if the world fails to cap greenhouse gases by 2015, but new technologies can curb the price, the head of the U.N. climate panel said on Monday. (Reuters)

Actually there's exactly zero cost as long as you don't succumb to climate superstition.


China Feels Heat Of Climate Change Rifts

Coaxing China into a global grand bargain to fight climate change that also satisfies the United States and other rich nations threatens to be even more daunting and elusive than fixing the economic rifts dividing them.

China is the world's biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases from human activity stoking global warming, having outstripped the United States. Those two powers will play a big part in determining whether climate pact talks in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 can make progress toward a comprehensive deal. (Reuters)


Imagine that... Indonesia eyeing $1bn climate aid to cut down forests, says Greenpeace

Vague legal definitions may allow Indonesia to class forests as 'degraded' and 'rehabilitate' the land with palm trees and biofuel crops

Indonesia plans to class large areas of its remaining natural forests as "degraded" land in order to cut them down and receive nearly $1bn of climate aid for replanting them with palm trees and biofuel crops, according to Greenpeace International.

According to internal government documents from the forestry, agriculture and energy departments in Jakarta, the areas of land earmarked for industrial plantation expansion in the next 20 years include 37m ha of existing natural forest – 50% of the country's orangutan habitat and 80% of its carbon-rich peatland. More than 60m ha – an area nearly five times the size of England – could be converted to palm oil and biofuel production in the next 20 years, say the papers.

"The land is roughly equivalent to all the currently undeveloped land in Indonesia," says the report. "The government plans for a trebling of pulp and paper production by 2015 and a doubling of palm oil production by 2020."

The result, says the environmental group in a report released in Jakarta today, would be to massively expand Indonesia's palm, paper and biofuel industries in the name of "rehabilitating" land, while at the same time allowing its powerful forestry industry to carry on business as usual and to collect international carbon funds. (John Vidal, The Guardian)


UN Style Empirical Research

November 20, 2010

When journalists or market researchers interview the public, they describe what they’ve done in plain language. They say they’ve conducted interviews, that they’ve done a survey. When UN employees interview people they tell you, over and over, about their “empirical research.”

Anyone who doubts this is invited to watch a 70-minute Media Training Workshop that took place at the Bonn Climate Change talks in June 2009. (If you make it through the whole thing you earn a shiny gold star.)

A glossy 36-page report about climate refugees titled In Search of Shelter was launched at this workshop. The report was written by people with agendas a mile wide (see my previous post). It has not been peer-reviewed. Nevertheless, it provides an instructive example of how quickly questionable material gets incorporated into the self-perpetuating climate change consciousness. (No Consensus)


Climate Change Math in Treaties Flawed by Suspect Calculations

Nov. 23 -- D.V. Borole, a retired Indian government researcher, treks to a bluff in Goa once a fortnight to gather samples at one of just six sites in the nation to study heat-trapping pollutants. Measuring gases in the air would require a global network such as the web of stations that report weather patterns. So far, countries haven’t been inclined to spend the money. That leaves a loose band of air checkers, like Borole, spread thinly around the planet. (Source: Bloomberg)

Euan Nisbet, a University of London earth sciences professor who has traveled the world testing the air for greenhouse-gas pollution, makes his way to a rocky outcropping on the eastern coast of Hong Kong Island on a sunny November afternoon. He takes out a battery-operated pump connected to a thin tube and a plastic bag to capture traces of the wind.

“This is a good day for collecting samples,” says Nisbet, 61, looking out to sea. “There’s a good, strong breeze blowing in from the mainland. It’s the breath of China.”

Hooking up his air-sucking device, Nisbet says the world puts too much faith in government estimates of carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue. That’s because companies and countries base emissions calculations on the raw materials that go into a factory or power plant; they don’t check the pollution that comes out. (Bloomberg)

Just as well it isn't really "pollution" then, isn't it?


IPCC Exclusions And Inclusions Of Climate Mechanisms Are Both Failures

Charles Lyell, whose work Principles of Geology was a great influence on Charles Darwin, said, “The present is the key to the past”.

The inverse is equally valid and only when climate science can document and explain the past will we know what impact humans are having. (Tim Ball, CFP)


CARTER & DRIESSEN: 'Cool it' with all the research dollars

Solution to climate change is planning, not spending

By Robert Carter and Paul Driessen

Bjorn Lomborg is avidly courting publicity for his new film, "Cool It." He correctly observes that public discussion about global warming is largely between two entrenched camps of opinion. He's also right about our needing a "Plan B" climate policy that defuses the current rancorous and unproductive debate about "the man-made climate problem."

Mr. Lomborg's first camp is inhabited by warming alarmists, supported by the majesty of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Most major institutions in Western society have joined their funereal fugue (and funding pipeline) in supportive chorus.

In the other camp, empiricists (including a majority of independent scientists) argue implacably that we still await actual, factual evidence that our planet is still warming at all - let alone dangerously, let alone because of human carbon dioxide emissions.

Reality, of course, is a lot more nuanced, and it is simply incorrect to say, as Mr. Lomborg does, that most independent scientists argue that "global warming was a fabrication."

The truth is, all competent scientists agree on three things. Earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago, and its climate changes frequently. Human activities (not just CO2 emissions) definitely affect local climate and, combined, have the potential to affect global climate, perhaps measurably. And carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, albeit a minor one.

The real scientific debate is not about any of this. It is, rather, about the direction and magnitude of global human effects and their likely significance when considered in the context of natural climate change. (Washington Times)


Lomborg: uses irrational name-calling and denies the evidence

The Australian published Bjorn Lomborg: A Rational Take On Warming last week.

It was self-contradictory, baseless name-calling from a formerly sensible writer.


Lomborg and Gore are not so far apart

The only rational response to climate change is to use empirical, observable evidence. Rational people can point to results from 28 million radiosondes, 6000 boreholes, 30 years of satellites, 3000 ARGO ocean diving thermometers, raw data from thousands of surface thermometers, as well 800 peer reviewed references which include studies of corals, caves, pollen grains, ocean floor sediments, ice cores, and diatoms.

Lomborg is happy to call these rational people names, but irrationally doesn’t appear to have read their arguments. His method of quoting scientific studies, which was so successful on other topics, has come unstuck on climate science. He doesn’t realize that the US government poured $79 billion dollars into demonstrating one theory, but next to nothing to research, audit, or question that theory. He’s been tripped up by the skewing effect of monopolistic funding.

Far from being rational or scientific, he accepts the opinions of the Scientific Gods at the IPCC, and ignores the empirical evidence. It’s a step back to the stone age. In a rational world — when the evidence disagrees with the opinions — scientists toss out the fake Gods and go with the data.

His ignorance of the scientific side of the debate is one thing, but the hypocritical name-calling is quite something else. He calls it juvenile pie-throwing, but he still uses the word denier, specifically saying the skeptics deny the “ever-mounting evidence”. My challenge to Lomborg is to name one paper we deny. He’s adopted an Orwellian misnomer. The term is designed to denigrate and dehumanize, why does he play that game?

And for those who think the term “alarmist” is name-calling, think again. It’s an adjective and it fits. The so-called deniers don’t deny anything, but an alarmist is someone who wants to alarm us. Can anyone think of a better term for what the IPCC do? More » (Jo Nova)


Climate Change Puts Tribal Way of Life at Risk…not really true but enviro agenda does

AOL News

Streams that support cold-water fish are getting warmer. Traditional native plants are becoming harder to find. And some animal migratory patterns have been disrupted.  Native American tribes own and manage 5 percent of the land in the U.S.—lands that are rich with renewable resources. But Native Americans are disproportionately affected by climate change. And droughts, temperature changes and altered animal behavior are just some of the ways climate change is being acutely felt on reservations in the West, putting tribal environments, identity and cultural traditions at risk, experts say.

“The elders are commenting on how much warmer it’s getting, and how that warming is impacting the snow and the mountains,” said Germaine White, a member and information and education specialist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in northwestern Montana. “They pray about that. They are concerned. There needs to be snow so that the plants and animal communities thrive.”

Mission Mountains are visible in the distance on the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. Residents there are experiencing the impacts of climate change. Many in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes reside on the Flathead Indian Reservation, 1.3 million acres at the base of the Northern Rockies. Temperatures are rising in cold-water streams, creating perilous survival conditions for native fish such as trout. White said the land has become drier, more prone to wildfires and hospitable to several non-native plant species, triggering a decline in traditional ones.

Members of the Tulalip Tribes, which own 22,000 acres in Washington, are facing similar problems. The 4,000-member indigenous group is experiencing a winter season that now ends two months earlier than usual. The six weeks that it normally took for the snow to melt into waterways happens in two weeks. The rapid snowmelt has a knock-on effect. More water flows through the streams, scouring sediment and altering the habitats that salmon use to develop. That creates a schism between water flow and the salmon biology, and threatens the core of tribal identity, said Preston Hardison, a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Office of the Tulalip Tribes.

“For the survival of their culture, they need these ecosystems to be as secure from climate change as they can,” he said. But the fear among experts isn’t just for the future of the tribes. Lonnie Thompson, a leading climatologist, glaciologist and professor of geological sciences at Ohio State University, said the climate change impacts that Native Americans are experiencing on tribal lands is a harbinger of sorts of what the rest of the world will experience in later years because of climate change.

“I think what you see, especially in the changes that are occurring around glaciers, that these are just the canaries in the coal mine of things to come,” said Thompson, who has spent more than 30 years studying Peru’s Quelccaya glacier, the largest tropical ice cap in the world.

Learning to be More Efficient

Alexis Bonogofsky, senior tribal lands coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, works with tribes throughout Montana to build small-scale renewable energy projects, including a weatherization project for the Northern Cheyenne. The nonprofit is helping the tribe retrofit tribal buildings to be more energy efficient. They’re working to implement a green technology training program at the community college that will teach students how to construct energy-efficient homes using sustainable products and fix renewable energy projects.

“Our long-term vision,” Bonogofsky said, “is that there will be a workforce on Northern Cheyenne tribal systems who can not only repair small-scale renewable energy technology, but are able to build new houses that are straw bale and energy efficient.” Other Western tribes are battling climate change’s effects by creating small-scale renewable-energy projects to help reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.

On the Hopi reservation in Arizona, tribal leaders are developing a wind turbine farm that will supply power to 14,000 homes. Roger Tungovia, the project manager of the Hopi Renewable Energy Office, said the tribe was spurred to consider alternative energy projects after residents of the tribal lands began experiencing irregular weather conditions, such as drought, increased flooding during summer months and major snowstorms in the winter.

The Tulalip are planning for climate-change adaptation. That includes assessing how sea grass and kelp can help keep water, salmon and sediment from being washed out into the ocean from streams. They are also looking at how nursery habitats near the coast can take carbon dioxide out of the environment. Tribal officials hope to use that information to establish wetlands that will help slow the water’s movement in the spring.

The projects not only work to stave off the impact of climate change, but also to bring jobs to areas that may be economically depressed. Pat Spears, a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and president of Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, supports building a wind farm on his South Dakota reservation, where the wind blows up to 18 miles per hour. “We don’t want wall-to-wall turbines,” he said. “We want to restore our economy.”

Other Problems, Too

Climate change isn’t the only problem affecting the environment on reservations. Development and work to acquire natural resources such as coal can also disrupt the land’s natural processes. Gail Small, a former elected member of the tribal council for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in southeastern Montana, said work to extract natural resources, coupled with climate change, altered traditional routes animals used to traverse across the reservation. “The elk are confused,” Small said. “Their migratory patterns are all disrupted.”

Thirty years ago, the Tribal Council on the Flathead Indian Reservation dedicated nearly 25 percent of their land as open space—the first tribal wilderness in the nation, White said. That move has helped keep swathes of mountain range, where snowpack melts into waterways, largely undisturbed.

“We have been keen on ensuring that there are entire watersheds that have cold, clean, connected complex water,” White said. “They are components of a healthy streams for native fish restoration.” The Tribal Council also moved to a 10-hour, four-day workweek, to save energy and minimize the number of days people drove to and from work, White said.

Hardison said the nation in general, and tribes in particular, have a small window of time to act on climate change before the changes trigger ecological collapse. Once that threshold is reached, it will be almost impossible to reverse the effects. “If the cultures are going to survive, we have to stabilize over the next 20, 30 years,” Hardison said. “It’s a culture killer, from an Indian point of view.” See post here.

Icecap response: The temperatures in Montana have experienced very little net trend over the last century - mostly just the cyclical changes associated with the PDO and solar.  See the plots for Great Falls (flat) and Crow Agency (net cooling).

Enlarged here.

Enlarged here.

As for the disappearing snow in late winter and early spring, this is common in El Niño's winters which favor a more southerly winter storm track and warmth and less snow across the northwest and north central. Since the PDO positive phase from 1978 to 1998 favored El Niños (the period had 10 El Niños and only 3 mostly weaker La Niñas), this early spring melt was understandable. The PDO flipped to the negative mode in 1999 and we have had more La Niñas (6) than El Niños (3).

In these La Nina winters, snow has been heavier and temperatures away from cities (Crow Agency) have trended down. In 2008 and 2009 winters and spring, very cold weather persisted in the northern tier and southern Canada - so much so that they had trouble getting spring grains in the ground (snow covered in parts of southern Canada into mid June). Since the cold PDO is likely to remain for a few decades, look for more La Niñas, colder temperatures and more snow winter into spring.

The same is true for Europe with a correlation with the AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) which relates inversely to the North Atlantic Oscillation. A warm AMO means a negative NAO is favored - that correlates with more cold and snow for Europe.

Enlarged here.


Sigh... The Warming of Antarctica: A Citadel of Ice Begins to Melt

The fringes of the coldest continent are starting to feel the heat, with the northern Antarctic Peninsula warming faster than virtually any place on Earth. These rapidly rising temperatures represent the first breach in the enormous frozen dome that holds 90 percent of the world’s ice. (Fen Montaigne, e360)


Changing winds can influence amounts of carbon dioxide the ocean holds

The Southern Hemisphere Westerlies, the prevailing winds in the Southern Hemisphere, can strongly influence ocean circulation. D'Orgeville et al. use a climate model to study how changes in the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies affect atmospheric carbon dioxide through their influence on ocean carbon storage. They confirm earlier assumptions that an increase in the wind amplitude would have the effect of accelerating the deep overturning circulation, decreasing ocean carbon storage, and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

However, the researchers find that a latitudinal shift of the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies would affect carbon storage in the upper and deep ocean oppositely, resulting in little effect on atmospheric carbon dioxide. The study aims to contribute to understanding of past climate changes and carbon dioxide variations as well as future changes in uptake of carbon dioxide by the oceans.

Title: On the control of glacial-interglacial atmospheric CO2 variations by the Southern Hemisphere westerlies

Authors: M. d'Orgeville, W. P. Sijp, M. H. England, and K. J. Meissner: Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045261, 2010


Large methane release from ocean sediments during glacial periods?

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, exists in large quantities in methane hydrates in sediments beneath the seafloor. In hydrates, methane molecules are trapped in cages of water molecules, but under some conditions these hydrates can become unstable and release methane into the ocean and atmosphere. A recent study shows that large amounts of methane may have been released from the seafloor during past peak glacial or glacial-interglacial transition periods.

Using multibeam swath bathymetry data, Davy et al. find many large seafloor depressions on the seafloor off the coast of New Zealand. The authors hypothesize that these features, up to 11 kilometers (about 7 miles) in diameter, were likely pockmarks formed during the sudden release of large amounts of methane derived mostly from melting methane hydrates. The hydrate dissociation leading to these gas escape events, the authors suggest, may have occurred at peak glacial periods due to depressurization accompanying sea level lowering. Ocean temperature variations may have reinforced the hydrate dissociation.

These features, which are more than twice the size of previously reported pockmarks, could have been a source of methane gas released into the ocean and perhaps the atmosphere at the peak of glaciation. In fact, the authors estimate that for the largest of these features, about 7 billion kilograms of methane would have been released, which is about 3 percent of the current annual global methane release into the atmosphere from natural sources. Such a large release of methane could have affected ocean chemistry and contributed to transitions from glacial to warmer interglacial conditions.

Title: Gas escape features off New Zealand: Evidence of massive release of methane from hydrates

Authors: Bryan Davy, Ingo Pecher, and Ray Wood: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt, New Zealand;

Lionel Carter: Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand;

Karsten Gohl: Department of Geosciences, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Sciences, Bremerhaven, Germany.

Source: Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL045184, 2010


New Paper “Screen Level Temperature Increase Due To Higher Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide In Calm And Windy nights Revisited’ By Steeneveld Et Al 2010

There is a new paper that further assesses the issue of long term temperature trends as a function of height near the ground. This new study was motivated by our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., and T. Matsui, 2005: Should light wind and windy nights have the same temperature trends at individual levels even if the boundary layer averaged heat content change is the same? Geophys. Res. Letts., 32, No. 21, L21813, 10.1029/2005GL024407.

The new paper is

Steeneveld, G.J., A.A.M. Holtslag, R.T. McNider, and R.A Pielke Sr, 2010: Screen level temperature increase due to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide in calm and windy nights revisited. J. Geophys. Res., in press.

The abstract reads

“Long-term surface observations over land have shown temperature increases during the last century, especially during nighttime. Observations analyzed by Parker [2004] show similar long-term trends for calm and windy conditions at night, and on basis of this it was suggested that the possible effect of urban heat effects on long-term temperature trends are small. On the other hand, a simplified analytic model study by Pielke and Matsui [2005, henceforth PM05] suggests that at night the resultant long-term temperature trends over land should depend on height and strongly on wind speed (mostly due to alterations in the rate of nocturnal cooling in the stable boundary layer (SBL)). In this paper we expand the PM05 study by using a validated atmospheric boundary-layer model with elaborated atmospheric physics compared to PM05, in order to explore the response of the SBL over land to a change in radiative forcing. We find that the screen level temperature response is surprisingly constant for a rather broad range of both geostrophic wind speed (5-15 ms-1) and 10 meter wind (2-4.0 ms-1). This is mostly due to land surface-vegetation-atmosphere feedbacks taken into account in the present study which were not considered by PM05.”

Among the conclusions, we write

“Our study shows that the competing effects of boundary-layer height and wind speed dependent fluxes yield changes in shelter temperature that are largely independent of wind speed. PM05 only considered the role of wind speed and boundary-layer height. It is likely that urban heat island effects as observed, are due to the resident time of a parcel of air over a city and not due to the flux changes considered here or in PM05. Furthermore, the parameter spaces investigated in this paper are limited. For example, the CASES-99 observational site simulated here is quite smooth (the roughness length used in the simulations was 0.03 m). It is possible that larger roughnesses might provide more sensitivity to wind speed. This will be further explored in McNider et al. [2010].

Finally, we agree with PM05 that additional work is needed to understand SBL responses to both land use change and radiative forcing. Klotzbach et al. [2009], for example, which shows a statistically significant divergence between the long-term trends of the surface air and lower tropospheric temperatures at higher latitudes in the winter, indicate that the changes in the SBL over time remains an important climate change issue that has been not yet completely examined and understood.”

The answer to the question of whether long term temperature trends near the surface are a significant function of height is an important climate metric issue, as these trends are used in the construction of the annual average global surface temperature trend. From this new study, it appears that feedbacks mute temperature trends near the surface, however, this was for a specific situation and may not be general to other landscapes. The new McNider et al paper, that is in preparation, will examine this issue for other situations, and we will report on this weblog when this study is complete. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Salazar Session Disappoints Gulf Drillers

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met with oil and gas companies that work in the Gulf of Mexico's shallow waters on Monday, but the talks did nothing to jump start drilling activity as the industry had hoped.

The sector has complained bitterly that that government's deepwater drilling moratorium, put in place in May after BP Plc's Macondo well disaster, effectively halted drilling in shallower waters.

The moratorium was lifted in October, but companies have said the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is still far too slow issuing drilling permits under new safety regulations. (Reuters)


Lame Duck Session a Big Success So Far

by Myron Ebell
22 November 2010 @ 9:34 am

Lame Duck Session a Big Success So Far

The first week of Congress’s lame duck session has been a big success.  They haven’t done anything.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled a scheduled vote to invoke cloture and proceed to S. 3815, the “Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” because he did not have the 60 votes required.

S. 3815 is known around town as the Boone Pickens Payoff Bill.  Pickens told Bloomberg News this week that he thought there was a better than 50-50 chance that the bill would be enacted, so we can’t celebrate yet.

The bill would provide $4.5 billion in subsidies for natural gas vehicles and $3.5 billion in subsidies for electric vehicles plus $2 billion…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Peak energy? What peak energy?

One of the other lies told by Watermelons – when they’re not bleating about the fast-fading ‘crisis’ of “Man-Made Global Warming” – is that the earth is fast running out of scarce resources. “Even if AGW isn’t quite as true as we pretended it was a few years ago, that’s still no excuse for not taking radical action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” they claim.

Isn’t it? (James Delingpole)


D'oh! Nations That Debate Coal Use Export It to Feed China’s Need

Even as developed countries close or limit the construction of coal-fired power plants out of concern over pollution and climate-warming emissions, coal has found a rapidly expanding market elsewhere: Asia, particularly China.

At ports in Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Africa, ships are lining up to load coal for furnaces in China, which has evolved virtually overnight from a coal exporter to one of the world’s leading purchasers.

The United States now ships coal to China via Canada, but coal companies are scouting for new loading ports in Washington State. New mines are being planned for the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, some of the world’s more environmentally progressive regions are nascent epicenters of the new coal export trade, creating political tensions between business and environmental goals.

Traditionally, coal is burned near where it is mined — particularly so-called thermal or steaming coal, used for heat and electricity. But in the last few years, long-distance international coal exports have been surging because of China’s galloping economy, which now burns half of the six billion tons of coal used globally each year.

As a result, not only are the pollutants that developed countries have tried to reduce finding their way into the atmosphere anyway, but ships chugging halfway around the globe are spewing still more.

And the rush to feed this new Asian market has helped double the price of coal over the past five years, leading to a renaissance of mining and exploration in many parts of the world.

“This is a worst-case scenario,” said David Graham-Caso, spokesman for the Sierra Club, which estimates that its “Beyond Coal” campaign has helped to block 139 proposed coal plants in the United States over the last few years. “We don’t want this coal burned here, but we don’t want it burned at all. This is undermining everything we’ve accomplished.” (NYT)


Russia Closely Watching EU Shift To Green Energy

Moscow is "closely watching" Europe's shift to renewable energy and foresees continued demand for gas to balance fluctuations in green energy output, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Monday.

The 27-country European Union relies heavily on Russian gas supplies to heat and power the homes of its 500 million people, but aims to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 percent over the next decade, putting its overall needs in question.

"We've been closely watching the rigor with which Europe has been supporting renewables," Shmatko told reporters ahead of a meeting with EU officials on Monday.

"Wind and solar will always need a balancing source of energy, and this is a spot where gas generally fits quite well," he added, speaking through an interpreter. "We can increase or decrease load as demand fluctuates."

Moscow is keen to get a picture of future demand in Europe, its biggest export market. (Reuters)


Why the Government Should Stay Out of Green Energy

In the realm of solar power, there has never been more fanfare for a startup than in the case of Solyndra. Founded in 2005, the company’s rooftop-mounted solar panels were immediately touted as “the next big thing” in alternative energy.

Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Solyndra has been a magnet for venture capital cash from the Silicon Valley.

However, just before Solyndra’s promising glow of success began to fade, the last big investor stepped into the boardroom: The Obama Administration. And man, did the American taxpayer get played. (Brian Sussman, Human Events)


He don't say? U.S. corn ethanol "was not a good policy"-Gore

ATHENS, Nov 22 - Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions. (Reuters)


Cropland - Food for People or Fuel for Cars?

According to a new study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Government support of biofuel production is costly, has a limited impact on reducing greenhouse gases and improving energy security, and has a significant impact on world crop prices… Current biofuel support measures alone are expected to increase the average prices for wheat by about 5 per cent, corn by around 7 per cent, and vegetable oil by about 19 per cent over the next ten years.

In the U.S., last year’s harvest was 10.5 billion bushels, the third-largest crop ever. But instead of going into the maws of pigs or cattle or people, an increasing slice of that supply is being transformed into fuel for cars. The roughly 5 billion gallons of ethanol made in 2006 by 112 U.S. plants consumed nearly one-fifth of the corn crop. If all the scores of factories under construction or planned go into operation, fuel will gobble up no less than half of the entire corn harvest by 2008.

Full report see: [PDF, 49 KB] (Carbon Sense Coalition)


Petrol vs Ethanol

Ethanol produces more carbon dioxide than petrol.

Both petrol and ethanol produce carbon dioxide when burnt. But to produce the same energy requires more ethanol than petrol, and it produces more carbon dioxide.

Moreover producing ethanol from corn by fermentation also produces more carbon dioxide during the fermentation process. And then the dilute ethanol produced by fermentation (about 12%) has to be concentrated using a distillation process which requires more energy and more emissions. Burning ethanol rather than petrol thus probably increases the production of carbon dioxide.

For detailed calculations by Professor Jim Barrante see: [PDF, 38 KB]

James R. Barrante is an Emeritus Professor in the Chemistry Department at Southern Connecticut State University. He has devoted his last ten years to the study of the physical chemistry of greenhouse gases. He is the author of two textbooks, Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences (in Japanese) and Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry. (Carbon Sense Coalition)


Good! Farming Futures faces closure as government funding is cut

Group has played vital role in persuading farmers to invest in green technology such as wind turbines and solar panels (Guardian)

They've obviously been misleading farmers and hampering agriculture and society - get rid of them.


How Czech politicians are stopping the solar insanity

The former largest - as of 2007 - Central European solar power plant in Ostrožská Lhota, the Czech Republic (near the Slovak border), occupies 40,000 m^2, produces 1.5 MWp (megawatts at peak conditions - that's just 37.5 Watts-peak per m^2), and its cost was CZK 100 million (CZK 2500 per m^2).

During the first year of its life, it produced 711 MWh (normal people would only pay CZK 3.5 million for this amount of energy - the payback period would be 30 years which is not far from the lifetime of solar cells - however I've been neglecting lots of other expenses): that's about 2 MWh a day in average which corresponds to 1.5 hours of peak traffic every average day only. ;-) Your humble correspondent did those calculations for you.

New power plants built on arable land have been de facto banned - see also below.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation reprints a November 17th article in Die Presse (Austria) about the newest decisions attempting to stop the insane solar boom in the Czech Republic:
Eastern Europe Puts Emergency Brakes On Solar Energy
A few years ago, the Czech politicians joined the bandwagon and introduced breathtaking subsidies for solar energy. Our subsidies and conditions were particularly generous. As a result, my homeland has probably seen the world's greatest annual percentage increase of the solar sources within the last year: by a whopping one order of magnitude per year!

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Switch to renewables will take generations, not years

Jock Finlayson is the executive vice-president, policy, for the Business Council of British Columbia

The latest world energy outlook released by the International Energy Agency is a useful reminder of the enduring place of fossil fuels in the global energy mix. Energy demand and supply patterns change only slowly, and moving away from existing carbon-intensive energy systems will take generations, not years. Despite widespread worries about climate change, there is little evidence that the global energy picture is about to be transformed within the next two decades.

According to the IEA, even if governments around the world fully deliver on the commitments they have made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase out fossil fuel subsidies – a very big ‘if’ – world primary energy demand is set to increase by 36 per cent between 2008 and 2035. Moreover, fossil fuels account for more than half of the growth in overall energy use, with oil remaining the dominant source of energy (albeit its share diminishes over time). Global oil demand rises by 15 million barrels to reach 99 million barrels per day by 2035, with 100 per cent of the incremental demand coming from emerging economies. Among the OECD economies, demand actually drops by six million barrels per day.

Coal-fired electricity generation continues to expand on a world basis, even as dependence on coal declines in Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies. The reason is continued growth in coal-fired generation in emerging markets, above all China. Indeed, the IEA’s boffins estimate that the amount of new coal-fired generation capacity developed in China to 2035 will exceed the current installed capacity in the U.S., the EU and Japan collectively. King coal is far from dead, despite frequent pronouncements to the contrary from environmentalists and politicians. (Globe and Mail)



Patients Should Pay Their Own Bills

Big Spenders: Increases in health care costs rival the rising of the sun for inevitably. Should we blame greedy doctors and drugmakers? No, blame should be placed on the system the government has promoted. (IBD)


Taking the Gloves Off: Is the Health Care Bill Constitutional

The legal arguments surrounding the constitutionality of the health care debate are nuanced, and at the center of the debate is whether Congress can regulate a citizen’s inactivity. The Federalist Society holds its annual conference in Washington, D.C. this week, and that's one of the hottest topics. In an afternoon panel on Thursday, four legal scholars went head-to-head in a panel titled “Litigation: Debating the Constitutionality of the Federal Health Care Legislation.”

Four lawsuits in four different states have been launched challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality — in California, Michigan, Virginia, and Florida — according to the panel’s moderator, David Stras, of the Minnesota Supreme Court. So far, the California and Michigan cases have been thrown out. The Virginia case is pending. In Florida, twenty other states have latched on to the case, which has just survived a motion to dismiss. Which arguments the courts will address in that suit remain to be seen. (Jillian Bandes, Townhall)


Ray LaHood: Obama's Power-Mad Cell Phone Czar

America is in debt past its eyeballs. Unemployment remains stuck near double digits. Small and large businesses, unions and insurers are clamoring for Obamacare waivers in droves. Jihadists are making a mockery of homeland security. And border chaos reigns. So, what's one of the Obama administration's top domestic policy agenda items this month? Combating distracted drivers.

What? You missed the Million Anti-Distracted Drivers Protest March on Washington and the Great Grassroots Groundswell for federal intervention on our highways and byways? Don't worry. You weren't the only one.

Making the cable TV rounds to unveil a public service announcement campaign against "epidemic" cell phone use and texting on the road, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood revealed bizarre and alarming plans on Wednesday to install devices in cars that would block a driver's ability to communicate. (Michelle Malkin, Townhall)


Obesity weighs on wealthy in poor countries

NEW YORK Nov 22 (Reuters Life!) - The obesity epidemic has spread to poorer nations, where it almost entirely affects wealthy citizens, while the poor in the same nations still remain underweight, a study said.

By contrast, obesity tends to have a greater impact on the poor in developed nations, such as the United States.

"There's a lot of discussion on how the problems of obesity and overweight are now spreading to poor and developing countries," said S.V. Subramanian, at the Harvard School of Public Health, who led a recent study.

But the question of who is most affected within those countries is almost never asked, he told Reuters Heatlh.


Global Governance: Health

Source: SPPI

by Dennis Ambler

It is interesting that the global warming industry often likens people who question the warming agenda to those who challenge the black and white, cause and effect view of tobacco and cancer and the junk science often used by the anti-tobacco zealots. (I am not denying that smoking can cause cancer but obviously everyone who smokes does not get cancer, otherwise smoking would be a self eliminating activity. Disclaimer: I have never smoked and hate the smell of stale tobacco, but I do not deny the rights of smokers to enjoy their own choice of recreation)

The UN are now applying the tactics of global warming to the rights of people over the globe to enjoy their own pleasures. Here are some familiar phrases:

  • “delegates failed to reach consensus “
  • “they were still working toward the treaty’s long-held goal”
  • “Delegates were still struggling to find language…….on which they could agree before a final session
  • “We are not there yet and time is running out. But I am optimistic,”
  • “Philip Morris and the tobacco growers’ lobby say identifying and restricting additives would cost millions of jobs and harm emerging economies around the world.”
  • Public health officials countered that tobacco producers can switch to other crops, (alternative fuels?) and said millions of lives could be saved by reducing smoking.

Of course the WHO is yet another arm of the UN, with its own army of bureaucrats intent on global control: Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


You can’t eat trees

Think this through. What will happen to food prices and our exports if we pay farmers to cut back on their crops:

UNDER government plans to test-run a carbon market for the sector, farmers will be able to cash in on measures to reduce carbon pollution.

These will include tree planting and reducing fertiliser use.


To confirm what critics in comments below seek to deny, here are examples of carbon dioxide offset schemes boasting that they are indeed sticking their (non-fruiting) trees on farmland:

Rewards offers carbon sequestration projects for commercial clients, using permanent forest plantations to sequester carbon abatement from the atmosphere through the incorporation of Australian native species on to cleared Western Australian Wheat belt farm land.


Carbon Conscious plants mallee eucalypt trees… Importantly the majority of the plantations are on marginal Australian farmland. We work very closely with Australian farmers to identify tracts of land on their farm that are considered less productive.

As the NSW Farmers Association says:

Carbon plantation tax breaks are alienating agricultural land.

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council warns:

As a major national agricultural industry association, we are fundamentally opposed to providing tax incentives for enterprises that will occupy agricultural land without providing food or fibre for consumption… First, developers of carbon sink forests are provided with massive financial advantage over the farmers who produce our food. Second, the proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) will allow large polluters to offset their emissions by merely planting more forests, and third, the tree plantation industry itself will execute plans to treble forests acreage within 12 years.

Any one of these proposals alone would have a severe impact on Australian agriculture, however there is no doubt that this combination of factors - and their propensity to leverage each other - will have a devastating effect on the availability of good agricultutral land in Australia over the next decade, and the ability of our farmers to provide agricultural produce at reasonable and sustainable prices.

As the South Australian Advisory Board of Agriculture tried to tell the Rudd Government:

Threats to food security, employment in regional areas, and social ramifications, are high amongst the implications of Australia’s most productive land being locked up to tree plantings for at least 100 years under the ETS. Lack of food production will impose imported foods grown under regimes with far lower safety standards…

Food security is being threatened by encroachment of reforestation onto safe food producing areas. Cashing in on carbon sinks, the resource industry is encouraging the conversion of food producing areas to forests.

(Andrew Bolt)


What is the world coming to when gravity has no respect for treehuggers? Folk legend Joan Baez injured after falling from a treehouse

Folk legend Joan Baez was recovering last night after falling 20 feet from a treehouse in her garden.

The Sixties singer was taken to hospital after she slipped and fell to the ground while climbing down from the oak tree which sits in behind her California home. (Daily Mail)


Gun Control Advocate Traver to Head ATF

Obama has nominated a Chicagoan with no senior executive level experience to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. (Bob Owens, PJM)



Inhofe Recounts Success in 2010, But Warns of ‘Backdoor' Cap-And-Trade at EPA

‘EPA is threatening jobs on a host of fronts'

Watch: Inhofe Floor Speech

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, delivered a Senate Floor speech today on global warming policy, warning that, despite its defeat this year in Congress, "backdoor" cap-and-trade is "alive and well" at the EPA. 

The speech recounts events over the last year that led to the defeat of the thousand-page Waxman-Markey bill in the Senate, including the failure in Copenhagen, Climategate, and the Obama Administration's admission of the futility of unilateral U.S. climate action. (EPW blog)


Surreality: CARB contemplating a “skeptical science” regulation with penalties

Twin Terminators: Gov. Arnold Schwarnzeneggar and CARB's Mary Nichols. Gee, thanks Arnold

My View: The California Air resources Board is quickly becoming the most dangerous bureaucratic  organization in California. This latest contempt for a public that questions the validity of their mission is way over the top. As the headline says, CARB is actively considering:

…a proposed regulation which would prohibit dishonest statements or submittals offered to the Board or to its staff.

Guess who gets to determine the “dishonesty” of a “statement or submittal” to CARB?

Of course, it’s OK if CARB makes a 340% error of their own while using false data to impose their will on the people of California. And of course it’s OK to publicly flaunt the ugly hubris of the CARB boss Mary Nichols rubbing her glee in the face of the citizens of California that voted for Prop 23. And of course it’s OK to simply demote a CARB “scientist” who lied about his PhD degree obtained from a UPS store rather than fire his fraudulent bureaucratic butt and then stage a cover up about it.  But, when a citizen submits some data or opinion to CARB that they may later find questionable? Well, that’s a whole different matter.

What a bunch of self serving, holier than thou, public sector putzes!

Evidently CARB is contemplating a regulation that would enable penalties for what would be judged “dishonest statements or submittals” provided to it or “staff.”  I think one can safely assume that it is aimed at curtailing challenges to CARB’s agenda that are based on alternative scientific information and interpretations.

Here’s a message from their listserver, you just have to read this to believe it:

Continue reading (WUWT)


Letter of the moment: Let's Deal in Science and Facts

Bjorn Lomborg ("Can Anything Serious Happen in Cancun?", op-ed, Nov. 12) claims that government spending on global warming policies is wasted, but he assumes that global warming caused by carbon dioxide is a fact. It is not. We base this statement not on the opinions of 31,000 American scientists who signed a public statement rejecting this warming hypothesis (the "Oregon Petition"), but rather because the forecasts of global warming were derived from faulty procedures.

We published a peer-reviewed paper showing that the forecasting procedures used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change violated 72 of 89 relevant principles (e.g., "provide full disclosure of methods"). The IPCC has been unable to explain why it violated such principles. In response, we developed a model that follows the principles. Because the climate is complex and poorly understood, our model predicts that global average temperatures will not change.

In testing the models on global temperature data since 1850, we found that the long-range (91-to-100-years ahead) forecast errors from the IPCC's projection were 12 times larger than the errors from our simple model.

Mr. Lomborg concludes there are better ways for governments to spend the funds devoted to global warming. We suggest this money should instead be returned to taxpayers.

J. Scott Armstrong
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia (WSJ)


The Climate Cash Cow

Hoaxes: A high-ranking member of the U.N.'s Panel on Climate Change admits the group's primary goal is the redistribution of wealth and not environmental protection or saving the Earth. (IBD)


On the anniversary of Climategate the Watermelons show their true colours

Watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. This is the theme of my forthcoming book on the controlling, poisonously misanthropic and aggressively socialistic instincts of the modern environmental movement. So how very generous that two of that movement’s leading lights should have chosen the anniversary of Climategate to prove my point entirely.

The first comes courtesy of German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer who has openly admitted what some of us have been saying for some time: that “Climate Change” has nothing to do with man’s modest and thoroughly unthreatening contribution to global mean temperatures, nor even with the plight of baby polar bears so sweet you could almost hug them if you didn’t know they’d take your arm off in a trice. All it is, really, is a Marxist exercise in minority grievance-mongering and wealth redistribution on a global scale. (James Delingpole)


Terence Kealey: What Does Climategate Say About Science?

The emails sent by members of the climatic research centre at the University of East Anglia have provoked international outrage, as have the many flawed global warming papers that have appeared in recent years such as those describing the hockey stick graph(1), to say nothing of the flawed predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over such issues as the rate of disappearance of the glaciers in the Himalayas. But such outrage has been naive because it has been premised on the assumption that scientists are - and should be - dispassionate seekers after truth. Yet in fact scientists are and should be advocates. Science has always been rooted in advocacy, as was illustrated by an episode from its very beginnings during the 5th century BC.

Pythagoras (of the Theorum) was a good scientist but he was of a mystical bent and he revered 'rational' numbers (whole numbers or whole fractions). He believed they explained the Harmony of the Spheres. Pythagoras, indeed, believed that whole numbers underpinned the universe from music to the movement of the planets. But Pythagoras had a student called Hippasus, and Hippasus discovered that the square root of 2, √2 is not a rational number. It is in fact an 'irrational' number, and its exact quantity will never be precisely calculated because, as Hippasus showed two and a half thousand years ago, irrational numbers can never be definitively calculated. This proof upset Pythagoras and he asked Hippasus to retract it. But Hippasus refused, so Pythagoras had him drowned.

That's what scientists are like in their natural state. Now - call me soft - but I think Pythagoras went too far; I think that scientists should desist from killing each other or even from telling outright falsehoods. But, like advocates in court, scientists can nonetheless be expected to put forward only one very partial case . and that as strongly as possible . and no-one should expect a scientist to be anything other than a biased advocate. (GWPF)


How the Climategate weasels wriggled free

This week marks the anniversary of Climategate but even though I helped break and name the story I’m certainly not celebrating. That’s because, despite the marked shift it effected in public opinion, its effect on public policy-making has been close to zilch. (James Delingpole)


Climategate One Year on - the Curious Missing Police Report by John O'Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists

One year on and still British police do not report on their Climategate investigations. But with private police investigating the crime are we right to suspect a government cover up?

Skeptics refuse to let Climategate go away quietly. As we shall see below - even 12 months on – legal analysts show how climate criminals can still be put behind bars. If only UK police applied a more powerful legal instrument: the Fraud Act (2006) discredited government scientists could be prosecuted today.

Those of us with a modicum of legal training have been saying it all along; with the expertise of the Serious Fraud Office instead of those dawdling backwoods country bobbies, Professor Phil Jones and other accomplices linked with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia, England could all be put behind bars serving a ten-year stretch. (Climate Realists)


Uh-huh... Head of UN climate body admits surprise at fury over blunder in report

One year on, Rajendra Pachauri speaks of regret at false assertion that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035

The head of the UN climate science body has admitted he was taken entirely by surprise by the ferocious public reaction to a blunder in its report on Himalayan glaciers. But he insisted the controversy had not set back efforts to secure action on climate change.

The mistake, a false assertion that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035, exacted severe damage to the reputation of the IPCC and its head, Rajendra Pachauri. It also provided further fuel to the controversy over the emails stolen from East Anglia's climate research unit and released online a year ago today.

Pachauri said he had not predicted the storm of criticism. "I had absolutely no idea what was coming. It just sort of escalated," Pachauri told the Guardian at a climate meeting sponsored by California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Pachauri initially dismissed the first challenge to the accuracy of the 2007 report on melting of the Himalayas as "voodoo science". It took two months for the IPCC to acknowledge that the assertion on glaciers was based on flimsy data – a quote given to journalists – and should never have made it into the report.

"In retrospect we should have had a much better capacity at the IPCC to deal with this kind of thing," Pachauri said this week. (Guardian)


Orsekes, Readfearn: Got no evidence? Time for innuendo

Ad Hominem Unleashed: On the origin of the sceptics

Commentators on a sinking ship search for reasons to “keep the faith afloat”.

The battle cry: the “skeptics” are shills of big oil, has become an own goal. The PR team for the catastrophic theory have no new evidence of Big Oil funding and thousands of people now point out that the UNskeptics were paid 3500 times as much (at least). So they are moving on… the religiously devout believers can’t admit they were wrong, and nor can they look at the evidence, so what’s left? Post hoc random over-analysis of the irrelevant. Before, skeptics were paid hacks… and now they’re wrong because they … are ideologically against big government and regulation. From one ad hom to another.

And again, the ABC uses our taxes to promote the smear campaign,  support neolithic reasoning, and does everything it can to stop people talking about scientific evidence (by spreading misinformation or slurs about all the characters on one side). Orsekes and freelance writer Graham Readfearn can’t discuss the evidence (or lack of) for their favourite faith, but they spend a lot of time digging up irrelevant details instead.

Are man-made emissions a problem? How would we find the answer? Look not at sedimentary rocks but at stationery and submissions. As if the answer to tropical convective processes might be hidden on IPA letterhead, or in subliminal messages coded in the number of peer reviewed reports. It’s tea-leaves and rune-stones stuff, and people kid themselves that Blackberries or Androids make us modern, but the writing of people like Orsekes and Readfearn reminds us that human brains still carry software from the paleolithic.  They simply can’t string a reasoned scientific argument together without resorting to discussing motivations, character, ideology or gossip about who their friends are.

Here’s Oreskes. She “knows” she’s right, she just has to figure why other people haven’t seen the light too:

“It’s part of this whole ideological program of challenging any science that could lead to government regulation, because it’s part of an ideological conviction that all regulation is bad, that any time the government steps in to ‘protect’ us from harm, that we’re on the slippery slope to socialism, and this is the ideology that you see underlying a kind of almost paranoid anti-communism. So even after the Cold War is over, these people are seeing reds under the bed.”

Ponder the inanity of “paranoid anti-communism?” More » (Jo Nova)


Climate Talks Should Not Set Deadline For Pact

President Barack Obama's climate envoy said on Thursday world powers shouldn't get bogged down on a deadline for greenhouse gas emission cuts at the upcoming global climate talks, but instead should take small steps that could lead to a broader agreement. (Reuters)


What utter rubbish: Climate negotiators return to bargaining table as temperatures climb and seas rise ever faster

NEW YORK — The last time the world warmed, 120,000 years ago, the Cancun coastline was swamped by a 7-foot (2.1-meter) rise in sea level in a few decades. A week from now at that Mexican resort, frustrated negotiators will try again to head off a new global deluge. (AP)

Let's see: the world showed serious warming (enough to begin emerging from the last great glaciation) about 15,000 years ago; then there was the recovery from the Younger Dryas event, about 12,000 ya; the Holocene Thermal Maximum (to abut 5,000 ya); the various Warm periods (... Minoan, Roman, Medieval). And the Associated Press is aware of none of this?


Japan Set To Delay CO2 Law, Fossil Fuel Tax Mulled

Japan is unlikely to legislate pledged cuts in greenhouse gas emissions before U.N.-led climate talks in Mexico this month as lawmakers are focused on the economy, but its enactment in the new year could include a new tax on initial users of fossil fuels.

Japan's pledge to cut emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 is government policy and one of the new green measures is expected to take shape by the end of the year, government officials and law makers said on Friday.

The 2020 target, which industries say is hard to meet without carbon offsets from abroad, has a precondition that all major emitters adopt similar ambitions, as Japan is seeking a broader successor to the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol. (Reuters)


China Rules Out Linking Climate Aid To Transparency

China said on Friday it will not agree to any deal tying climate change aid from rich nations to its acceptance of tighter international checks of its greenhouse gas emissions, which it said will grow for some time. (Reuters)


Peter Foster: Canada dodges carbon suicide

Harper right to kill ‘irresponsible’ bill that would have erased legions of jobs

Opposition MPs and warmist NGOs this week responded with outrage that the Harper government should have dared to use the Senate — an unelected body that the Conservatives claim they want to reform — to kill the Climate Change Accountability Act.

Mr. Harper, however, noted that there was an issue here of somewhat greater importance than procedural nicety or political consistency: the fate of the Canadian economy. He rightly dubbed Bill C-311 a piece of “completely irresponsible legislation” that set suicidal “targets” that would have destroyed hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Hurray! Global CO2 emissions back on the rise in 2010

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – the main contributor to global warming – show no sign of abating and may reach record levels in 2010, according to a study led by the University of Exeter (UK). (University of Exeter)

Signs of economic recovery at last! At least we can hope it isn't merely the result of additional heating fuel burning to cope with colder conditions.


Or not... Global emissions of carbon dioxide drop 1.3%, say international scientists

Global Carbon Project says fall in 2009 due to economic crisis but level still second highest in human history (Guardian)


ABC admits it’s a propaganda arm of the government

What Mark Scott admitted as the managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was really what everyone knew anyway: the ABC aims to please the gatekeepers of the pay-checks (which is, after all exactly what we’d expect from most organizations in the long run).

What makes it telling is that he could forget that he’s never supposed to admit this. I mean, they promote themselves in ads as “our ABC”. It’s supposed to serve the people, not the government. The key problem is that although the people pay for the ABC, they don’t hold the purse strings. And to some extent, the people, don’t really try to either. We get what we are willing to put up with.

THE ABC managing director, Mark Scott, has told an audience of film and television producers that the way he had been able to secure additional funding was by convincing the government the national broadcaster was working in its interests.

For a long time, Mr Scott said ABC management had simply gone to Canberra crying poor and telling the government what a great job it was doing.

“And I think if you take that approach, well, then you’ve joined the queue of people who feel hardly done by who are in Canberra with their hand out. And I’m not sure that’s a smart way of getting dollars, frankly,” Mr Scott said.

Wait for it:

“I think you’ve got to couch the arguments in terms of what we are in a unique position to deliver that is in the interests of government of the day,” he said, in an address to the Screen Producers Association of Australia conference in Sydney.

Read it all at the SMH

In order to serve the people, the ABC could be putting government policies under the blow-torch. For a moment, just  hypothetically, imagine the government wanted to bring in legislation that would cost billions, be nearly impossible to unwind, would commit the country to pursue inefficient, expensive, underdeveloped technology,  make the country uncompetitive, and it was all based on lost data, inexplicable “adjustments”, pronouncements of foreign agencies, and fallacious reasoning, (not to mention being pushed by big banks). More » (Jo Nova)


#3 Ongoing BoM utter incompetence – month after month

November 21st, 2010 by Warwick Hughes

Another month – another miserable failure for the BoM rain “Outlook” as real world data shows the continent awash with rain. Small wins in SW WA and far eastern Australia are hugely outweighed by comprehensive failures over vast areas elsewhere.

October quarter BoM rain prediction failure

The Parliament of Australia, House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation, is holding an Inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia. Great to see some MP’s are trying to call the giant BoM to account. Tough job – the BoM needs to be told to stop wasting resources kowtowing to IPCC science and concentrate on real-world issues affecting Australia. (Warwick Hughes)


#4 Temperature too – not just rain – ongoing BoM utter incompetence – month after month after month

November 21st, 2010 by Warwick Hughes

Just in case anybody thinks temperature Outlooks are reliable – take a look at these disparate results for the last three months period. Also note that the BoM seems to have the overall calibration of their models wrong – the Outlooks are overall far too warm – which has been an error for years now. To scan through my BoM articles.
First maximum or daytime temperatures – huge areas of Australia turned out way cooler than normal – a fact which the BoM models utterly failed to predict.

Max T BoM model failure Oct 2010

Minimum or night time temperatures – predicted to be even hotter relative to norms compared to daytime – yet once again huge areas of Australia turned out way cooler than normal – a fact which the BoM models utterly failed to predict.

Min T BoM model failure Oct 2010

But what would you expect from an organization pushing the notion of man caused global warming. The Govt. must tell the BoM to stop wasting our taxes to produce this useless rubbish. (Warwick Hughes)


Climate models hopelessly simplistic

P Gosselin has an interesting story about an Austrian meteorologist who is completely underwhelmed by the reliability of climate models. As Karsten Brandt apparently puts it:

It is simply nonsense. These prognoses are not worth the paper they’re printed on. The Gulf Stream has an impact on European weather that is 100 times larger than CO2.”

Read the whole thing. (Bishop Hill)


Election Results Scare AAAS Scientists

In the November 12, 2010, issue of Science a number of news focus articles decry the results of the 2010 US elections and the possible impact those results may have on the fight against global warming. Staff reporters for the AAAS flagship journal are all atwitter about the evil Republicans coming back into power, and they are not alone. Reportedly, many researchers fear the worst after the Republican victory at the polls produced a 25-plus-seat majority in the House of Representatives and reduced the Democrats' hold on the Senate. The $20 billion for scientific research that was part of the $787 billion stimulus package may have been the high water mark for government funding during the Obama administration.

The 112th Congress that will convene in January promises to be a much different body compared with its predecessor. Propelled into office by voter backlash against big spending Democrats, many fiscally conservative Republicans are beholden to their Tea Party backers. This means the new Congress will be looking for ways to cut spending in a big way. Combine tax cutting fervor with the fact that a majority of the incoming conservatives do not believe in global warming. On 17 November, the House Science Committee held what will be the last Democratic-led hearing on climate change.

John Boehner (left) will take over in the House while Harry Reid hangs on in the Senate.

Newly elected members are questioning the need for action against rising greenhouse gas levels, and advocates for smaller government are looking for spending cuts in the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and even the National Science Foundation (NSF).This political sea-change has shaken the mainstream scientific community. Here is a sampling from two of the Science articles:

Researchers Anxious and on the Defensive After Republican Gains ” by Jeffrey Mervis:

Many researchers fear the worst after a Republican resurgence at the polls produced a 25-plus-seat majority in the House of Representatives and loosened the Democrats' grip on the Senate. The 2 November vote ended a 4-year streak of district, state, and national successes by Democrats that paved the way for unprecedented increases in federal research funding.

“We're back to where we were in 2004,” observes Michael Lubell, a lobbyist for the American Physical Society, about the ideological makeup of the new Congress. And that's not a good place to be, he says. “There will be a lot of new members who don't have much interest in the so-called elites, including scientists. The public doesn't dislike science, but it doesn't like scientists, especially if they say that they are from Stanford or Harvard and that they know what's best.”

Election Means Change in Climate for Efforts to Curb Emissions ” by Eli Kintisch:

Joe Manchin, the Democratic governor from coal-rich West Virginia, won a narrow election for a U.S. Senate seat last week, helping Democrats retain control of that body. But a memorable TV ad showing him shooting a copy of a cap-and-trade bill with a rifle sent a clear message: A core feature of the Obama Administration's approach to curbing greenhouse gas emissions is dead.

With “No on cap-and-tax” among their key talking points, Republicans who triumphed in Congress and in dozens of state capitols have vowed to block the president's plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reject state laws with a similar goal. And many Democrats, like Manchin, are likely to join them.

In government funded research, as in politics, what goes around comes around. For now, it looks like cap & trade is dead, at least at the federal level. Moreover, funding for all forms of alternate energy research will face harsh scrutiny. Expect funding of ethanol and clean coal (e.g. carbon capture and storage) to also take a hit.

Retiring Representative Vern Ehlers (R–MI), one of three physicists in the current Congress summed up science's new circumstances: “Scientists are making a big mistake if they think that they can hunker down and just wait for Democrats to reclaim the House. Most university faculty tend to be liberal and identify with Democrats. So they need to become more open-minded and stop ridiculing Republicans and start trying to work with them. Otherwise, they won't be very effective.”

The National Science Foundation controls most US government funding for science research.

In a third article, “Retiring Legislators Warn of Pitfalls Facing Science in New Congress,” Science talked with four veteran legislators who have been staunch defenders of research spending in the past. Sherwood Boehlert (R–NY), a former chair of the House Science Committee, left in 2007: “One of the most important things for scientists to do is to change the vocabulary. No longer should we be talking about investing in science or increasing R&D funding or STEM education because it's important for science. We should make this a national security issue.”

Even rebranding scientific research funding as defense spending will not guaranty continued funding from the new Congress. “We're going to start with the basics: why the ocean is acidifying, why we think the climate will change,” said the retiring Brian Baird (D–WA). “I don't think we've made the case for the basic physics and chemistry of these two phenomena and presented the evidence that it is happening.”

With the recent news that Al Gore's Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) will no longer engage in carbon trading, coupled with tumbling prices on the European Climate Exchange (ECX), it really does look like cap & trade is dead in the US, though some states are trying to implement their own local trading schemes. Cap & trade's one success, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments law that is credited with reducing acid rain, is also reported to be faltering.

Obama has already said he will consider alternatives to cap & trade, effectively throwing in the political towel. Climate change alarmists and others on the left will blame cap & trade's fall from grace, and the hard times being faced by climate change research in general, on the resurgent American right retaking the House. That is actually confusing cause and effect—the left's yammering on about climate change and instance that cap & trade be implemented to control CO 2 emissions are at least partly to blame for the Democrats' change in political fortune.

Cap & trade is not in trouble because global warming advocates lost. Cap & trade's advocates lost because American's reject the claim of impending climate catastrophe. And without the fictitious threat of looming ecological disaster there is no need for draconian cap & trade legislation.

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


Researchers Drill For Secrets Hidden Under Dead Sea

From a barge floating above the deepest point on earth, a research team hopes to drill through half a million years of history to uncover secrets of climate change and natural disasters.

Boring into the bed of the Dead Sea, the group of engineers and scientists began extracting layers of the earth's core on Sunday, and will continue for about two months until they reach a depth of 1,200 meters below sea level.

"The sediments of the Dead Sea are the best climate and earthquake recorders for the entire Middle East," said project head Zvi Ben-Avraham of the Israel Academy of Sciences, standing at the water's desert shore, which is already about 420 meters below sea level.

The Dead Sea, Ben-Avraham said, collects water run-off from Egypt's Sinai desert up to the Golan Heights, an area of about 42,000 square km, providing plenty of material for climate research. (Reuters)


World's stupidest idea? Last chance to prove that UK carbon capture plan can work

Other bids to trap CO2 have failed. But a project in Fife could still transform the use of fossil fuel (Robin McKie, The Observer)

There is absolutely no upside to this. There is an energy cost in entombing an environmental asset and resource, so why do it?


but there's always this: U.N. Panel To Review Chinese CO2 Offset request

A United Nations panel has called for a review of a request for carbon offsets from a Chinese project which destroys the harmful greenhouse gas called hydrofluorocarbon-23 (HFC-23).

The panel is investigating projects which destroy HFC-23 under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) after allegations of project developers gaming the system.

It suspended issuing carbon offsets to such projects while it carried out the inquiry.

However, the panel issued offsets to an Indian HFC-23 project last week, which prompted speculation in the market that the U.N. had either changed its stance on such projects or a mistake had been made. (Reuters)


Disarmament In America's Energy Security Battles

Development of abundant power and fuel sources is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost green alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

Current Obama administration battle strategies directed toward futile wars to control climate change and free America from fossil dependence are hindering, not advancing, progress toward lasting energy security. Development of abundant power and fuel sources--which we will continue to rely on--is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost "renewable" and "green" alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects. (Larry Bell, Forbes)


Plenty of Energy

Last week's New York Times had an article arguing that there are plenty of fossil fuels available to meet projected demand for coming decades.  If that is the case, then all the more reason for accelerated efforts to increase that demand by expanding access and to put a small price on today's energy supply, while it is plentiful and relatively cheap, in order raise the funds necessary to invest in innovation to build a bridge to tomorrow.

Here is an excerpt:
Energy experts now predict decades of residential and commercial power at reasonable prices. Simply put, the world of energy has once again been turned upside down.

“Oil and gas will continue to be pillars for global energy supply for decades to come,” said James Burkhard, a managing director of IHS CERA, an energy consulting firm. “The competitiveness of oil and gas and the scale at which they are produced mean that there are no readily available substitutes in either one year or 20 years.”

Some unpleasant though predictable consequences are likely, of course, as the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this spring demonstrated. Some environmentalists say that gas from shale depends on drilling techniques and chemicals that may jeopardize groundwater supplies, and that a growing dependence on Canadian oil sands is more dangerous for the climate than most conventional oils because mining and processing of the sands require so much energy and a loss of forests.

And while moderately priced oil and gas bring economic relief, they also make renewable sources of energy like wind and solar relatively expensive and less attractive to investors unless governments impose a price on carbon emissions.

“When wind guys talk to each other,” said Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy Partners, a developer of transmission lines for renewable energy, “they say, ‘Damn, what are we going to do about the price of natural gas?’ ”

Oil and gas executives say they provide a necessary energy bridge; that because both oil and gas have a fraction of the carbon-burning intensity of coal, it makes sense to use them until wind, solar, geothermal and the rest become commercially viable.

“We should celebrate the fact that we have enough oil and gas to carry us forward until a new energy technology can take their place,” said Robert N. Ryan Jr., Chevron’s vice president for global exploration.

Mr. Skelly and other renewable energy entrepreneurs counter that without a government policy fixing a price on carbon emissions through a tax or cap and trade, the hydrocarbon bridge could go on and on without end.
For those interested in stemming the accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, even adopting aggressive policies in that direction won't change the underlying dynamics:
Even in an alternative world where there is a concerted, coordinated effort to reduce future carbon emissions sharply, the International Energy Agency projected oil demand would peak at 88 million barrels a day around 2020, then decline to 81 million barrels a day in 2035 — just fractionally less than today’s consumption.

Natural gas use, meanwhile, would increase by 15 percent from current levels by 2035. In contrast, global coal use would dip a bit, while nuclear power and renewable forms of energy would grow considerably.

No matter what finally plays out, energy experts expect there will be plenty, perhaps even an abundance, of oil and gas. IHS CERA, which monitors oil and gas fields around the world, projects that productive capacity for liquid fuels could rise to 112 million barrels a day in 2030 (including 2.75 million barrels in biofuels), from 92.6 million barrels a day this year.

“The estimates for how much oil there is in the world continue to increase,” said William M. Colton, Exxon Mobil’s vice president for corporate strategic planning. “There’s enough oil to supply the world’s needs as far as anyone can see.”

More promising still is that the growing oil production comes from a variety of sources — making the world less vulnerable to a price war with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries or an outbreak of violence in a major producing country like Nigeria. As IHS CERA and other oil analysts see it, new oil is going to come from both conventional and unconventional sources — from anticipated expansions of fields in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and from a continued expansion of deepwater drilling off Africa and Brazil, in the Gulf of Mexico and across the Arctic, where hopes are high in the oil world, although little exploration has yet been done.

The vast oil sands fields in western Canada, deemed uneconomical by many oil companies as few as 15 years ago, are now as important to global supply growth as the continuing expansions of fields in Saudi Arabia, the current No. 1 producer.

“We’ve got a wealth of opportunities to address around the world,” said Mr. Ryan, Chevron’s vice president.

“We have quite a few deepwater settings all over the world, some of them very new, like the Black Sea. There are Arctic settings. We have efforts under way re-exploring Nigeria, Angola, Australia. The easy stuff has been found, that’s true, but in the end, we still have many basins in the world to explore or to re-explore.”
It is not necessary to agree with rosy scenarios of energy abundance to recognize that the current approach to dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions is not going to work, even if successful on its own terms.  The sooner we start building that bridge to the future the sooner we can walk across it. It won't be built by targets and timetables for emissions reductions, nor by putting a price on carbon.

The entire NY Times article is worth a read. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

Despite being afflicted with the delusion that denying the biosphere an abundant carbon resource is somehow necessary or desirable, at least Junior appears to realize the reality of increasing energy use and that carbon density naturally declines as a function of efficiency and development.


Pa. rules panel OKs new gas-drilling safeguards

Crews rushing to drill deep, high-pressure wells into the vast Marcellus Shale reservoir beneath Pennsylvania will soon have tougher safety standards to obey as regulators work to modernize the state's environmental protection laws.

The Independent Regulatory Review Commission, the gatekeeper of Pennsylvania state regulations, unanimously approved a set of proposed standards at its Thursday meeting. The rules are expected to be published and final no later than January. (AP)


Closed Loop Energy

This morning I received an emailed press release announcing that the Altamont landfill gas facility in California had been recognized by the state''s governor for its achievement in sustainability. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, ET)


EPA to delay decision on ethanol-blended gas

The Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday it would delay until January a decision whether gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol is safe for 2001-06 cars and light trucks, a key verdict for boosting sales of higher blends.

The EPA approved so-called E15 for vehicles made since 2006 on October 13. If the blend is approved for vehicles since 2001, it would cover 60 percent of cars and trucks.

Some analysts said retailers would be loath to offer E15 if only a minority of customers would want it. Ethanol makers say E15 will sell for a few cents less per gallon than gasoline with the standard blend of 10 percent ethanol.

A decision initially was expected in December but the Energy Department said it needed more time to test older vehicles due to mechanical failures in test vehicles unrelated to fuel. It said it expected to complete the additional testing by the end of December. (Reuters)


Lawrence Solomon: Ontario’s powerful sleight of hand

The Ontario government’s clever Ontario Clean Energy Benefit – a 10% rebate on the rapidly escalating power bills of Ontario voters — is a win-win-win proposition. A win for the Liberal government, which needs to blunt a consumer revolt before next year’s election. A win for the power companies it owns, which now have a go-ahead to continue to escalate their rates. And a win for renewable energy suppliers and their environmental group allies, who had feared that the Ontario government would curb the lavish solar and wind contracts that have been clobbering consumers.

The rebate scheme – which is sure to dampen public revulsion at the way the power system is being managed — is especially impressive in how expertly the government has disguised its activities. To read the press reports, the government is deftly rejigging its provincial borrowing and fast-forwarding revenues from a long-term land registry contract to finance the rebate during a five year transition period to a cleaner energy infrastructure. Sweep aside these sleight-of-hand explanations and the reality is much simpler: The provincial government is in reality providing voters with a five-year break on their HST while rapidly escalating the power prices that all consumers face. Because the province and the municipalities overwhelmingly own the power system, they are making off like bandits as power consumers get squeezed.

Under the old Ontario Hydro monopoly, the provincial power system was run on a non-profit basis. While the absence of a profit motive eliminated an incentive to be efficient, the system did have one virtue – the government couldn’t milk it for revenue. Under the new government-run monopoly system, the power system is run on a for-profit basis, with the profit roughly proportionate to its equity. The more expensive the system, the higher the dividends, fees and taxes that accrue to the government. Put another way, the new power system rewards inefficiency — the bigger the boondoggles, the fatter the government coffers. The new system is already quietly filling those coffers with some $2 billion a year that wasn’t available to them under the old Ontario Hydro system.

The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit is also a lose-lose-lose proposition. Two losers are the opposition NDP and Conservatives, who had called for the Liberals to reverse their position and exempt power sales from the HST. Had the Liberals reversed the HST explicitly, they would have seemed weak and desperate, giving their political opponents a club to beat them with while forever losing a large source of tax revenue. Instead, the Liberals bested their opponents by calling their HST bid, which was worth 8%, and raising it to 10% under a different name. The political opponents came across as pikers and the Liberals as heroes for the day.

Large industrial electricity consumers are also losers. Because these companies don’t vote, the Liberals would have drawn no political benefit in applying Ontario Clean Energy Benefit to them. To the contrary, by collecting the HST from them, the Liberals are obtaining the cash they need to top up the rebate from 8% to 10%. In effect, the Liberal government is merely transferring the HST rebate that the large industrial consumers aren’t getting to the pot of money going to the smaller consumers that can vote – residential consumers, small businessmen, and farmers.

Of course, under the Ontario scheme, all consumers become losers. Rates, by the government’s own accounting, will be climbing another 46% over the next five years, and then rates will jolt up another 10% as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit expires. By then, the new power system may also have expired. It took Ontario Hydro, running as a government-owned non-profit, 90 years to go bankrupt. Hydro’s government-owned for-profit successors will be far quicker at reaching bankruptcy.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


What have I missed?

The Government will publish its latest excess winter mortality statistics for England and Wales, covering the bitterly cold winter of 2009/2010, on Tuesday 23 November - this helpful piece of information supplied to you courtesy of Friends of the Earth.

They are urging the Government to ensuring all UK homes are made energy efficient, and thus avoid unaffordable fuel bills and high carbon [dioxide] emissions, the latter being necessary to avoid ... er ... global warning.

So, let's get this straight.

Friends of the Earth, who have been leading the way in demanding increased energy costs, in order to reduce energy usage and thus carbon dioxide emissions, in order to prevent global warming. And now they want improved insulation to prevent people dying of cold because they can't afford the increased energy costs needed to prevent global warming and are at risk of dying because of the bitterly cold winters we are now having.

We're all in favour of increasing insulation where possible and thereby reducing heating costs, but do I detect a certain amount of inconsistency in the Friends of the Earth position? (EU Referendum)


Winter Deaths To Soar As 5 Million Homes Struggle To Pay Fuel Bills

MORE than five million British households will struggle to stay warm this winter and the number of people likely to die in freezing temperatures is set to rise sharply, a leading charity warned yesterday.

There are increasing concerns for poorer pensioners and other vulnerable people, said National Energy Action.

Fuel poverty is defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income keeping warm.

Campaigners say it is caused by poorly insulated homes, low incomes, and the continued high cost of energy bills.

Gas and electricity prices have soared more than 80 per cent in the last five years. (Daily Express)


“Cuisinarts of the Air” (Revisiting an environmentalist term for windpower)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
November 19, 2010

Avian mortality is the scientific term applied in environmental assessments of windpower. But there is another term that has gained currency where industrial wind has impacted local bird activity.

This post documents the historical use of the term, which was coined by the Los Angeles representative of the Sierra Club in the late 1980s. The term came back into use when environmentalists challenged a project of Enron Wind Corporation, now a subsidiary of General Electric.

Looking back, if environmentalists and regulatory authorities had cracked down on industrial wind, this artificial government-dependent industry could have been avoided altogether or shut down.

Instead, with Big Environmentalism leading the way, and anti-energy intellectuals welcoming the high cost-low reliability of wind, this inferior power source has been allowed to grow.

And now, grass-roots environmentalists are leading the charge against industrial wind.

A Term is Born

Here is the origin of the term as told by Paul Gipe in Wind Energy Comes of Age (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995, p. 450):

At the height of the Gorman [California] hearing, an old man took the podium. Suddenly the television news crews switched on their Klieg lights. Something was afoot. They had been alerted that a suitably newsworthy ‘sound bite’ was on its way. Tension in the room mounted. The old man proceeded to lovingly describe the beauty of his racing pigeons, their speed and grace, how they had become a part of his family, and then with perfect timing and dramatic flair, pleaded with the planning commission to protect his pigeons from “the Cuisinarts of the air.” [Read more →]




O Canada: The Epitaph for Single Payer Health Care

“[H]ealth care system is coming apart at the seams….On the ground, there is too often a glaring lack of execution: long waits, bed shortages, unequal access to medication. Those failures are compounded by the fact that the ever-rising medicare bill is squeezing out education and other social priorities.”

No, that’s not from an item in the New York Times; rather, that’s from a piece in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Nov 7, 2010 about Canada’s health care system. Its problems provide a glimpse of what a fee-for-service medical care produces in a single payer system: no demonizing of insurance companies, no teeth gnashing about the uninsured, and no end to the concern about how to pay for health care. The Globe and Mail goes on to point out that most European countries have done what Canada needs to do: “Adopt a model that pragmatically mixes public and private elements both in funding and delivery…”

The conflict in Canada is over whether fairness means sameness, and whether everyone should get the same care under the same conditions or, as in most European countries, should a two-tier system be implemented. In these cases, those with more resources can get health care services without waiting and, on occasion, with enhanced ambience. (Weekly Standard)


Drug-resistant malaria feared in Southeast Asia

A form of malaria resistant to the most powerful drugs available may have emerged along the Thai-Myanmar border as well as Vietnam, and containment measures are planned, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Clinical trials are due to begin soon in Myanmar and if they confirm artemisinin-resistant malaria in some patients, it means millions living in the border area could be potentially exposed to the longer-to-treat form, a WHO official told Reuters.

Artemisinin-resistant malaria first broke out in the Mekong region along the Thai-Cambodian border by early 2007, raising fears that a dangerous new form of the mosquito-borne disease could be spreading across the globe. (Reuters)


This rubbish, again: EPA Will Test 134 More Chemicals for Endocrine Disruption

WASHINGTON, DC, November 17, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified a list of 134 chemicals that will be screened for their potential to disrupt the endocrine system.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interact with and possibly disrupt the hormones produced or secreted by the human or animal endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction.

"Endocrine disruptors represent a serious health concern for the American people, especially children. Americans today are exposed to more chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies than ever before, and it is essential that EPA takes every step to gather information and prevent risks," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. (ENS)

Stand by for a recycling of "synergistic effects" and other absurdities.


Meanwhile, in the realm of genuine problems: Imagine life without a toilet

Sometimes we need to create a big stink to change people’s minds. I’d like to create a Big Stink.

We forget the lessons of history at our peril. (The Punch)


See, he's been sabotaging California all along: Arnold Schwarzenegger: my future as a green activist

Film star turned California governor prepares to leave office and become a global champion in war against climate change (Guardian)


Big Green Bus Has Flat Tires, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA—If the Big Green Bus hasn’t actually stalled, it’s at least got a couple of newly-flattened tires. And the suddenly-Republican U.S. Congress’s opposition to energy taxes is only part of it.

It started, of course, after the 1998 El Nino when global land temperatures refused to trend back upward. It became far more serous when world thermometers actually turned downward in 2007–08. The disparity between the computer model forecasts and real-world temperatures has now become massive.

Then there was Climategate, which gave us a peep into the unscientific maneuverings of the “real climate scientists” in the IPCC establishment. The revelations seem to have broken the spell the Greens had cast over First World journalists.

The latest problem is Green defections. Britain’s Channel 4 last week aired a documentary titled, “What the Greens Got Wrong.” In it, such former Green stalwarts as Patrick Moore, the Greenpeace co-founder and Stuart Brand, former editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, issued a mea culpa about nuclear power. They lamented that Green opposition to nuclear had led to “extra gigatons” of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Greens hotly deny they shut down nuclear power single-handedly, but they certainly constituted a powerful blocking force. Their positions dominated the nuclear headlines for decades.

British activist Mark Lynas, who used to uproot genetically-modified test plantings, now says that biotech could help feed the hungry. In fact, one of the segments of the Channel 4 program that has made Greens angriest was footage of starving Zambian kids during a drought—while the Greens were convincing the country’s president to padlock U.S. food aid corn in warehouses as “dangerous.” (CGFI)


Pesticides are Everywhere! ... So What?

Chemicals are everywhere! Farmers spray their crops with pesticides, fungicides, weed killers -- and some of that residue still lingers on the food when we eat it. fear of those pesticides has helped Organic food become a big business, because organic food is supposed to be "clean" and free of pesticides. The Organic Trade Association says the organic industry made $25 billion in 2009 sales, 5.1% growth over the year before.

I think their customers are suckers. The chemicals residues on cheaper, conventional food are microscopic -- far below levels found to cause harm. On tonight's show (FBN @ 9pm ET), I'll talk to Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute and Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides.

Of course, if people want to buy organic food because pesticides creep them out, or they think organics taste better, they're welcome to pay the higher prices.

But they don’t stop there. Environmentalists want the government to ban chemicals, like the weed killer atrazine. Atrazine has been in widespread use for decades. More than 6,000 studies have been done on its safety. In 2006, the EPA completed a safety review on atrazine and found levels of atrazine "that Americans are exposed to in their food and drinking water ... are below the level that would potentially cause health effects." Still, environmentalists (Should I even call them that? They employ more lawyers than scientists) at the National Resources Defense Council demand that atrazine be banned, and the Obama Administration has launched yet another expensive safety review.

There’s a reason farmers use these chemicals. They are incredibly beneficial. An EPA study found that atrazine boosts yields by 6 percent or more, saving corn farmers as much as $28 per acre -- more than $2 billion in direct benefit. It also makes "No-Till" farming possible, which reduces soil erosion and keeps huge amounts of carbon dioxide trapped in the ground (something I thought environmentalists were supposed to care about).

Chemicals are good. Chemophobia is bad. (John Stossel)


Muddy Rivers: Don’t Blame Farmers, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA—When people hear that I’m an advocate of high yield farming to feed the world and protect the environment, assertions of farm runoff into the rivers are raised to support charges against modern farming methods. Urban dwellers, even some of my rural neighbors, tell me their concerns about large-scale farming ruining our rivers “because the rivers are muddy.” They worry about even more soil erosion as farmers gear up to double food production over the next 40 years to feed a peak population of 9 billion people.

Certainly, the rivers in the world’s farming areas run brown. Muddy rivers generally mean the surrounding soils are good enough to farm. But the farmland sustains high yields despite the brown rivers. The mountain streams produce no food—even though the water coming down the mountainside travels at much higher and more dangerous speeds and run crystal clear. Why? The soil from the mountainsides has mostly eroded long since.

Fortunately, you don’t have to just take my word for that. A research team sponsored by Minnesota corn and soybean farmers just carried out an airborne laser scanning study of the Minnesota River above Mankato, MN. The study found that 56–95 percent of the sediment in the river came from the natural erosion along the riverbanks—which has been going on for centuries. (CGFI)



Cap & Tax via the back door: Democrats Cling to Possibility of RES Bill This Session, Prepare for Next Year

Key Senate Democrats continue to hope they can pass a renewable electricity standard and other smaller energy bills this year despite the dwindling time and interest in the lame-duck session. (Greenwire)


As we have been telling you for years: IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World's Wealth”

Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 14 November 2010

Interview: Bernard Potter

NZZ am Sonntag: Mr. Edenhofer, everybody concerned with climate protection demands emissions reductions. You now speak of "dangerous emissions reduction." What do you mean?

Ottmar Edenhofer: So far economic growth has gone hand in hand with the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. One percent growth means one percent more emissions. The historic memory of mankind remembers: In order to get rich one has to burn coal, oil or gas. And therefore, the emerging economies fear CO2 emission limits.

But everybody should take part in climate protection, otherwise it does not work.

That is so easy to say. But particularly the industrialized countries have a system that relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels. There is no historical precedent and no region in the world that has decoupled its economic growth from emissions. Thus, you cannot expect that India or China will regard CO2 emissions reduction as a great idea. And it gets worse: We are in the midst of a renaissance of coal, because oil and gas (sic) have become more expensive, but coal has not. The emerging markets are building their cities and power plants for the next 70 years, as if there would be permanently no high CO 2 price.

The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

Basically it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet - and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 - there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.

De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.

First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.

Nevertheless, the environment is suffering from climate change - especially in the global south.

It will be a lot to do with adaptation. But that just goes far beyond traditional development policy: We will see in Africa with climate change a decline in agricultural yields. But this can be avoided if the efficiency of production is increased - and especially if the African agricultural trade is embedded in the global economy. But for that we need to see that successful climate policy requires other global trade and financial policies.

The great misunderstanding of the UN summit in Rio in 1992 is repeated in the climate policy: the developed countries talk about environment, the developing countries about development.

It is even more complicated. In the 1980s, our local environmental problems were luxury problems for the developing countries. If you already fed and own a car, you can get concerned about acid rain. For China, the problem was how to get 600 million Chinese people in the middle class. Whether there was a coal power plant or whether the labour standards in the coal mines were low was second priority - as it was here in the 19th Century.

But the world has become smaller.

Now something new happens: it is no longer just our luxury, our environment. Developing countries have realized that causes of climate change lie in the north and the consequences in the south. And in developed countries, we have realized that for a climate protection target of two degrees neither purely technical solutions nor life style change will be sufficient. The people here in Europe have the grotesque idea that shopping in the bio food store or electric cars will solve the problem. This is arrogant because the ecological footprint of our lifestyle has increased in the last 30 years, despite the eco-movement.

You say that for successful climate policy a high degree of international cooperation is necessary. However this cooperation is not present.

I share the scepticism. But do we have an alternative? Currently, there are three ideas how to avoid the difficult cooperation: We try unsafe experiments such as geo-engineering, focus on the development of clean and safe energy, or one trusts in regional and local solutions. However, there is no indication that any of these ideas solves the problem. We must want the cooperation, just as you work together for the regulation of financial markets.

But unlike the financial crisis, in climate policy a country benefits if it does not join in.

The financial crisis was an emergency operation - in the face of danger we behave more cooperatively. Such a thing will not happen in climate policy, because it will always remain questionable whether a specific event like a flood is a climate phenomenon. But there is always the risk that individual rationality leads to collective stupidity. Therefore, one cannot solve the climate problem alone, but it has to be linked to other problems. There must be penalties and incentives: global CO 2-tariffs and technology transfer.

In your new book you talk much about ethics. Do ethics play a role in climate negotiations?

Ethics always play a role when it comes to power. China and Latin America, for example, always emphasize the historical responsibility of developed countries for climate change. This responsibility is not to deny, but it is also a strategic argument for these countries. I would accept the responsibility for the period since 1995 because we know since then, what is causing the greenhouse effect. To extend the responsibility to the industrial revolution is not ethically justified.

Could we the ethics in order to break the gridlock?

The book contains a parable: A group of hikers, who represent the world community, walks through a desert. The industrialized nations drink half of the water and then say generously: “Let us share the rest." The others reply: “This is not possible; you have already drunk half of the water. Let us talk first about your historical responsibility." I think if we are arguing about the water supply because we cannot agree on the ethical principles, then we will die of thirst. What we need to look for is an oasis that is the non-carbon global economy. It's about the common departure for this oasis.

Copyright 2010, NZZ

Transl. Philipp Mueller

Ottmar Edenhofer was appointed as joint chair of Working Group 3 at the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The deputy director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Berlin Institute of Technology will be co-chairing the Working Group “Mitigation of Climate Change” with Ramón Pichs Madruga from Cuba and Youba Sokona from Mali.

(Global Warming Policy Foundation)


Death to the Chicago Climate Exchange ($7.40 to a nickel per CO2 ton, the market has spoken)

by William Griesinger
November 18, 2010

“One of the keystones of the Climate Change alarmist movement was its audacious attempt to create a functioning market by monetizing the atmospheric gas known as CO2…. Certainly, gaming the system has always been at the top on the agenda of the new green eco-trader.”

- Patrick Henningsen, “The Great Collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange,” 21st Century Wire, August 28, 2010.

We were tipped off by the August 28th headline, “The Great Collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange,” by Patrick Henningsen, editor of 21st Century Wire. And now it is official as reported by Chicago Business, Fox News , and Crain’s Chicago Business (sub. required): the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is dead. Trading in carbon-dioxide (CO2) emission contracts at CCX has basically ceased with member emissions-reduction agreements expiring at the end of the year.

The death rattles have come with each price decline per ton of carbon credits. Compared to $7.40 per ton in May 2008 when cap-and-trade legislation was eagerly anticipated, CCX’s market price tanked to $0.10 per ton in August 2010 and half that last month.  So much for a contrived opportunity in a pretense  market.  What a difference a couple of years, a few scientific scandals, and old-fashioned political gridlock make.

Reuters reported in August that the CCE was facing significant layoffs and an operational scaleback only a few months after being acquired by publicly traded Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE: ICE). ICE acquired CCX earlier this year in an all-cash deal totaling nearly $600 million, a shocking valuation given CCX’s lack of traction and a paucity of sustainable revenue (more on this later). [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Looney Lord Stern rants again: Climate change action countries will ban 'dirty' US exports, Lord Stern warns

THE United States will be banned from selling goods to many countries if it continues to shirk its promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Lord Stern, the world's leading climate change economist, said nations that were taking strong action on emissions could start imposing restrictions on "dirty" US exports by 2020.

Lord Stern, who advises several G20 leaders and is one of the key players in the international negotiations seeking a deal on emissions, made his comments 10 days before the annual United Nations climate change conference opens in Cancun, Mexico. They reflect the feeling in many countries that a lack of action on emissions in the US is delaying progress in the talks.

"The US will increasingly see the risks of being left behind, and 10 years from now they would have to start worrying about being shut out of markets because their production is dirty," Lord Stern said. "If they persist in being slow about reducing emissions, US exports will start to look more carbon intensive. [Countries] will start measuring the carbon content of exports." (Ben Webster, The Times)


And his namesake thinks all you rational people need "re-educating": Obama pointman dismisses climate change skeptics

ARLINGTON, Virginia — President Barack Obama's pointman for climate change on Thursday dismissed the impact of Republican election gains on US positions on the issue, voicing hope of progress at the upcoming climate summit in Mexico.

"There is puzzlement around the world" over the election to Congress of politicians who campaigned on their opposition to restricting carbon emissions, which are blamed for global warming, said the US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern.

"I don't think the climate (change) deniers represent anything like a majority or even a very large minority," Stern insisted to reporters in a suburban Virginia hotel at the conclusion of a Major Economies Forum focused on energy policy and climate change.

"There's no question that it is something that needs to be addressed and dealt with in this country," Stern added. "The message needs to be disseminated and there needs to be the right kind of educational processes." (AFP)


Lawrence Solomon: On climate, Senate reflects Will of the People

Canada’s Senate, better representing the will of the people, rejects climate change bill

Last year, three political parties in Canada’s fractured minority government decided to pass a grandstanding climate change bill that would have required Canada to make draconian cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, designed to embarrass the minority Conservative government, was bulldozed through Parliament without any meaningful debate. It represented the Will of the Parties.

This week, the Canadian Senate, a chamber famously known for its sober second thought, dismissed Bill C-311. In doing so, the Senate saved the country from economic harm while better representing the Will of the People.

Bill C-311 offered nothing but empty rhetoric, specifying none of the concrete steps that would need to be taken to achieve its goal of a cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. It proposed neither a carbon tax regime nor a carbon trading system nor any other way to meet its goals.  The Senate rightly discarded it.

As in other western democracies, the Canadian public has become increasingly sceptical over the years over claims that human activity leads to dangerous global warming. According to this year’s Climate Confidence Monitor survey, just 29% of Canadians consider global warming to be among their chief concerns, down from 34% in 2008.  Ex-Liberal Leader Stephan Dion learned that the hard way, when he ran a federal election campaign on a platform highlighting a carbon tax. The Liberals then suffered its worst electoral defeat since Confederation.

Thank you, Senate, for fulfilling your role under the Canadian constitutional system.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Confusion as ministers meddle with £1bn green tax on business

Businesses have been thrown into further confusion by new changes to the Government's £1bn green tax on their carbon emissions.

Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, acknowledged that there were still problems with the controversial Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme (CRC), which will force 5,000 UK businesses to pay £12 per tonne of carbon they emit. On Wednesday, he launched a new consultation and delayed some elements of the programme.

Some business leaders welcomed the prospect of a simplified scheme, but other experts warned that business has been left unable to plan for the extra costs and administration in the pipeline.

"Given a blank slate, we would do things a little differently," Mr Huhne said. "But for now, you have my assurance that we will engage with all of our stakeholders to make the scheme work better – for you, and for us."

The Treasury caused outrage last month when it decided to pocket the proceeds from the CRC scheme to help reduce the deficit. (TDT)


Scam not dead yet: Green Tech Sector Advances Despite Failure of Climate Bill

While the collapse of climate legislation in Congress was a setback for some green businesses, many others are moving ahead with projects to develop renewable energy. One major reason: The clean-tech sector is rapidly growing worldwide, and U.S. companies don’t want to be left behind. (John Carey, e360)


Gosh, what a surprise... Cameroon timber tax study shows challenges of distributing REDD payments to local communities

CIFOR study pinpointing problems in Cameroon instructive for plans to distribute forest-based carbon revenues under the REDD+ mechanism

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon (19 November 2010) – A new study finds a lack of transparency and corruption are reducing the impact of an initiative in Cameroon that channels a portion of national timber levies to rural forest communities. The study highlights the challenges of using a climate change pact to do something similar in forested regions around the world. (CIFOR)


SciAm writers who suck: our polls and readers suck

In October 2010, Scientific American decided to demonize Judith Curry as a heretic: see also TRF.

In the sidebar of their article, there was also a poll that Scientific American later erased because they didn't like its results.

Only approximately 1/4 of the respondents expressed their belief in the dangerous man-made climate change orthodoxy.

A "managing online editor" Philip Yam decided to clarify the situation in a fresh SciAm blog entry called

Do 80 percent of Scientific American subscribers deny global warming? Hardly
In that text, Yam says that their own poll was worthless (so why did they do it?), its results mean nothing, and even if they did, it's irrelevant because only 10% of the SciAm readers are scientists. According to SciAm editors, SciAm readers are almost entirely idiots whose reasoning and opinions should be neglected relatively to the "enlightened" inkspillers among the editors themselves.

What do these idiots really think about themselves and why?

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


The Current State Of AGW Science

Whilst blog posts are quite visible for whomever wants to read them, very good comments are more often than not lost unless they appear near the top of the heap. One example is the following extract from note #16 written by commenter Max (“manacker”) at Harmless Sky’s BBC impartiality review post, and IMNSHO one of the best summary of the current state of AGW science:

[...] The scientific method involves four steps geared towards finding truth (with the role of models an important part of steps 2 and 3 below):

  1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
  2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena – usually in the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
  3. Use of the hypothesis to quantitatively predict the results of new observations (or the existence of other related phenomena).
  4. Gathering of empirical evidence and/or performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments, in order to validate the hypothesis, including seeking out data to falsify the hypothesis and scientifically refuting all falsification attempts.

How has this process been followed for AGW?

  1. Warming and other symptoms have been observed. – DONE
  2. CO2 has been hypothesized to explain this warming. – DONE
  3. Models have been created based on the hypothesis and model simulations have estimated strongly positive feedbacks leading to forecasts of major future warming. – DONE
  4. The validation step has not yet been performed; in fact, the empirical data that have been recently observed have demonstrated (1) that the net overall feedbacks are likely to be neutral to negative, and (2) that our planet has not warmed recently despite increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, thereby falsifying the hypothesis that AGW is a major driver of our climate and, thus, represents a serious future threat; furthermore, these falsifications have not yet been refuted scientifically.

Until the validation step is successfully concluded, the “dangerous AGW” premise as promoted by IPCC remains an “uncorroborated hypothesis” in the scientific sense. If the above-mentioned recently observed falsifications cannot be scientifically refuted, it may even become a “falsified hypothesis”.

So the flaw of the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis is not that several scientific organizations have rejected it, it is simply that it has not yet been confirmed by empirical evidence from actual physical observation or experimentation, nor has it successfully withstood falsification attempts, i.e. it has not been validated following the “scientific method” (and has thus not yet become “reliable scientific knowledge”).

And this is a “fatal flaw” (and there certainly is no sound scientific basis for wrecking the global economy with draconian carbon taxes and caps as long as this “fatal flaw” has not been resolved using the scientific method). [...]

(Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Nov 18th 2010

Increasingly desperate warmists are threatening your candy, hard-up hippies are robbing banks and Canadian progressives are sending protesting ‘jobs’ overseas. Wait, what? (Daily Bayonet)


Scare Tactics: Extreme Weather Events

Source: SPPI

by Dennis Ambler

Myles Allen is at it again… this nonsense produced a temperature range of 2-11 deg C last time. Now he’s trying to predict extreme weather and attribute it to AGW. He’s the one who “proved” the 2003 European heatwave was caused by anthropogenic CO2.

Don’t put your PC on stand-by, run it full blast, 24 hours a day and save the planet!

Extreme weather forecasts: web users unite to power climate change project

The Guardian reports that “From today, anyone with a computer and internet access can be part of a huge, pioneering climate change experiment, probing the controversial question of whether extreme weather events will become more or less common as the world warms.

By running advanced climate models while their PCs are idle, participants will estimate how often heatwaves, floods and hurricanes will strike in the next few decades. The initiative will also indicate how much of the blame for these events can be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans.

The project breaks new ground for the world’s biggest climate forecasting experiment,, which has run nearly 92m years of climate modelling since September 2003, and delivered world-leading research published in journals such as Nature and used in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s landmark 2007 report.

The key to the new project is its use for the first time of regional climate models, which can create realistic weather predictions, showing temperature, winds, rain and snow.

The global climate models divide the world into 150km squares, whereas the regional models use 50km or 25km squares.”

I have a comment in there as “cardigan”, based on my SPPI paper from September

My comment was #16. Whether it will stay or be removed is another matter. [It has been removed] Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


Rahmstorf (2009): (part 9): Applying three corrections

This is part 9 of a series on Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s 2009 PNAS paper, “Global sea level linked to global temperature“ (referred to as “VR2009″ in this series of posts).

Naturally, Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s conclusions were scary: oceans rising by as much as 1.8 meters by 2100. Their results, with the imprimatur or the National Academy of Sciences, have been gleefully touted by those who crave the authority to reshape the economy of the planet to fit their more highly evolved ideals. A google search for the title of their paper, “Global sea level linked to global temperature” yields thousands of hits.

But they were wrong. (Climate Sanity)


Extreme cold expected during the next week

Record cold expected.

The Al Gore effect as well as the testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday has caused a massive chunk of Arctic air to descend from Western Canada into the United States.  How do temperatures 6o-70F degrees below average sound to folks along the Canadian border?  During the next 10-days (or more!), a hemispheric realignment of the large-scale atmospheric circulation will cause a significant decrease in temperatures over North America and Europe.  If this regime reinforces itself during the next few weeks, and a negative Arctic Oscillation phase strengthens, the brutally cold temperatures will provide a dramatic reminder that winter is cold regardless of “global warming”.  I anticipate plenty of fossil fuel use coming up.

Weather weenie discussion after the break w/maps

Continue reading (WUWT)


Kracked Up Over Krakatoa: Models Have It All Wrong

t was all the rage a few years back to claim that long ago volcanic eruptions—for instance Krakatoa in 1883—were still acting to mask a large fraction of the oceanic warming that should have occurred because of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The epitome of this argument was published in Nature magazine, by an all-star cast of scientists ever-eager to suggest that it is all our fault and then some. The authors included Tom Wigley, Ben Santer, Karl Taylor, Krishna AchutaRao, Jonathan Gregory, and lead author Peter Gleckler. (WCR)


The Perpetuation Of Climate Misunderstandings By The U.S. House Of Representatives Subcommitee On Energy and Environment

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommitee On Energy and Environment Hearing titled

A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response

that Judy Curry has posted on; e.g. see

Uncertainty gets a seat at the big table: Part III

contains statements on climate science that are incomplete and are misleading. These statement can be read in the Hearing Charter where they write [highlighting added]

Climate and Weather

Climate can be defined as the product of several meteorological elements in a given region over a period of time. In addition, spatial elements such as latitude, terrain, altitude, proximity to water and ocean currents affect the climate. We experience climate on a daily basis through the weather. The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time—weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. Weather is often thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time. In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over a period of years to decades. Generally, climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer in the American Southwest, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.”

and [highlighting added]

The Science

Climate can be influenced by a variety of factors, including: changes in solar activity, long-period changes in the Earth’s orbit, natural internal processes of the climate system, and anthropogenic (i.e. human-induced) increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs).  As described above, “climate” is the long-term average of a region’s weather patterns, and “climate change” is the term used to describe changes in those patterns. Climate change will not have a uniform effect on all regions and these differing effects may include changes to average temperatures (up or down), changes in season length (e.g. shorter winters), changes in rain and snowfall patterns, and changes in the frequency of intense storms. The scientific community has made tremendous advances in understanding the basic physical processes as well as the primary causes of climate change. And researchers are developing a strong understanding of the current and potential future impacts on people and industries.”

The preamble of the Hearing misrepresents the current understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it. The staff who prepared the Hearing Charter either are unaware of the actual state of the science or have chosen to purposely misrepresent the science.

With respect to weather and climate, the writers of the Charter have chosen to use an old, limited definition of climate. The current definition of climate system, which is the one that appropriately should be used for the Hearing is given, 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

where the climate system is defined as

“The system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere, determining the Earth’s climate as the result of mutual interactions and responses to external influences (forcing). Physical, chemical, and biological processes are involved in interactions among the components of the climate system.”

The climate system is shown schematically in the NRC report


The statements in the Hearing Charter

“Climate can be defined as the product of several meteorological elements in a given region over a period of time.”


“Climate can be influenced by a variety of factors, including: changes in solar activity, long-period changes in the Earth’s orbit, natural internal processes of the climate system, and anthropogenic (i.e. human-induced) increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs).” 

are misleading policymakers and the public with respect to the real climate system. Not only is their definition of climate archaic, but they left off other important first order human climate forcings, as reported in the 2005 NRC report, and summarized in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union

where we wrote

“In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first-order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of Earth’s climate. These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008], the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005]. As with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are estimated to be on multidecadal time scales and longer.

Therefore, the cost-benefit analyses regarding the mitigation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to be considered along with the other human climate forcings in a broader environmental context, as well as with respect to their role in the climate system.”

When the Republicans take control of this Subcommittee in January, I recommend they correct and broaden the perspective on the climate system from what the November 17 2010 Hearing adopted. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Obama Plays 3-Card Monte In Gulf

Energy: Just as the ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf ends, U.S. energy producers now learn that regulators are preparing to shut down exploration for yet another environmental impact study. Do we see a pattern here?

It's hard not to wonder whether the Obama administration is so beholden to environmental lobbies and its own bureaucrats that it won't be happy until all Gulf energy production is ended.

Not that it would say as much, of course. But its actions suggest that if it can't end Gulf production at once, it'll do it through serial maneuvers, one after another, to achieve the same result. (IBD)


Halliburton Announces Ecofriendly Fracking Fluid, More Disclosure

Halliburton Co., which is fighting U.S. EPA about disclosure of its hydraulic fracturing fluid, today announced that it will publicly disclose detailed information on its website about the chemicals used in its fracturing fluids.

The Houston-based oilfield services company announced the creation of a new fracturing fluid that uses chemicals "sourced entirely from the food industry."

"Halliburton pioneered fracturing technology more than 60 years ago, but the safe and efficient use of this technology has never been more important or in greater demand than it is right now," said David Adams, vice president of Halliburton's production enhancement product service line. "We believe we've effectively set a new standard for how unconventional resources may be accessed and produced in the future."

The disclosure website shows that many of the chemicals used in fracturing are as benign as food additives. "Guar gum," for example, is a thickener used in ice cream and fruit jelly. It also lists concentrations. (Greenwire)


End the Ethanol Subsidies

What am I missing? There must be some aspect of our insane energy policies that I fail to appreciate.

“We the People” just booted a boatload of spendthrifts out of Congress, after they helped engineer a $1.3 trillion deficit on America’s FY-2010 budget and balloon our cumulative national debt to $13.7 trillion.

The “bipartisan White House deficit reduction panel” chimed in with a 50-page draft proposal, offering suggestions for $3.8 trillion in future budgetary savings. The proposal targets $100 billion in Defense Department weapons programs, healthcare benefits and overseas bases. It also proposes a $13-billion cutback in the federal workforce and lining out $400 million in unnecessary printing costs. And yet, amazingly, not even this independent commission was willing to eliminate the $6-billion sacred cow of annual ethanol subsidies. The current 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline automatically expires December 31, as does the 54-cents-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. So all senators and congressmen need to do is nothing, and beleaguered taxpayers will save six billion bucks.

We can only hope. Unfortunately, renewable fuel lobbyists will try to use the lame duck session to perpetuate the special treatment. The National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, ADM and POET ethanol count as friends incoming House Speaker John Boehner, incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, other influential Republicans and scores of prominent Democrats. (Paul Driessen, Townhall)


Analysis: Rare-Earth Surge Is Wake-Up Call For Industrials

As China clamps down on its exports of rare earth, makers of batteries, wind turbines and other products are looking for ways to redesign them to use less of the increasingly costly materials.

Prices have surged for these minerals, used in everything from iPods to fluorescent light bulbs, since authorities in Beijing slashed their rare earth exports by 40 percent this summer, saying China needed them for its own economic development.

Miners outside China, including Molycorp Inc in the United States and Lynas Corp in Australia, are scrambling to increase production of the elements.

But big U.S. users of rare earth said the surge in price serves as an important wake-up call on the importance of efficient use of raw materials. Any number of resources, from oil to copper, could get scarcer in coming decades as the rapidly developing economies of China and India require more. (Reuters)


Alternative Energy Research Highlighted at Vancouver Engineering Conference

I just returned from Vancouver (the one in Canada), where the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has been holding their annual meeting at the Vancouver Convention Center.

I was asked to present one of their keynote talks, so on Tuesday evening I spent about 45 minutes outlining some of the global warming science that the engineers might not heard about from global warming experts like Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio.

It was a treat for me to be able to assume the audience actually knew something about thermodynamics, which all mechanical engineers are taught, and which many of them use in their work.

Other than one lady in the audience who interpreted my message as part of a right-wing conspiracy to thwart saving the Earth from evil corporations bent on destroying it (OK, so I’m exaggerating), the audience was largely sympathetic to the outrageous minority view that climate might be able to (gasp!) change all by itself.

Many of these engineers are now working in various aspects of alternative energy research. I was amazed at how much of this kind of work is being done. Even large petroleum companies like Exxon Mobil are heavily invested in this research.

And why shouldn’t they be? Whoever comes up with cost-effective alternative energy sources will make lots of money.

One particularly interesting talk examined various ways of using solar energy. Growing corn for biofuels turns out to be particularly wasteful of both energy and land resources. (And thwarting market forces by subsidizing it ends up killing poor people around the world by creating fictitious demand, which sends world corn prices soaring. Gotta love the good intentions of politicians and environmentalists.)

Growing algae, in contrast, is very efficient. But getting substantial amounts of fuel from algae still has many practical problems to overcome. The speaker said he believed algae-based fuel will end up being a secondary product to algae-based plastics, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, sewage treatment, etc.

How much water is required for various energy generation technologies is also a major practical concern, especially in the western U.S. I was amazed to learn that it takes about 150 gallons of water to produce a single Sunday newspaper!

I wonder how many Sunday newspapers have carried op-eds about the need to conserve water?

I continue to believe that alternative energy technologies will germinate and grow without any governmental interference. Humans need energy for everything we do, and the market will never go away. Let free market forces work.

Fossil fuels will slowly become more expensive as they become scarcer and more difficult to extract, and this is the only mechanism needed to ensure that new energy sources will be developed to take their place. (Roy W. Spencer)


Brilliant Speech by Aggreko CEO Rupert Soames

Here is a speech that everyone interested in climate and energy policy should watch.  Speaking before the Scottish parliament earlier this week, Rupert Soames, CEO of Aggreko -- a world leader in temporary energy supply -- delivers some straight talk to policy makers (BBC coverage). He focuses on Great Britain, but the lessons are of broad relevance.  Have a look. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Wind energy, solar power face cloudy future

NEW YORK -- After years of rapid growth and darling status among many in Washington, the future of the American renewable energy industry is uncertain.

That's because the government cash it has come to rely on may dry up on Dec. 31. (


US agency seeks easier grid access for solar, wind

WASHINGTON Nov 18 - Federal regulators on Thursday proposed reforms to make the U.S. electric grid more accessible to electricity generated by renewable energy sources, which should lower costs for consumers who want to buy clean power. (Reuters)



Breaking Health Care Research: Repealing Obamacare and Getting Health Care Right

As newly elected lawmakers prepare for the hard work to be done in the next Congress, the future of the hugely unpopular Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance.

In recent analysis, Heritage expert Nina Owcharenko makes the case for the full repeal of the PPACA and provides a framework for replacement with reform that will transform the system to focus on doctors and patients, not government.  She writes that:

Beyond the unprecedented mandates, new taxes, massive entitlement expansion, unworkable and costly insurance provisions, and its failure to control costs, the new law concentrates enormous power in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It creates a giant network for the federal micromanagement of health plans, benefits, insurance markets, and unprecedented intervention into the details of health care financing and the delivery of medical care.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


By 21 Points, Americans Want Repeal

The newest Rasmussen poll of likely voters shows that Americans favor repeal of Obamacare by a margin of 21 points (58 to 37 percent), while independents -- who swept Republicans into office two weeks ago -- favor repeal by almost 2 to 1 (62 to 33 percent).

By a margin of more than 5 to 1 (68 to 12 percent), independents think Obamacare would cause deficits to rise, not fall. Also by a margin of more than 5 to 1 (57 to 11 percent), independents think it would make the quality of health care worse, not better. And by a margin of more than 8 to 1 (68 to 8 percent), independents think it would make the cost of health care go up, not down.

When only 8 percent -- 8 percent! -- of independents think your health care overhaul would do the one thing you most repeatedly promised it would do -- lower costs -- that's not a good sign. (Weekly Standard)


Dude, Where's My ObamaCare Waiver?

More than one million Americans have escaped the clutches of the Democrats' destructive federal health care law. Lucky them. Their employers and labor representatives wisely applied for ObamaCare waivers earlier this fall and got out while the getting was good.

Now, it's time for Congress to create a permanent escape hatch for the rest of us. Repeal is the ultimate waiver. (Michelle Malkin, IBD)


Krugman Endorses Death Panels

Health Reform: The left's favorite economist, who condemned others for saying ObamaCare would require death panels, now admits they are real and necessary. The way to control costs, he says, is death and taxes.

Paul Krugman has long extolled the virtues of Britain's National Health Service and its National Institute for Clinical Excellence with the Orwellian acronym of NICE. Krugman has been anything but nice to NHS critics and those who've said that what have been called its "death panels" would be brought to America via ObamaCare.

In a roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the president's deficit commission: "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes. (IBD)


Light Wave Kills Hospital Superbugs, Harmless to People

GLASGOW, Scotland, November 16, 2010 - A pioneering lighting system that kills the superbugs breeding in hospitals has been developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. The LED technology, which can be used with or instead of conventional lighting, decontaminates the air and exposed surfaces by bathing them in a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths, known as HINS-light.

Two years of clinical trials just completed at Glasgow Royal Infirmary show the high-intensity light is effective against some of the most virulent pathogens found in hospitals and nursing homes, such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, and Clostridium difficile.

The clinical trials have shown that the HINS-light Environmental Decontamination System provides around 60 percent greater reductions of bacterial pathogens in the hospital environment than are achieved by cleaning and disinfection alone. (ENS)


Can Red Bull fuel better driving?

Dutch researchers say they've found that a can of Red Bull does wonders for driving ability over long hauls, reducing fatigue while improving performance in everything from steering straight to maintaining a steady speed.

Testing volunteers in a driving simulator, they found the gap in skill between those who drank the energy product and those who didn't was as much as if the latter group had consumed enough alcohol to be over the legal limit -- a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent -- in much of Europe.

Drowsy driving is linked to more than 100,000 auto accidents each year in the United States, resulting in some 40,000 injuries and at least 1,500 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"The improvement caused by Red Bull on driving performing and reducing sleepiness lasted for the whole two hours of the test," said Joris Verster of Utrecht University, whose findings appear in the journal Psychopharmacology.

He added that, based on previous research, the effects of Red Bull seem stronger than those of coffee ounce-for-ounce, but that any energy drink with the same combination and amounts of "functional" ingredients ought to improve driving skill.

A 250 mL can of Red Bull costs a few dollars and contains 80 mg of caffeine, which gives it roughly the same kick as a regular cup of coffee. Other ingredients include loads of sugar, the amino acid taurine, whose effects on alertness aren't clear, glucuronolactone -- touted as a detoxifying agent -- and various B vitamins. (Reuters Health)


Regulators warn on "blackout in a can" drinks

U.S. regulators warned makers of alcoholic energy drinks often called "blackout in a can" that their products are unsafe and violate federal laws, following a public outcry and several state bans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters on Wednesday to four companies -- Phusion Projects LLC, United Brands Co, New Century Brewing Co and Charge Beverages -- charging that their drinks combining alcohol and caffeine were unsafe. (Reuters)


Supreme Court Is Asked to Strike Down Tobacco Settlement

Last week the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based free-market advocacy group, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement on the grounds it violates federal antitrust laws and is unconstitutional.

The tobacco MSA is the result of 46 state attorneys general striking a deal with the four major tobacco companies in 1998 to settle Medicaid lawsuits over tobacco-related health care costs. Tobacco companies agreed to fork over $246 billion to the states over 25 years and adhere to restrictions on advertising, marketing and promotion of cigarettes.

Never mind that smoking already generates huge sums of tax revenues and saves taxpayers’ dollars on entitlement expenses when smokers die before they can draw benefits. The New England Journal of Medicine put it this way:

“If people stopped smoking, there would be a savings in health care costs, but only in the short term. Eventually, smoking cessation would lead to increased health care costs.”

In its filing, CEI argues that the Big Tobacco companies saw an opportunity to solidify their respective shares of the market against competition while avoiding future lawsuits  by the government.  By settling, state attorneys general and Big Tobacco now share the goal of keeping major companies profitable, so they can continue funding state budgets.

“The state AGs imposed a massive national sales tax on cigarettes, without a single elected legislator at any level of government voting for it,” according to CEI general counsel Sam Kazman. “This is a major power grab by state AGs at the expense of citizens.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Apparently we should build a lot more out of styrofoam -- it lasts, like, forever! How Much Do We Really Recycle? (Infographic)

Did you know today is America Recycles Day? How much do we really recycle? Probably not enough. According to this infographic, on average every person throws away 7.5x their body weight each year! If you put a styrofoam cup in a landfill today, guess what year it would decompose?

7,500,000,000 AD ! (MindBodyGreen)

Seven point five trillion billion years? Where do they find these loons? (Answer: apparently the same place we get sub editors ;-) )


World's Police Unite for Environmental Crime Crackdown

DOHA, Qatar, November 16, 2010 - The police agencies of the world are supporting INTERPOL's Environmental Crime Programme in an historic display of consensus. Delegates attending INTERPOL's General Assembly in Doha, Qatar last week voted unanimously in favor of a resolution encouraging greater global policing efforts to stem environmental crimes.

Environmental crime encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to transborder movements of hazardous waste, and the illicit exploitation of natural resources. (ENS)

I can think of some rather more urgent priorities...


Not as bad as expected? Save the planet! Remove the humans

Andrew Bolt – Thursday, November 18, 10 (06:23 am)

Just in case you hadn’t noticed the human-hating agenda of the deeper greens:

An educational computer game in which users have to save the world from climate change offers an interesting solution – decide the problem is overpopulation and design a virus to kill millions.

I may have warned before of eco-prophets mulling over similar ideas.

(Thanks to reader Grumblebum.)


Reader Peter Reefman says I should give the game a go, because it’s more green-subversive than I suspected:

So you’ve played the game? I downloaded the Beta trial last week, and found it quite difficult, but did complete the test scenario of trying to manage the world till 2120.

What I found is the easiest way to ‘lose’ the game is to get thrown out of office in multiple countries, and the thing that gets you thrown out the quickest is to put that country into recession by ignoring the economy and concentrating on climate action, peak oil, and species protection too much.

After numerous plays I didn’t see any development of human killing viruses, although there were plenty of options to roll out nuclear energy, tar sands and shale oil supplies, increase economic incentives, and to provide troops to help support regions on the brink of or at war.

And yes there are a large range of policies to introduce carbon taxes, renewable energy, geo and soil sequestration, energy efficiency, electric cars, etc - but the game is designed to demonstrate that many of these do nothing but hurt the economy - hardly a choice of a ‘deeper green’ game developer. All up the feeling the game gives me is that it’s a very fine balancing act, and stressing economies is no way to fix environmental problems. I’d think this is a game you should be promoting, rather than condemning, and I think if you’d played it you’d also have that opinion.

Download a trial and see for yourself.

We normally snip reader halfacow for being so contorted with hate and spite as to be unpleasant. But I just have to pass on his response, confirming my observation:

What is it with self-indulgent right-wing short-sightedness? Ever studied any population dynamics? Understand ‘carrying capacity’?

It’s not about being human-hating, it’s about understanding the bigger picture of animal population dynamics. You seem to forget Mr Bolt, at the cellular level, you are an animal, no different to a maggot and no more special, actually maggots serve a useful purpose to life on this planet, unlike you own existence.

How much longer can this planet of finite resources sustain an exponentially growing population?

(Andrew Bolt)


Natural Isn't Always Better

It's not what we don't know that causes us trouble. It's what we know that isn't so. Whichever famous writer said that (it's been attributed to many), what he said carries truth.

What are some of the things we know that aren't so? Here's one: Grass-fed "free-range" beef cattle are better for the environment -- and for you -- than factory-farmed corn-fed cattle. It does seem to make sense that the steer raised in the more "natural" environment would be better for the world. (John Stossel, Townhall)


Food safety bill clears key vote in Senate

The U.S. food supply, battered by a series of recalls after millions were sickened, moved a step closer toward its first major safety overhaul in seven decades following a key vote in Congress on Wednesday.

The Senate voted 74-25 to limit debate on the food safety bill, which clears the legislation for a final vote where it is expected to pass. There is no timetable for when that will be.

The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration broad powers over recalls, increase the rate of plant inspections and boost access to food facility records. A similar version of food reform legislation cleared the House of Representatives in July 2009. (Reuters)



The Junkman talks EPA and jobs on Fox Business


The High Cost of Renewable Energy Coercion

This midterm election sent a clear message to Washington: “Listen to the people, or you’re out.” While the dire state of the economy and out-of-control public spending were certainly the frontrunners in motivating voters to make their voices heard, the Democrats' push for “cap-and-trade” legislation followed closely behind.

Voters know that cap-and-trade legislation would lead to increased energy costs, which would negatively affect businesses’ and consumers’ bottom line. Making it harder for consumers and businesses to survive in a tough economy with high unemployment is understandably unpopular. (Romina Boccia, Townhall)


Canada's Conservatives kill bill to cut CO2 emissions

OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government has defeated climate change legislation put forth by opposition parties calling for deep CO2 emissions cuts.

The move came 13 days before the next UN climate change summit in Cancun.
The motion called for a reduction of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels. It had no legal weight but would have pressured the government to explain its lesser emissions reduction target. (AFP)


Killed climate change bill flawed: Harper

Defeating legislation passed by House unprecedented, opposition parties say

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has defended Tory senators who voted down a climate change bill ahead of an upcoming United Nations meeting on the issue in Mexico.

Harper, in responding to a query from NDP Leader Jack Layton in question period Wednesday in Ottawa, said Conservatives have been consistent and clear in their opposition to Bill C-311, which the prime minister called "a completely irresponsible bill."

"It sets irresponsible targets, doesn't lay out any measure of achieving them other than ... by shutting down sections of the Canadian economy and throwing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of people out of work," Harper said. "Of course, we will never support such legislation." (CBC News)


Terence Corcoran: Ontario to bribe its ­power-shocked voters

This cannot be true. News reports say the Ontario government is going to bring in a new Clean Air Benefit, a payment to electricity consumers to help reduce their soaring electricity bills. In an economic statement Thursday, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan is apparently going to announce the Clean Air Benefit as a bold response to the growing realization across the province that Ontario’s electricity sector is a fiscal runaway train.

Ontario electricity prices, already up 30% since 2003, are set to rocket over the next few years, propelled by some of the world’s most hare-brained green-energy policies. Under direct government diktat, motivated by activists and industry rent-seekers, the Ontario electricity system faces new expenditures in the tens of billions of dollars — costs that will have to be passed on to consumers. One forecast said the new policies mean price increases that will leave consumers paying 135% more for power in 2015 than in 2003.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Dire messages about global warming can backfire, new study shows

BERKELEY — Dire or emotionally charged warnings about the consequences of global warming can backfire if presented too negatively, making people less amenable to reducing their carbon footprint, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.

"Our study indicates that the potentially devastating consequences of global warming threaten people's fundamental tendency to see the world as safe, stable and fair. As a result, people may respond by discounting evidence for global warming," said Robb Willer, UC Berkeley social psychologist and coauthor of a study to be published in the January issue of the journal Psychological Science.

"The scarier the message, the more people who are committed to viewing the world as fundamentally stable and fair are motivated to deny it," agreed Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology and coauthor of the study.

But if scientists and advocates can communicate their findings in less apocalyptic ways, and present solutions to global warming, Willer said, most people can get past their skepticism. (UC Berkeley)

Really? And what about inconvenient facts like CO2-driven CAGW being a complete crock?


A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response

See it here.

(Committee on Science and Technology)

See .pdf of Dick Lindzen's testimony here: Global Warming: How to approach the science

and that of Patrick J. Michaels here.


The year climate science was redefined

The 12 months since the leaking of emails written by climate change scientists have seen major shifts in environmental debate. (Mike Hulme, Guardian)


12 Months On the UEA Climategate CRUminals are Still at Large

I must admit that I thought it was a hoax when the news broke about the leaked UEA CRU emails around the 19th November 2009. It all seemed too good to be true, but it soon became apparent that the contents of the emails were genuine. In context they were highly damaging to the IPCC, the peer review process and the public image of climate science. The public spirited person(s) who released the emails remain unidentified. Perhaps the powers that be would rather we didn’t know who the culprits heroes are.

12 months on we have had three largely whitewashed ‘official’ inquiries that avoided asking the difficult questions, had narrow terms of reference, and excluded sceptics from the scientific panels. Lord Oxburgh had clear conflicts of interests as he is part of the global warming industry, the Sir Muir Russell inquiry was superficial and only the excellent New Labour MP Graham Stringer voted against the findings of the left-dominated parliamentary science and technology committee. Of course, the liberal-left in the media who use climate alarmism for political ends, and the downright stupid, have tried hard to play down the significance of the leaked emails and even portray the guilty scientists as ‘victims.’ The alarmists that dominate the climate science community, in influence rather than numbers, have adopted a ‘circle the wagons’ mentality to defend the indefensible, with Dr Judith Curry being the notable exception on the ‘consensus’ side.

Climategate has prompted a much greater scrutiny of the IPCC reports, which has revealed a significant number of fundamental ‘errors’ that always err on the side of alarmism and failed to be corrected by the IPCC process. We also learned that around one-third of the references cited in the IPCC report are NOT from peer reviewed sources.

So, despite the 20 or so alarmist climate science consensus ‘gatekeepers’ having an undue influence on the UN IPCC, US CCSP and the peer review processes, avoiding data sharing and the Freedom of Information Act, truncating inconvenient post-1960 tree ring data and replacing it with instrumental data, creating and promoting the statistically insignificant ‘Hockey Stick’ graph, which is a by no means a complete list of their transgressions, the fact that they remain unpunished is a sad reflection on the state of the climate science and political establishments in the UK and the USA. The silver lining in the climate science cloud is the fact that most of the general public are now sceptical about man-made global warming in the wake of the Climategate and IPCC scandals. In the words of Dr David Evans: “The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating.” (CRN)


Sigh... Climate change and disease will spark new food crisis, says UN

A food crisis could overtake the world in 2011, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, an agency of the United Nations.

Climate change, speculation, competing uses such as biofuels and soaring demand from emerging markets in East Asia are the factors that will push global food prices sharply higher next year, claims the FAO.

The FAO warns the world to "be prepared" for more price hikes and volatility if production and stocks do not respond. Price hikes of 41 per cent in wheat, 47 per cent in maize and a third in sugar are foreseen by the FAO. The last time that happened it sparked riots from Mexico to Indonesia. (Independent)

Gorebull warbling is certainly causing trouble but that is a far cry from genuine "climate change".


UAE, Australia And U.S. Top List Of Carbon Emitters

The United Arab Emirates, Australia and the United States have the worst overall records for emitting greenhouse gases, according to an index published on Wednesday combining current and historic emissions. (Reuters)

And we accept the thanks of a grateful Earth for helping to feed the biosphere. Now, how about the rest of you start pulling your weight?


We just bet they do: Kiribati climate change conference calls for urgent cash and action

Some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change sign Ambo declaration calling for adaptation funding to be fast-tracked (Guardian)


Tiny U.N. Climate Fund Could Take Bigger Role: Chair

A tiny U.N. fund that is starting to help developing nations adapt to climate change could expand to manage part of a planned $100 billion aid mechanism to be debated at U.N. talks in Mexico, the chair of the fund said.

Developing nations reckon the existing Adaptation Fund, which signed its first deal last week to give $8.6 million to Senegal to fight coastal erosion, could overcome objections from donors to win a wider role, Farrukh Iqbal Khan told Reuters.

Actually, we doubt it.


Groan... Climate Aid Said Focused Too Heavily On C02 Cuts

Too much of the $30 billion pledged as "fast-start" climate aid will go to projects that curb emissions instead of efforts to help vulnerable nations adapt to extreme weather and rising seas, a study said on Wednesday. (Reuters)


Sheesh! Consumers must cast off 'victim' culture if governments are to hit climate targets

Politicians need to show greater courage and leadership if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a panel of eminent environmentalists said last night. Consumers, however, must acknowledge they are not only the "victims" but the "villains" of global warming and work towards a dramatic shift in life style. On the eve of the Cancun Climate Conference, The Independent hosted a debate in Manchester to ask if nations could realistically cut carbon emissions by enough to avoid a two-degree centigrade rise. (Independent)


'Green stealth tax' carbon reduction scheme delayed

Delay of CRC programme follows announcement that Treasury would keep revenues raised

Chris Huhne told a CBI climate change conference the government would try to 'make the scheme work better – for you, and for us'. Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian
The government today announced it would delay the implementation of a scheme to encourage businesses and organisations to save energy, after controversially changing the programme last month into what critics described as a "green stealth tax".

In last month's comprehensive spending review the Treasury said it would be keeping revenues raised from the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) scheme, instead of recycling the money back to organisations taking part. (Guardian)


Lom-Gore-borg: Paint it white

I see a black road and I want it painted white.

In a Washington Post op-ed today, that “septical environmentalist,” Bjorn Lomborg, advocated whitewashing roof-tops and streets to reflect sunlight in hopes of reducing the alleged warming impacts of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

In support of his proposal, Lomborg cited a recernt paper by Hashem Akbari estimating that every 100 square feet of black surface painted white would offset one ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Akbari estimates that if all urban roof-tops and streets were painted white, about 44 billion tons of CO2-equivalent would be offset. Akbari claims this would offset the effect of the growth in emissions rates for 11 years.

Akbari estimates that roof-tops and streets cover about 910 billion square meters of the Earth’s surface. Given the coverage of a gallon of paint (about 400 square feet or 37.2 square meters), it would only take about 27 billion cans of paint (allowing for 10 percent waste) to do the job. This would be great for the paint industry which only sells about 630 million gallons of paint annually in the U.S. And of course, once we finish painting the world white, it will be time for another coat. BTW, it costs about $8 per gallon to dispose of paint, about $20 billion for the amount of paint at issue.

Lomborg concludes his op-ed with,

Obviously, whether it involves dikes or buckets of white paint, adaptation is not a long-term solution to global warming. Rather, it will enable us to get by while we figure out the best way to address the root causes of man-made climate change. This may not seem like much, but at a time when fears of a supposedly imminent apocalypse threaten to swamp rational debate about climate policy, it’s worth noting that coping with climate change is something we know how to do.

So Lomborg apparently wants us to spend trillions of dollars continually whitewashing the world while “we” figure out how to address those “root causes of man-made climate change.” Of course, Lomborg has already decided what needs to be done:

Ultimately, we’re not going to solve any of these problems until we figure out a way to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Meet the new Al Gore. Same as the old Al Gore. (Green Hell Blog)


Another idiotic waste of electrickery: Extreme weather forecasts: web users unite to power climate change project

Home PC users invited to carry out pioneering research by tracking links between global warming and extreme weather (Guardian)

Comment from "Cardigan" that didn't survive moderation, for some reason: I thought they had given up on this nonsense. It really smacks of desperation: "we will find global warming whether you like it or not."

The last time they tried this, Professor Allen came up with a warming range of 2 - 11 degrees C. Using their climate models which are flawed anyway, they then compound the errors by putting it through thousands of home pc's and we pay for it via increased grants for the Oxford Climate propaganda unit.

Perhaps they should investigate why United States Extreme Record Temperatures and Ranges from NCDC show that of all fifty states, only five records occurred after 1980, whereas thirty six occurred before 1940.

Maybe they could look at why there were epic droughts in previous centuries lasting 40, 60, even a 100 years in some cases.

Then again, they could check ecclesiastical documents from Spain, referencing the period 1506 to 1900 in Toledo and Madrid, showing that “the most severe droughts were recorded during the period from the end of the 16th Century up until the 18th Century”.

They may be surprised to discover that Geologist Professor Peter Clift of Aberdeen University found that "during a warm period 6,000 years ago, the Indus was a monster river, more powerful and more prone to flooding than today. Then, 4,000 years ago, as the climate cooled, a large part of it simply dried up. Deserts appeared where mighty torrents once flowed."

They could even look at the devastation in the 15th century when "Powerful wind storms and surging sea floods inundated low­lying North Sea coasts, drowning hundreds of thousands of people in some of the worst weather disasters ever recorded.”

In 1421, Sea inundation in Holland, submerged 72 Dutch counties, killing 100,000 people.

Moving on, sea inundation in Holland in 1530 burst sea dikes, submerging much of the country and killing 400,000 people.

The Great Storm of 1703 was the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. The Royal Navy lost 13 ships and 1500 seamen. Up to 15000 people died overall.

China - 15 years of storms 1851 to 1866, the low area between Beijing, Shanghai and Hankow flooded repeatedly during a disastrous 15 years of storms. It is estimated that 40 to 50 million Chinese perished in these floods.

Yellow River Flood, 1887, spring rains in China caused the Yellow River to overflow, covering 50,000 square miles and killing an estimated 1.5 million people.

The 1910 Great Flood of Paris - On January 28, the water reached its maximum height at 8.62 metres (28.28 feet), some 20 feet above its normal level. Estimates of the flood damage reached some 400 million francs, approximately 1.5 billion modern US dollars.

Central China floods of 1931 The 20th century’s worst water related disaster inundating 70,000 square miles and killing 3.5-4 million people.

In the 16th century they blamed the increasing cold and destruction of villages by advancing glaciers in the Swiss Alps on witchcraft; in Germany in 1563 sixty-three women were burned to death as witches in the small town of Weisensteig.

The Aztecs used to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of people to their rain god as thanks for a recovery from extreme weather.

These days we don’t blame witchcraft for the weather, instead we blame it on our emissions of carbon dioxide, describing it as a pollutant that must be controlled by Government taxes and vilifying anyone who dares to challenge the orthodoxy.

We ignore thousands of years of climate record, in favour of an agenda based upon a century and a half of sometimes distorted and often-disputed temperature data, coming out of a known Little Ice Age and we call it “Science”.

If the money wasted on trying to prove the chimera of AGW was re-directed towards preventive measures against natural disasters, what a lot of lives could be improved.


Thorne 2010: A very incomplete history of the missing hot spot

Emails are coming in about the latest attempt to announce that they’ve “found the hot-spot”: Thorne et at 2010.

It’s already being used in NOAA press releases to repeat the same line about how a “new scientific study” supports the models. The aforementioned support is rather weakly phrased as being “broadly consistent” (which somehow means the same thing as being “90% certain” a catastrophe is on the way, right?).

But it gives them another chance to claim it’s been found:

This new paper extensively reviews the relevant scientific analyses — 195 cited papers, model results and atmospheric data sets — and finds that there is no longer evidence for a fundamental discrepancy and that the troposphere is warming.

It says something about how important the hot spot is that they keep “finding it”. (Even though they never seem to issue a press release saying it’s missing.) But since the data from the last warming spell came in ten years ago, there are only so many ways they can rehash the same numbers. So now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in desperation. This new study is not a “new scientific study”, it’s a new review. This paper tells us upfront that its only distinctive contribution is to the “evolution” and “history” of this key point.

So they’ve run out of reanalysis, now they’re doing a peer reviewed history? (What’s next? The theatrical debunking where Discovering the Hot Spot hits Broadway in 2011?)

In any case, as histories go, this one is strategically very incomplete. Thorne et al doesn’t even mention McKitrick, McIntyre, and Herman (MMH)’s key paper which categorically refuted Santer 2008. (So Santer 08 is misleadingly listed as having “refuted” Douglass 2008 as if it was uncontested.) I described the incisive McKitrick et al paper and its conspicuous success in:  The models are wrong (but only by 400%). More » (Jo Nova)


Dependence on borrowed research has cost us, says Jairam Ramesh

Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment releases first report

Even as the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment — dubbed “the Indian Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” — released its first report on the impact of climate change in four regions of the country, it admitted that significant research gaps and lack of extensive databases were hampering Indian climate science. (The Hindu)


As Arctic temperatures rise, tundra fires increase, researchers find

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In September, 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire burned more than 1,000 square kilometers of tundra on Alaska's North Slope, doubling the area burned in that region since record keeping began in 1950. A new analysis of sediment cores from the burned area revealed that this was the most destructive tundra fire at that site for at least 5,000 years. Models built on 60 years of climate and fire data found that even moderate increases in warm-season temperatures in the region dramatically increase the likelihood of such fires.

The study was published this October in the Journal of Geophysical Research. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


New Paper “Satellite Global And Hemispheric Lower Tropospheric Temperature Annual Temperature Cycle” By Herman Et Al

We have a new paper that has been published. It is

Herman, Benjamin M.; Brunke, Michael A.; Sr., Roger A. Pielke; Christy, John R.; McNider, Richard T. 2010. “Satellite Global and Hemispheric Lower Tropospheric Temperature Annual Temperature Cycle.” Remote Sens. 2, no. 11: 2561-2570.

The abstract reads

“Previous analyses of the Earth’s annual cycle and its trends have utilized surface temperature data sets. Here we introduce a new analysis of the global and hemispheric annual cycle using a satellite remote sensing derived data set during the period 1979–2009, as determined from the lower tropospheric (LT) channel of the MSU satellite. While the surface annual cycle is tied directly to the heating and cooling of the land areas, the tropospheric annual cycle involves additionally the gain or loss of heat between the surface and atmosphere. The peak in the global tropospheric temperature in the 30 year period occurs on 10 July and the minimum on 9 February in response to the larger land mass in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual dates of the hemispheric maxima and minima are a complex function of many variables which can change from year to year thereby altering these dates. Here we examine the time of occurrence of the global and hemispheric maxima and minima lower tropospheric temperatures, the values of the annual maxima and minima, and the slopes and significance of the changes in these metrics.  The statistically significant trends are all relatively small. The values of the global annual maximum and minimum showed a small, but significant trend. Northern and Southern Hemisphere maxima and minima show a slight trend toward occurring later in the year. Most recent analyses of trends in the global annual cycle using observed surface data have indicated a trend toward earlier maxima and minima.”

The conclusion contains the text

“The time of maxima and minima for each hemisphere as noted by Stine et al. [2] is a complex function of many variables but in the end represents an integrated value of the hemisphere’s thermal inertia and response to forcing. Thus, it appears that dates of maxima and minima provide a metric that can be used to test climate models. The development of observational metrics such as presented here for the troposphere is important to providing a test for climate models on the general response to annual forcing. It is suggested that both surface and the LT annual cycle be studied together along with model simulations.”

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Fiscal Commission Should Support Increased Energy Production, Not Increased Energy Taxes

by Ben Lieberman
November 17, 2010

Among the many suggestions in the draft report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibiity and Reform is a 15 cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax. No doubt, this proposed tax hike would raise revenues and make a modest dent in the deficit, but it would do so at the expense of the driving public and would disproportionately burden low-income motorists.

There’s a better way. If raising energy-related revenues is the goal, why not fill federal coffers in a manner that actually reduces the price at the pump? Washington can accomplish this by allowing more oil drilling in an about face from the so-called permitorium.


The federal government controls all offshore areas beyond three miles from the coast, as well as vast expanses of energy-rich western lands. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these areas have been opened to energy leasing, due to legislative and regulatory restrictions.

For example, a 2008 Department of the Interior report notes that only eight percent of the estimated 31 billion barrels of oil beneath federal lands is fully available for leasing, while 30 percent is subject to significant restrictions and 62 percent is entirely off-limits. America’ offshore areas hold even greater potential but are also constrained. No other energy-producing nation on earth has limited itself to this extent. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Please can we share your pork? US Tells China Fairness Needed in Green Energy Industry

The top U.S. official on energy policy says China should allow American companies to qualify for subsidies Beijing offers for renewable energy projects. There are growing complaints that China violates world trade rules by subsidizing its green energy companies, such as solar panel and wind turbine manufacturers. (VOA News)


Richard Lambert: Stop hyping green jobs

The director general of the CBI, the British business lobby group, has been outlining this morning his vision of where exactly the UK business sector is in terms of meeting its climate change commitments.

Speaking at the CBI’s climate change summit in London, Lambert made a fairly downbeat assessment of what has been achieved over the past three years. And he had two simple messages for UK policymakers: be consistent and stop hyping ‘green’ jobs. (Financial Times)


Russia joins the oil rush in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico coast

Russian energy firm Gazprom has joined a growing list of foreign companies searching for oil off Cuba's coast. (MercoPress)


Shale gas could ensure Poland's independence from Russia

Winter is approaching - a time in which Europe particularly feels Russia's grip on the energy market. This power play has caused Poland many headaches. But new know-how in gas production could mark a turn in events. (Deutsche Welle)


Ontario’s Power Trip: The high cost of ‘conservation’

Guess what, demand reduction reduces revenue

By Parker Gallant

In June, 2006, Dwight Duncan was Ontario’s Minister of Energy and about to launch a new green initiative for Ontario’s electricity sector, the Conservation Demand Management (CDM) program. The objective was to get Ontario consumers to reduce their peak demand for electricity via conservation.

In a directive to the Ontario Power Authority, he set out the specifics: “The goal for total peak demand reduction from conservation by 2025 is 6300 MW.” Effectively, Mr. Duncan ordered the OPA to push consumers to reduce peak demand by approximately 25% of the load the electricity sector might expect on the hottest July day.

The first phase of that long-range plan, from 2007 to 2010, recently ended with costs well above budget. And a new directive last week points to more of the same over the next three years. Today, Mr. Duncan’s directive and others since are set over time to cost Ontario electricity consumers as much as $2-billion in rate increases.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Free market efficiency must not be permitted: U.K.'s `Untouched' Power Market Relies Too Much on Natural Gas, Huhne Says

Britain’s electricity market, “left untouched” by government regulations, would rely too much on gas and neglect other fuels needed to limit emissions and price volatility, the minister in charge of energy said today.

The U.K. government said it will set out steps later this year, such as guaranteeing electricity capacity, establishing a minimum cost of emitting carbon-dioxide and obliging energy suppliers to source low-carbon power such as wind and nuclear, to help attract investment. (Bloomberg)


Ethanol from Coal, Natural Gas and Coke, not from Corn

Once in a while a real solution to a vexing national or international problem comes up to append the popular, invariably politically correct but almost certainly, wrong hype. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, ET)


Update on Queensland's solar thermal power station -- it isn't and never will be: Robertson defends Government's solar energy efforts

The Queensland Government has rejected criticism of its solar power systems.

This week, the Government confirmed a solar thermal power station will not go ahead at Cloncurry, east of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, because of reflective glare and potential impacts on community health.

Instead, the Government is planning for a photovoltaic solar farm. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)



Obamacare, Save Money? Not Likely.

Newly-elected conservatives heading to Washington next year have a lot to do to curb the size of government and get federal deficits under control.  Requisite to achieving these goals is the full repeal of Obamacare.

According to Peter Orszag, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, leaving the health law intact would create savings.  But this couldn’t be farther from reality.

Orszag claims that Obamacare will reduce the federal deficit and Medicare spending.  What isn’t mentioned is that, though it’s true that spending on Medicare will be reduced by $575 billion over the next decade, savings are used to offset spending on new programs.  So really, there are no savings at all.

Moreover, proponents of Obamacare expect the new law to reduce spending by cutting provider reimbursements and expanding bureaucracy through top-down delivery system changes aimed at increasing efficiency in the system.  In reality, the former will negatively affect seniors’ access to quality care, while the latter will be flat-out unsuccessful at reducing spending. Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Continental Divide: Europeans are starting to realize that their governments are too big. Will Americans catch on next?

Throw your Euro stereotypes out the window: Last weekend, a Greek government that has cut public-sector pay and lowered pensions won a clear victory in local elections. Despite strikes and violence, despite the fact that Greece's debt is still growing and more cuts are coming, there will be a Socialist mayor of Athens for the first time in 24 years. (And, yes, in Greece, the Socialists favor budget cuts, and the conservatives oppose them.)

Nor are the Greeks alone. Last month, voters re-elected a Latvian government that cut public-sector workers' pay by 50 percent. The British government coalition, which is also trying to eliminate benefits and cut spending, remains strangely popular, too. Although—contrary to my previous observation—London witnessed its first Continental-style, anti-austerity riot last week, there wasn't much general enthusiasm for the protesters. Some of their leaders wound up denouncing the riots, and they haven't hurt the government's poll numbers yet, either.

It's saying too much to call it a pattern, and it may well not be a permanent change: I'm sure there are plenty of European politicians who won't survive their next encounter with the voters. But there is something in the air. It almost seems as if at least a few Europeans have actually drawn some lessons from the recent recession and accompanying turbulence in the bond markets. They have realized, or are about to realize, that their state sectors are too big. They are about to discover that their public spending, which seemed justified in good economic times, has to be cut. The middle class knows in its heart of hearts that its subsidies, whether for mortgages, university tuition, or even health care, can't last. Some voters even know that their pay-as-you go pension systems aren't sustainable in the long term, either. (Anne Applebaum, Slate)


Hmm... US scientists significantly more likely to publish fake research

US scientists are significantly more likely to publish fake research than scientists from elsewhere, finds a trawl of officially withdrawn (retracted) studies, published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Fraudsters are also more likely to be "repeat offenders," the study shows.

The study author searched the PubMed database for every scientific research paper that had been withdrawn—and therefore officially expunged from the public record—between 2000 and 2010.

A total of 788 papers had been retracted during this period. Around three quarters of these papers had been withdrawn because of a serious error (545); the rest of the retractions were attributed to fraud (data fabrication or falsification).

The highest number of retracted papers were written by US first authors (260), accounting for a third of the total. One in three of these was attributed to fraud. (BMJ)

Given the amount of outright crap published in journals these days I must admit being amazed so few papers were actually withdrawn. WRT the number of U.S. papers withdrawn it's difficult to tell whether that is due to publication volume or a greater propensity for post-publication review and pursuit of the unreplicable leading to retraction (obviously does not apply to climate science where we have come to expect opacity and outright fraud as endemic in the field).

Regardless, just because someone can get something published does not mean the science is sound and skepticism is a scientist's most useful quality.


Studies show drug-resistant bug threats in Europe

Drug-resistant infections with the "superbug" Clostridium difficile are rising in Europe and are widespread, scientists said on Tuesday, but there are big variations in the way health authorities monitor them. (Reuters)


U.S. to ban alcohol drinks with caffeine: lawmaker

U.S. regulators are planning to crack down on companies selling alcoholic beverages that include a jolt of caffeine amid pressure from lawmakers, states and consumer groups that contend the drinks are dangerous.

Two U.S. agencies, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, are expected to warn manufacturers that adding caffeine to beer and other alcoholic drinks is unsafe and will caution them against marketing such beverages, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said on Tuesday.

Doing so "will effectively ban products from the market," Schumer said in a statement. He did not say when the agencies would act, and representatives for the FDA and the FTC had no comment. (Reuters)


Smoke from fireworks is harmful to health

The metallic particles in the smoke emitted by fireworks pose a health risk, particularly to people who suffer from asthma. This is the conclusion of a study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

"The toxicological research has shown that many of the metallic particles in the smoke from fireworks are bio-reactive and can affect human health", Teresa Moreno, a researcher from the IDAEA (CSIC) and lead author of a study that has been published this week in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, tells SINC.

The different colours and effects produced in these displays are achieved by adding metals to the gunpowder. When a pyrotechnic display takes place it releases a lot of smoke, liberating minute metallic particles (of a few microns in size, or even less), which are small enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs.

"This poses a risk to health, and the effects are probably more acute in people with a background of asthma or cardiovascular problems", Moreno explains. "The effects in healthy people are still unknown, but common sense tells us it cannot be good to inhale the high levels of metallic particles in this smoke, even if this only happens a few times a year". (FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology)


Using plants against soils contaminated with arsenic

Two essential genes that control the accumulation and detoxification of arsenic in plant cells have been identified. This discovery is the fruit of an international collaboration involving laboratories in Switzerland, South Korea and the United States, with the participation of members of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Plant Survival. The results presented are a promising basis for reducing the accumulation of arsenic in crops from regions in Asia that are polluted by this toxic metalloid, as well as for the cleanup of soils contaminated by heavy metals. The findings are published this week in the prestigious journal PNAS. (University of Zurich)


Uh-huh... Prince Charles Calls For Action In TV Environment Film

Britain's Prince Charles brings his passion for the environment to U.S. viewers this week with the broadcast of a new TV film designed as a call to action on global climate change.

The hour-long film "Harmony" premieres on NBC on Friday, showcasing the work and ideas of the heir to the British throne on issues like rain forest protection, sustainable farming and the importance of restoring balance between man and nature. (Reuters)

Given that Charlie, Prince of Wails habitually calls for a "restoration of balance" we suspect he must realize he is seriously unbalanced. Perhaps not too surprising as he is, after all, the direct descendent of George III, variously known as "Farmer George" or "Mad King George" and who also apparently was more interested in plants and manure than people (of course, his propensity for taxation without representation rather diminished his American popularity, too).


Voters Want to Save Planet from Attempts To Save Planet

by Ben Lieberman
15 November 2010 @ 2:19 pm

It is worth noting that the two biggest environmental scares of recent memory-global warming and the BP oil spill-both failed to sway voters on November 2.  Quite the contrary, it was the ill-advised attempts to address them that sparked voter anger.  The Waxman-Markey bill worried the electorate more than global warming itself (and quite rightly so), and contributed to the loss of more than two dozen of its supporters in the House of Representatives.

Similarly, the BP oil spill had virtually no adverse impact on pro-drilling politicians. If anything, it was Obama’s overreaction to the spill in the form of the drilling moratorium that proved highly unpopular in Louisiana and other impacted States. The moratorium didn’t cost any Congressional seats there only because both Democrats and…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Yes and absolutely not: Clean Water at No Cost? Just Add Carbon Credits

In America, I turn on the faucet and out pours water. In much of the world, no such luck. Nearly a billion people don’t have drinkable water. Lack of water ─ and the associated lack of toilets and proper hygiene ─ kills 3.3 million people a year, most of them children under five.

Lack of access to clean water is one of the world’s biggest health problems. And it is one of the hardest to solve. Lots of different groups dig wells and lay pipes ─ but the biggest challenge comes after the hardware is in.

The villages of Africa and South Asia are littered with the ghosts of water projects past. A traveler winding through the dirt roads and trails of rural India or Ethiopia will find wells, pumps and springs with taps ─ but most of the wells will be contaminated, the pumps broken, the taps rusted away. When the British group WaterAid began its work in the Konso district of southwestern Ethiopia in 2007, the first thing it did was look at what had come before. It found that of 35 water projects built in the area, only nine were functioning. (NYT)

Yes, distributing safe water is necessary and urgent but this is absolutely not an excuse to impose global taxation on energy or anything else. Quite apart form the fact we should take up arms rather than permit extra-sovereign taxation under any circumstance the poor collectively will suffer much worse from energy taxation than the trivial few (if any) will gain from any water solutions funded by such taxation.

Granted it is a lovely sounding Trojan Horse to make extra-sovereign taxation appear more palatable but little girls would probably nag mommy & daddy to pay a "save the unicorn" tax, too and it would be just as beneficial.



U.N. Climate Talks Seek Limited Deal As Costs Soar

Almost 200 nations meet in Mexico this month to try to agree a "green fund" for poor countries and other steps toward an elusive climate treaty amid warnings that inaction is driving up the costs of tackling global warming.

But U.S. President Barack Obama will be unable to legislate planned cuts in emissions announced in late 2009, after the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in mid-term elections earlier this month.

After failure to agree a treaty at last year's summit in Copenhagen, ambitions for 2010 have been lowered to a modest package that includes a fund to manage aid to poor nations, new ways to share clean technology and to protect tropical forests. (Reuters)

But the Democrats had firm control of Congress, the Senate and the Whitehouse, so they could have wrought severe mischief in the name of "climate change" but even they are not that stupid. Let's move on, shall we?


Issa downplays prospect of Oversight Committee ‘climate-gate’ probe

Global warming skeptics eager to see ascendant House Republicans put climate science under the microscope might be disappointed in Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Issa – the likely chairman the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the next Congress – signaled to reporters Monday that his interest in probing “climate-gate” has waned.

“I will have limited resources and limited time. I am looking at things that fall between the cracks, but also I am looking for the largest dollars of waste, and although this is a significant issue, it may not be the issue that first comes to my committee, and we are willing to realize that I only have so many resources and so much time,” he told reporters in the Capitol Monday evening.

The comments appear to mark a change in position for Issa. In the past has called attention to emails among climate scientists associated with the Climatic Research Unit – a prominent U.K. institute – that were made public late last year. (E2 Wire)


How to Improve Sen. Rockefeller’s EPA Proposal

by Marlo Lewis
16 November 2010 @ 5:22 pm

This morning, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) were scheduled to discuss a lame duck floor vote on Rockefeller’s proposed two-year suspension of EPA’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories, and other “stationary sources,” Politico reports.

Reid’s promise in June to hold a vote on the Rockefeller bill after the August recess was likely the critical maneuver defeating Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s resolution (S.J.Res.26) to overturn EPA’s Endangerment Rule. The Endangerment Rule is the trigger, prerequisite, and precedent for a cascade of both mobile and stationary source greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act.

On June 10, the Senate rejected the Murkowski resolution by a vote of 47-53. All 41 Senate Republicans and six Democrats voted for S.J.Res.26. Had four additional Democrats voted…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Reid won't commit to scheduling vote to block EPA climate rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday it is not clear whether he will schedule a lame-duck vote on Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) bill that would block looming Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas rules for two years.

Reid earlier this year pledged to Rockefeller that he would bring up the measure. But the Nevada senator told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that it’s unclear if there’s enough time in the lame-duck session. (The Hill)


Reid’s Lame Duck Energy Bill: More Money for Special Interests, Higher Costs for the Rest of Us

It’s highly unlikely that we’re going to see any large energy bills like a cap and trade or renewable electricity standard passed during the lame duck session, but that isn’t stopping Senator Harry Reid (D–NV) from moving forward with bad energy policy.

Undeterred by an American electorate that shouted clearly that it was done with Washington-centric, special interest politics, the majority leader filed procedural motions to vote on S. 3815, the “Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010.” The bill is laden with handouts to promote vehicles powered by natural gas and electric. And to pay for this corporate welfare, the bill would call for an increase to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax from $.08 per barrel to $0.21 per barrel.

This means that everyday Americans would be paying more at the pump to subsidize industries that Washington has deemed politically correct. S. 3815 “would spend $4.5 billion over the next ten years on tax rebates for buyers of natural gas vehicles and subsidies for manufacturers of the vehicles. It also authorizes $1.5 billion over the next ten years for research and development effort related to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Papandreou, Sarkozy prepare EU-wide carbon tax

According to various outlets such as People's Daily Online, Greek prime minister George Papandreou has supported the ideas of Nicolas Sarkozy to introduce a European continental climate tax. It could help the European finances, they say.

In recent days, a new wave of hysteria about the PIGS - Portugal, Ireland, and possibly Spain joining the Greek problems - has flourished in the markets. See The Telegraph.

Well, Papandreou is surely the right name to lead the whole continent to a solution of financial problems. His pathetic family has transformed a once great civilization into a preposterous dying socialist charade and a banana republic drowning in debt. Needless to say, the Greek citizens have to be blamed, too. They have systematically voted for these painful populist left-wing clowns.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Carbon price now or we'll pay later

Investment will be shelved and electricity prices spiral unless industry has certainty. ([Australian Prime Minister] Julia Gillard, SMH)

Well yes, Jules, industry needs certainty, so we must declare unequivocally that Australia has now and forever abandoned carbon superstition and categorically will not attempt to ration energy through punitive pricing or taxation. See, that wasn't so hard, was it? The situation now, however, is that we are paying an inordinate price because there is a threat misguided individuals will attempt to apply such stupid policies rather than guaranteeing they will not.



Australia has sufficient coal reserves to supply us with power for centuries. Beyond that, we also have massive uranium reserves. But Julia Gillard believes the best way to guarantee continued power is by taxing a trace gas:

Putting a price on carbon is the only prudent answer, because it unlocks one of the most powerful forces on earth - the genius of the street market.

If it works for carbon, why not tax other gases? Maybe if we tax hydrogen we’ll all get free Ferraris.

The alternative is very stark, if we continue to do nothing we will pay a heavy cost - electricity prices will spiral up. Our power supplies will begin to run short.

According to this logic, increasing the tax on cigarettes will boost smoking.

Just because the dominance of coal has been the status quo doesn’t mean it should remain the status quo.

Indeed. Why stick with something inexpensive and abundant when unspecified other things might be even better? Bring on the alternatives, Prime Minister.

UPDATE. It’s time for carbon action!

(Tim Blair)


Climate Czar Carol Browner Must Go

by Myron Ebell
15 November 2010 @ 2:18 pm

Dan Berman reported in Politico on Wednesday that: “The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.  In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts - who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations - endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report.”  This is the most outrageous example yet of the Obama Administration’s improper…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


German Geologist on Carbon Sequestration: 'CCS Is One of the Few Options to Minimize CO2 Emissions'

Grass-roots movements are protesting against carbon capture and storage pilot projects in various parts of Germany. Geologist Andreas Dahmke talks to SPIEGEL about the shortsightedness of the protests and why nuclear power is much more dangerous than CCS technology. (Spiegel)

Pity this geologist apparently understands neither climate nor energy and economics. There is absolutely no gain from a climate or environmental perspective derived from capturing and storing carbon dioxide rather than letting it vent to atmosphere. In the free atmosphere it is an asset, an environmental resource. Capturing, compressing, transporting and injecting it is energy-intensive but has no real potential for adjusting Earth's temperature, see here.


Nixon Would Still Be In Office…

…with journalists like these.

A roomful of them, not one with the courage to ask a thing to Michael Mann. If a strong press is a sign of a strong democracy, what is a weak press a sign of? (Maurizio Morabito)


'I want to be remembered for the science' says Phil 'Climategate' Jones to chorus of titters

Professor Phil Jones, the ’scientist’ at the heart of the Climategate emails has spoken out. “Hopefully they will remember me for the scientific papers I have written rather than the emails,” he has said in an interview with the mysterious, paywall-hidden void that used to be known as the Times.

“Hopefully also my numbers will all come up on the lottery this weekend as news comes through that I have won the Nobel prize for meteorology, while in the afternoon Megan Fox’s open-topped sports car breaks down outside my house and a sudden shower of rain soaks her to the skin forcing her to come inside to change while I make her a cup of tea and one thing leads to another and….” he almost added but didn’t. (James Delingpole)


On ‘ClimateGate’ anniversary, greens try new ’science’ tack

By Chris Horner

This week marks the one-year anniversary of ‘ClimateGate,’ the release of thousands of damning emails between the most prominent alarmist ‘climate’ scientists, as well as computer code and annotations affirming that the books were being cooked. ClimateGate spelled the end for the global warming agenda in the U.S., at least through the front door of the cap-and-trade energy tax.

Now, as the greens fiddle with the back door — national windmill mandates (also an energy tax) and the like — their enablers in the academic-science complex are trotting out a new ’science’: the social sciences. It seems they need to “observe” the ‘deniers’ whom for years the greens dined out on saying they didn’t exist and, if they did, well they were just a very few kooks. Denying the deniers didn’t work — there’s just too darned many of them! — so now the social scientists need to play Jane Goodall. These strange people, who are they, and what makes them tick? Ah, academia. We’d have to invent you if you weren’t there for us. (Daily Caller)


WSJTV on the AGU balance

The American Geophysical Union is putting together a bank of scientists to advise journalists on global warming. Anne Jolis of the Wall Street Journal wonders why it doesn't appear to include any sceptics.

(Bishop Hill)


How the BBC became a propaganda arm of the UK government (and WWF)

Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) and Tony Newbery (Harmless Sky) have put in a submission to the review of the BBC’s impartiality on science. It’s the anatomy of how government and activist groups take over an arm of a public broadcaster. There is no sneaking in the back door here.

The main problem facing government and policymakers was convincing the public that concern about anthropogenic global warming was well founded, and not just another scare story that would soon be forgotten. The Climate Change Communications Working Group (DEFRA, EST, UKCIP, Env. Agency, DTI, Carbon Trust) was set up, and in February 2005 received a Short List of Recommendations from Futerra, an environmental PR consultancy, on the means of conveying the required message to the media and the public . In August 2006, the IPPR produced a thirty-page report entitled Warm Words: How are we telling the climate story and can we tell it better? which developed Futerra’s recommendations. This concluded that:

Many of the existing approaches to climate change communications clearly  seem unproductive. And it is not enough simply to produce yet more messages, based on rational argument and top-down persuasion, aimed at convincing people of the reality of climate change and urging them to act. Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle   techniques of engagement. To help address the chaotic nature of the climate change discourse in the UK today, interested agencies now need to treat the argument as having been won, at least for popular communications. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that individual actions are effective. The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken. (emphasis added)

Essentially, the communication technique recommended to the government to use on the people was the sophisticated tactic: “bluff them”. The truth is not what matters. There’s apparently no need to explain the uncertainties, and no reason to treat the voters as grown ups. Don’t mention the evidence.

That the BBC science-journalists weren’t appalled at the IPPR document and the in-house seminar held earlier the same year (see below) is testament to the feeble derelict state of university science and “journalism” training. Does no lecturer explain the core difference between a reporter and a copy-writer for an ad agency?

Where were the strikes and protests from journalists as they were being asked to be the lap-dog sock puppets of the ruling class, and feed approved newspeak to the masses?

The day the BBC stopped “investigating” was in January 2006 More » (Jo Nova)


Phenologists discover plants & critters respond to prevailing conditions [film at 11!]: Budding Research Links Climate Change and Earlier Flowering

University of Cincinnati research published in the December issue of Ecological Restoration shows that global warming may be impacting the blooming cycle of plants. (Cincinnati)

Makes you wonder how these guys think species survive natural variability...


German Scientist: CO2 Not The Cause of Climate Change – Cold Period Is Anticipated

P Gosselin 16. November 2010

The European Institute For Climate and Energy (EIKE) released a paper today written by German physicist Dr. Horst Bochert. The paper reveals a clear relation between solar activity and ocean cycles, and thus act as the main climate drivers. Measured data shows no CO2 impact on climate. (No Tricks Zone)


Global warming causes everything and then some: Colder winters possible due to climate change-study

BERLIN, Nov 16 - Climate change could lead to colder winters in northern regions, according to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research on Tuesday.

Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study, said a shrinking of sea ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional warming of lower air levels and may lead to anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents.

"These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia," he said. "Recent severe winters like last year's or the one of 2005/06 do not conflict with the global warming picture but rather supplement it." (Reuters)


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 46: 17 November 2010

Real-World Increase in Air's CO2 Content Has Accelerated Growth of Natural Aspen Stands: How great was the growth enhancement over the past half-century?

Journal Reviews:
Intensified El Niños in the Central Equatorial Pacific: Are they caused by global warming? ... or do they contribute to it?

Tropical Cyclone Intensity Discrepancies: What are they? ... and what do they imply about the climate-alarmist claim that global warming produces more intense tropical cyclones/hurricanes?

Two Millennia of Environmental-Disaster-Induced Wars in China: What was the initial trigger that typically set the downward-spiraling process in motion?

Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming: What occurred in this regard over the last three decades of temperature change in England and Wales?

Effects of Branch Warming on Tall, Mature Oak Trees: What did they do to determine what they are? ... and what did they learn?

Controlling the Adverse Consequences of Human Pathogens: Is it best done by attempting to change earth's climate? ... or by dealing directly with the pathogens?

Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment is Porites [Porites sp.]. To access the entire database, click here.

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Water Fern (Cheng et al., 2010) and Wheat (Qiao et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 909 individual scientists from 540 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Zaduo County, Qinghai Province, China. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (


'California's Destructive Green Jobs Lobby'

George Gilder writes in today's Wall Street Journal:

California officials acknowledged last Thursday that the state faces $20 billion deficits every year from now to 2016. At the same time, California's state Treasurer entered bond markets to sell some $14 billion in "revenue anticipation notes" over the next two weeks. Worst of all, economic sanity lost out in what may have been the most important election on Nov. 2—and, no, I'm not talking about the gubernatorial or senate races.

This was the California referendum to repeal Assembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act, which ratchets the state's economy back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020. That's a 30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500 billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state to bankruptcy.

Conservative pundits have lavished mock pity on the state. But as America's chief fount of technology, California cannot go down the drain without dragging the rest of the country with it.

The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional "non-renewable" energy—from wood to oil to natural gas and nuclear—has already wrought a roughly 60% drop in carbon emissions per watt. Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally in the normal course of technological advance. The obvious next step is aggressive exploitation of the trillions of cubic feet of low-carbon natural gas discovered over the last two years, essentially ending the U.S. energy crisis. (Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard)


Sea Life Flourishes in the Gulf

The Great Oil Spill Panic of 2010 will go down in history as mass hysteria on par with the Dutch tulip bubble.

The catastrophists were wrong (again) about the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. There have been no major fish die-offs. On the contrary, a comprehensive new study says that in some of the most heavily fished areas of the Gulf of Mexico, various forms of sea life, from shrimp to sharks, have seen their populations triple since before the spill. Some species, including shrimp and croaker, did even better.

And meanwhile, the media has greatly exaggerated damage found in studies about coral, which is in some ways more vulnerable to oil and dispersant. Most of it is doing fine.

The growth of the fish population is not occurring because oil is good for fish. Rather, it is occurring because fishing is bad for fish. When fishing was banned for months during the spill, the Gulf of Mexico experienced an unprecedented marine renaissance that overwhelmed any negative environmental consequences the oil may have had, researchers say.

Even the researchers themselves, however, were surprised by the results. “We expected there to be virtually no fish out there based on all the reports we were getting about the toxicity of the dispersant and the toxicity of the hydrocarbons, and reports that hypoxia [low oxygen] had been created as a result of the oil and dispersant,” says John Valentine, who directed the study. “In every way you can imagine, it should have been a hostile environment for fish and crabs; our collection showed that was not the case.”

Also surprising was how quickly the populations grew. “In the cosmic scheme of things, a matter of four or five months led to this huge difference in everything, sharks, fish of all forms, even the juvenile fish found in sea-grass beds. That’s a pretty interesting and unanticipated outcome, I would say,” says Valentine. The surge is so robust, he says, that it may be impossible to determine whether the oil spill has had any effect on sea life at all. (Lou Dolinar, NRO)


Hmm... When Weather Matters: Science and Service to Meet Critical Societal Needs

The past 15 years have seen marked progress in observing, understanding, and predicting weather. At the same time, the United States has failed to match or surpass progress in operational numerical weather prediction achieved by other nations and failed to realize its prediction potential; as a result, the nation is not mitigating weather impacts to the extent possible.

This book represents a sense of the weather community as guided by the discussions of a Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate community workshop held in summer 2009. The book puts forth the committee's judgment on the most pressing high level, weather-focused research challenges and research to operations needs, and makes corresponding recommendations. The book addresses issues including observations, global non-hydrostatic coupled modeling, data assimilation, probabilistic forecasting, and quantitative precipitation and hydrologic forecasting. The book also identifies three important, emerging issues--predictions of very high impact weather, urban meteorology, and renewable energy development--not recognized or emphasized in previous studies. Cutting across all of these challenges is a set of socioeconomic issues, whose importance and emphasis--while increasing--has been undervalued and underemphasized in the past and warrants greater recognition and priority today. (NAP) [em added]

"predictions of very high impact weather" - yes, "urban meteorology" - yes but "renewable energy development"? What do they believe renewable energy development has to do with observing, understanding, and predicting weather? Are they afraid wind farms will affect wind speeds, alter vertical mixing profiles, disturb precipitation or maybe somehow create vortexes that could act as tornado nuclei or what? Just what does renewable energy development have to do with observing, understanding, and predicting weather?


Constructal GDP

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Encouraged by the response to my post on Adrian Bejan and the Constructal Law, which achieved what might be termed unprecedented levels of tepidity, I persevere. Here’s a lovely look at the energy use of the United States:

Figure 1. US 2002 Energy production and consumption by sector.

There are some interesting things which can be seen in this diagram.

1. Almost none of the power for electrical generation comes from oil. This means that even if the US could generate every Watt of electricity from solar/wind/whatever, it will not directly replace our consumption of oil.

2. Generation, transformation, and transmission losses eat up most of the energy used for electrical generation. Overall efficiency is 31%

3. Transportation is worse, with only 20% efficiency.

4. Nuclear is three times the size of hydro.

5. Wood, waste, alcohol, geothermal, solar, and wind electrical generation together are 3% of total energy use.

However, as interesting as I found those, that’s not the reason I started looking at energy use and GDP.

Continue reading (WUWT)

Don't worry that the intro is somewhat dry and boring, Willis goes on to discuss energy and development, which everyone should understand.


Green view: How to save $300 billion

LAST time it met, in 2009, the G20 took a stand against a little discussed problem that unites environmentalists and economists: fossil-fuel subsidies. Over the course of the subsequent year, the nations contributed to a list of the “inefficient” subsidies they supported and the things they planned to do about it. So far, this list is unimpressive. According to an analysis of the G20 documents by Doug Koplow, who works with an environmental watchdog called Oil Change International, many of the countries are reporting only superficially, and the standards against which they measure themselves are far from uniform. Most damningly, none has as yet put a new subsidy-cutting policy on the table.

For a more objective view of the scale of subsidies for fossil-fuel consumers (as opposed to subsidies for production, which are a different kettle of fish) than that provided by the subsidisers themselves, turn to the World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency (IEA), a respected annual compendium of data and analysis. In the 2010 edition, released this week, the IEA puts the global total at $312 billion a year. The reduced energy demand that would follow on an abolition of these subsidies, it reckons, would be 5% of the world’s total, making it equal to the current energy consumption of Japan, Korea and New Zealand combined.

Some environmentalists try to turn this situation to their tactical advantage by comparing these figures to the much lower absolute level of subsidy given to renewables. This is a mistake in terms of logic, and quite possibly in terms of tactics, too. It is quite plausible to argue that the “size” of the subsidies in contention should be measured in terms of the amount of energy contributed. Since renewables contribute hugely less to world energy use than fossil fuels do, renewable subsidies ($57 billion in 2009) are already larger than fossil-fuel subsidies on a per-kilowatt-hour or per-tonne-of-oil-equivalent basis. Over and above that, renewable-energy boosters may not want governments to focus too closely on the benefits of cutting subsidies, lest they get a taste for it. (The Economist)

Granted, there should be no subsidy nor mandated market share for "renewables" (especially since, beyond hydro, there isn't one generally worth a dump). The energy consumer subsidies paid to impoverished peoples could be eliminated or replaced but let's not forget these include social subsidies similar to the UK's "fuel poverty" alleviation and are often necessitated by punitive energy taxation in the first place. None of this is to be confused with the relatively trivial reduction in punitive taxation levied on real energy companies as incentive to risk heavily taxed profits maintaining and increasing the energy supply, a good in and of itself.


APS releases report on renewable energy and the electricity grid

Energy storage technologies crucial toward increasing renewable energy on nation's grid

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. policymakers must focus more closely on developing new energy storage technologies as they consider a national renewable electricity standard, according to one of the principal recommendations in a newly released report, Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid, by the American Physical Society's Panel on Public Affairs (POPA). Establishing a national renewable electricity standard will help to unify the fragmented U.S. grid system—an important step in the wider adoption of using more wind and solar for energy generation.

But, without the focus on storage devices, it will be difficult to meet proposed renewable electricity standards, the report asserts. Wind and solar energy are variable by nature: The sun doesn't always shine, and the wind doesn't always blow. The amount of electricity a consumer has available to complete household chores could change in a matter of seconds, hours or days—placing great importance on the need for robust storage methods. (American Physical Society)

Well, yes, provided you think there's some value in wind and / or solar power generation.


Mandate our profits to, uh... save the world! Yes. That's it, save the world. Large Investors Urge Progress At Climate Talks

Stronger domestic and international policy is needed to help unlock investment in low-carbon technology in the absence of a global climate deal, investors with over $15 trillion of assets said on Tuesday.

A United Nations summit in Cancun, Mexico, starts in just two weeks' time to negotiate a new global climate deal but expectations have sunk to a modest package that includes a fund to manage aid to poor nations, new ways to share clean technology and to protect tropical forests. (Reuters)


We just bet they do: Analysis: U.S. Solar Industry Wants Grant Program Extended

A federal grant program aimed at spurring investment in the U.S. solar industry expires at the end of this year, and its supporters are scrambling to get it extended in the lame-duck session of Congress that started this week. (Reuters)


Green Global System Integration, Joint Ventures, and Partnerships: How Renewable Energy Accelerates Globalization & Reduces Energy Independence

Many private investors and financial institutions are betting on who will win the green race, but contrary to how our national leaders and media outlets make things appear, they are not wagering on countries: not the U.S., not Germany, not China, and not South Korea. [Read More] (Kevin P. Kane, ET)


US ethanol exports fuel European unease

By Gregory Meyer

After a disastrous couple of years brought on by high corn prices and low demand, the US corn ethanol business has emerged as a force in global energy markets.

The US pumps out a record 37m gallons of ethanol a day, easily surpassing rival Brazil’s sugar-based industry in output.

Producers are running out of places to put this ethanol. The US government mandates 12bn gallons in the fuel supply this year, but a decline in American driving and a 10 per cent cap on how much can be blended into motor fuel has created a glut.

“The domestic market here in the US is essentially saturated. We are looking for a home for the surplus,” says Geoff Cooper at the Renewable Fuels Association, a US trade group.

That home is increasingly abroad. US ethanol exports are more than double those of a year ago, totalling 251m gallons in the nine months through September, government trade data show. The surge comes as rising sugar prices and the real’s appreciation against the dollar made Brazil’s product more expensive.

The export trend puts a spotlight on the government support for ethanol that totalled $7.7bn in 2009, according to the International Energy Agency.

The US Congress will decide the fate of a 45 cent-per-gallon blender’s tax credit set to expire on December 31. Four Corn Belt senators last week said extending the credit was “crucial to reducing the nation’s dependence of foreign petroleum” (Financial Times)


White House Reviewing 2011 Ethanol Standard

The White House is reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency's final rule on how much ethanol and other renewable automobile fuels will be sold next year.

The EPA proposed in July that such fuels would account for 7.95 percent of gasoline sales next year to meet a congressional mandate that at least 13.95 billion gallons of renewable fuels be produced in 2011.

EPA officials could not be reached for comment on whether the final rule would differ from its July proposal. (Reuters)



Kill It, Don’t Treat It

In the summer of 2009, Bill Kristol urged Republicans not to try to improve Obamacare but to “kill it.” That advice is equally trenchant today.

Americans have sent members of the party supporting repeal to Congress in droves, while sending equal numbers of the party supporting Obamacare packing. House Republicans will surely pass a repeal bill shortly after taking control of Congress in January. The Democrats will kill it, if not in the Senate then certainly in the White House. That’s fine. Obamacare is on the ropes — as are those Democrats who continue to insist that the American people accept it whether they want it or not.

But Republicans need to resist the follow-on temptation to repeal some of the most unpopular parts of the overhaul — a mantra that’s been getting voiced more often by the day. Republicans need to kill Obamacare, not treat it. And, however well-intentioned, extracting particularly egregious parts of it — parts that would otherwise help to kill it — counts as treating it. (Jeffrey H. Anderson, Weekly Standard)


Ducking personal responsibility, and how this affects the environment and health care

My latest HND piece covers an interview I did with Renaissance Man John F. Groom. We started off talking about his new book, The 1.8 Billion Dollar Man. The provocative title refers to the annual cost for the Obama White House. But this was not about bashing Barack Obama.

Rather, it uses the White House budget as a way to study an out-of-control federal government.

I make the point in the article that no organization can be Green, or even claim to support such a notion if it is this big and bloated. Moreover, under these rubrics, there cannot be some sort of exemption for the White House, just because it is the White House. Either the future of the planet is at stake, or it isn't.

Groom then explains why the public does not seem to react to extravagant and questionable activities by celebrities, such as high overhead concerts for various causes, or private jet trips around the world made to convince the little people that they should care more for the environment. He also explains the apparent lack of shame on the part of the hypocritical offenders.

This gets us into the core problem: The disappearance of personal responsibility.

Inasmuch as around 70% of all medical treatment is related to conditions that are lifestyle-induced, you can see how no personal responsibility ties into health care, as well.

Groom is full of interesting ideas, and we agreed to talk again soon.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Few teens show signs of "problem" video-gaming

While most teenagers' video-game playing appears to be largely innocuous, a small percentage of "gamers" may be overly obsessed with the hobby, a study published Monday suggests.

Based on a lengthy survey of just over 4,000 Connecticut high school students, the analysis found that among those who played video or computer games, just 5 percent reported signs of "problem" gaming -- including having an irresistible urge to play, trying and failing to cut down on gaming, and feelings of tension that could only be relieved by playing.

Those behaviors are similar to red flags used in diagnosing addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

On the other hand, researchers found, among the 95 percent of gamers who did not fall into the "problem" category, there was little evidence that the hobby was related to any negative health or academic effects.

Kids who played video games were no more likely than their peers to report drinking or using drugs, and boys who gamed were less likely than other boys to smoke. (Reuters Health)


Children with autism have distinctive patterns of brain activity

Researchers say they have identified a unique 'signature' of autism in the brains of children with the condition

The pattern of brain activity of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is markedly different from that of children without the condition, according to a new brain-imaging study.

The work, which shows that ASD has a "signature" in the brain, may lead to a better understanding of which parts of the brain the condition interferes with and how some people, despite having a high genetic risk of developing the condition, manage to compensate for its effects.

ASD is a genetically influenced condition that affects the development of children's brains, with symptoms that include difficulties with social communication, interaction and imagination.

Hundreds of genes may contribute to the condition and scientists believe that individual cases of ASD could correspond to different patterns of genetic variation, which could lead to measurable differences in the way that the brains of autistic children function. (Guardian)


Even Reusable Bags Carry Environmental Risk

They dangle from the arms of many New Yorkers, a nearly ubiquitous emblem of empathy with the environment: synthetic, reusable grocery bags, another must-have accessory for the socially conscious.

But the bags, hot items at upscale markets, may be on the verge of a glacier-size public relations problem: similar bags outside the city have been found to contain lead.

“They say plastic bags are bad; now they say these are bad. What’s worse?” asked Jen Bluestein, who was walking out of Trader Joe’s on the Upper West Side with a reusable bag under her arm on Sunday.

“Green is a trend and people go with trends,” Ms. Bluestein said. “People get them as fashion statements and they have, like, 50 of them. I don’t think people know the real facts.”

There is no evidence that these bags pose an immediate threat to the public, and none of the bags sold by New York City’s best-known grocery stores have been implicated. But reports from around the country have trickled in recently about reusable bags, mostly made in China, that contained potentially unsafe levels of lead. The offending bags were identified at several stores, including some CVS pharmacies; the Rochester-based Wegman’s grocery chain recalled thousands of its bags, made of recycled plastic, in September.

Concerns have proliferated so much that Senator Charles E. Schumer, a New York Democrat, sent a letter on Sunday to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency to investigate the issue.

Reusable bags have maintained their popularity even amid charges that they become hothouses for bacteria. The recent studies, none of which were conducted by the government, found that the lead in some bags would pose a long-term risk of seeping into groundwater after disposal; over time, however, paint from the bag could flake off and come into contact with food. (NYT)

Bottom line: yes, they do carry some risk. If you are worried about cross contamination (and you probably should be) then single use plastic sacks are the way to go for transporting your groceries from the store. And just because they are single use where your groceries are concerned doesn't make it end of useful life and I'm sure most people have pressed second-hand plastic bags into additional useful service.


Better sanitation could save 2 million lives a year

Nearly 20 percent of the world's population still defecates in the open, and action to improve hygiene, sanitation and water supply could prevent more than 2 million child deaths a year, health experts said Monday.

In a series of studies on sanitation published as a cholera epidemic claims hundreds of live in Haiti, public health researchers from the United States and Europe found that this year 2.6 billion people across the world do not have access to even a basic toilet.

Unsafe sanitation and drinking water, together with poor hygiene, account for at least 7 percent of disease across the world, they said, as well as nearly 20 percent of all child deaths in the world.

Despite this, progress in improving safe water supplies and sanitation has been "painfully slow" in many developing countries, they said. They urged international donors, United Nations agencies, developing country governments and health workers to act now to reduce this "devastating disease burden."

Poor sewerage and sanitation can spread dangerous infections like viral hepatitis and cholera, an acute disease transmitted in contaminated water that causes watery diarrhea and severe dehydration and can kill within hours if not treated. (Reuters)


EPA Tackles Florida Water Pollution, Cost A Concern

The Environmental Protection Agency tightened water pollution controls in recession-hit Florida on Monday, but the state's citrus growers expressed concern the rules would cost business too much.

The final EPA standards set specific numerical limits on nutrient pollution levels allowed in lakes, rivers, streams and springs in a state which relies heavily on tourists who enjoy its waterways and the world-famous Everglades National Park.

This pollution is caused by phosphorous and nitrogen contamination from excess fertilizer, stormwater and wastewater that flows off land into waterways. The EPA estimates nearly 2,000 miles of Florida's rivers and streams, as well as numerous lakes and estuaries, are affected.

Months of debate in public hearings preceded the finalization of the standards, with critics like Florida's $9 billion citrus industry saying their implementation could cost the sector billions of dollars it could not afford.

The EPA estimated the cost of bringing in the new rules would be in the range of $130 million to $200 million. (Reuters)

But the EPA generally overestimates benefits and underestimates costs by an enormous margin and we see no reason why this case will be any different.


The Organic Food Scam

By Alan Caruba

Once, years ago, I was in a Midwestern State talking with a farmer. I raised the question of how much pesticide he used on his crop to ward off or kill insect predators or, in the case of weeds, how much herbicide.

“Look, my family and I eat a part of what I grow,” he said. “Do you think I am going to put anything on the crop that would endanger them?” Good answer.

I thought about that encounter while reading a really extraordinary book by an organic crop inspector that just blows the whole scam about organic foods wide open. “Is It Organic?” is a 599-page book by Mischa Popoff that comes with a wonderful history of farming while revealing why the public is being conned into believing that organic foods are safer and better for them when all they are is more expensive. (Warming Signs)


U.S. animal disease lab carries risks, report says

A planned U.S. laboratory aimed at studying dangerous foreign animal diseases and preventing their spread to American cattle, hogs and other livestock carries the risk of spreading highly contagious pathogens, the National Research Council said on Monday.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, planned for construction in Manhattan, Kansas, would be the world's third Biosafety-Level 4 Pathogen laboratory that could work with large animals. The other facilities are in Australia and Canada.

The laboratory is part of the U.S. government's efforts to prevent natural disease outbreaks or terroristic bio-attacks on the U.S. food supply and agricultural economy.

But the council's report, requested by Congress before it funds construction of the facility, said that a risk assessment conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed "several major shortcomings." (Reuters)


Experts Find Lost Genes In Wild Soybean

Researchers have found genes in wild varieties of soybean that make them resistant to certain diseases and hope to use them in cultivated species of soy to make them more hardy.

They may also have found genes that make wild varieties resistant to drought and saline soil -- traits that cultivated soybean will need because the amount of arable land is shrinking around the world.

"(These traits) enable them to survive in suboptimal conditions and are important for utilizing marginal land," said Lam Hon-ming, deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology at the Chinese University in Hong Kong.

"We can extract these genes and use them in varieties cultivated in suboptimal and marginal land," Lam said in a telephone interview on Monday.

Lam and his colleagues in Hong Kong and China sequenced the genomes of 17 wild and 14 cultivated varieties of soybean, and uncovered many genes in the wild varieties that were either absent or different in the cultivated species. (Reuters)


EU Urged To Allow Trace GM In Food Imports: Source

A number of European Union governments on Monday urged the bloc's executive to allow tiny traces of genetically modified (GM) material in food imports for human consumption as well as in animal feed, an EU source said.

But it is not yet clear whether enough EU governments support the change to force the European Commission to amend its proposal, and a final decision is unlikely before January at the earliest.

The Commission has proposed allowing up to 0.1 percent of unapproved GM material in feed imports, provided the GM crop in question has been approved in the exporting country and there is a valid EU testing method for the unapproved variety. (Reuters)



Memo to House GOP: Get a grip on the EPA

by Steve Milloy
November 15, 2010, Human Events

Getting a grip on the Environmental Protection Agency must be at the top of the upcoming Republican-controlled House’s “To Do” list.

Of immediate concern are the EPA rules for regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Unless stopped by a federal court, the Obama EPA will implement on Jan. 2 a flagrantly illegal scheme to regulate emissions from power plants and other large emitters. This enactment will kill jobs and raise the prices of energy, and thus of all good and services.

The Obama administration originally designed the scheme as a regulatory sword of Damocles to pressure Congress and industry into agreeing on a cap-and-trade framework.

But cap-and-trade reached its high-water mark in June 2009 when the House barely passed the controversial Waxman-Markey bill. Cap-and-trade’s prospects then deteriorated quite rapidly, placing the Obama administration in the position of having to make good on its threat to unleash the EPA’s carbon dogs on America.

The Obama EPA bootstrapped itself into the carbon regulation business with its December 2009 “endangerment finding,” decreeing that GHG emissions threaten the public welfare. The EPA based its finding on a 2007 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a report that, while always controversial, came under even more fire as a result of the November 2009 Climategate scandal.

Already on shaky legal ground, the EPA ventured clearly into law-breaking territory with its June 2010 “tailoring rule.” Under the Clean Air Act, if the EPA regulates a “pollutant,” it must regulate all sources that emit as little as 100 tons per year.

Implementing this requirement for GHGs would put the EPA in the impossible position of having to regulate virtually every small business and multi-family residential complex—a total of more than 6.1 million sources nationwide. The EPA estimated it would require 1.4 billion work hours costing $63 billion over three years to accomplish that task.

Rather than comply with the law, the habitually rogue EPA went totally outlaw in unilaterally deciding to raise the permitting threshold to sources emitting 75,000 tons per year, cutting the number of regulated sources to a more manageable 20,000.
Congressional Democrats have so far blocked efforts to rein in the EPA. Last June, Senate Democrats narrowly defeated the so-called Murkowski resolution to block the EPA from regulating GHGs. Though Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D–WV) proposed to delay EPA regulation for two years, there is no indication his effort will advance during the lame duck session.

Congressional failure has left enforcement of the law to private parties and to states such as Alabama, Texas, and Virginia, which have filed a number of lawsuits against the EPA. And while it is possible that some federal judge may enjoin the EPA from acting before Jan. 2, we shouldn’t hold our breaths waiting.

The federal judiciary is politicized, unpredictable, and not necessarily tethered to traditional notions of law and fact. Current federal law and existing Supreme Court decisions make it difficult to challenge the EPA successfully. And while the lawyers for the parties suing the EPA no doubt know the law as well as the opposing counsel does, there is a question of motivation to consider.

The Obama administration lawyers are ideologically motivated, backed by the force of an aggressive government, have nothing to lose, and, consequently, are out to win at all costs. They will be facing off against plaintiffs’ lawyers who represent firms that are squishy, politically-sensitive, and bipartisan, as well as trade associations with a variety of agendas, a fear of angering the government or of upsetting the Democrats’ hierarchical chain of command. It would be a shock to see these lawyers break any china to on behalf of their clients.

While our hearts should be with those who are suing the EPA, our money should be on the likelihood of seeing lousy lawyering and worse judging involved in addressing their cause.

This sad finding brings us to our last best chance for getting the EPA under control: the Republican-dominated House. From denying the EPA funding for its programs, particularly the agency’s air and enforcement offices, to oversight investigations of the White House and the EPA, the House can throw much-needed monkey wrenches into the Obama administration’s jihad against GHG emissions and our economy.

With its mandate to end government profligacy and abuses of power, and to revive our economy, the House GOP needs to be fully engaged in the battle against the EPA, starting promptly on Jan. 2.

Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a new book from Regnery Publishing. (Green Hell Blog)


Real crimes against humanity

This month's elections resoundingly affirm that America's top priorities are economic growth, job creation and less Washington control of our lives. The elections are likely the final nail in the cap-and-tax coffin.

However, even before close contests could be decided, President Obama announced that he will be "looking for other means" besides cap-and-tax to address the "problem" of carbon emissions and what the White House now calls "global climate disruption." His top priorities include using the "lame duck" session and administrative actions to implement his "climate control" and renewable energy agenda:

  • Environmental Protection Agency regulation of hydrocarbon energy, based on the assertion that carbon dioxide "endangers human health and welfare,"
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rules that will force all consumers to subsidize new transmission lines from wind and solar projects;
  • millions of dollars in last-minute grants to scientists, companies and activist groups that support the Administration's agenda; and
  • supporting state and regional legislative, tax and regulatory actions to restrict hydrocarbon use and mandate "renewable energy standards" and "greenhouse gas" reductions.

These actions underscore the need to reexamine the supposed science behind "dangerous global warming" and "sustainable renewable energy" claims. If the science is bad, the policies will be awful. (Paul Driessen, ESR)


Global Warming, Global Taxes

WASHINGTON -- Within 72 hours of the Tea Party's "shellacking" of Obama and Pelosi, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, called for global taxation of the American public -- an idea endorsed by a high-level official of the Obama administration. Ban must not have been watching television on Election Night, because he missed the voters' rejection of big government, higher taxes, and out of control spending. Or perhaps he did see the results and thought it best to get his $100 billion of "climate financing" fees on the agenda of the lame duck Congress. (Thomas P. Kilgannon, American Spectator)


Nice try though: $30bn will do more to tackle global warming if it is delivered early

The money pledged to developing countries at Copenhagen is a good start, but it must be made more easily accessible (Guardian)

The sad reality is that neither 30 billion nor 30 trillion will enable knowing and predictable adjustment of Earth's thermostat.


EU Says Fulfils Climate Aid Pledge, But Is It New?

European governments have fulfilled a promise to deliver 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) to help poor countries tackle climate change, EU reports show, but critics say the money might have come from rebranding existing aid pledges. (Reuters)


Uh-huh... Arnold Schwarzenegger demands action at final climate summit

California's 'green governor' says leaders can learn from golden state's example as environmental pioneer. (Guardian)

They sure can Arnie -- how to terminate a once-great state in one easy lesson. The green state of Granolia serves as a warning to all.


Bjorn Lomborg is Al Gore lite

Self-proclaimed “skeptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg is uttering untruths about genuine skeptics while promoting his new movie “Cool It.”

Appearing on Fox Business Channel last Friday, Lomborg was asked by host Stuart Varney whether humans were causing [catastrophic] global warming. “Is it us? Is human beings who are doing this?,” implored Varney.

The skeptical environmentalist replied,

I’m an economist. If you look, if you ask some of the smartest scientists, even very skeptical scientists like Dick Lindzen from MIT or Pat Michaels, they tell us global warming is happening and it is manmade. But the point is it’s not the end of the world as it’s been told.

Surprised to hear that the ranks of the skeptics had been thinned of two of its stars, I checked wth Lindzen and Michaels.

Lindzen told me,

My statement has always been that there has probably been some increase in global mean temperature anomaly and that man’s activities make some contribution to this. From what I’ve seen, Lomborg probably doesn’t understand that this is profoundly different from what he claims I am saying.

Michaels told me that while he has always believed that manmade greenhouse gas emissions have some effect on global climate, that effect is not great or even necessarily harmful.

Being an economist, as Lomborg claims, does not excuse him from culpability for such a flagrant misstatement.

The reality about Lomborg is that he is more like Al Gore in relevant part than not. Gore believes that manmade CO2 emissions are a problem and need to be reduced/eliminated. So does Lomborg. Gore says untrue things about skeptics. So does Lomborg.

Here’s how I distinguish Gore from Lomborg. Gore is a scowling, straight, fat carnivore with dark hair. Lomborg is not.

Lomborg’s schtick is glibly surfing the global warming alarmist wave as a T-shirted, Scandanavian Greenpeace-turncoat-cum-skeptic-poseur. So far, only genuine skeptics have clued into to his scam, but no longer. As Hearst movie reviewer Amy Biancolli put it,

But it’s also hard to shake the sense that Lomborg is promoting more than just a different perspective on climate debate. He’s promoting his book – and himself.

You can watch Varney’s interview with Lomborg below:

(Green Hell Blog)


This poor sod apparently really believes: Bring it On

"Bring it on" should be the Democrats' response to the new House Republican majority's pledge to hold investigatory hearings on the Obama Administration's environmental policies.

If Republicans want to use an open forum to debunk human-induced global warming and challenge the legitimacy and wisdom of the executive branch to regulate greenhouse gases, go right ahead. Their partisan zeal could very well trigger an embarrassing public backlash.

Democrats should welcome the opportunity for expert witnesses to testify in behalf of the necessity to curb global warming as well as the specific need for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit industrial greenhouse gas emissions. There are articulate environmental scientists (and the Democratic minority will make sure they are on the witness list if the GOP majority won't) who can present in laymen's terms with persuasive documentation the case for President Obama's "green" strategy. These experts need to come to the hearings not just to deliver a positive message with clarity. Under the glare of television cameras, they must be prepared to directly dismantle any global warming deniers' claims advanced at the session, and do so unsolicited if need be.

All the Republican demagoguery in the world won't break down witnesses who know their stuff, have the skills to communicate it in a simple, straightforward way, and possess the temperament not to be rattled by heavy-handed, derisive interrogation. (Edward Flattau, Puffington)

What is he going to do when he finds out it's not a real world problem?


This straw man, again? Troposphere Is Warming Too, Decades Of Data Show

Not only is Earth's surface warming, but the troposphere -- the lowest level of the atmosphere, where weather occurs -- is heating up too, U.S. and British meteorologists reported on Monday.

In a review of four decades of data on troposphere temperatures, the scientists found that warming in this key atmospheric layer was occurring, just as many researchers expected it would as more greenhouse gases built up and trapped heat close to the Earth.

This study aims to put to rest a controversy that began 20 years ago, when a 1990 scientific report based on satellite observations raised questions about whether the troposphere was warming, even as Earth's surface temperatures climbed. (Reuters)

Is the mid-troposphere warming? Well, yes but not in a way consistent with enhanced greenhouse theory (the rise in the last couple of years is interesting, possibly the result of changes in ocean currents/phases releasing heat to the atmosphere but like everyone else, I'm guessing).

In fact the tropical mid-troposphere, which was supposed to heat so much more quickly than the surface (according to models) has a warming trend in the satellite era, one which is virtually identical to the global trend of 0.05 °C/decade (the only difference being that globally the trend is 0.09 °C/decade over land and 0.04 °C/decade over the oceans while the tropics are 0.08 & 0.04 °C/decade respectively).

Nearer to the surface, of course, conductive and convective heating from the surface are more obvious with a global lower tropospheric trend of 0.14 °C/decade (0.18 & 0.12 land, ocean) with the tropics rather lagging behind at 0.08 °C/decade (0.10 & 0.08). Just eyeballing the chart readers can see the trend is introduced post 1996 and is not consistent with atmospheric CO2 increase.

No prizes for guessing the state of the El Niño Southern Oscillation from the mid-troposphere time series ;-)

In fact the tropical atmosphere that was supposed to deliver the definitive signature of anthropogenic global warming is proving remarkably insensitive to perturbation through enhanced greenhouse effect. Proponents of the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis and catastrophic anthropogenic global warming are doing a lot of dancing, hoping you won't notice that none of their claims are panning out.

Finally, below you can see Hansen's GISTEMP time series claiming the world has warmed even relative to the 1997/98 "super El Niño" superimposed over UAH's satellite-derived lower troposphere series:

Hansen's GISTEMP is showing a decadal trend of about 0.165 °C/decade (full December to November years over the satellite era) or 3.3 times that measured in the expected tropical hot spot, which, according to greenhouse theory, should be demonstrating a trend of somewhere between 0.22 and 0.25 °C/decade. Pretty weird to be claiming things are proceeding as expected when your expectations are out by 400% - 500%, isn't it?

"Epic fail !" as my youngest would say.


UK Says India Carbon Tie Could Help Global Deal

Bilateral agreements to develop clean technology and unlock private sector finance could help fill the gap in the absence of an international climate change pact, Britain's climate and energy minister said on Monday.

With just two weeks to go before United Nations climate talks start in Mexico, expectations for a new treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol have faded.

Last week, the U.N.'s climate chief said governments had lowered their sights for the November29-December10 talks in Cancun, Mexico, after a summit in Copenhagen last year failed to secure a new pact. (Reuters)


Call for climate Royal Commission

At an assemblage of physicists at the British Association in 1900, one of the 19th Century’s most influential physicists and mathematicians, Lord William Thomson Kelvin said, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”

This statement appears myopic today and would certainly be lambasted by the likes of Einstein, Schrödinger and Hawking.

Arguments by the Gillard government that the science of climate change is “settled” and “the debate is over” are not dissimilar and will leave future generations in no doubt Labor is using flawed science to drive this tax grab. (Dennis Jensen, Quadrant)


[plenty of] Time to prepare for climate change

Himalayan region’s glaciers melting slowly, but impacts still coming

WASHINGTON – Though the massive glaciers of the greater Himalayan region are retreating slowly, development agencies can take steps now to help the region's communities prepare for the many ways glacier melt is expected to impact their lives, according to a new report. Programs that integrate health, education, the environment and social organizations are needed to adequately address these impacts, the report states. (PNNL)


Science Manipulation Hides Reporting And Political Failures Of The New York Times

The more I read the “As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas” article (NYT, Nov 13; and on the IHT on the same day, with a full page dedicated to it, and the pride of place on the first page with a giant photo next to it), the more it looks like something halfway between the first salvo in the “war on science” against the GOP and “many newly elected legislators openly skeptical about climate change“, and a call to rally to the AGW Believer Troops. (Maurizio Morabito)


Hypothesis Testing – A Failure In The 2007 IPCC Reports

In my post

Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

I wrote

There has been a development over the last 10-15 years or so in the scientific peer reviewed literature that is short circuiting the scientific method.

The scientific method involves developing a hypothesis and then seeking to refute it. If all attempts to discredit the hypothesis fails, we start to accept the proposed theory as being an accurate description of how the real world works.

A useful summary of the scientific method is given on the website where they list six steps

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

Unfortunately, in recent years papers have been published in the peer reviewed literature that fail to follow these proper steps of scientific investigation. These papers are short circuiting the scientific method.

In the recent report

“Climate Change Assessments, Review of the Processes & Procedures of the IPCC“ 

within the section titled

IPCC’s Evaluation of Evidence and Treatment of Uncertainty

it is written [boldface added]

The IPCC uncertainty guidance provides a good starting point for characterizing uncertainty in the assessment reports. However, the guidance was not consistently followed in the fourth assessment, leading to unnecessary errors. For example, authors reported high confidence in statements for which there is little evidence, such as the widely-quoted statement that agricultural yields in Africa might decline by up to 50 percent by 2020. Moreover, the guidance was often applied to statements that are so vague they cannot be falsified. In these cases the impression was often left, quite incorrectly, that a substantive finding was being presented.”

My comment on the publication process in the post

Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

fits and can be rewritten as

What the current IPCC assessment process has evolved into, at the detriment of proper scientific investigation, is the inclusion of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses.  The fourth step in the scientific method “Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment” is bypassed.

It is written in the IAC Review of the IPCC report that

“…the guidance was often applied to statements that are so vague they cannot be falsified.”

This is a correct conclusion and also applies to the predictions decades from now as presented in the 2007 IPCC report.

These also cannot be falsified.

The acceptance of hypotheses as facts in the publication process including the IPCC assessments is a main reason that the policy community is being significantly misinformed about the actual status of our understanding of the climate system and the role of humans within it.


Government Gluttony at the American Wind Energy Association (Summers/Browner/ Klain memo indicates growing ‘wind fatigue’)

by Lisa Linowes
November 15, 2010

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is on a mission to keep its members fat and happy as they bloat up at the public trough. The goals are simple:

1) Create a set-aside power market that pays a premium for wind energy and eliminates competition for lower-cost, more reliable fuel options;

2) Encourage policies that pave the way for wind-related transmission development at the expense of rate- and taxpayers; and

3) Make permanent the free-flow of public subsidies for renewables and shield the spigot from changing political and economic tides.

In the last two years, AWEA’s had some success. On the power market front, more than half the States have RPS programs mandating that a percentage of their electricity needs be met with renewable energy. Many states have loose enough standards to avoid the damage that otherwise would be done, but Texas, in particular, has coerced its way into windpower growth (the legacy of Enron, by the way).

Senator Bingham (D-NM) introduced a bill seeking the same non-compete set-aside for the entire country that he hopes will be acted on during the lame-duck session. (See Daren Bakst’s criticism of this proposal here.) [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Fighting the Windpower Industrial Complex: The Eric Bibler Letter (A Grassroots Environmentalist Speaks to Power)

by Kent Hawkins
November 16, 2010

The unequal contest about the implementation of utility-scale wind plants between a number of ordinary citizens, on one hand, and the system of government intransigence, environmentalist narrowness, strong industry lobby groups, and uninformed public opinion, on the other, is a difficult but necessary one.

In Europe alone, which has the most experience with the wind plants, the number of such groups is approaching 450 in 21 countries. In Ontario Canada, one of the North American extremist jurisdictions in support of wind, the number is 35.

Unfortunately, compared to the wind proponent side, the relatively small number of people fighting wind plants comes from those who are faced with the reality of the prospect of wind plants in close proximity to their communities. However, others who for various reasons have done the necessary research to see past the misconceptions to the reality of the total folly of pursuing such policies have also joined them.

We must rise above the negatively intended, and unthinking, use of the term NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) that is quickly applied to these citizens’ groups. Although, initially their opposition represents self-interest (which is not automatically to be criticized), nevertheless they progress to becoming informed on the subject to properly represent their case. In doing this, they soon discover that the associated problems and worthlessness of the whole wind agenda. They find out that the Wind Crusade is hardly noble environmentalism. Many find themselves asking: why have so many self-styled environmentalists sold out to image, to form over sustance?  

My view is that utility-scale wind plants are ineffective in all respects as an electricity source and should not be part of any electricity system, rendering all the other problems that come with them needless. The ’other problems” are the negative impact on:

  • Human health
  • Local flora and fauna
  • Local economies, including businesses and housing real estate values
  • Natural environments, so taken for granted, but important to our society
  • Relationships within communities and even families
  • Our financial systems (think in terms of the recent sub-prime fiasco)

A Letter to Real Environmentalists on Windpower

The following letter from Eric Bibler to the Cape Cod Commission about planning for industrial wind turbines is noteworthy. Bibler is an environmental activist and President of Save Our Seashore, a non-profit organization based in Wellfleet, MA, that is devoted to the principle that our National Parks, including the Cape Cod National Seashore, should be preserved and protected as a natural resource and not subjected to industrialization through the installation of wind energy. [Read more →] (MasterResource)



Germany passes unpopular healthcare reform

The German parliament passed healthcare reform on Friday to overhaul the country's cash-strapped insurance system and plug a threatened 11-billion-euro shortfall in the public health system next year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition has called the healthcare reform bill one of its most important laws this year, even though her Christian Democrats have clashed for months over details with their Free Democrat coalition partners.

Along with savings, healthcare insurance levies will be raised for employers and for the country's 72 million insured. Anger over the rising health insurance costs has contributed to a prolonged slump in polls for Merkel's coalition.

The mandatory health insurance charge now split evenly between employers and workers will rise from January to 15.5 percent of gross wages in January from 14.9 percent. Any future increases will be paid for only by employers.

The measure has been widely attacked by opposition parties, trade unions and insurers. They complain the reforms' focus was on raising levies rather than cutting costs. They also criticize that employers must pay future increases on their own. (Reuters)


Sigh... Should You Be Snuggling With Your Cellphone?

WARNING: Holding a cellphone against your ear may be hazardous to your health. So may stuffing it in a pocket against your body.

I’m paraphrasing here. But the legal departments of cellphone manufacturers slip a warning about holding the phone against your head or body into the fine print of the little slip that you toss aside when unpacking your phone. Apple, for example, doesn’t want iPhones to come closer than 5/8 of an inch; Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s manufacturer, is still more cautious: keep a distance of about an inch.

The warnings may be missed by an awful lot of customers. The United States has 292 million wireless numbers in use, approaching one for every adult and child, according to C.T.I.A.-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry’s primary trade group. It says that as of June, about a quarter of domestic households were wireless-only.

If health issues arise from ordinary use of this hardware, it would affect not just many customers but also a huge industry. Our voice calls — we chat on our cellphones 2.26 trillion minutes annually, according to the C.T.I.A. — generate $109 billion for the wireless carriers.

The cellphone instructions-cum-warnings were brought to my attention by Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and has published a book about cellphone radiation, “Disconnect.” I had assumed that radiation specialists had long ago established that worries about low-energy radiation were unfounded. Her book, however, surveys the scientific investigations and concludes that the question is not yet settled. (NYT)

Actually, the "warnings" are there for precisely the same reason packets of peanuts are inscribed: "Caution! May contain nuts!" They're a bit of butt-covering in an overly litigious society. The Interphone International Case-Control Study is the largest study of cell phone use and brain cancer and they actually found cell phone use protective. Implausible? Maybe but hormesis would explain such a result and it most certainly is not the first time low level irradiation has proven beneficial.


Lawrence Solomon: Port Hope — a hot spot that may be cool

Nuclear workers in Port Hope contract fewer cancers

Thirty-five years ago, Canada’s first radioactive cleanup of a contaminated town was ordered for Port Hope, Ont., after my organization, Energy Probe, proved and publicized gross violations of radiation safety standards. Today, 35 years and many protests with many high-profile environmentalists later, the issue of contamination has not gone away. The earth-moving equipment is back for yet another cleanup and local environmental groups are bringing in yet another high-profile anti-nuclear activist — Dr. Helen Caldicott, head of Physicians for Nuclear Responsibility, who is calling for the town’s 16,500 residents to be relocated before its “carcinogenic time bomb” explodes.

One thing has changed, though. My organization is no longer confident that low levels of radiation, such as those that now remain in Port Hope, pose a danger. To the contrary, a growing body of evidence indicates that low levels of radiation could actually confer a health benefit. Rather than continuing the 10-year $260-million-plus cleanup that has just begun, or contemplating the more extreme measure of closing down the town, the safest course to take may well be to move out the bulldozers instead of the townsfolk. (Financial Post)


Experts hit back at claims full-body airport scanners are 'safe'

EXPERTS have hit back at the US Government's claim that full-body scanners do not pose a health risk to air travellers.

Dr John Sedat, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), said a government statement supporting full-body x-ray safety had "many misconceptions”.

The statement from The White House’s Office of Science and Technology said the potential health risks from full-body screening “are minimal”.

Dr Sedat, and three of his UCSF colleagues, previously warned that radiation from the devices has been dangerously underestimated and could lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly in children.

However Dr Sedat's claims were dismissed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Transport Security Administration (TSA). (

I tend to be more amused than anything else when it comes to radiation panic merchants. Notwithstanding that many of these are also prone to sporting "healthy" tans and enjoying outdoor life (and indeed there is not the slightest problem with that) the radiation they complain about is really quite trivial compared with say, medical imaging that so many people line up and pay to experience. Backscatter scanners can't work if you are absorbing much of the radiation emitted, they can only "see" what bounces off you. You aren't a perfect reflector but you surely will not absorb sufficient energy to convert cholesterol to vitamin D nor will you get a tan -- you'll still have to be irradiated by the sun or artificial equivalents to do that.


San Francisco mayor to veto curb on fast-food toys

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to veto a new city law that would curb toy giveaways in unhealthy restaurant meals for children, but the move would be symbolic since it was approved in a veto-proof vote.

The law is slated to go into effect on December 1, 2011 and, like an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, will require that restaurant kids' meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.

Opponents of the law include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald's Corp, which used its now wildly popular Happy Meal to pioneer the use of free toys to market directly to children. (Reuters)


The Vast Child-Fattening Conspiracy

When it comes to the increasing sex, violence and profanity in entertainment media, the social libertines are indifferent. They insist that children will hardly be warped or ruined by the media they consume. They chortle at the paranoia of Hollywood critics. Their mantra: If you don't like it, just turn the channel.

But if the issue isn't indecency, but instead, say, obesity, so many of those titans of "tolerance" suddenly become the censors. Behold San Francisco, the paradise of permissive sexual attitudes. The city council may welcome flowers in your hair, but they have just voted to ban "Happy Meal" toys unless the "happy" menu is low in fat and sodium, and includes fruits and vegetables.

Apparently, that villain Ronald McDonald has been leading a Vast Child-Fattening Conspiracy (Brent Bozell, IBD)


Hmm... probably caught if from Americans. Where can they sue? Alarming obesity levels in the world’s developing countries

A new report by one of the major economic organisations has found that obesity levels in the world’s developing countries are rising at an alarming pace – and that countries should act now to stop a major ‘epidemic’. (MercoPress)


For virtual people: Less salt for teens means healthier adults

If teens could reduce their daily salt consumption by 3,000 milligrams, they would cut their risk for heart disease and stroke significantly in adulthood, researchers said on Sunday.

Based on results of a computer modeling analysis, researchers projected that a 3,000-milligram reduction in sodium by teenagers could reduce hypertension by 30 percent to 43 percent when they become adults. (Reuters)

And their evidence for this is... um, well nonexistent, actually.


Missing from the lifestyle pages: the evidence of how Boob Job works

Enough to make your décolletage blush: cosmetics firm threatens plastic surgeon who doubts breast cream boasts

If science has any credibility, it derives from transparency. When you make a claim about how something works, you provide references to experiments, describing what was done so it can be replicated, detailing what was measured and how. Then people discuss what they think it means in the real world.

Maria Hatzistefanis is a star of lifestyle pages and the owner of Rodial, the cosmetics company that sells a product called Boob Job which, it claims, will give you a "fuller bust" "increase the bust size" and "plump up the décolleté area" with "an instant lifting and firming effect", and deliver an increase of half a cup size in 56 days. Or rather an increase of "8.4%". It's all very precise.

I'm not going to lose sleep over anybody who buys a magic cream to make their breasts grow bigger. What worries me is that Hatzistefanis's company is making libel threats against a doctor, simply for daring to voice doubts at these claims.

This is her crime. Dr Dalia Nield, a plastic surgeon, told the Daily Mail it was "highly unlikely" the cream would make your breasts bigger, and questioned the amount of information provided by Rodial. "The manufacturers are not giving us any information on tests they have carried out. They are not telling us the exact ingredients in the product and how they increase the size of the breast."

That's fair. I don't trust claims without evidence, especially not about a magic cream that makes your breasts expand. Maybe it does work – I don't particularly care, either way – but when I asked the company for any evidence or information on ingredients, they refused. This is odd, as I've seen the letter Rodial's lawyers sent, and they tell Dr Nield: "Our client on request would have provided all information required on clinical assessment and product ingredients."

Apparently not. (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)


Oh... Antarctic Ozone Hole Persists, At Least for Awhile

Major success in reducing ozone-depleting substances may not pay off in the Antarctic for several more years

August in Antarctica means the Sun starts rising over the horizon again, following four months of darkness. For NOAA Corps officer Nick Morgan (GMD), stationed at the South Pole, the month also marks the moment when he begins measuring ozone in earnest. (ESRL)

What a complete crock. Try this for a reality check. "Ozone depletion" is another "crisis" that never was. We aren't fixing the ozone layer? Big surprise -- it was never "broken" to begin with.


Outcry after loss of measures to protect animals is revealed

Campaigners pledged to step up the fight for animal welfare yesterday after The Independent highlighted the way in which the Coalition has scrapped or stalled a series of initiatives since taking power.

In an outpouring of public anger, thousands of readers recommended and Tweeted our front-page article, "The great animal rights betrayal". It disclosed how the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has overturned bans on caging game birds and beak-trimming, halted prosecutions of abattoirs, proposed badger-culling to eradicate bovine TB, and made no decision on Labour's proposed ban on wild animals in circuses.

Defra said the story was unfair. (Independent)

I like animals, they're very tasty but this kind of utter nonsense simply highlights the disconnect between urbanized humans and the real world. Nature isn't kind and it is certainly no nurture figure and most of these animals would not exist if people didn't provide them with shelter, protection and nourishment. Actions like beak trimming are done to protect the birds from each other, mulesing is protective to prevent sheep being eaten alive by blowfly larva, dehorning to prevent injuries to themselves, other livestock and their handlers and so on. Build a bridge, guys...


Minister plans to hit homes with 'flood tax

Millions of homeowners living near the sea or rivers face being hit with a new "flood tax" under controversial coalition plans to plug a £260m shortfall in spending on flood defences. The controversial proposal comes as the residents of Cumbria prepare to mark the anniversary of the floods which devastated the Lake District last year.

The Independent on Sunday has learned water minister Richard Benyon believes the cost of protecting homes and businesses from the elements should be "shared" between the government and those who benefit from defences directly. From April 2012, the government wants to see a new structure in place which combines public and private funding. (Independent)

In some respects, not a bad idea. people should be discouraged from building in flood zones and society at large should not be picking up the tab for other people's lifestyle choices.


Over 60 percent of child deaths in India avoidable: survey

More children under the age of five die in India than in any other country in the world, and from five main causes that are avoidable, a study in India has found.

In a paper published in The Lancet Saturday, the authors named the five causes as pneumonia, prematurity and low birthweight, diarrhoeal diseases, neonatal infections and birth asphyxia, and birth trauma.

"Each of the major causes ... can be prevented or treated with known, highly effective and widely practicable interventions such as improvements in prenatal care," wrote the researchers, led by the Registrar General of India.

Expanded neonatal and obstetric care, proper management of diarrhoea and pneumonia, and adding new vaccines to immunization programs could substantially reduce child deaths in the country, they added. (Reuters)


Five Foolish Food Policies

6th November 2010

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused western politicians of creating a food crisis with foolish food policies.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that climate alarmism and green extremism was being used to remove farmland from food production and deny fishermen access to oceans.

(more…) (Carbon Sense Coalition)


EU Looks To Tighten GM Crop Assessment Rules

The EU's food safety watchdog issued new guidelines on Friday for assessing the environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) plants, as part of a shake-up of the bloc's GM crop approval system.

The guidelines from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) set out new assessment procedures for biotech companies when submitting GM crops for EU approval, including on possible long-term effects of GM crops and their impacts on insects and other plants.

The new guidelines follow a request from EU governments in 2008 to strengthen EFSA's GM crop assessment procedures, and criticism from countries including France that EFSA had failed to take full account of environmental concerns when approving new crops. (Reuters)


Argentina Negotiates With China Over Corn Exports

Argentina's farm minister said on Friday it is in talks with China over exporting corn to the Asian country, which does not currently buy Argentine corn due to curbs on genetically modified varieties.

Argentina is the world's second-biggest corn supplier after the United States. Rumors swirled earlier this year that China had bought Argentine corn, but no shipments were confirmed.

Genetically modified strains account for about 80 percent of the South American country's corn production, which is expected to reach a record 26 million tonnes in the current 2010/11 crop season.

"A sanitary protocol is being discussed that would give our country access to the Chinese market," Argentine Agriculture Minister Julian Dominguez said in a statement after talks with Chinese officials.

The statement said negotiations would be stepped up next year. (Reuters)



Still trying to pump up the scam: Oxfam's fantasy 'climate court' is both prescient and practical

Over a thousand legal experts, politicians and economists gathered in Dhaka this week to explore routes to justice for the victims of climate criminals – and found that precedents exist

Imagine an international court where the poorest people in the world could sue countries such as the US or Britain for failing to keep to agreements to reduce climate emissions or for knowingly causing devastating climate change.

It's some way off, but this week has seen an extraordinary tribunal being held in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, with more than 1,200 people including British lawyers, politicians and economists, listening to the testimonies of villagers living at the frontline of climate change.

It was only a mock tribunal, organised by Oxfam, but it explored the growing idea that the largest carbon emitters should be bound by international law to protect the lives and livelihoods of those most at risk from the impacts of climate change. (Independent)


Analysis: Obama climate rules face fight in Congress

Republicans in the new Congress will pose a greater threat to the Obama administration's strategy to regulate greenhouse gas polluters than a plethora of industry lawsuits.

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, is marching ahead with rules requiring big polluters like coal-fired power plants, oil refiners and cement manufacturers to get permits starting January 2 to emit gases blamed for warming the planet.

President Barack Obama has always said the EPA would regulate carbon emitters if lawmakers failed to pass a climate bill.

Republicans, who will control the House of Representatives in January after winning some 60 seats in the midterm elections, are organizing to stop that from happening. They say the regulations will cost industry jobs and billions of dollars as the country struggles to recover from the recession. (Reuters)


The Menace of the EPA

One country cannot singlehandedly curb global greenhouse gas emissions, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refuses to accept that idea.

EPA is forging ahead with plans to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted from America’s largest power plants and industrial facilities. Never mind that no persuasive scientific case exists for the claim that man-made emissions are causing global warming, given that 99% of the atmospheric carbon dioxide is from natural sources – and whether carbon dioxide is even harmful remains open to question. Leave aside the fact that the recent email scandal involving some of the self-same scientists who are calling for curbs on greenhouse gases has cast much of their work in doubt.

The regulations, which will take effect in January, won’t do a thing to reduce global emissions but they will increase the cost of electricity in the United States, undermine the competitiveness of American industries and wind up sending more jobs overseas.

The regulations are sweeping and shortsighted. They are being promulgated under the Clean Air Act, which EPA has twisted to suit the administration’s policy of increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

The naiveté of trying to tackle a global issue like curbing greenhouse-gas emissions without international cooperation is staggering. The United States has little to gain and unfortunately much to lose. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)


Backdoor Cap & Trade

With the Cap & Trade bill dead in Congress, the EPA continues to promote new regulations to control carbon emissions. The left is claiming the moral high ground and the right a new popular mandate, with environmental and energy policy a part of the new political battleground. While House Republicans take aim at federal bureaucrats a number of states, led by California, the left-coast champion of all things green and illogical, are creating their own version of Cap & Trade. Citizens beware, eco-activists are working at the state level to implement cap & trade through the backdoor.

In 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act that committed the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions an estimated 25-30 percent by 2020. One of the ballot initiatives buried in the general hoopla of the US midterm elections was Proposition 23, which would have suspended implementation of that law until economic conditions improve. The battle over Prop 23 pitted oil and gas interests against the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Democrat activists. In the end, the golden state held true to its environmentalist convictions and voted the delaying proposition down.

Some kind of carbon trading plan, in other words cap & trade, is expected to be part of California's solution to global warming. California’s Air Resources Board has drafted proposed regulations intended to cushion the economic impact on the state’s industries but still accomplish the law’s purpose. They set an initial ceiling on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions allowed in industrial, electricity, transportation and other sectors. That ceiling will be gradually lowered over subsequent years, while the state issues emission allowances that can be traded among polluting industries. The cap & trade rules come to a final vote of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on December 16.

Those outside of California might say “fine, let them strangle their own industry, perhaps it will move to my state,” but what is little appreciated by the public is that 10 other states have followed CARB's lead in the past: Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Case in point are the requirements that major auto manufacturers build a prescribed number of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). Implemented using cap & trade like credits that are bartered among auto manufacturers, this scheme has been in place since 2002.

All this and carbon credits too.

Automakers received full credit for building true ZEVs, like electric or hydrogen powered cars, and partial credit for hybrids and conventional ultra low-emissions vehicles (ULEVs). While this did have the intended effect of getting auto makers to develop ZEVs it also had some curious side effects. Car and Driver magazine reports that electric sports car maker Tesla received a bounty of credits, which it traded to traditional manufacturers like Honda. Reportedly, Tesla made $13.8 million trading its credits in 2008 and 2009. Starting in 2012, the regulations get tougher and only true ZEVs will earn credits.

Interestingly, the new restrictions will exclude the new Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, though GM is said to be in continuing negotiations with CARB regarding at least partial credit for producing the “augmented electric” vehicle. The Volt will still qualify for the federal $7,500 tax credit for buying a car with a 16kWh battery pack or larger (it is no coincidence that the Volt has a 16kWh battery as required by the federal regulations).

The Volt is perhaps the most important car GM has built in a half century. Despite continued ignorant mispronouncements from the likes of Fox Business Channel air-head Tracy Byrnes, who claimed that GM lied to everyone about the Volt being electric because it had a gas engine (GM has always called it a hybrid), the Volt has been receiving good reviews. Quoting from Car and Driver, not particularly noted for their loving embrace of unconventionally driven vehicles, “this is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late 90s, and GM has nailed it.”

Meanwhile, companies are no longer interested in trading carbon voluntarily. Al Gore’s much ballyhooed Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has recently announced that it will no longer engage in carbon trading, the activity it was created for. This event has remained strangely un-reported in the mainstream media. “This is an utter failure of purpose in global warming hysteria yet the Old Media is almost completely silent on this colossal failure,” reports Warner Todd Huston of

Market operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. is laying off staff at the recently acquired Exchange, industry sources told Reuters, the company blaming the action on a lack of US action on climate change. The real reason that the CCX has failed, of course, is because the world has recognized global warming for the scam it is. On the Watts Up With That web site, Anthony Watts posted a chart of falling carbon credit prices. From a high of over $7 in mid-2008, prices now hover at around $0.10.

CCX carbon credit prices have cratered.

This free-fall echos tumbling prices on the European Climate Exchange (ECX). According to a UK Parliament report, the European cap & trade scheme is failing to deliver vital green investment after a collapse in carbon prices magnified by the recession.The price of carbon was expected to rise to €100 a ton of CO 2, or higher, in order to drive urgently needed investment in green technologies and energy efficiency. Current prices, which remain nearer to €15 a ton, are too low to generate the required level of investment. In fact, things are looking dim for alternative energy all around the globe.

This blog previously reported on top Danish wind manufacturer Vestas announced closing of five turbine manufacturing plants and laying off 3,000 green workers. IEEE Spectrum reports that Britain's cash strapped government has canceled plans for a gigantic tidal energy plant on the Severn estuary, north of Wales. Back in the US, Pacific Gas & Electric has announced it's ditching, at least for now, a 5 MW tidal energy project that had been slated for the coast of Humboldt County in northern California. The utility cited excessively high investment costs—including $50 million just to cover transmission infrastructure—and absence of any potential for physical expansion as explanations for the decision.

While the prospects for a cap & trade bill at the federal level are slim to none, it is an idea that refuses to die. Led by California, a collection of states may very well be in the process of establishing cap & trade via the backdoor of local legislation. It is often said that one of the strengths of the US federal system is that each of the 50 states serves as a laboratory to try out different solutions to the nation's problems. That is obviously not the case when a fifth of the several states abrogate their sovereignty and play follow the leader behind the granola state. Pusillanimous politicians in these states have proven themselves to be deeply, spectacularly unimaginative by adopting CARB's policies wholesale.

Why are politicians so enamored with these Enronesque cap & trade schemes? Perhaps because they are driven by market forces too complicated to be understood by politicians or their constituents, or maybe because the name doesn't contain the word “tax.” The motivation for environmentalists is easier to discern—cap & trade, effectively enforced, strangles industry. As we said in The Energy Gap, there are rational ways to significantly reduce carbon emissions and they are side effects of enhancing energy security and reducing real pollution. As has been seen in Europe, and now in America, cap & trade is an unworkable idea no nation can afford, whether it comes at the national level or through the backdoor.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

Cap & Trade: the most effective path to poverty.

(Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


The climate change scare is dying, but do our MPs notice?

The collapse of the warmist position on climate change has not impinged on politicians in Britain or Brussels, says Christopher Booker. (TDT)


Climate science "under-reported" at 2009 U.N. summit

Less than 10 percent of the articles written about last year's Copenhagen climate summit dealt primarily with the science of climate change, a study showed on Monday. (Reuters)

It's pretty hard to "under report" that which does not exist.  Let's be honest. No empirical measures nor demonstrated science actually underpin the case for Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). What we have is a trivial rise in a minor trace gas (one which is essential to aerobic life on Earth). Contemporaneously, we have estimated a rise in Earth's mean temperature from about 287 K ± 3 K to perhaps 287.5 ± 3 K. This is well within Earth's long-term estimated range of about 275-300 K. Depending on assumption made when trying to calculate Earth's expected mean temperature under current conditions yields a range of around 285-290 K, so we really have no reason to suspect Earth is "too" anything at this time. This is such a silly game.


Um... no, Robbie: Climate change: science's fresh fight to win over the sceptics

Hacked emails from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia caused a storm last year. Now scientists say it's even harder to convince the world of the reality of climate change (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Mate, most everyone knows the climate changes and no "convincing" is required. The catastrophic anthropogenic global warming crock, however, that's another matter. That idiotic claim should have been flushed long ago.


A New Consensus

Global Warming: Wouldn't the followers of Scientific American have a pretty good understanding of what's really going on with the climate? If a reader poll is any indication, they're skeptical man is heating the planet. (IBD)

To be honest it isn't much of a poll -- then again, what climate hysteria poll ever is?


Fighting Climate Alarmism in 1999: What’s New?

by Robert Bradley Jr.
November 12, 2010

Reprinted below is a letter-to-the-editor that I wrote to The Electricity Journal in response to an essay by Michael Shepard, “Turning the Climate Challenge into Business Opportunity” (The Electricity Journal, 1999, vol. 12, issue 10, pages 82-84).

The test of scholarship is how one’s arguments hold up over time. The state of knowledge changes as new evidence accumulates, so it is important to keep past work in the context of the year it was written (1999).

But what do we know now versus then? And how do you think this rebuttal reads 11 years later? (One data point: Robert Mendelsohn of Yale still believes in the conclusions of his work that I reference below as he communicated to me by email.)

Dear Editors:

Michael Shepard guest editorial, “Turning the Climate Challenge into Business Opportunity,” is premised on such statements as “the climate problem is real” and “the imperative [is] to stabilize the atmosphere’s loading of greenhouse gases.” Such alarmism and jawboning to get energy companies to divert resources toward carbon dioxide abatement is premature at best and counterproductive at worse.

Everyone who takes the climate change issue seriously—including the readers of Shepard’s article—should familiarize themselves with the recent work of Robert Mendelsohn, the E. W. Davis Professor in Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. An anthology of essays by 26 specialists co-edited by Mendelsohn, including agricultural economics from 11 colleges and universities, reached a very interesting conclusion from an economic analysis of anthropogenic warming: [Read more →]



Martin Durkin’s Next Swindle Story

P Gosselin 14. November 2010

I remember German journalist Dirk Maxeiner asking the question: “How can politicians believe they can limit the temperature of the planet when they can’t even get their own spending under control?”

Martin Durkin brings his latest swindle documentary: Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story. If you don’t remember Martin Durkin, he produced “The Great Global Warming Swindle”.


The Copenhagen emissions gap

Peter Foster, Financial Post · Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Long-range economic projections are usually useless, but this week's World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency is immediately revealing. It emphasizes the massive failure of the United Nations-based climate agenda to stampede nations into suicidal commitments to slash growth and curtail freedom in order to make the world safe for bureaucracy.

Not that you will find any politicians acknowledging that. Nor is it that the IEA isn't on board with the climate agenda (after all, it's a global bureaucracy), it's just that its forecast can't possibly hide that emissions are set to climb to a level that alarmists tell us will lead to climate apocalypse.

The IEA confirms why radical green NGOs were so apoplectic about this year's Copenhagen Accord. It did little except embody vague non-binding commitments to reduce emissions, crank up subsidies to alternative energy, and ship yet more cash to keep poor countries dependent. Even if developed countries did live up to their Copenhagen commitments, which the IEA dubs the "New Policies Scenario" (and doubts), primary fuel demand will still climb by a third by 2035, and fossil fuel will still be king.

The IEA's projections thus render farcical the solemn commitments by global politicians to slash emissions by 80% by 2050, relying on the fact that they'll all be safely dead, or that the private sector will have developed some unforeseen wonder technology by then. (Financial Post)


Cancun - more dangerous than Copenhagen

Dalibor Rohac warns that while the Copenhagen deal is dead, the warmists are planning even costlier ways to “save” the planet”:

Although preparations are in place for a summit on climate change in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of November, it is clear that the goal of cutting carbon emissions through coordinated action by the world’s governments is dead. Nevertheless, it would be too early to celebrate, as the threat of fear-driven and economically costly climate policies is not gone yet. It is merely being transformed into a more subtle - and potentially more dangerous - agenda…

Meeting the initially envisaged objectives of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050 and 80 percent by 2100 is, under current technology, not feasible without drastic reductions in economic activity and, therefore, standards of living… The dominant view that animated Kyoto and Copenhagen - and is now disintegrating in view of the latter’s failure - was focused on reducing emissions through massive deployment of currently existing sources of “clean” energy. Notwithstanding the cheerleading about wind farms and solar panels, these methods proved to be overly expensive and were introduced and sustained in the first place only by government subsidies…

However, while the climate-change alarmists are slowly becoming aware of the impasse the traditional approach has created, their agenda has not gone away. A number of thinkers from across the political spectrum are progressively gaining influence… This rising group is a heterogeneous bunch. It includes Gwyn Prins of the London School of Economics in England, Roger Pielke Jr., author of “The Climate Fix,” and the “skeptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, who is releasing his new movie focused on climate-change policies, “Cool It.” Finally, it includes experts from both the American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Brookings Institution in the United States, who recently published a joint proposal for fostering energy innovation…

The central argument made by this group is as follows: Because emission cuts using current technologies are not practicable, the main thrust of new policies should lie in subsidizing research and development so that a new “breakthrough” technology can arise, which will allow easy and costless “decarbonization” of the world economy in the future.

This argument relies on a rather naive understanding of the economics of innovation. It is simply assumed that pouring money into research will bring the desired technology - and also that this technology could not have been obtained through privately funded research technology alone.

Furthermore, where is the compelling argument that governments are especially qualified to identify those technologies that have a high social but low private return - technologies that are worth developing but that no private organization has the incentive to bring about?

In Australia, for instance, the Gillard Government is ploughing more than $100 million a year into research into carbon capture and storage, even though the early signs are that the technology will prove far too expensive to be practical. Other attempts by the government at picking winners have proved largely disastrous or merely useless, from subsidising solar plants to sticking free insulations in roofs.

And here comes Bjorn Lomborg, blithely demanding more billions for research into pet projects:

Entitled Post-Partisan Power, the report comprehensively and convincingly argues the US government should invest roughly $US25bn a year (about 0.2 per cent of US gross domestic product) in low-carbon military procurement, R&D, and a new network of university-private sector innovation hubs to create an energy revolution...

(Andrew Bolt)


Price on carbon 'is best option' - survey

THE government's push for a price on carbon has received a boost from the OECD.

Its economic survey of Australia says the setting of a price "sooner rather than later" is the "best option for cutting CO2 emissions". (The Australian)

Just one small problem, there is no point nor purpose in "carbon constraint" -- we don't want to "cut CO2 emissions" at all.


Global flood to destroy mankind

Scientists continue to scare the world population with imminent disasters. This time, the role of the force of nature that will destroy the planet was given to the Global Flood. Spanish hydrologists believe that it can occur in the beginning of this century due to the melting of the glaciers. Will their predictions come true?

Modeling of changes in the Atlantic currents that took place in the past allowed the international team of scientists to calculate the speed at which the level of the World Ocean is rising. Hydrologists believe that in this century the water can claim the territory of the largest sea powers. Traditionally, scientists blame this on the notorious global warming, whose existence has not been proved.

The researchers from Seville University believe that as the global warming progresses, the underwater currents in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans grow stronger. Yet, they cannot answer the question why this happens (logically, the effect should be the opposite because warming reduces the difference between the temperature of water at the equator and the poles that creates global oceanic currents similar to the Gulf Stream). (Pravda)


Q+A-Who's winning the climate science vs sceptics battle?

Following is the second in a series of Q+As on major climate change themes.

By Deborah Zabarenko

Nov 15 - In the battle between climate change scientists and sceptics who question the connection between human activities and global warming, location matters.

While signs of a warming world has been truly global in 2010, from fast-melting Arctic ice to floods in Pakistan and fires in Russia, attitudes about whether this can be blamed on human-generated greenhouse gas emissions differ widely.

In China and the United States, the top two emitters of climate-warming carbon dioxide, residents aren't terribly troubled about the challenge of climate change, while those in most other countries see it as a serious problem. (Reuters)


Scientific Alliance Newsletter: Is this the start of a proper, open debate on climate change?

It is impossible to predict how the current obsession with climate change will be seen in a hundred years’ time, but it arguably remains the defining issue of the early 21st Century. Despite the acres of newsprint and years of airtime devoted to the issue, the debate is notable for its sterility over recent years. Sceptics have been vilified by those representing the scientific and political orthodoxy and some have given back as good as they got. But the real bêtes noires of the establishment are the handful of their colleagues who dissent in any way. They are seen as traitors and are treated accordingly. (CRN)


The $82 Billion Prediction

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has an revealing article today about the creation in 2006 of a "short-term" hurricane risk prediction from a company called Risk Management Solutions.  The Herald-Tribune reports that the prediction was worth $82 billion to the reinsurance industry.  It was created in just 4 hours by 4 hurricane experts, none of whom apparently informed of the purposes to which their expertise was to be put.  From the article:
Hurricane Katrina extracted a terrifying toll -- 1,200 dead, a premier American city in ruins, and the nation in shock. Insured losses would ultimately cost the property insurance industry $40 billion.

But Katrina did not tear a hole in the financial structure of America's property insurance system as large as the one carved scarcely six weeks later by a largely unknown company called Risk Management Solutions.

RMS, a multimillion-dollar company that helps insurers estimate hurricane losses and other risks, brought four hand-picked scientists together in a Bermuda hotel room.

There, on a Saturday in October 2005, the company gathered the justification it needed to rewrite hurricane risk. Instead of using 120 years of history to calculate the average number of storms each year, RMS used the scientists' work as the basis for a new crystal ball, a computer model that would estimate storms for the next five years.

The change created an $82 billion gap between the money insurers had and what they needed, a hole they spent the next five years trying to fill with rate increases and policy cancellations.

RMS said the change that drove Florida property insurance bills to record highs was based on "scientific consensus."

The reality was quite different.
Here is the agenda for that 2005 workshop in Bermuda. The Herald-Tribune's description of the meeting that led to the $82 billion financial impact beggars belief:
The daily papers were still blaring news about Katrina when Jim Elsner received an invitation to stay over a day in Bermuda.

The hurricane expert from Florida State University would be on the island in October for an insurance-sponsored conference on climate change. One of the sponsors, a California-based company called RMS, wanted a private discussion with him and three other attendees.

Their task: Reach consensus on how global weather patterns had changed hurricane activity.

The experts pulled aside by RMS were far from representative of the divided field of tropical cyclone science. They belonged to a camp that believed hurricane activity was on the rise and, key to RMS, shared the contested belief that computer models could accurately predict the change.

Elsner's statistical work on hurricanes and climatology included a model to predict hurricane activity six months in advance, a tool for selling catastrophe bonds and other products to investors.

There was also Tom Knutson, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist whose research linking rising carbon dioxide levels to potential storm damage had led to censoring by the Bush White House.

Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent.

The rock star in the room was Kerry Emanuel, the oracle of climate change from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Just two weeks before Katrina, one of the world's leading scientific journals had published Emanuel's concise but frightening paper claiming humanity had changed the weather and doubled the damage potential of cyclones worldwide.

Elsner said he anticipated a general and scholarly talk.

Instead, RMS asked four questions: How many more hurricanes would form from 2006 to 2010? How many would reach land? How many the Caribbean? And how long would the trend last?

Elsner's discomfort grew as he realized RMS sought numbers to hard-wire into the computer program that helps insurers set rates.

"We're not really in the business of making outlooks. We're in the business of science," he told the Herald-Tribune in a 2009 interview. "Once I realized what they were using it for, then I said, 'Wait a minute.' It's one thing to talk about these things. It's another to quantify it."

Saunders did not respond to questions from the Herald-Tribune. Knutson said if RMS were to ask again, he would provide the same hurricane assessment he gave in 2005.

But Emanuel said he entered the discussion in 2005 "a little mystified" by what RMS was doing.

He now questions the credibility of any five-year prediction of major hurricanes. There is simply too much involved.

"Had I known then what I know now," Emanuel said, "I would have been even more skeptical."

Elsner's own frustration grew when he attempted to interject a fifth question he thought critical to any discussion of short-term activity: Where would the storms go?

The RMS modelers believed Florida would remain the target of most hurricane activity. Elsner's research showed storm activity shifted through time and that it was due to move north toward the Carolinas.

But RMS' facilitator said there was not enough time to debate the matter, Elsner said. There were planes to catch.

In the end, the four scientists came up with four hurricane estimates -- similar only in that they were all above the historic average.

RMS erased that difference with a bit of fifth-grade math. It calculated the average.

Thus, the long-term reality of 0.63 major hurricanes striking the U.S. every year yielded to a prediction of 0.90.

Contrary to Elsner's research, RMS aimed most of that virtual increase at Florida.

On paper, it was a small change from one tiny number to another tiny number.

Plugged into the core of a complex software program used to estimate hurricane losses, the number rewrote property insurance in North America.

Risk was no longer a measure of what had been, but what might be. And for Floridians living along the Atlantic, disaster was 45 percent more likely.

RMS defended its new model by suggesting it had brought scientists together for a formal, structured debate.
Elsner disputes that idea.

"We were just winging it," he said.
I participated in the 2008 RMS expert elicitation, and at the time I explained that their methodology was biased and pre-determined.  A group of monkeys would have arrived at the exact same results.  Here is what I wrote then (and please see that post for the technical details on the "monkeys" making predictions, and the response and discussion with the RMS expert elicitor is here):
I have in the past been somewhat critical of RMS for issuing short-term hurricane predictions (e.g., see here and here and here). I don’t believe that the science has demonstrated that such predictions can be made with any skill, and further, by issuing predictions, RMS creates at least the appearance of a conflict of interest as many of its customers will benefit (or lose) according to how these predictions are made. . . .

The RMS expert elicitation process is based on questionable atmospheric science and plain old bad social science. This alone should lead RMS to get out of the near-term prediction business. Adding in the appearance of a conflict of interest from clients who benefit when forecasts are made to emphasize risk above the historical average makes a stronger case for RMS to abandon this particular practice. RMS is a leading company with an important role in a major financial industry. It should let its users determine what information on possible futures they want to incorporate when using a catastrophe model. RMS should abandon its expert elicitation and its effort to predict future hurricane landfalls for the good of the industry, but also in service of its own reputation.
RMS has since that time apparently shelved its expert elicitation process. My experiences prompted me to write up a paper on near-term predictions such as those employed by RMS, and it was published in the peer-reviewed literature:
Pielke, Jr., R.A. (2009), United States hurricane landfalls and damages: Can one-to five-year predictions beat climatology?. Environmental Hazards 8 187-200, issn: 1747-7891, doi: 10.3763/ehaz.2009.0017

This paper asks whether one- to five-year predictions of United States hurricane landfalls and damages improve upon a baseline expectation derived from the climatological record. The paper argues that the large diversity of available predictions means that some predictions will improve upon climatology, but for decades if not longer it will be impossible to know whether these improvements were due to chance or actual skill. A review of efforts to predict hurricane landfalls and damage on timescales of one to five years does not lend much optimism to such efforts in any case. For decision makers, the recommendation is to use climatology as a baseline expectation and to clearly identify hedges away from this baseline, in order to clearly distinguish empirical from non-empirical justifications for judgements of risk.
At the same time that RMS was rolling out its new model in 2006, an RMS scientist was serving as a lead author for the IPCC AR4.  He inserted a graph (below) into the report suggesting a relationship between the costs of disasters and rising temperatures, when in fact the peer-reviewed literature said the opposite.
RMS earlier this year admitted that the inclusion of that graph was a mistake, as it could have been "misleading."

And, you might ask, how did that five-year "short term" prediction from RMS made for 2006-2010 actually pan out?  As you can see below, not so good.

(Roger Pielke Jr.)


Dessler 2010: How to call vast amounts of data “spurious”

This is part of the big PR game of publishing “papers.”

In the climate models, the critical hot spot is supposed to occur because (specific) humidity rises in the upper troposphere about 10km above the tropics. The weather balloons clearly show that temperatures are not rising as predicted, so it was not altogether surprising that when Garth Paltridge analyzed weather balloon results for humidity, and found that humidity was not rising as predicted either.

Indeed, he found specific humidity was falling, which was the opposite of what all the major climate models predicted and posed yet a another problem for the theory that a carbon-caused disaster is coming. He had a great deal of trouble getting published in the first place, but once he finally did get published and skeptics were starting to quote “Paltridge 2009″, clearly, Team AGW needed an answer.  “Dessler 2010″ is transparently supposed to be that answer.

To start by putting things into perspective, lets consider just how “spuriously” small, patchy and insubstantial the radiosonde measurements have been. According to NOAA The integrated Global Radiosonde Archive contains more than 28 million soundings, from roughly 1250 stations.

Worldwide radiosonde stations (NOAA)

Or how about the data from just one month.

Radiosondes kept in 200911 ARSA : Location and number of radiosonde reports
selected for the month of November 2009
(Click the figure to enlarge it or click here)

The ARSA site estimates there are over 60,000 radiosondes released each month. (And it’s been something roughly like that every month since 1958).

The radiosonde results are uncertain, but they suggest specific humidity is falling (and the error bars all fall in the negative range). So how do you dismiss that wall of data going back for half a century? More » (Jo Nova)


Lawrence Solomon: Global warming gave us chocolate, says new study touting benefits to tropical forests of a much hotter climate

If the planet heats up dramatically, as Al Gore and others fear, the planet’s tropical forests could be a big winner, according to a just-published study in Science magazine that looked at a previous warming period in Earth’s history.

“Contrary to speculation that tropical forests could be devastated under these conditions, forest diversity increased rapidly during this warming event,” explained a release from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, a participant in the study. “New plant species evolved much faster than old species became extinct. Pollen from the passionflower plant family and the chocolate family, among others, were found for the first time.”

The new study relies on hard evidence rather than the computer models that produce “horror scenarios” about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests, in the words of Klaus Winter, a Smithsonian scientist. The study estimates that the forest’s genetic diversity soared by 50% under hot conditions, as a wealth of new species made their debut on Earth’s stage.

The study was also supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Fundación Banco del la República de Colombia, the National Geographic Society, the SI Women’s Committee, and ICP-Ecopetrol S.A. examined pollen trapped in rock cores and outcrops in Colombia and Venezuela. The pollen dates back to the period before, during and after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a time of sudden global warming some 56.3 million years ago.

Spectacular photos of the 60-million-year-old pollen and outcrops can be found here.  The study is entitled Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.


Rapid Paleocene Global Warming Caused Diversity Explosion

One of the scary predictions made about the impact of global warming is the extinction of many current species leading to a crisis in biological diversity. Like most of the speculative effects of global warming, this prediction is not only without scientific basis, it is precisely backward. A new paper in the journal Science, studying the impact of rapid global warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, show that rapid tropical forest diversification occurred without plant extinction. Moreover, diversity seemed to increase at higher temperatures, contradicting previous assumptions that tropical flora will succumb if temperatures become excessive. The tropical rainforest was able to flourish under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculation that tropical ecosystems were severely harmed by the heat.

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 56.3 million years ago was a unique episode of rapid global warming (~5°C). It is often used as an ancient analog for future global climate by those hyping catastrophic climate change. Though there is little chance that human CO 2 emission could cause such and event, that has not prevented the global warming gloom and doom crowd from holding up the threat of a possible second PETM event to bolster their socioeconomic agenda for the world. Supposedly, a PETM replay would bring with it all sorts of calamitous environmental consequences.

Now, a number of those dire, nature ravaging predictions made by global warming scaremongers have been revealed as the crap-science propaganda that they are. In a new journal paper, “Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation,” Carlos Jaramillo et al. present their analysis of the effects of rapid global warming during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 56.3 million years ago. Here is how they introduced their work in the paper's abstract:

We investigated the tropical forest response to this rapid warming by evaluating the palynological record of three stratigraphic sections in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.

Promoters of catastrophic climate change have often warned that rising global temperatures would decimate the natural world, striking down species right and left, leaving world biological diversity dangerously depleted. The most vulnerable of habitats were taken to be the world's rainforests, those hot, humid bastions of teaming jungle life. Rains would fail and the nurturing forests would die, taking the indigenous animal life with them. Now we know this to be yet another warmist fairy tail.

The world's rainforests are reservoirs of diversity.

“Efforts to understand the impact of climate change on terrestrial environments have focused on mid- to high-latitude localities, but little is known of tropical ecosystems during the PETM,” state the authors. “Tropical temperature change is poorly constrained, but, given the magnitude of temperature change elsewhere, tropical ecosystems are thought to have suffered extensively because mean temperatures are surmised to have exceeded the ecosystems’ heat tolerance.” But, as the study details, this was most certainly not the case.

The researchers examined data from three tropical terrestrial PETM sites from Colombia and Venezuela. The map below shows the Late Paleocene location of the studied sections (map after C. R. Scotese). Note that the northern Andes had not yet been uplifted and most of Central America was still underwater.

Geographical location of the studied sections.

At two of the sites, labeled Mar 2X and Riecito Mache, plant diversity was inferred from ancient pollen. These data show relatively low diversity during the Late Paleocene, followed by a significant increase during the PETM. Low-diversity Paleocene floras followed an increase in Early Eocene diversity had been previously observed in tropical South America, but the timing of the diversity changes was not accurately established.

While species continued to go extinct during the PETM—as they have since the beginning of life on Earth—there was nothing out of the ordinary about the extinction rate when compared with surrounding time periods. And while the extinction rate remained fairly constant the addition of new specie, called the origination rate, spiked during the sudden warmth of the PETM. The extinction and origination rates are shown in the figure below, taken from the report.

Extinction and origination rates.

This definitely flies in the face of common climate science wisdom. The authors note: “Many have argued that tropical communities live near their climatic optimum and that higher temperatures could be deleterious to the health of tropical ecosystems. Indeed, tropical warming during the PETM is surmised to have produced intolerable conditions for tropical ecosystems, although 31° to 34°C is still within the maximum tolerance of leaf temperature of some tropical plants.”

Those widely held beliefs have now been debunked. Of course, this news comes as no surprise to many scientists, particularly those who actually study the effects of temperature and carbon dioxide on plants. Jon Lloyd and Graham D Farquhar noted in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, “we find no evidence for tropical forests currently existing ‘dangerously close’ to their optimum temperature range.”

“Greenhouse experiments have shown that high levels of CO 2 together with high levels of soil moisture improve the performance of plants under high temperatures, and it is possible that higher Paleogene CO 2 levels contributed to their success,” note Jaramillo et al. This echos what several authorities have pointed out in the past: CO 2 is plant food. As long as there is sufficient precipitation, and the study found that rainfall did not diminish, plants can do very well with elevated carbon dioxide levels.

This conclusion is not surprising, since lead author Jarmillo, writing with Milton J. Rueda and Germán Mora, had previously reported that “A good correlation between diversity fluctuations and changes in global temperature was found, suggesting that tropical climate change may be directly driving the observed diversity pattern.” This correlation has been known by paleobiologists for some time (see “Cenozoic Plant Diversity in the Neotropics” in the March 31, 2006, issue of Science). Of course, with fluctuating temperatures come fluctuating CO 2 levels.

The PETM warmth helped orchids to flourish.

“Overall diversity and composition analysis suggest that the onset of the PETM is concomitant with an increase in diversity produced by the addition of many taxa (with some representing new families) to the stock of preexisting Paleocene taxa,” the new study concludes. What's more, “this change in diversity was permanent and not transient, as documented for temperate North America.” Not just a flash in the pan, the sudden increase in temperatures during the PETM actually caused a lasting increase in diversity.

As usual, the climate alarmist party line is not only wrong but dead wrong. Higher global temperatures and elevated CO 2 levels were good for nature 50 million years ago and certainly won't harm nature today. In fact, one of the observed impacts of the PETM warming was the spread of orchids. Perhaps the IPCC secretly hates flowers. Regardless, the myth that higher levels of CO 2 and higher temperatures will destroy the tropical rainforests has been shown to be climate alarmist disinformation.

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


Throw Carol Browner Under The Bus

Energy czar Carol Browner needs to go the way of disgraced green jobs czar Van Jones: under the bus and stripped of her unbridled power to destroy jobs and lives in the name of saving the planet. ASAP.

One of the Beltway's most influential, entrenched and unaccountable left-wing radicals, Browner has now been called out twice by President Obama's own federal BP oil spill commission and Interior Department inspector general. How many strikes should a woman who circumvented the Senate confirmation process and boasts a sordid history of abusing public office get?

Pushing the question—and shining a bright, hot spotlight on Browner's behind-the-scenes maneuvering — should be a top priority of the new House GOP majority. Not least of all because Washington insiders are still buzzing about possible White House plans to increase her policy role and elevate her status with Team Obama. (Michelle Malkin, IBD)


Greenpeace sues UK for end to Shetland oil drilling

Greenpeace is suing the Government in an attempt to stop any new deepwater drilling off the coast of the Shetland Islands. (TDT)

A lawyer-acquaintance of my eldest daughter joined us for a meal last night and posed the question: "What do you call 10 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?", proceeding immediately to answer: "A good start!" Perhaps so, although I think rather more highly of tort lawyers and used car salesmen than I do of Greenpeace and their fellow-traveling misanthropes.


Turkmen Gas “Anywhere but Europe”, urges Russia

Tensions are once again rising between former Soviet allies. This time between Russia and Turkmenistan over the latter’s attempts to export some of its massive gas reserves to Europe. But as far as Russia is concerned “anywhere but Europe” is the preferred destination for Turkmen gas. [Read More] (Peter C Glover, ET)


Fiery ice may be new energy source

Frozen gas hydrates show promise in giving the world a cleaner, plentiful fuel in the future, writes Margaret Munro.

For the Japanese, drilling down through Arctic permafrost to get at "fiery ice" was much less daunting than boring into the deep sea.

They came up with $48 million -- with $3 million from Canada -- for an epic experiment in the Northwest Territories that has generated tantalizing evidence, to be detailed in Tokyo this week, that frozen gas hydrates may live up to their billing as a plentiful new energy source.

The Canadian and Japanese team will describe how they got the hydrates to release gas, like bubbles out of champagne. In a world first, the team got a production well to generate a steady flow of gas for six days, fuelling a flame in the Arctic darkness.

"The message is quite clear: You can produce gas hydrates using conventional techniques," says Scott Dallimore, a senior scientist at Natural Resources Canada, who co-led the project in the Mackenzie Delta. Over two winters the researchers drilled down more than a kilometre into a 150-metre thick layer on the edge of the Beaufort Sea at Mallik -- the most concentrated known deposit of the frozen fuel in the world. (Margaret Munro, Postmedia News)


Aggreko boss: scrap renewables obligation or the lights will go out

The UK system that encourages green energy development should be scrapped to ensure a new generation of fossil fuel and nuclear power stations, according to one of Scotland’s most senior business leaders.

Rupert Soames, the head of temporary power group Aggreko, has called for the abolition of the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) system.

Speaking after a controversial speech in the Scottish Parliament on Friday in which he called for carbon reduction targets to be postponed for 10 years, Soames told the Sunday Herald that the current Ofgem review into the future of energy policy needed to ensure a wider energy mix. Failure to do so would, he said, risk ageing power stations closing down or falling foul of the European Large Combustion Plant Directive when it comes into effect by 2015, and could lead to the “lights going out” in the next few years. Soames blames the current UK energy investment climate for the recent decisions by energy companies to postpone new power stations at Kingsnorth (Kent), Baglan Bay (Wales) and Drakelow (Derbyshire). He said: “We need a new market structure that will allow as far as possible a level playing field between renewables, nuclear and thermal power stations so that people can build all three types of technologies.” (Sunday Herald)


Scotland 'risking a blackout' in a bid to go green

THE "lights could go out" over Scotland unless new power stations are built in the next two years to ward off a looming electricity crisis, the head of one of Scotland's most successful companies has warned Alex Salmond.

Rupert Soames, chief executive of power supply firm Aggreko, told the First Minister that the National Grid will lose a third of its capacity by 2018 as a string of nuclear, gas and oil-fired power stations across the UK are retired - including several in Scotland.

Mr Soames claimed that no other industrialised country in the world is at risk of losing so much of its energy supply at the same time - and without a realistic back-up plan.

He urged both the Scottish and UK governments to postpone green energy targets by a decade. Unless "the concrete is poured" on a new fleet of power stations within the next two years, Mr Soames warned, "we will be in serious danger of the lights going out". (The Scotsman)


Britain's Power chiefs reveal nuclear blueprint

Electricity market reform is the UK’s “last chance” to make nuclear energy happen, according to chief executives of the “Big Six” energy companies. (TDT)



More Proof ObamaCare Is a Sop to Industry

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

Reuters has helpfully published another article demonstrating that ObamaCare‘s biggest cheerleaders are the insurance and drug industries. That’s because, barring repeal and despite the Obama administration’s fatuous rhetoric about standing up to the special interests, ObamaCare will shower those industries with massive subsidies. Excerpts follow. (Cato at liberty)


Acute polio outbreak kills nearly 100 in Congo: WHO

Polio has killed nearly 100 people, mainly young adults, in the Republic of Congo and paralyzed more than twice as many in the past six weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

The crippling viral disease normally strikes children under five years of age, making the acute, fast-spreading outbreak unusual, the U.N. agency said.

"Most of the cases have involved young adults aged between 15 and 29. This illustrates that populations are at risk because they have not been exposed to a full immunization," it said. (Reuters)


WHO says deadly TB preventable, urges action

Health authorities worldwide must do more to combat tuberculosis, which killed an estimated 1.7 million people last year, mainly adults in their prime in Africa and Asia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. (Reuters)


Adults may not be spreading whooping cough: study

Children largely spread whooping cough among themselves, so blanket vaccination campaigns targeting teens and adults may be a waste of time, according to a study that looks at how social patterns affect disease transmission.

The findings, published on Thursday in the journal Science, contradict the notion that infected adults are behind outbreaks in California and elsewhere of whooping cough, a contagious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

A U.S. advisory panel last month recommended that adults over 65 be given a booster of the "Tdap" vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough, to protect infants under a year old, who are too young to be vaccinated.

But older people may not be the main culprit, Pejman Rohani of the University of Michigan and colleagues say. (Reuters)


Law banning use of lead shot in duck hunts ignored

Lead pellets still used as ammunition to shoot ducks, says Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (Guardian)


Sterile mosquitoes use sex to kill in dengue trial

British scientists have created genetically sterile mosquitoes which use sex to kill off others in their species, and researchers say early field trials suggest the idea could help to halt the rapid spread of dengue fever.

Scientists from a firm called Oxitec ran a small trial with the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. This found that releasing 3 million of the genetically altered bugs into a small area managed to cut the species population by 80 percent in six months.

Dengue fever, a disease which causes severe flu-like symptoms and can kill, is spread through the bite of infected female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

"The idea is based on releasing sterile males who will go out and mate with wild females," said Luke Alphey, Oxitec's chief scientist and co-founder.

"One of the main advantages is that the males actively look for the females -- that's what they are programed to do."

Larvae are produced but most die before they hatch and the rest survive only a short time as mosquitoes. (Reuters)


Sheesh! Army Corps May Permit Green Power Developers to Fill Wetlands

WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2010 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intends to propose new rules that allow the filling of wetlands and streams without environmental review to make way for renewable energy facilities, according to a draft discussion document posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER. (ENS)


Analysis: Organic Questioned As Food Challenges Mount

The world may need new ecological farming approaches besides organic food, embracing technologies which will help feed more people with limited land and water, scientists say.

Organic farming bans the use of yield-boosting, manufactured, inorganic fertilizers as well as industrial pesticides and genetically modified (GM) crops.

Its supporters say the world produces enough food, and the main problems are affordability, accessibility and diets, where meat production uses up more land. They also point to dwindling resources to produce manufactured soil nutrients and an associated rise in costs.

A rise in food prices toward 2008 peaks is feeding a polarized debate on whether African farmers should use non-organic inputs to haul their way out of hunger stoked by that crisis two years ago.

Adding "a reasonable amount" of fertilizer to maize crops in Africa meant "the difference between starving and not only having enough to eat but enough to sell to get some money," said Gordon Conway, at Imperial College London.

"The organic movement has to evolve, to recognize the enormity of the challenge we've got, and look more seriously at sound, sustainable ecological approaches which make minimal use of inorganic fertilizers, industrial pesticides and GM."

That suggestion is disputed by organic advocates who say encouraging more use of such "external inputs," not recycled from within the farming system such as animal manure or leaves, made poorer farmers more vulnerable. (Reuters)

One has to marvel at the incredible arrogance and rank stupidity of the superstitious pampered and well-fed elites. Farming was all-organic for thousands of years and could not support a tenth of our current population but these twits want to stop the impoverished having enough to eat through higher productivity agriculture.


The Greens' Agenda

November 11, 2010

Australian parliamentarian Kevin Andrews sets the scene for the long overdue examination of the Greens' program and strategies in this country: 

The Greens Agenda: Part 1 - Western culture and the Greens 

For many years, the Greens have been treated as a political curiosity. They could win a spot or two in the Senate, but they were absent from the real place of political power, the House of Representatives. That has now changed. Not only will they have more senators from July next year, they also have a seat in the House. More significantly, they are in a formal alliance with the minority Labor government nationally and in Tasmania. 

Despite the emphasis on the environment, “the Greens are not a single issue party.” Their objective is clear: “to transform politics and bring about Green government.” The Australian Greens are part of a worldwide movement that is actively engaged in the political process. As their writings state, this objective involves a radical transformation of the culture that underpins western civilization. As a political party, they should be treated like any other political party and subjected to the same scrutiny. 

In order to fully comprehend the Greens’ political ideology, it is necessary to understand the historical roots and foundations of both our own western, liberal democratic culture – and that of the Greens. It this address, I propose to explain the Greens agenda, as set out in their own documents and writings. The paper has three parts: First, a brief examination of the roots of western culture and the origins of the Greens; secondly, an analysis of the Greens ideology; and thirdly, a discussion of the Greens economic, social and other policies. 


The complete text of Kevin Andrews's analysis: 

The Greens Agenda: Part 1 Western culture and the Greens is here… 

The Greens Agenda: Part 2 Ideology is here 

The Greens Agenda: Part 3 Economic Policies is here… 

The Greens Agenda: Part 4 Social and other policies is here… (Quadrant)



U.S. economy could choke on Obama’s energy “chunks”

Democrats — vanquished yet still powerful — have hinted at several bi-partisan-to-be proposals, such as finding “middle ground” with Republicans on energy policy. Yet, despite giving post-election lip service to truly bi-partisan pursuits like natural gas development, the White House and Democratic leadership are already working on other ways to “skin a cat” in pushing their agenda to pick winners and losers in the energy sector. (Michael Economides, Daily Caller)


Editorial: Job flight not air board's problem

Forcing business to get one-third of their energy from renewable sources will force many to leave.

California seems intent on traveling a road to self-destruction paved with government mandates and regulations that drive businesses and jobs out of state while discouraging new job creation. A prime job-killing, business-punishing scheme is the insistence on achieving radical environmental goals, despite their real-world economic liabilities.

The California Air Resources Board has adopted a mandate that utility companies produce 33 percent of their electricity from so-called renewable resources by 2020. That's a drastic increase over the previous 20-percent requirement, which the state still is nowhere near achieving. For some perspective, Congress, firmly controlled by a Democratic majority, refused to hike its renewable requirements even to the 20-percent level.

Compounding the state air board's error is its arrogance. Even the state Legislature, controlled by left-leaning Democrats, failed this year to impose such an over-the-top requirement. But neither Congress nor the state Legislature's reluctance dissuaded the Air Resources Board's unaccountable bureaucrats from going where elected representatives fear to tread.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that air board boss Mary Nichols says the 33-percent standard is important because it "sends a strong, positive message to the market." The market will get the message, alright. That's part of the problem.

The message is that California energy prices will soar, on top of the added costs of huge taxpayer subsidies that will be needed to finance so-called renewable energy sources. Wind, solar and geothermal energy are all economically infeasible without massive subsidies. (Orange County Register)


Editorial: Green jobs cut despite government subsidy

Listening to outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and incoming Gov. Jerry Brown, Californians might think the California economy's salvation lies in so-called "green jobs," which now account for about 3 percent of the state's workforce.

What boosters of green jobs don't usually mention is most of these jobs require substantial taxpayer subsidies and other special government treatment even to exist in a competitive market. It appears now that even a half-billion dollars in government aid is no guarantee of success.

Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent.

Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower. This is the latest bad news for the company touted by Mr. Schwarzenegger and President Barack Obama as one of the green industry's supposed shining lights. President Obama visited Solyndra in May, calling the operation "a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism."

But, truth be told, Solyndra is more of a testament to taxpayers' hard-earned money pledged to guarantee 73 percent of the cost of building its new facility. Closure of its older plant, located nearby, is a testament to the reality that, even if massively underwritten by taxpayers, renewable energy operations aren't certain to find a profitable niche in the open market. (Orange County Register)


CRC: Government 'carbon-jacking' will backfire

London – As the dust settles following the Coalition Government’s decision to hijack the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme – turning it into a carbon tax to help service the national debt – it is becoming clear that this is good environmental policy gone bad. (The Engineer)

Since when was a pointless and idiotic scheme to ration energy use through punitive pricing ever a good idea? Even if CAGW were a real problem we all know that no amount of carbon constraint can make the slightest practical difference -- it's all pain for no gain. And this was good policy how?


Analysis: China's Soaring Emissions Challenge Climate Split

Soaring greenhouse gas emissions in China and other emerging nations are eroding rich nations' historical responsibility for causing global warming, and this could complicate U.N. talks starting in Mexico this month.

Washington says an unfair "Berlin Wall" separates a group of 40 industrialized countries, which are expected to cut emissions sharply by 2020, from other countries led by China which are due only to slow the rise in their emissions by 2020.

Analysts see little prospect of an end to that divide, enshrined in the 1992 Climate Convention, partly because Washington itself is not leading the way with cuts meant to avert more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels. (Reuters)


The Shocking Truth: The Scientific American Poll on Climate Change

Posted by Patrick J. Michaels

November’s Scientific American features a profile of Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Judith Curry, who has committed the mortal sin of reaching out to other scientists who hypothesize that global warming isn’t the disaster it’s been cracked up to be. I have personal experience with this, as she invited me to give a research seminar in Tech’s prestigious School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2008. My lecture summarizing the reasons for doubting the apocalyptic synthesis of climate change was well-received by an overflow crowd. (Cato at liberty)


Losses From Natural Disasters Could Triple By 2100: Report

Global losses from natural disasters could triple to $185 billion a year by 2100, excluding the impact of climate change, according to a report, which calls for a shift in focus from relief work to preventative measures.

The joint report by the United Nations and the World Bank, published on Thursday, said the number of people at risk of storms or earthquakes in large cities could double to 1.5 billion by 2050. Simple preventative measures could curb losses from natural disasters, it said, citing Bangladesh's success in building shelters to protect against cyclones.

The study of natural hazards including earthquakes, heatwaves and floods called for investment in everything from improving weather forecasts, to re-painting steel bridges to avoid rust, and keeping storm drains clear of debris.

"Preventing deaths and destruction from disasters pays, if done right," according to the 250-page report by 70 experts entitled "Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters."

"Annual global losses from natural disasters could triple to $185 billion by the end of this century, even without calculating the impact of climate change," it said.

"Losses will triple primarily because you have economic growth and ... more people and property located in richer areas. As people get richer they have more to lose," lead author Apurva Sanghi told a telephone news conference. (Reuters)


Hurricane Prediction Hokum

Things have settled down a bit since the climate research scandals of early 2010, and some of the crew at the Met Office Hadley Centre have put forth a new paper. In it they claim the ability to “skillfully” predict hurricane activity for several years in advance. This seems a useful and more reasonable thing for this bunch to be doing, as opposed to scaremongering about anthropogenic global warming, but there is a catch. As it turns out, the whole exercise is aimed at blaming a purported increase in hurricane activity on global warming—the climate change scam lives on.

In a paper entitled “Skilful multi-year predictions of Atlantic hurricane frequency,” pre-published online by Nature Geoscience, Doug M. Smith and several colleagues from the Hadley Centre have made the bold claim that they can successfully predict hurricane activity with “lead times of several years.” Their method utilizes nine variants of a general circulation model, the third Hadley Centre coupled global climate model (HadCM3). Here is a description of their work:

Hurricane activity is potentially affected both by natural internal variability of the climate system and by external influences (including anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols and natural variations in volcanic and solar activity). Decadal climate prediction systems are potentially capable of accounting for both of these effects: in addition to specifying external influences, decadal predictions are initialized with the observed state of the climate system to predict natural internal variability and to correct errors in the model response to previous external forcing. Here we use the Met Office Decadal Climate Prediction System (DePreSys, see the Methods section). We track model storms identified as coherent minima in daily sea-level pressure fields (see the Methods section). To avoid contamination by extra-tropical storms, we restrict our analysis to the Atlantic basin between 0° and 25° N. Storms forming in this region account for more than 85% of the hurricanes and intense hurricanes that made landfall on the United States between 1950 and 2005 (ref. 23). For the hurricane season (1 June–30 November), we compare the number of model storms with the observed number of tropical storms in the HURDAT database that formed in this region, noting that tropical storms explain 80% of the variance in hurricane frequency. To avoid spurious trends arising from recently improved capability to detect short-lived storms, we ignore observed storms shorter than two days. Despite uncertainties in historical storm counts, our study period benefited from aircraft and satellite observations, and shows robust decadal variability.

The first thing to note is that they are using climate models to provide samples of uncertainties to “correct” their decadal models predictions. Second, they have restricted the part of the globe being modeled to the Atlantic basin between 0° and 25° N in order to exclude any bothersome storms originating outside that zone. And third, the whole purpose of this exercise is to be able to separate “natural internal variability” from “external influences.” External influences translates to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. CO 2) and aerosols.

They do mention “volcanic and solar activity,” but these are ignored because they are unpredictable and only mentioned once more at the end of the paper. The conclusion that they are reaching for is that natural variability cannot account for all of the increase in storm activity in recent years. This unaccounted for change can then be blamed on global warming. But before they can make such a claim they must prove that their prediction method is “skillful.” To do this they ran their model against historical data, hindcasting in the trade vernacular.

Seasonal hindcasts of Atlantic tropical storm frequency.

The authors note that hurricane activity is highly variable on a decal scale. There were relatively quiet periods from the 1900s to the 1920s and from the 1970s to the 1980s, and active periods between the 1930s and the 1960s. Actual data (black curve) and the researchers' predicted data (red curve) are shown in the figure above. On average there are 40% more hurricanes, and more than twice as many major hurricanes, in active relative to quiet periods. Since 1995 there has been an active period, which the author's found quite convenient.

“We investigated skill beyond the seasonal range in a second set of hindcasts starting on 1 November in each year from 1960 to 2005 and extending to 10 years ahead,” the article continued. Over this particular period they also did hindcasts with some alternative methods, for comparison. Unsurprisingly, they found their DePreSys to be significantly more skillful than the chosen competition. But is their correct prediction of below normal activity during the 1970s and enhanced activity since the 1990s proof that their model is correct?

Consider the following caveats mentioned in the article. The competing NoAssim predicted the same trends. They assert that the low-frequency variations they found “are not caused by internal variability alone in our model, but are at least partly externally forced by a combination of anthropogenic changes in greenhouse gas, ozone and aerosol concentrations, and natural variations in solar irradiance and volcanic aerosol.” This is based on the detection of similar variations by NoAssim. Then they state that “this conclusion could not be drawn from the fact that persistence forecasts are skilful.” If every method is skillful what is the point to all of this?

They pronounce both their model and NoAssim to be skillful and move on to the assertion that human induced climate change is somehow to blame. But then comes the most curious contradiction of all: “We note that future increases in greenhouse gases are expected to lead to fewer storms globally whereas other external factors could be more relevant to the recent increase.” In other words, if human emissions are to blame the trend should be moving the other direction. Clearly, their assertion that their modeling results somehow make a case for external forcings are having a major impact on hurricane frequency—other than those natural forcings such as volcanoes and solar variation—is pure hokum.

Writing in the October 2009 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Gerald A. Meehle et al. Noted the difference between long-term climate models, such as GCM, which are used to predict trends of time scales of several decades to centuries, and shorter term models that try for much greater detail, like weather forecasts of yearly hurricane predictions. They correctly note that long-term models are what mathematicians call boundary value problems while short-term models are initial value problems. Quoting from the article “Decadal Prediction: Can It Be Skillful?,” here are their comments:

In contrast, daily weather forecasts and shorter-term SI climate predictions [e.g., El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecasts] can be thought of as "initial value problems," for which detailed knowledge of the observed current conditions are crucially needed to define the starting point (the initial conditions). Lorenz (1963) demonstrated how, even if one possessed a hypothetically perfect numerical model representing all of the physical processes completely and without error, unavoidable uncertainties in the initial conditions will invariably grow and contaminate the numerical simulation of transient weather systems. This sensitivity to initial conditions (sometimes referred to as the "butterfly effect") limits to about 2 weeks the time period over which even a perfect model could yield skillful weather forecasts. When considering El Niño, a quasi- oscillatory phenomenon that evolves more slowly than synoptic weather systems, skillful numerical forecasts of monthly mean or seasonal mean conditions (Shukla 1984) can be made with a lead time of 6-12 months (Kirtman et al. 2002). For example, at 8 months multimodel correlation coefficients for Niño-3.4 are approximately 0.75, and then they drop to 0.6 at 10 months, and then 0.5 at 12 months. However, predictability varies on decadal time scales (e.g., Tang et al. 2008), and the ultimate predictability limits are not well established.

Basically, for short term models the nature of the system of equations is such that even tiny inaccuracies in the initial conditions, which specify the state of the system at the start of the simulation, will result in enormous variation in the calculated results within a short period of simulated time. This is a fundamental limitation of digital computation and cannot be overcome. The effects of accumulated error and other pitfalls of modeling in general are discussed in great detail in The Resilient Earth. Still, in the face of these well known shortcomings of computer modeling, the boffins from the Hadley Centre boldly claim to have succeeded where others have failed.

“The skill is increased by initialization, mainly through improved predictions of ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific and North Atlantic that influence the hurricane development region by means of anomalous atmospheric circulations,” they conclude. “It is not surprising that initialization improves skill through these regions as natural internal variability is believed to be important there.” Imagine that, provide better initial values and the predictions improve, somewhat. But they still cannot predict the future with any accuracy because: the models are chaotic; the data are uncertain and limited in accuracy; and the natural forcings that exist cannot be predicted.

“In our experiments, the recent increase in tropical storm numbers was not caused by internal variability alone,” state Smith et al. “This provides physically based model evidence of externally forced changes in hurricane frequency, albeit from a single modelling system.” The tacked on bit of humility only serves to underscore the hubris. The truth is, it doesn't matter how many models or modeling systems are used, the results prove nothing. Nothing physical anyway.

High ocean surface temperatures and no El Niño means a lot of hurricanes.

When will the climate science set learn, you cannot perform experiments on computer code and proclaim it scientific evidence of anything. You might glean some insight but, in this case, they are working with models that already contain their own biases. What is surprising here is that the case the modeling results make in support of AGW influencing hurricanes is so weak.

They corrected “errors” in the model response due to “previous external forcing,” and any uncertainties were blamed on the “historical storm counts.” They even ignored most of the planet, since it inconveniently “contaminated” their model with outside influences. Even when rigging the results these modelers seem incompetent. Hurricane activity seems to run on a multi-decadal cycle, and we remain in a time of high-activity—no wonky models or global warming needed for that prediction.

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


Tropical forest diversity increased during ancient global warming event

The steamiest places on the planet are getting warmer. Conservative estimates suggest that tropical areas can expect temperature increases of 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Does global warming spell doom for rainforests? Maybe not. Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues report in the journal Science that nearly 60 million years ago rainforests prospered at temperatures that were 3-5 degrees higher and at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 2.5 times today's levels.

"We're going to have a novel climate scenario," said Joe Wright, staff scientist at STRI, in a 2009 Smithsonian symposium on Threats to Tropical Forests. "It will be very hot and wet, and we don't know how these species are going to react." By looking back in time, Jaramillo and collaborators identified one example of a hot, wet climate: rainforests were doing very well. (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

While it is nice to see them admit that warm & wet is actually quite life-friendly, we are not "expecting" such conditions. Crappy climate models programmed to estimate warming in response to additional atmospheric carbon dioxide are still simply reflecting the fantasies of their programmers. A doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide might lead to a net mean warming of the globe by about 1 °C, almost none of which will occur in the tropics. What can be anticipated is that tropical and temperate zones will expand and the super-cold frigid zones will contract toward the poles but the tropical atmosphere is already infrared opaque and you just can't close a closed window. The tropics are not expected to warm from the influence of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.


New Insight Into Cloud-Aerosol Interactions Within The Climate System

There is an interesting article in NOAA ESRL Fall Newsletter  by Linda Joy titled

 Oscillating Clouds

This article presents yet another example of the diversity of human and natural climate forcings and feedbacks.  Excerpts from the article are

Rain clouds within a large cloud field respond to signals from other clouds, much like chirping crickets or flashing fireflies on a summer night, according to a new ESRL-led study. Published in Nature in August,the finding has significant implications for our understanding of climate change.

Graham Feingold (CSD) and his colleagues showed for the first time that interactions between certain types of neighboring clouds can result in synchronized rain patterns within a large cloud system.

The scientists say that their findings point to a significant influence of particulate matter, or aerosols, on the large-scale structure of clouds and, therefore, on climate change. Scientists have long known that aerosols can influence local rain formation and block solar energy from reaching the Earth’s surface—for an overall surface cooling effect.

However, until recently, the scientific community has not considered the self-organization that results from these effects. Computer simulations for this study indicate that high aerosol concentrations favor the formation of large, dense cloud fields with less open space and less rain.

This creates a more reflective cloud pattern and cooling of the surface. Low particulate levels in computer models resulted in rain and the open honeycomb structure with an oscillating pattern. The open honeycomb structure in a large cloud field lets more sunlight reach the surface, and hence results in surface warming.

“Our work also suggests that we should expand our thinking about interactions between aerosols and clouds,” Feingold said. “Integrating our current focus on fundamental physical processes with broader studies on system dynamics could give us a more complete understanding of climate change.”

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Sigh... Leaking underground CO2 storage could contaminate drinking water

DURHAM, N.C. -- Leaks from carbon dioxide injected deep underground to help fight climate change could bubble up into drinking water aquifers near the surface, driving up levels of contaminants in the water tenfold or more in some places, according to a study by Duke University scientists.

Based on a year-long analysis of core samples from four drinking water aquifers, "We found the potential for contamination is real, but there are ways to avoid or reduce the risk," says Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and professor of biology at Duke.

"Geologic criteria that we identified in the study can help identify locations around the country that should be monitored or avoided," he says. "By no means would all sites be susceptible to problems of water quality."

The study appears in the online edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, at (Duke University)

If you are using CO2-injection to enhance oil and/or gas recovery, great. Otherwise, who cares whether it might leak or not because there is absolutely no purpose injecting it in the first place.


Arctic oil spill clean-up plans are 'thoroughly inadequate', industry warned

Report from US environment group warns that ice, freezing temperatures and high seas would overwhelm any clean-up attempts (Guardian)

Enviros are agin' it? Quelle surprise...


EPA’s Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases - Does It Endanger Coal?

by Marlo Lewis
11 November 2010 @ 8:00 am

Can environmental agencies use BACT determinations to require major emitting facilities to switch fuels?

This arcane-sounding question is of great practical importance to energy consumers and the economy. It is a question addressed in EPA’s long-awaited PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance for Greenhouse Gases, posted online yesterday in Politico.

EPA’s guidance document is intended to assist permit writers and permit applicants determine what constitutes “best available control technology” (BACT) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting facilities. On January 2, 2011, EPA’s motor vehicle GHG emission standards will go into effect, making GHGs air pollutants “subject to regulation” under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) pre-construction permitting program. Any firm planning to build or modify a large GHG-emitting facility (e.g. a coal-fired power plant, an oil…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Ear (Of Corn) Marks

Energy Policy: If we're serious about cutting wasteful spending and reining in government, the abolition of subsidies for ethanol production and the ending of mandates for its use would be a good place to start.

The Bush tax cuts aren't the only thing that expires at the end of the year. Also set to expire is the mother of all corporate welfare: ethanol subsidies to Big Agriculture coupled with tariffs protecting domestic ethanol production that benefit farm-state senators and congressmen but few others.

Ethanol is the perfect tax-spend-and-elect mechanism. Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland, the nation's second-largest ethanol producer, has operations in 119 congressional districts. The first presidential contest is in the corn state of Iowa. We have said that if the road to the White House ran through Idaho, we might be making biofuels from potatoes. (IBD)


Spotting the “Corporate Greed”

Spotting the “Corporate Greed”

by Brian McGraw
11 November 2010 @ 12:31 pm

The Renewable Fuels Association posted a note today deploring the recent lawsuit by the American Petroleum Institute over the EPA decision to increase the maximum blend wall for ethanol in conventional gasoline by 50% from E10 to E15. They claim that it is motivated by “corporate greed.”

Oil companies are in the…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Getting desperate? GE To Buy 25,000 Electric Cars, Including GM Volts

General Electric Co plans to buy 25,000 electric vehicles from makers including General Motors Co over the next five years, in a move it said could spark demand for the charging equipment it sells.

The largest U.S. conglomerate aims to swap out half its fleet of 30,000 cars -- used by sales people and technicians, for instance -- with electric vehicles and to start shifting customers who lease fleets of vehicles over as well.

GE, which over the past five years has made a major push into green businesses, said on Thursday it hopes the move will speed acceptance of electric cars by getting more of them on road more quickly and prompting investment in the equipment that users will need to charge them. (Reuters)


Tesla is Blowing Money Fast, Loses $35M USD

Company says it doesn't care about quarterly profitability

Tesla is sort of like hip-hop superstar of the auto world -- it's blowing through money like it could be dead tomorrow.

The company had plenty of promising news so far this year. In May it announced that Toyota invested in it and contracting it to help produce Toyota's upcoming electric RAV4 crossover SUV. The company also secured $226M USD in cash from a initial public offering of stock.

However, according to its latest earnings report it bled out $103M USD in only its first 3 quarters to date. Its latest loss -- for Q3 2010 -- was at $34.9M USD. That's disappointing considering that in Q3 2009 the company only lost only $4.6M USD, and was profitable for the first two quarters of 2009. (Daily Tech)


Road to Nowhere: Lomborg’s $250 Billion Throw for Renewables a Step Back for the ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’

by Jon Boone
November 11, 2010

At a time when energy realists need to take the high ground, corporations are bringing us low. Some of this is old fashioned rent-seeking; some greenwashing; and some just political correctness (as if California was the world).

For weeks, Siemens has been running full-page ads for wind technology. Last week Chevron and Weyerhauser, in full-page ads, agree “IT’S TIME OIL COMPANIES GET BEHIND THE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY.

The same slush is coming from GE, AES, BP, Shell, NRG, and a legion of corporations whose fundamental commodity is fossil fuel.

Do these multinationals really believe that wind and solar will put a dent in their fossil fuel market share? Or is something else afoot? One should note that nowhere does this renewable ballyhoo from today’s energy goliaths mention a word about saving the world from the devastation of climate change wrought by the consequences of fossil fuel use, although this was the tack Ken Lay took to steer Enron’s aggressive renewables course.

Not to be outdone—and deploying Lay’s wry rhetoric of environmental concern—organizations like The Sierra Club and Greenpeace continue to assert that an immediate switch from fossil fuels to renewables, at any cost and among other actions, is imperative to bring the planet back from the brink of global warming.

Green Timing: Here Comes Lomborg

Now they are joined at some remove by Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg, the self-styled skeptical environmentalist, who once opined, “We need to stop our obsession with global warming” and instead target problems that can be realistically solved with limited budgets in a reasonable time frame.

Could this convergent push for renewables have anything to do with the effort to adopt national renewable energy standards, which would require the country’s utilities to use approved renewables, overwhelmingly wind, for a certain percentage of the nation’s electricity supply? [Read more →] (MasterResource)



Breaking The Tight Grip Of Reform

Health Care: The Senate's top Republican says he's going to join a lawsuit against ObamaCare. It would be a good idea if every Republican in Congress did the same. Even better: All GOP governors sign on as well.

The Democrats' overhaul of the country's health care system includes many intolerable items. But none is more outrageous than the requirement that every American who doesn't have health care insurance must buy it.

If any part of this law, a gateway to soft tyranny that should have never been passed, is unconstitutional, it is the individual mandate.

Led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, who said in a strongly worded statement that "we will not tolerate the constitutional rights of our citizens and the sovereignty of our states to be trampled on," 13 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the provision. (IBD)


Leap of faith: Special formula may help prevent childhood diabetes: study

Researchers said on Wednesday they found some evidence that keeping babies off cow's milk may help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in children with an inherited risk of the disease. (Reuters)

Please note there was no statistical significance in the morbidity incidence between the groups receiving hydrolyzed or standard formula. There were only 230 genetically susceptible infants and "about half" (exact number not supplied, so assume 115 in each group), yielding 7 & 9 cases for the hydrolyzed and standard formula groups respectively. Had that broken out at 4 & 12 you might be distracted from your morning coffee but 8 ± 1? Meh...


Is ADHD tied to adulthood obesity?

Young adults with a history of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be more likely than their peers to be obese, a new study suggests.

The findings, from a study of more than 11,000 young U.S. adults followed since adolescence, do not prove that ADHD by itself raises the risk of obesity. But they are in line with a number of smaller, previous studies finding that both children and adults with ADHD have a higher obesity rate than those without the disorder.

The reasons are not yet certain. But it's biologically plausible, researchers say, that the impulsive behavior that commonly marks ADHD would be related to excess weight gain. (Reuters Health)


Notes on Mercury in the Environment

Written by Robert Ferguson

The scientific literature fails to support the hypothesis that the trace amount of naturally occurring mercury in the fish we eat in any way endangers or threatens health, especially that of expectant mothers and their babies. Exactly the opposite appears true: those alarming people away from fish pose the real danger to public health.

Read more... (SPPI)


Great new global warming video...You'll like it

Baby boomers are sure to remember the huge Monkees smash "I'm a Believer," written by Neil Diamond, that stayed at number one for an incredible seven weeks, starting at the end of 1966.

You can bet that global warming was not even a gleam in some Greenie's eye back then. After all, the first Earth Day would be nearly four years in the future, and a few years after that, they were talking about global cooling, not warming.

All of which brings us to the creative team at Minnesotans for Global Warming, and their new music video, that offers some updated lyrics to the Monkees' chestnut.

Check it out. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Not exactly... Stem cells turned injured rodents into mighty mice

Injecting stem cells into injured mice made their muscles grow back twice as big in a matter of days, creating mighty mice with bulky muscles that stayed big and strong for the rest of their lives, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

If the same applies to humans, the findings could lead to new treatments for diseases that cause muscles to deteriorate, such as muscular dystrophy.

It may even help people resist the gradual erosion of muscle strength that comes with age, Bradley Olwin, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

"This was a very exciting and unexpected result," Olwin, who worked on the study, said in a statement. (Reuters)

The result was actually a supersized repair to an injured muscle (in other cases this would be called a deformity) but no similar response was noted when the cells were injected into healthy tissue. Not so much "super mice" then but misshapen and lopsided rodents. The suggestion that the transplanted cells were either immortal or capable of infinite replication is worrisome, that is the behavior of tumor cells. This may lead to useful research but is a long way from offering anything or anyone a cure for anything. Patience and caution are advised.


Klaus: reason has replaced fundamentalism in the environment ministry

The Czech Press Agency, ČTK, informed about the visit of President Klaus to the environment ministry - the first such visit of our most prominent politician in 14 years:

The Environment Ministry no more fundamentalist under Drobil - Klaus (click)
Klaus have had conflicts with former environment ministers, especially Martin Bursík (2007-2009) of the largely defunct Green Party - which was a typical fundamentalist environmentalist party although it was much less "socialist" than its namesakes.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Overpriced, ineffective and inferior products losing market share: Eco-fatigue: Going green no longer red hot

Revolt sprouts against some environmentally friendly product names

NEW YORK — Green marketing, a movement so hot that not even a deep recession could kill it, is starting to show signs of consumer revolt. At the very least, it's a signal that green alone isn't enough of a marketing proposition; at most, it could signal consumers simply aren't buying the benefits of environmentally positioned products and brands.

In recent months, sales have begun to slow in categories such as green cleaners and grow in not-so-sustainable ones like bottled water as shoppers decide they may not be worth the tradeoff. And a September study showed big swings in the number of consumers who believe environmentally friendly alternatives are too expensive, don't work as well as other products and aren't actually better for the environment — all of which seem to add up to what Timothy Kenyon, director of the GfK Roper Green Gauge study calls "green fatigue."

Take bottled water, long the nemesis of environmentalists. It was on track for another 52 weeks of decline but rallied nationally last quarter as sales rose 4 percent, according to SymphonyIRI, leaving it flat. Meanwhile, water-filtration devices saw years of double- and high-single-digit sales growth (including a double-digit sales hike in the first half of 2010) turn into a sales decline last quarter, according to IRI data from Deutsche Bank. (Advertising Age)


Fish As Farmed Food: Aquaculture Draws Investors

Agriculture investors keen to profit from rising demand for commodities say they are turning their attention to aquaculture, betting that farmed fish can meet the protein needs of a growing, hungry world.

Diets in China and other fast-developing countries have changed alongside rising incomes, shifting toward beef and other types of meat, which require high volumes of water and grain to produce.

Kevin Schwartz, a partner at U.S. private equity firm Paine & Partners, said there was also significant appetite for fish as an alternative protein source that can be raised in a sustainable way.

"Aquaculture is a way to meet that demand," he told the bankers, fund managers and investors gathered in Geneva at the Global AgInvesting conference.

Rich Gammill, managing director of Black River Asset Management, part of agri-business giant Cargill, said fish such as tilapia raised in aquaculture could find plentiful customers around the world. (Reuters)



Just say "No!": EPA To Push Efficiency On Big Carbon Emitters

U.S. environmental regulators said on Wednesday they will not force coal plants and manufacturers to adopt specific technologies to cut greenhouse gas output, but will push them to become more energy efficient in order to comply with looming climate rules. (Reuters)


Gore Pocketed ~$18 Million from Now-Defunct Chicago Climate Exchange

Although the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) collapsed and shut down this week, Al Gore's Generation Investment Management LLP pocketed approximately $17.8 million on it's 2.98% share of the exchange when it was sold to the publically traded Intercontinental Exchange a mere 6 months ago. According to news reports, the brainchild of the exchange, academic Richard Sandor, founded the exchange with a foundation gift of $1.1 million, and pocketed $98.5 million for his 16.5% share of the CCX. This would place the value of Gore's firm's stake at almost $18 million. Note Gore is the founder, chairman, and largest shareholder in Generation Investment Management LLP. Barack Obama was on the Joyce Foundation Board when it provided the funding to establish the CCX. Maurice Strong, founding head of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), precursor to the IPCC, was a CCX board member. (HockeySchtick)


Texas A&M Professor Misrepresents U.S. Emissions During Global Warming Debate

Global warming alarmist Andy Dessler, a professor at Texas A&M University, was caught misrepresenting U.S. carbon dioxide data during a November 9 Public Radio International debate with Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James M. Taylor.

After Taylor stated that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since the year 2000, Dessler aggressively criticized Taylor, asserting that Taylor was either deliberately spreading misinformation or had absolutely no knowledge of the facts. Dessler claimed, instead, that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are "rapidly going up."

Given a chance to respond, Taylor pointed to EPA data showing a decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions since the year 2000, and invited listeners to look up the data for themselves. Dessler again aggressively criticized Taylor, doubling down on his assertion that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly.

According to EPA data, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions totaled 5,977 teragrams in 2000. As of 2008, emissions had fallen to 5,921 teragrams, according to EPA figures. Emissions fell by another 7 percent in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (official EPA data for the year 2009 have yet to be released). According to EIA, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen an average of roughly 1 percent per year since the year 2000.

As Reuters reported on May 5, 2010, "From 2000 to 2009 the U.S. annual emissions decline averaged 0.9 percent, the EIA said."

“It was not surprising, given his prior misrepresentations about global warming, that Andy Dessler would cavalierly assert that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are skyrocketing when in fact they are declining. Activists such as Dessler frequently lie about the facts when they think nobody will call them on it. What was surprising was that Dessler would publicly and aggressively accuse me of lying about the data when he either knew that I was right or was himself ignorant of these critically important facts,” Taylor explained.

“When I said U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since the year 2000, I spoke the truth, whether Dessler liked the truth or not,” said Taylor. “Dessler owes me an apology after falsely and repeatedly accusing me, in front of a national audience, of lying about the data.”

“Dessler had already lost all credibility among knowledgeable listeners when he asserted that only about 10 climate scientists in the world disagreed with his alarmist global warming assertions. On that count, however, we can give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he simply lacks the diligence to read the scientific literature,” said Taylor. (Heartland Institute)


It's a consensus: Every year's climate hoax talks are the Earth's "last chance"

2010: Climate Change Talks in Cancun a `Last Chance' for Gases Deal, Ramesh Says - Bloomberg

Global-warming talks later this month are the “last chance” for countries to reach an agreement on cutting emissions of gases blamed for rising temperatures, India’s environment minister said today.

“The credibility of the entire climate change negotiating system is at stake,” Jairam Ramesh told reporters at a meeting in Delhi. “If we do not get a set of operational and meaningful decisions at Cancun everybody will be sick and tired of us.”

2009 Copenhagen: Last chance - Times Online

It has been billed as the last-chance saloon; a final opportunity for the world to seal a deal to prevent catastrophic climate change.

With only 44 days to go until the meeting in Copenhagen, the world is waiting to see if its politicians can deliver, and live up to the hype.

2008 Poznan: Last chance

The Polish city of Poznan, host of this week's vital climate change talks, may become known as the place where the Earth was saved – or doomed
Summing up what many scientists, environmentalists and politicians now think about the threat of climate change is simple: the world is drinking in the last chance saloon.

2007 Bali : Last chance | Lena Ek

TALKS on a new international agreement on climate change are at a ”make or break” stage, Environment Minister John Gormley said yesterday.

Mr Gormley said it was the ”last chance saloon” for more than 180 countries to pledge to negotiate a deal on cutting emissions.

Speaking at the conference in Bali he said: ”The time for rhetoric is over.
(Tom Nelson)


We're Serious This Time

Gordon Brown said the following in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference last year:

There are now fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more. If we do not reach a deal at this time, let us be in no doubt: once the damage from unchecked emissions growth is done, no retrospective global agreement in some future period can undo that choice. By then it will be irretrievably too late.
In advance of the Cancun climate conference in a few weeks, India's Jairam Ramesh says:
We are running out of time, Cancun is the last chance. The credibility of the climate-change mechanism is at stake.
What I think he must mean is that Cancun is the last chance . . . until South Africa 2012, which will be the last chance until . . . (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Climate Talks Seek Complex, Interlocked Deal: U.N.

U.N. climate talks starting in Mexico this month will seek a complex set of interlocking deals to slow global warming but will fall well short of a new treaty, the U.N.'s climate chief said on Wednesday.

Christiana Figueres said that governments had lowered their sights for the November 29-December 10 talks in Cancun, Mexico, after the Copenhagen summit in December 2009 failed to reach a sweeping new U.N. pact to slow climate change. (Reuters)


About time! ‘No climate talks in future if Cancun fails’

India on Wednesday said the developing countries would find it difficult to continue climate negotiations if second commitment period for Kyoto Protocol is not ratified at the next climate summit in Mexico starting this month. India’s stand emanates from deliberations at a recent meeting of Group of 77 (G-77) countries plus China in Mexico. (Hindustan Times)


Glacier boffins rubbish IPCC apocalypse claims

Shock UN doom prophecy 'does not pass closer examination'

Posted in Environment, 9th November 2010 11:46 GMT
Glacier and climate boffins have issued a stinging poohpooh to recent alarmist pronouncements on climate-change-driven glacier melt - in particular from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“In the last few years numbers have been named that do not pass a closer examination,“ says glaciologist and climatologist Georg Kaser of Innsbruck uni. “It is an exaggeration when it is claimed that the melting of glaciers endangers the water supply of two billion people.”

Famously the IPCC, the world body coordinating the human race's response to climate change, chose in 2007 to state that major glaciers in the Himalayas would disappear by the year 2035. This would lead to mighty river systems such as the Ganges, Indus, Changjiang etc becoming "seasonal" - so spelling doom for many inhabitants of the densely populated North Indian plains and other areas.

This was, however, completely without basis. It had originated as an off-the-cuff remark by an Indian scientist who later disowned the estimate, reported by well-known warmo journo Fred Pearce of New Scientist and then retailed to the IPCC in a pamphlet from hard-green campaigning organisation WWF, which wields an almost unbelievable amount of influence over the IPCC. (Lewis Page, The Register)


Branding of Dissenters Has Begun – Clearing The Path To A Climate Science Pogrom

What is it with these intolerant zealots who refuse to learn anything from history?

Right smack on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, German Parliamentarians, in a frontal assault, are now openly calling out and branding scientists for the crime of scientific dissent. These Parliamentarians are demanding that the government take a position against them.

What follows makes McCarthyism look like a treasure hunt. What a number of zealous German Parliamentarians are calling for borders on a call to launch a science pogrom.

The climate dogmatists are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the growing scepticism and dissent now spreading in Germany and Europe, and want to stamp it out – now! (No Tricks Zone)


“Dramatic Increase” in Climate Litigation - Deutsche Bank

by Marlo Lewis
10 November 2010 @ 8:00 am

Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA) have just published Growth of U.S. Climate Change Litigation: Trends and Consequences. My thanks to climate scientist Chip Knappenberger for spotlighting the DBCCA report in his column yesterday on MasterResource.Org.

DBCCA offer a bird’s eye view of the U.S. climate litigation landscape, provide data on the numbers and types of climate-related lawsuits, discuss their prospects for success and potential consequences, and emphasize that, absent congressional intervention, courts “will make the final decisions” about climate policy.

DBCCA summarize their findings as follows:

The number of climate change filings doubled between 2006 and 2007. They then reached a plateau for three years, but already in 2010 are on a path to triple over 2009 levels.
The largest increase in litigation has been in the area of challenges to…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Mixed Messages from Munich Re

Earlier this week Munich Re called for action on climate change, while touting its green investments, explaining that the rise in costs due to hurricanes was due to only one factor:

[Since 1980] windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise can only be explained by global warming. . . [I]nnovative insurance solutions will be needed to bring about the necessary transformation within the energy sector, where investments are often only feasible with the backing of innovative insurance covers.
Writing last year in the peer reviewed literature, Munich Re successfully replicated work that I have been involved in, reaching exactly the same conclusions that we did about hurricane losses in the Atlantic:
There is no evidence yet of any trend in tropical cyclone losses that can be attributed directly to anthropogenic climate change.
Knowing some of the scientists at Munich Re, and having high respect for their work and integrity, I can only conclude that the marketing department is not talking to the research department. What else would explain such polar opposite messages?  (In case you are curious, the messages in the peer reviewed research results are consistent with the state of the science on this subject.  The other stuff is not.) (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Inconvenient nonsense infiltrates the classroom

AL Gore's flawed climate change film is to be included in the new English curriculum.

IN 2006, former US vice-president Al Gore made a movie and companion book about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth. Gore undertook many speaking tours to publicise his film, and his PowerPoint slide show has been shown by thousands of his acolytes spreading a relentless message of warming alarmism across the globe.

But while audiences reacted positively and emotionally to the film's message - which was that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming - some independent scientists pointed out that An Inconvenient Truth represented well-made propaganda for the warming cause and presented an unreliable, biased account of climate science.

For nowhere in his film does Gore say that the phenomena he describes falls within the natural range of environmental change on our planet. Nor does he present any evidence that climate during the 20th century departed discernibly from its historical pattern of constant change.

In early February 2007, the Department for Education and Skills in Britain, apparently ignorant that the film was scientifically defective, announced that all secondary schools were to be provided with a climate change information pack that contained a copy of Gore's by then notorious film. Many parents were scandalised at this attempt to propagandise their children on such an important environmental issue.

One parent, school governor Stuart Dimmock who had two sons at a state school in southern England, took legal action against the secretary for education in the High Court, and sought the film's withdrawal from schools.

In a famous judgment in October 2007, Justice Burton, discerning that Gore was on a "crusade", commented that "the claimant substantially won this case", and ruled that the science in the film had been used "to make a political statement and to support a political program" and that the film contained nine fundamental errors of fact out of the 35 listed by Dimmock's scientific advisers. Justice Burton required that these errors be summarised in new guidance notes for screenings.

In effect, the High Court judgment typed Gore and his supporters as evangelistic proselytisers for an environmental cause.

Fast forward to this month and many Australian parents have been surprised to learn Gore's film "will be incorporated in the [new] national [English] curriculum ), as part of a bid to teach students on environmental sustainability across all subjects".

It is, I suppose, some relief the film has not been recommended for inclusion in the science syllabus. Instead, Banquo's ghost has risen to haunt English teachers, doubtless in class time that might otherwise have been devoted to learning grammar.

Some Australian English teachers may feel competent to advise pupils on the science content of An Inconvenient Truth, but I wouldn't bank on it. Of course, the same teachers have to feel competent also to shepherd their flock on to the green pastures of sustainability, that other pseudo-scientific concept so beloved by the keepers of our society's virtue. (Bob Carter, The Australian)


Geo-engineering: climate intervention is a dilemma for scientists

Geo-engineering could save the planet - but it could also persuade politicians that there is an alternative to cutting carbon (Guardian)

Uh, no. Geoengineering is something we do all the time (agriculture, flood control, irrigation and water impoundment, terracing for erosion control, drainage, building, mining, foresting...). This all affects at least local and regional climate. Deliberate attempts to modify climate, specifically regional precipitation, have been going on in earnest for 50-70 years with cloud seeding efforts. Nothing particularly new here (even the superstition about global warming and carbon is not really new). The only thing we definitely do not want to do is cut carbon (or cool the planet, for that matter).


Geoengineering – The Perpetuation Of Myths

Update (pm November 10 2010): To make sure my post is clear, this post comments on just two parts of an otherwise excellent overview of the issues associated with geoengineering.  The article is very informative in overviewing the approaches and the issues of geoengineering.  My last paragraph should not have been specifically critical of the Economist, as the article does effectively discuss the concerns with geoengineering. It is other media that has generally not properly reported on this subject. I have edited the last paragraph of my post to clarify.

There is an informative summary of geoengineering in an Economist article in their November 6 2010 article titled (subscription required)


The article does provide a useful summary of a number of geoengineering proposals. However, it also perpetuates myths about climate science. The article includes the text that there is a

“subtle distinction between “global warming” and “climate change”.”

The article itself is inconsistent. In the same paragraph they write

“Double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the average global temperature will go up. Add the right amount of stratospheric sulphur and the temperature will come back down to where it began. There will, in other words, be no net global warming. But though the average temperature is unchanged, the climate is not.”

In the real climate system, global warming and cooling is just one subset of a much broader range of climate issues. There is no ”subtle distinction”. 

This was discussed, for example, in my post

Is Global Warming the Same as Climate Change?

In that post, I wrote

“Global warming is defined by a positive accumulation of heat (Joules) in the climate system, of which most occurs in the oceans (see Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335). While surface temperature as also been used to define this heating, it has a range of problems with its use in this context, as we have discussed in our papers, and in earlier weblogs, with more to follow.

Human-caused climate change, however, involves forcings beyond the radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases. As summarized in the 2005 NRC report, this includes the multiple influences of aerosols and of biogeochemically active gases, and land-cover changes. The regional changes from these forcings must be considered, even if there were no global warming from these forcings.

By conflating the terms “global warming” and “climate change”, we misinform policymakers, by leading them to believe that the radiative effect of the well-mixed greenhouse gases is the only major forcing of human-caused climate change. It is not. Dealing with climate change is a much more difficult issue than is captured by focusing on global warming.”

In Chapter 1 of my son’s book, The Climate Fix, this broader viewpoint is discussed in his section “Carbon dioxide is Important, but Climate Change Involves Much More”.

They also write with respect to geoengineering that it

“might have political ramifications—even though both countries come closer to their original climates with the other’s optimal level of geoengineering than with no geoengineering at all.”

The use of the term “original climate” perpetuates the misconception that the climate has some constant level in the absence of human intervention. This is an erroneous view as we demonstrate in our paper

Rial, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Beniston, M. Claussen, J. Canadell, P. Cox, H. Held, N. de Noblet-Ducoudre, R. Prinn, J. Reynolds, and J.D. Salas, 2004: Nonlinearities, feedbacks and critical thresholds within the Earth’s climate system. Climatic Change, 65, 11-38

where we conclude that

“The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm.”

Until the broader media (and the policymakers) recognize the real complexity of the climate system, and the unknown risks of geoengineering, such articles such as presented in the Economist will mislead with respect to the dangers of deliberate large scale intervention into the climate system. We already have a number of inadvertent human interventions (e.g. landscape change, aerosol emissions, CO2, etc) whose effects we still do not adequately understand. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


White House Science Scandal Obfuscated with Creative Grammar

by Chris Horner
10 November 2010 @ 12:28 pm

In a blockbuster story soon to be swept under the carpet, Politico reports:

“The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

In the wee hours of the morning of May 27, a staff member to White House energy adviser Carol Browner sent two edited versions of the department report’s executive summary back to Interior. The language had been changed to insinuate the seven-member panel of outside experts - who reviewed a draft of various safety recommendations - endorsed the moratorium, according to the IG report obtained by POLITICO.”

In weasel words that even make this Washingtonian…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


The Obama War On Science: UPDATE

Last month we detailed how the Obama administration has tried invoke the authority of “science” to support their pre-existing political policy proposals, despite the fact that on issue after issue there either is no scientific consensus, or the preponderance of scientific evidence did not support their side. Today, Politico adds more details to the Obama administration’s efforts to manipulate science to support their offshore drilling moratorium:

The White House rewrote crucial sections of an Interior Department report to suggest an independent group of scientists and engineers supported a six-month ban on offshore oil drilling, the Interior inspector general says in a new report.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Still No War on Science

The Obama Administration has again been caught out playing politics with science, according to the Washington Post:

The oil spill that damaged the Gulf of Mexico's reefs and wetlands is also threatening to stain the Obama administration's reputation for relying on science to guide policy.

Academics, environmentalists and federal investigators have accused the administration since the April spill of downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and, most recently, misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited.

The latest complaint comes in a report by the Interior Department's inspector general, which concluded that the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it falsely appear that scientists and experts backed the administration's six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling. The Associated Press obtained the report Wednesday.

The inspector general said the editing changes by the White House resulted "in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed." But it hadn't been.
One might be tempted to conclude that the politicization of science is a bipartisan affair.

Nah, that can't be true. The politicization of science is something done only by one's political opponents. Yes, that sounds much better. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


B.A.N.A.N.A Logic

I'm not sure where I first heard it, but the idea of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) taken to the extreme results in BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone). BANANA logic is on full display by the well-meaning but misguided folks at the Sierra Club in its campaign to halt experimental efforts to deploy carbon capture and storage off of the US East Coast:

Dear Friend,

New Jersey's coastal waters are in serious danger from a proposed coal project. Right now a Massachusetts company wants to build a coal energy and fertilizer plant here in NJ and bury carbon dioxide pollution under the sea floor. Sounds pretty crazy to me, how about you?

The coal plant, called PurGen, is proposed for Linden, NJ, where it would use an experimental technology to compress carbon dioxide waste. The waste would be pumped through a 138-mile pipeline and forced down into the seabed off the coast of Atlantic City…forever.

This unproven technology called carbon capture and sequestration has not been tested for "forever" or even long-term. This experiment would take place in the most densely populated region of the country. An accident could have disastrous effects on marine life, or worse. . .
One might question the Sierra Club's Catch-22 logic in invoking the untested nature of a technology as a reason to oppose its testing.

However, a more fundamental problem with the Sierra Club's stance can be found in the IEA's 2010 World Energy Outlook, which argues that coal power is going to expand in coming decades -- regardless of what happens in the US or even new energy and climate policies. The IEA further argues that CCS will have to be deployed to 75% of coal plants by 2035 if the world is going to be on target to reaching a 450 ppm stabilization target.

So if the Sierra Club is successful in slowing down CCS prototypes and experimentation, what will it get?  Plenty of coal plants with no CCS! Some victory.

If the Sierra Club really wants to move beyond coal, than rather than campaigning to halt innovation in technologies that it objects to, it should be actively trying to accelerate innovation in technologies that it approves of, with the goal of developing energy supply options that can displace coal over the longer term.  You can't beat something with nothing.  BANANA logic leaves you with exactly what you'd guess it would. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

For once we find ourselves agreeing (trivially) with the Sierra Club. There is not now nor is there ever likely to be the slightest value in wasting so magnificent a resource as atmospheric carbon dioxide -- it's an environmental asset, leave it alone!


Let Energy Be Bi-Partisan

The aftermath of the recent drubbing of President Obama’s agenda makes him now a considerably diminished president but still a force to be reckoned with: he still has the veto power and his party is still the majority in the Senate. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides)


An Interesting Look at Energy Subsidies

At the Breakthrough blog, Jesse Jenkins has this interesting analysis of numbers provided by the IEA's WEO 2010 (emphasis added):

While I certainly support the IEA's calls to phase out fossil fuel subsidies -- excepting where those would expand the already deplorable share of the global population (about 2.4 billion) locked in energy poverty -- the IEA figures on energy subsidies are actually a stark reminder of the major cost gap that persists between fossil energy and costlier clean energy alternatives.

If renewables account for a 7% share of global energy energy demand, and recieve $57 billion in subsidies, that's $8.14 billion for each percentage share of global demand. In contrast, fossil fuels supply about 83% of the global energy mix (nuclear accounts for the remaining 6%, according to the IEA) and recieve $312 billion in subsidies, for $3.76 billion per percentage share of global energy supplied.

In other words renewables recieve more than double the subsidy rate per unit of energy supplied as fossil fuels. When you consider that hydropower, which rarely requires or recieves subsidy, accounts for the vast share of global renewable energy production, the relative subsidy rate for wind, solar and other renewables per unit of energy produced is much higher.

This is why I always come back to the urgent need to make clean energy cheap, in real, unsubsidized terms. Ending fossil energy subsidies will help level the playing field, but only real innovation to drive down price and improve performance for a full suite of clean energy technologies can ensure that a meaningful share of global energy demand can be supplied by low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.
The debate involving subsidies should not be about "subsidization or not," but rather: in what contexts do certain types of subsidies make sense?  The former is a recipe for empty ideological debates, and addressing the latter requires some thoughtful policy analyses, with answers that are not always clear cut. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

The answer of course is that "subsidy" is justified only if it achieves abundant, affordable and reliable baseload energy for the populace. Only hydro can do this among the renewables and note further that fossil fuel "subsidy" generally takes the form of slightly less appropriation of legitimate profits through slight taxation concession.


Gas glut threatens investment in renewables sector, IEA warns

A global gas glut which could last a decade will act as a "major barrier" to the development of renewable energy, cleaner coal plants and nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"The golden age of gas" will lead to cheaper gas prices for consumers, particularly in Europe. But the IEA added that it is also likely to result in a rush to build gas-fired power plants at the expense of much cleaner forms of electricity generation. (Guardian)


Concentrated solar, biofuels competitive soon: BCG

Solar energy and biofuels are on track to become economically competitive against conventional power sources within a few years to a decade, the Boston Consulting Group said on Wednesday.

Wind power and electric cars face hurdles to massive adoption, though, analysts at the consulting firm said in a report.

Alternative energy has appeared to be on the cusp of adoption for decades in one form or another -- Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof while U.S. president in the 1970s -- and report authors joked that alternative energy was always "a decade away". (Reuters)

It is no "joke", useful "alternatives" are still (at least) a decade away.


California’s AB 32 Still on the Hot Seat (Prop 23 Defeat Based on Economic Fallacy)

by Tom Tanton
November 10, 2010

On November 2, California voters defeated Proposition 23 by 61 to 39 percent, rejecting a suspension of of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act, otherwise known as Assembly Bill 32 (AB32).

California in general bucked a national trend on Election Day with all but one statewide office going to the Democrats. As of this writing, the Attorney General race has the Republican Steve Cooley slightly ahead in the vote count, but no official call has been made.

Pundits and politicians are making much about the Proposition 23 vote, but what does it really say? Equally important is the national message to be taken from the proposition’s defeat.

It is not what is being portrayed by the otherwise humbled Left environmentalists.

Mainstream Hype

Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, said the Prop 23 defeat sends “a big signal” to the rest of the country and the world that Californians stand firmly behind the law, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020. “This is the largest referendum anywhere on the planet where people have directly voted on clean energy and climate policy,” Krupp said in an interview. “It’s the largest state in the country sending a clear message that they want a clean energy economy and clean energy jobs.”

The primary cheerleader for AB32, Governor Schwarzenegger, was not shy about his feelings either, calling Proposition 23’s defeat “a huge, huge victory” for California, the state’s environment, the green-tech industry and job growth. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Turning off the lights

Those young adults who ventured overseas for a working holiday in the 60’s and 70’s and ended up in some pokey London bed-sit will remember the cold winter nights when you had to put a coin in the gas meter to avoid freezing to death, or, if you needed a hot bath. If you wanted to read or use your secret Sunbeam frypan (cooking in rooms was prohibited) it was a coin in the light meter. The daily cost of energy, then, certainly focused the mind of the earnest young traveller.

As the cost of electricity in this country is now getting out of control, with estimates of a 50% increase in a five years, it seems incredible that Julia Gillard and the Labor Party are taking all of the flack, while the real engineers of the impending ‘electricity crisis’, the Greens, are snug-as-a-bug under a cosy blanket of self-righteousness. Everything in the Government’s attempt to accommodate or acquiesce to Green demands and theories have gone pear-shape. Roof insulation, green loans, solar energy, wind farms — and now the sustainability of our aging power-generation industry. And yet no one blames the Greens?

Be in no doubt. As your power costs soar, you will only have the Greens — or at least their mad theories, lobbying and political pressure, and their infiltration into the public service — to blame. (John Izzard, Quadrant)


$1.1bn wasted on solar power

MORE than $1 billion of taxpayers' money was wasted on subsidies for household solar roof panels that favoured the rich and did little to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, a scathing review has found.

The review of the now scrapped federal government solar rebate scheme, conducted by ANU researchers Andrew Macintosh and Deb Wilkinson, also found the rebates did little to generate a solar manufacturing industry in Australia, instead sending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars offshore.

Mr Macintosh, deputy head of ANU's Centre for Climate Law and Policy, told The Age yesterday the rebate had been ''beautiful politics, terrible policy''.

''I can't see there is anything to be gained continuing to subsidise rooftop solar PV [photovoltaics] in areas where households have easy access to the energy grid,'' he said. (SMH)


Growing sorghum for biofuel

Iowa State researchers examine the efficiencies and environmental impacts of growing sorghum for ethanol

MADISON, WI November 8, 2010 -- Conversion of sorghum grass to ethanol has increased with the interest in renewable fuel sources. Researchers at Iowa State University examined 12 varieties of sorghum grass grown in single and double cropping systems. The experiment was designed to test the efficiency of double cropping sorghum grass to increase its yield for biofuel production. (American Society of Agronomy)



Recycling the antimicrobial scare? Myth of a germ-free world: a closer look at antimicrobial products

Killing microorganisms has become a national obsession. A pair of antimicrobial compounds known as triclosan and triclocarban are lately the weapons of choice in our war of attrition against the microbial world. Both chemicals are found in an array of personal care products like antimicrobial soaps, and triclosan also is formulated into everyday items ranging from plastics and toys to articles of clothing.

But are these antimicrobial chemicals, as commonly used by people across the nation, really safe for human health and the environment? More pointedly, do they even work? According to associate professor Rolf Halden, of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, the answer to these questions is an emphatic “No.” (ASU)

While antimicrobials are no substitute for soap and water they do work and can add some measure of both protection and reassurance for worried consumers. Are they harmful? Depends on whether you are a microbe, really. Are we aware of any serious concerns? Um, no. This is probably a good one for people to look up on DebunkOSaurus - if there's no entry for these products yet there probably soon will be.


A Happy Meal ban is nothing to smile about

The proposal to ban meals with toys in San Francisco is based on some dubious assumptions about obesity and health.

A Happy Meal is not a healthy meal, at least according to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The board last week approved a preliminary ban that would strip toys from fast-food meals in San Francisco. The ban’s backers claim the legislation gives parents a chance to convince their children to go for the healthier choice, without being tempted by a Shrek toy. If the final vote is approved this week, the ban will begin in December 2011.

The San Francisco ban, and similar proposals on both sides of the Atlantic, are predicated upon four false assumptions: the fast food sold by McDonald’s and its competitors makes kids fat; fast-food marketing causes childhood obesity; fat children grow into unhealthy adults; fat kids incur significantly higher health care costs than skinny ones. (Basham and Luik, spiked)


Controlling Hypertension

My latest HND piece takes a look at hypertension (high blood pressure)—a condition suffered by one-third of American adults! It is also the most important risk factor for death in industrialized countries. If that weren't bad enough, there are usually no symptoms, so high blood pressure truly is a silent killer.

The HND article discusses common pharmaceutical drugs, and popular herbs used to treat hypertension. Medical hero and Nobel Laureate Sir James Black, inventor of beta blockers, gets a mention. I also examine a lesser known herb that shows some promise: Hibiscus sabdariffa, taken as a tea in many cultures, but now available in capsule form as the product Rosellica®.

Read the complete article. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)


Peter Foster: Yellow brick road to green serfdom

You would expect CEOs to have a few good words to say on free markets

Ayn Rand famously remarked that the only certain consequence of occupying the middle of the policy road is that you get run over. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives appears determined to stick to the dotted white line. This week the CCCE released “Clean Growth 2.0,” its second call for more policy co-ordination — and more policy — on energy and the environment.

What we have here is further evidence of the CEO2 crisis, the fact that the Canadian corporate community has folded en masse before the quite possibly bogus threat of catastrophic man-made climate change. Read More » (Financial Post)


Sheesh! Rise in number of sunburnt whales

An increase in the number of whales with sunburnt skin has been documented by scientists after they took photographs and tissue samples of the animals.

In the worst-hit species – the blue whale – researchers found that the numbers affected rose by 56 per cent between 2007 and 2009, which they said has "worrying" implications for their health.

"Whales need to come to the surface to breathe, to socialise and to feed their young, meaning that they are frequently exposed to the sun," said Laura Martinez of the Institute of Zoology in London.

"It is not clear what is causing this increase. A likely candidate is rising ultraviolet radiation as a result of either ozone depletion or a change in the level of cloud cover." (Independent)

What ozone depletion? Maybe it's all the time whales are now spending on the surface mugging for whale-watch tourist cameras instead of "running silent, running deep" to avoid whalers' harpoons? Get the IWC to set a harvest quota so the whalers chase 'em more, that ought to solve the "problem".

More seriously, if the effect is real (something I take with a Pacific's worth of salt because there's so much room for it to be an artifact of recent intensive observation), then I would note two things: firstly; reduced cloudiness is somewhat plausible (it would concur with satellite-observed warming over the last 3 decades) and secondly; much of the observed increase in solar irradiance was in the ultraviolet spectrum, so maybe Sol did toast 'em a bit. All the same, whales traditionally head for the tropics to escape the harsh polar winter season. While there they tend to spend time basking in the sunshine, which would suggest they are not particularly sun-sensitive, wouldn't it?


Vietnam Aims To Boost Rice Crop For Food Security

Vietnam vowed to maintain current rice crop areas and boost yields to ensure supplies remain adequate in the face of demand pressures from a fast-growing population as well as the effects of climate change.

The government's pledge of security of food supplies touched a key agenda topic at two conferences that opened in Hanoi on Tuesday, bringing together more than 1,300 scientists, policymakers and traders from nearly 70 countries.

With more than half of the world's 6 billion people eating rice as a staple food, changes in availability and prices often affect the poorest and most vulnerable people, said Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). (Reuters)


Argentina anticipates record crop and export surpluses of wheat and corn

Argentina’s Agriculture and Livestock minister Julian Domínguez and representatives from the cereals and oilseed markets coincided that Argentina will have a record crop this 2010/11 season and considerable export surplus of wheat and corn: 5.5 million and 18.5 million tons respectively. (MercoPress)



MILLOY: Memo to Issa: Channel Joe McCarthy

But be ready to deal with the blowback

By Steve Milloy

If California's Republican Rep. Darrell Issa plans on investigating the Obama administration, he needs to read and digest M. Stanton Evans' gripping book "Blacklisted by History: The True Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies" (Crown Forum, 2007).

The left is already trying to liken Rep. Issa to McCarthy - a Mother Jones headline from this week was "The GOP's Coming Climate Witch Hunt" and the New York Times' Dot Earth blog bemoaned the coming McCarthyism.

No doubt the left has good cause for worry, given a White House that hired a director of Socialist International to be energy and environment czar (Carol Browner), an acknowledged communist as the "green jobs" czar (Van Jones), and an admirer of Chairman Mao as communications director (Anita Dunn).

So Mr. Issa may as well learn, embrace and benefit from the truth about McCarthy, since he will be investigating people of the same stripe that McCarthy brought to account.

The common McCarthy caricature is one of a raving lunatic, throwing mud at hapless innocents, recklessly ruining lives and careers, and launching a national paranoia about an imagined "red scare."

But as Mr. Evans points out with the help of FBI, State Department, congressional and other unimpeachable records, the federal government was, in fact, chock-full of Soviet agents who not only committed copious espionage, but, more importantly, steered U.S. policy to the detriment of America, Eastern Europe and China. (Washington Times)


Major mistake: Republican climate skeptic wants to keep alive Democratic-created global warming committee

WASHINGTON — A leading House Republican climate skeptic on Monday called for his party to preserve a global warming committee created by Democrats so Republicans can use it to rein in the Obama administration on the issue.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican, said that the economic threat posed by Environmental Protection Agency regulations deserves special attention in the next Congress. (CP)

Embalm, cremate and bury -- take no chances!


Examiner Editorial: Upton is wrong choice for Energy and Commerce

If nothing else, Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton has a lot of nerve to campaign to succeed California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Upton is wholly unsuitable for the job, as a stroll down Memory Lane quickly reminds us: (Washington Examiner)


Post-Election, Post-Cap-and-Trade: Obama Clings to an Anti-CO2 Agenda

by Chip Knappenberger
November 9, 2010

On the day following the elections, President Obama urged policymakers not to forget about climate change. While he ideally would like to get help from the Congress in enacting legislation aimed at curtailing greenhouse gas emissions, he seems willing to let EPA do the heavy lifting in the absence of Congressional action. He is also looking to the states that the United States citizenry does not want to have done collectively.

In his post-election press conference last Wednesday, November 3, 2010, the president gave some clues about what his future aspirations are for a climate/energy policy. It was most obvious in his response to a question put to him by the Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler, and indicates that his Dream Green Team playbook is still alive and well.


Thank you, Mr. President. You said earlier that it was clear that Congress was rejecting the idea of a cap-and-trade program, and that you wouldn’t be able to move forward with that. Looking ahead, do you feel the same way about EPA regulating carbon emissions? Would you be open to them doing essentially the same thing through an administrative action, or is that off the table, as well?


With respect to the EPA, I think the smartest thing for us to do is to see if we can get Democrats and Republicans in a room who are serious about energy independence and are serious about keeping our air clean and our water clean and dealing with the issue of greenhouse gases—and seeing are there ways that we can make progress in the short term and invest in technologies in the long term that start giving us the tools to reduce greenhouse gases and solve this problem.

The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction. And I think one of the things that’s very important for me is not to have us ignore the science, but rather to find ways that we can solve these problems that don’t hurt the economy, that encourage the development of clean energy in this country, that, in fact, may give us opportunities to create entire new industries and create jobs that—and that put us in a competitive posture around the world.

So I think it’s too early to say whether or not we can make some progress on that front. I think we can. Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.

And I think EPA wants help from the legislature on this. I don’t think that the desire is to somehow be protective of their powers here. I think what they want to do is make sure that the issue is being dealt with.

Clearly Obama seems hopeful that Congress will step in and do the dirty work, but the threat of using the EPA to carrying the entire load is only thinly veiled.

However, going the EPA route is not going to be any easier than going the Congressional route. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


The Crash Of The Climate Exchange

Climate Fraud: As the case for global warming and cap-and-trade has collapsed, so too has the market that was to exploit this manufactured crisis for fun and profit. The climate-change bubble has burst.

Lost in the hubbub leading up to the Republican and Tea Party tsunami on Nov. 2 was the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). But its implications for the future of the American economy and the business climate are staggering: It is an acknowledgment that both the case for climate trade and cap-and-tax legislation has also collapsed. (IBD)


Skeptics Demand Live TV Debate in Global Warming Showdown

In response to calls for a media “rapid response” to sort out the climate change row once and for all, skeptic scientists respond calling for a live TV debate. (John O'Sullivan, CFP)


Desperate Days For Global Warm-ongers

Environment: The United Nations wants $100 billion a year in taxes to deal with climate change. Two groups of researchers plan to go on the offensive against global warming "denialists." When will the madness end?

The U.N.'s craving for money it hasn't earned is insatiable. So it's no surprise that one of its panels has proposed to raise $100 billion a year from taxes on carbon dioxide emissions and international transportation, and possibly on financial transactions as well, to mitigate the effects of climate change.

This isn't the first time, of course, that the U.N. has proposed a global warming tax that would chill the world economy more than the Earth's temperatures. Taking $100 billion out of private hands and making it available to unelected bureaucrats who would channel money to unproductive, but politically favored, uses can't help but be a drag on growth.

Remember the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill? Under different versions of that legislation, real aggregate GDP losses by 2035 ranged from $7.4 trillion to $9.4 trillion and job losses from 844,000 to 2.48 million a year.

Fighting global warming is not only useless, it's expensive. (IBD)



Some of you may remember Deutche Bank's amusing attempt to address "major sceptic arguments". I posted something on this back at the start of September.

Ross McKitrick has now posted up a back and forth between himself and the authors, Mary-Elena Carr, Kate Brash, and Robert Anderson. These three were joined by a fourth author, Madeleine Rubenstein, for the subsequent responses to McKitrick. McKitrick uses the shorthand "CABR" to refer to the four, and I've adopted the same style here.

There's quite a bit of reading, but it's certainly worth investing the time. The work of the CABR team is, quite frankly, extraordinary. It is so bad I'm going to refrain from further comment. (Bishop Hill)


Is The Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? Asks SPPI

The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) continues raising serious concerns for policy makers and the public as to whether the “adjustments” that government-funded employees continue making to raw surface and ocean temperature data sets can be trusted.

In a new collaborative paper, Is The Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?, Dr. Dave Evans has gathered substantial evidence that corruption has become endemic within government-sponsored climate units.

Dr. Evans finds that, “The Western Climate Establishment has allowed egregious mistakes, major errors and obvious biases to accumulate — each factor on its own might be hard to pin down, but the pattern is undeniable.” Evans asks, “How many excuses does it take?” (TransWorldNews)


Hiding The Decline : Sorry Mike, Trees Haven’t Changed

Nothing reveals the delusions of climate scientists more than this :

Mann said that the tree-ring data stopped reflecting true temperatures 50 years ago for reasons that are not yet fully known

Astonishing that any individual scientist or group of scientists could be basing a theory on such a thought process. The only logical conclusions are :

  • Tree ring proxies don’t work
  • or the “true temperature” data is flawed

What doesn’t make sense is trying to claim that the trees have changed behaviour, and justifying a stupid nature trick based on it.

he added that it was a mistake not to show the data anyway. “That was bad,” he said

(Steven Goddard, Real Science)


Climate campaigners classroom turpitude captured for future studies of depravity at work

Source:  Climate Lessons

Jo Nova has done sterling work in documenting and providing insight into what led to the 10:10 video in which the producers fantasise about utterly destroying, at the press of a button, those who show the slightest reluctance to toe the party line on climate.  Including young children in a classroom.

The whole thing deserves deep study.  The paper by Jo Nova has been published by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), and can be downloaded as a pdf from here: (1)

Kudos to the SPPI for publishing this.  Kudos to Jo Nova for creating it.  She gives a summary and background at her own blog (2).

Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


Hmm... Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, understanding the need for policy makers at the national level to entrain the behavioral and social sciences in addressing the challenges of global climate change, called on the National Research Council to organize two workshops to showcase some of the decision-relevant contributions that these sciences have already made and can advance with future efforts. The workshops focused on two broad areas: (1) mitigation (behavioral elements of a strategy to reduce the net future human influence on climate) and (2) adaptation (behavioral and social determinants of societal capacity to minimize the damage from climate changes that are not avoided).

Facilitating Climate Change Responses documents the information presented in the workshop presentations and discussions. This material illustrates some of the ways the behavioral and social sciences can contribute to the new era of climate research. (NAS)


Oh... Climate change the new flood risk for Qld

Queensland will be threatened by higher flood levels from intense torrential downpours brought on by climate change, a local government conference has been told.

Councils throughout the state have been warned to stop worrying about how to cope with the rare massive floods that happen only once a century and focus more on the threat of climate change.

The recommendation is contained in a new study on the impact of inland flooding, released on Wednesday by Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones at the Local Government Association of Queensland's (LGAQ) annual environment conference on the Gold Coast.
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The study has found there will be a warming of about two degrees by 2050, Ms Jones told the conference. (AAP)

In my home state of Queensland we are indeed preparing for wetter years -- as a consequence of returning to the wetter, more frequent tropical storm phase of our perpetual cycle. The last time the Pacific and Indian Oceans were in similar configuration (1974) the Northern Territory capital of Darwin was flattened by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day while Brisbane had suffered major flooding from Cyclone Wanda (which crossed the coast about 100 miles north of Queensland's capital) in January of that same year. It is not "climate change" though, just the cyclical nature of our weather patterns.


The Guardian is running at least 4 rising seas-drowning island pieces:

The view from beneath the waves: climate change in the Solomon Islands

Climate change and rising sea levels are devouring the low-lying lands of the Solomon Islands, with crops failing and lands disappearing. The time to act is now


The devil and the deep blue sea: Climate change on Kiribati

Tebunginako on the island of Abaiang, Kiribati, shows us what the rest of the South Pacific island state might expect in the future. The population has had to relocate after coastal erosion and rising salt water made their homes and lands uninhabitable. These impacts are already felt on the atolls of Kiribati and will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. This week, islanders and delegates from other vulnerable nations are hosting a conference calling for urgent action


Kiribati climate change conference: voices from the South Pacific

Kiribati, a chain of low-lying South Pacific islands, is to host a conference addressing the impacts of climate change on some of the world's most vulnerable countries


Climate change could kill my islands' culture

Water supplies are contaminated and sea levels are rising – and the rainy season is more extreme than ever. This is the reality of life on a small island as the climate changes

Unfortunately for the islanders and CAGW propagandists most people are already well aware that what problems have been identified are attributable to tectonic subduction, excessive groundwater extraction causing subsidence and destruction of fringing coral reefs (mostly for building material) leading to increased wave erosion. Nowhere is ongoing Holocene interglacial sea level rise genuinely seen to be a problem for these islands.


The Climate Coincidence

Why is the temperature unchanging?

It seems probable that 2010 will be in terms of global annual average temperature statistically identical to the annual temperatures of the past decade. Some eminent climatologists, such as Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, suggest the global annual average temperatures haven’t changed for the past 15 years. We are reaching the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the major feature of the recent global warm period that began in 1980. In brief, the global temperature has remained constant for longer than it has increased. Perhaps this should not be surprising as in the seven decades since 1940 the world has gotten warmer in only two of them, and if one considers each decade individually the increase in temperature in each has barely been statistically significant. Only when the warming in the 1980’s is added to that of the first half of the 1990’s does the change exceed the noise in the system.

But what does this 10-15 year temperature standstill mean? (David Whitehouse, GWPF))


Not Enough Hurricane Losses

Understanding the reinsurance industry can be counter-intuitive.  One might think that they want to avoid big disasters, because that means that claims must be paid.  To some degree this is true.  But the reality is that the industry needs disasters to thrive, after all that is what its business is all about.  Presently, the industry is awash in capital due to a dearth of disasters, putting pressure on premiums and share prices:

Insurance and reinsurance prices have been falling across most business lines for two years, reflecting intense competition between well-capitalised insurers and a comparative dearth of major catastrophe-induced losses.

Hiscox on Monday said it expected prices to come under additional pressure in the run-up to key annual policy renewals in January, blaming an absence of major storms during the June-to-November hurricane season in the United States.

Insurance and reinsurance prices typically jump after big hurricanes as a welter of claims eats into insurers' capital, forcing less well-funded players to retrench and freeing those still in the market to charge more.

Any market situation where the interests of investors run counter to the interests of society deserves a close look. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


Indications Of A Changing Arctic (Across The Centuries)

(h/t FM)

Is there anything peculiar happening in the Arctic in our time? Unfortunately, satellite-based sea-ice measurements only start from 1979, i.e. have just barely crossed the magic 30-year line that we’re told separates “weather” from “climate” (in other words, we have just been able to say that, according to mainstream climatology, the ice in 1995 was on the decrease).

A different way to look at the issue is to source information from relatively old books and newspaper articles. And there are good indications that their analysis will show quite large changes in the Arctic sea-ice extension across the centuries.

As it happens, I was sent yesterday the link to a very interesting  1818 compendium edition of mid-1770′s North-Pole-related thoughts and reports by Danies Barrington FRS of “young Mozart” fame: “The Possibility of Approaching the North Pole Asserted“.

Barrington goes at great length both in collecting as much evidence as possible from seamen claiming to have been further North than would have been expected; and in examining such evidence with a healthy dose of skepticism. His conclusions: several ships have been beyond 82N, and many of them have reported clear water to the North (see page 61). And yes, uncertainties were put in plain sight: finding a way to reach Asia without going around the tip of South America was considered very serious business, and even a strong advocate for Polar exploration like Barrington didn’t try to hide what he might have found uncomfortable. A quarter of a millennium later, we can be fairly certain ships at Barrington’s time were regularly reaching 81N.

Fast forward to 1858 and a “letter” on the New York Times by a Col. Peter Force, actually the text of a lecture at the New-York Historical Society on July 1st of that year. Col. Force appears extremely skeptical of any claim about the very existence of a Northwest Passage, going as far as to use that old saying, “if it were there we would have discovered it by now”. And if you look at the details reported, the 82N of 80 years earlier was then almost an unreachable goal, as there is plenty of mentions of sea ice going as low as 69N.

Arctic sea ice was therefore extending much further to the South in 1858 than in 1775. But were the CO2 emissions in 1775 higher than in 1858? I do not think so. (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Importance Of Glaciers As A Source Of Fresh Water Exaggerated – Austrian Scientists

P Gosselin 9. November 2010

Not long ago, the IPCC got one on the knuckles for grossly exaggerating Himalayan glacial ice melt, preposterously claiming the glaciers there would be gone by 2035. Now it comes to light that the IPCC has also grossly exaggerated the importance of glaciers as a source of fresh water supply for populations. (No Tricks Zone)


Mountain ranges may act as "safe haven" for species facing climate change

Swiss researchers studying the projected effects of climate change on alpine plant species have discovered that mountain ranges may represent a 'safer' place to live during changing climate conditions. The research, published in the Journal of Biogeography, finds that the habitat diversity of mountain ranges offer species 'refuge habitats' which may be important for conservation. (Wiley-Blackwell)

Imagine that, they found 'puter models don't really represent the real world and there are ways cold-loving critters could survive warm episodes (as they are known to have done). Amazing stuff, eh?


From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 45: 10 November 2010

Can an EPA-Certified Air Pollutant Counteract the Botanical Harm Caused by a Bona Fide Soil Pollutant?: You betcha!

Journal Reviews:
The Recent Wasting Away of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Just how exceptional has it been?

20th-Century Streamflow Changes in the Susquehanna River Basin: Are they indicative of trends towards more flooding or more drought?

The Medieval Climate of the Atlantic Coast of France: What do sedimentary archives of the region suggest about it?

Global Warming and the Biodiversity of Small Temperate Ponds: How does the former affect the latter? ... and how do the results compare with previous studies of the subject?

Food vs. Biofuel: The Energy Efficiency Duel: Which one wins? ... and by how big a margin??

The Effects of Warming on Winter Wheat Yields in Semi-Arid China: Models suggest one thing, observations suggest another.

Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment is Blue Mussel [Mytilus edulis]. To access the entire database, click here.

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 904 individual scientists from 538 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Lake Ximencuo, Nianbaoyeze Mountains, Eastern Tibetan Plateau. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (


Gulf Oil Spill Doesn’t Spread To Voting Booths

by Ben Lieberman
09 November 2010 @ 1:07 pm

Call it the election-day dog that didn’t bark - or maybe the oiled bird that didn’t fly – the BP oil spill had virtually no impact at the polls on November 2nd.   The fact that the biggest ecological scare of the summer was nearly forgotten by fall says a lot about where the American people stand on energy and environmental issues.

Less than five months after President Obama gave a primetime address hyping the Deepwater Horizon spill as “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced,” there is scant evidence that even a single Congressional race was affected by it.  This was not for lack of trying.  In the first few months after the April 20th spill, many Congressional Democrats joined…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Oil will run dry before substitutes roll out

Stock prices suggest a 90-year gap

At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations.

The forecast was published online Monday (Nov. 8) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace. (University of California - Davis)

Did they notice that the market revalues according to supply and demand? It used to be termed that necessity was the mother of invention but another way of expressing it is that research and development are applied according to perceived value. When and if there is more value in other than oil energy supplies that's where the market will go, at whatever price the market can bear. As long as politicians resist trying to pick winning and losing technologies and leave it to innovation and market forces the most efficient and profitable replacements will be delivered.


Energy in 2035: China and oil dominate

NEW YORK -- China will continue lead the charge as the No. 1 energy consumer over the next quarter-century, and oil will remain the dominant fuel despite huge investment in alternatives, according to a International Energy Agency report released Tuesday.

The agency forecasts that China's demand will soar by 75% between 2008 and 2035, compared to an overall surge of 36% in international energy use. While Americans still lead the world in per capita energy use, China overtook the United States last year as the primary energy user.

"It is hard to overstate the growing importance of China in global energy," said Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency. "How the country responds to the threats to global energy security and climate posed by rising fossil-fuel use will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world." (


Oil demand to rise for 25 years despite green push: IEA

Oil demand and price are set to grow strongly over the next 25 years despite environmental policies, essentially dooming climate-change goals, the International Energy Agency forecast on Tuesday. (Independent)


After a Strong Counterattack, Big Coal Makes a Comeback

With an aggressive campaign focused on advertising, lobbying, and political contributions, America’s coal industry has succeeded in beating back a challenge from environmentalists and clean-energy advocates. The dirty truth is that Big Coal is more powerful today than ever. (Jeff Goodell, e360)

Translation: loons failing to destroy abundant, affordable and absolutely essential energy supply.


EPA Subpoenas Halliburton Over Fracking Fluids

The Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it has issued a subpoena to Halliburton for not revealing information about liquids used in a natural gas drilling technique called "fracking."

In September, the EPA had asked nine companies that practice hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to reveal the mix of chemicals they use in the practice which is opposed by environmental groups worried about its effect on drinking water.

All but Halliburton provided the necessary information, the EPA said. (Reuters)


Biofuel plan will cause rise in carbon emissions

Britain's promise to more than double its use of biofuels by 2020 is "significantly" adding to worldwide carbon emissions, the Government admitted yesterday. Britain is signed up to a European guarantee to source 10 per cent of its transport fuel from renewable sources, such as biofuels, within the next 10 years.

But ministers have said that the policy is proving counter-productive and the greenhouse emissions associated with biofuels are substantially greater than the savings. They are now urging the European Commission to rethink the plan. The admission coincides with a major study published this week which concludes that biofuels will create an extra 56 million tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of 12 to 26 million cars on Europe's roads by 2020. (Independent)


Forced use of biofuels could hit food production, EU warned

Area the size of Ireland could be lost to conventional farming as global warming accelerates, says environmental study

Plans to make European motorists use more biofuels could take an area the size of Ireland out of food production by 2020 and accelerate climate change, a study has found.

The report by the independent Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) is based on plans that countries have submitted to the EU detailing how they intend to meet their legal requirement to include 10% of renewable energy in all transport fuels by 2020.

IEEP calculations suggest that the indirect effect of the switch will be to take between 4.1m and 6.9m hectares out of food production. In addition, say the authors, opening up land to compensate for the food taken out of production will lead to between 27m and 56m tonnes of additional CO² emissions, the equivalent of putting nearly 26m more cars on the road. (Guardian)


Rising temperatures threaten wind energy: study

As global temperatures rise, wind speeds drop, says a Texas researcher who has calculated by how much and points out it will mean less wind for powering turbines.

The conundrum is that while wind is promoted as a renewable source of energy, greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels impede the ability to produce clean electricity from wind.

Wind is created when warm and cool air meet, said climate researcher Diandong Ren of the University of Texas at Austin. "The stronger the temperature contrast, the stronger the wind," he said in a release.

Ren's study, appearing in the current issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, explains that prevailing winds in the "free" atmosphere (about 1,000 metres up) are maintained by the contrast in temperatures between the polar regions and lower latitudes.

But with global warming, temperature contrasts drop because polar regions tend to heat up faster. As the temperature contrasts weaken, so too do winds. (CBC News)


A Wind Bubble?

New US wind turbine installations have slowed significantly this year, compared to 2009, and the decline is having consequences. Among other fallout, Suzlon is mothballing a four-year-old wind turbine factory in Minnesota and laying off the remaining 110 workers, due to a lack of new orders. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, ET)


Can the U.S. Compete on Rare Earths?

A mine in Mountain Pass, Calif., was once the world's leading producer of so-called rare earth minerals, which are used in everything from missile systems to electric cars. But the mining was stopped in 2002 after a leak of radioactive fluid. China's lower-cost operations, technical superiority and lax environmental rules propelled it to become the dominant producer, and today it accounts for 95 percent of the world's supply.

But China's recent embargo on shipments on the crucial minerals to the United States, Europe and Japan raised new concerns about Beijing's monopoly, and added urgency to efforts by other countries to develop their own source of the minerals, for which demand is growing. (NYT)

Can the US compete? Well yes, if it wants to. Just shove the enviroloons out of the way and go for it.



Health law may be unrecognizable in a year

Republicans in Congress may not be able to unravel healthcare reform over the next two years, as their leaders have promised, but they can make strategic cuts for now before using the issue as a powerful wedge in the 2012 presidential campaign.

At a panel discussion on Friday at the Harvard School of Public Health, arranged in collaboration with Reuters, health policy experts said the Obama administration's 2010 healthcare law could be nearly unrecognizable within a year.

"We will have seen the leading edge of dismantling this bill through the discretionary spending process," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former advisor to Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

"It will slow down the implementation and put it on a timetable to be solved in the 2012 elections," said Holtz-Eakin, now president of the policy institute American Action Forum. (Reuters)


Here's some looming medical privacy issues: Look out, your medicine is watching you

Novartis AG plans to seek regulatory approval within 18 months for a pioneering tablet containing an embedded microchip, bringing the concept of "smart-pill" technology a step closer.

The initial program will use one of the Swiss firm's established drugs taken by transplant patients to avoid organ rejection. But Trevor Mundel, global head of development, believes the concept can be applied to many other pills. (Reuters)


Is your laptop cooking your testicles?

 Whoever invented the 'laptop' probably didn't worry too much about male reproductive health.

Turns out, unsurprisingly, that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality.

And there is little you can do about it, according to the authors of a study out today in the journal Fertility and Sterility, short of putting your laptop on a desk.

The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.

"Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range," said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new study.

"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it," he added.

So far, no studies have actually tested how laptops impact men's fertility, said Sheynkin, and there is no bulletproof evidence that it would. But earlier research has shown that warming the scrotum more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage sperm.

Under normal circumstances, the testicles' position outside of the body makes sure they stay a few degrees cooler than the inside of the body, which is necessary for sperm production. (Reuters Health)


Study links painkillers to reproductive disorders

Use of mild painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen during pregnancy may partly account for a sharp increase in male reproductive disorders in recent decades, according to a study published on Monday.

The research found that women who took a combination of more than one mild analgesic during pregnancy had an increased risk of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles.

This condition, called cryptorchidism, is known to be a risk factor for poor semen quality and a greater risk of testicular cancer in later life.

The researchers from Finland, Denmark and France, whose work was published in the Human Reproduction journal, said more studies were urgently needed and advice to pregnant women on use of painkillers should be reconsidered. (Reuters)


Fast-food restaurants target U.S. kids, study shows

Fast-food restaurants are stepping up efforts to market themselves and unhealthy food products to children and toddlers with television ads, websites and even their own menus, researchers said on Monday.

They said efforts by the industry to regulate itself have failed and urged government officials at all levels to declare children a protected group and stop marketing efforts that are fueling child obesity, a serious U.S. health problem. (Reuters)

No surprise that companies advertise where it is profitable to do so. What is more surprising is that people have become so divorced from reality they no longer recognize what constitutes "unhealthy food". Food rotting and laden with pathogens -- that's unhealthy. Food lacking essential micronutrients can be unhealthy if it constitutes the whole diet -- that would be the meager diets of the impoverished and starving for whom a burger and fries would constitute a banquet and remarkably balanced diet. Fast foods, however, are not "unhealthy" per se, any more than brussels sprouts are, it's just a matter of total consumption and exclusivity and so-called "good" foods can be harmful in excess (you can't do a Bugs Bunny and live well on an exclusive diet of carrots, for example, you'll miss out on a lot of nutrients and turn orange, too).


Chocolate eaters may have healthier hearts: study

Older women who eat more chocolate are less likely to develop heart problems over a nearly 10-year-period, new study findings report.

The authors found that women older than 70 who ate chocolate at least once per week were 35 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease over the course of the study, and nearly 60 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure.

What's nice, study author Dr. Joshua Lewis told Reuters Health, is that women did not have to eat a ton of chocolate to see benefits.

"We would therefore caution against people eating foods with high sugar and fat regularly and believe our findings support moderate rather than frequent chocolate consumption," said Lewis, based at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia.

But it is probably too early to begin recommending people eat more chocolate, cautioned Dr. Brian Buijsse at the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who did not participate in the study. And even if additional large studies confirmed its benefits, doctors still may not want to prescribe chocolate, he added.

"The danger is that many people will start eating more of it than is necessary, without cutting back in calories from other snacks, which will result in weight gain and will counteract any beneficial effects of chocolate," Buijsse said. (Reuters Health)


Viruses 'can remain in drinking water' after desal treatment

DESALINATION plants built close to sewage outflows risk contaminating drinking water, an expert claims.

Membrane technology sometimes fails to screen out bugs, according to Australian National University professor of infectious diseases and microbiology Peter Collignon.

The claims by Professor Collignon come in the wake of a "reporting error" by Sydney Water that showed E.coli had been found in processed drinking water at its $1.9 billion Kurnell desalination plant in Sydney's south. The plant's intake, which collects water to supply 1.5 million Sydney homes, is about 2.5km north of the Cronulla near-shore sewage outflow.

By comparison, Queensland's Gold Coast desalination plant is 27km from the nearest sewage outlet, and the closest outfall to Perth's Kwinana desalination plant is 13km away. The intake for the Adelaide desalination plant is 1.4km offshore and the nearest sewage outfall is 3km away.

Professor Collignon said building a desalination plant so close to a sewage treatment facility would be "one of the fundamental things you wouldn't do. With all these plants, there are usually issues with where you situate them.

"You want to make sure the water supply intake is relatively pristine -- in other words, low numbers of chemical or microbial contaminants that might be a problem for people," he said. (The Australian)


Apparently not a joke item: $24 million to study how people freaked at the Black Death? I’m freaking now….

The last ARC grant Science Minister Kim Carr announced was $390,000 to study how to put us all on carbon rations. This week comes another just as startling - at least in dollar figures:

TAXPAYERS will fork out $24 million for boffins to study emotions from hundreds of years ago while mental health research in modern Australia is desperately underfunded.

The Federal Government is promoting the massive humanities grant, which will focus on historical events such as the Black Death, as a solution to the nation’s dire mental health problems.

But Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry has criticised the lack of direct funding for mental health research…

“That would fund an incredible transformation in mental health of young people if we were able to get a grant like that.”

The record-breaking Australian Research Council grant over seven years is more than three times the previous highest amount given to a humanities project…

... the grant will go to the new Centre of Excellence in the History of Emotions based at the University of Western Australia.

Researchers will focus on emotions in Europe from the years 1100 to 1800, taking in events such as the French revolution, according to the university’s website. Centre director and historian Philippa Maddern’s key study areas will include the emotional response to the Black Death, which killed about half the population of 14th century Europe.... A related Shakespearean drama production, a Baroque opera and an art exhibition will be produced as part of the research grant.

The university should study my own emotions on hearing this. They include surprise, amusement, disbelief and resentment that the salary I work so hard for is docked taxes to pay for this.

How on earth can the worth of this research be valued at $24 million?

Professor Maddern explains her research:

Emotions shape our mental, physical and social wellbeing. Our research will brilliantly illuminate this crucial aspect of Australia’s cultural and social heritage, help explain the causes and consequences of mass emotional events (e.g. moral panics) and invigorate Australian culture through major reflective performances in drama, opera and art. By addressing the big question of how societies think, feel and function, it will provide greatly enhanced understandings of how to improve emotional health among modern Australians. It will train and mentor a new generation of young Australian researchers and heighten Australia’s international reputation for excellence in Humanities and Performing Arts research.

What on earth is Senator Carr up to with our cash? If this research is so fascinating and potentially profitable, why doesn’t the good professor do it in her own time and sell us the results? (Andrew Bolt)


What the Green Movement Got Wrong: Greens come to see the error of their ways

For many years, Channel 4 would not have dared devote an hour to the errors of environmentalism, writes Charles Moore.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this programme is that it was made at all. It shows how the Green monolith has cracked. For many years, Channel 4 would not have dared devote an hour to the errors of environmentalism; or, if it had done so, it would have wrapped it in the cordon sanitaire always put round anything considered Right-wing, stating that this was a "provocative" and "personal" view.

This was no such programme. Instead, it was a platform for every sinner that repenteth. Former hippy Greens, directors of Greenpeace, the chairmen of the Copenhagen Climate Council and the like, queued up to admit error. Their reasons for doing so were interesting. None of them repudiated all their previous ideas. All continue to believe that there are serious environmental threats to the welfare of life on earth and most seem to be devoting their lives to addressing them. But, as one put it, environmentalists over the past 40 years have "failed to achieve Job One, which was to protect the planet".

At least three central reasons were identified. (Charles Moore, TDT)


What the Greens Really Got Wrong

Read my article about Ch4′s What the Green Movement Got Wrong at Spiked-Online.

Environmentalists have long claimed that their desire to save the world has been thwarted by conspiracies of Big Oil and right-wing think-tanks. Channel 4’s What the Green Movement Got Wrong (watch it here [UK readers only]) showed signs that some environmentalists are at last beginning to take responsibility for their failures. But does it tell us anything we didn’t already know, and will the new environmentalists be so different from the old?

While you’re there, check out Brendan O’Neill’s excellent take on neomalthusianism.

When modern Malthusians insist that resources are finite, they only expose their historical illiteracy, misanthropy and social pessimism.

Arguing the corner for the neomalthusians, Adrian Stott of the OPT tries to defend his case.

Are we facing an existential environmental problem?

Yes. I hope we agree that the global environment is already in bad trouble, and getting worse. (If spiked is in denial over that, then there’s not much hope for this debate). The increasing rate of extinctions, the rising number of species suffering population declines in the order of 90 per cent (not just tigers, but sparrows and voles, too), the destruction of rainforests, the pollution of the oceans – the evidence is plain to see.

It’s plain to see that neomalthusians don’t really understand their own argument, nor the criticism of it, in spite of its historic failures. (Climate Resistance)


Unsustainable Green Jobs

With the American mid-term elections finally over, the deafening din of political propaganda and news punditry has dropped to a dull roar. Having admitted that there were no “shovel ready” jobs in the offing, and that taking a “shellacking” is no fun, Barack Obama has nonetheless continued to talk up the idea of “green jobs.” This flies in the face of both reason and experience. To date, green job creation has been a resounding failure. American intellectuals and left leaning politicians have pointed out that Europe is a decade ahead of the US in embracing the new green economy. Since this White House seems infatuated with all things European, here is a lesson they can borrow from the old continent: creating artificial green jobs is bad for a nation's economy.

In today's trying economic times no phrase rings more hollow, and no lie more pernicious, than the promise of “green jobs.” Back in January of 2010, President Obama unveiled a program that was to provide $2.3 billion in tax credits for the clean energy manufacturing sector. This was a move aimed at creating 17,000 jobs, a cost of a mere $135,000 per job. “If we harness ingenuity, take the talent of our workers and innovators, and we invest in it, we'll forge a future where life is better in our country over the long run,” Obama said at the time.

Ten months later the US economy is still gasping for breath and unemployment is still stuck above 9%, even higher in the nation's industrial heartland. Some sources are reporting that the shine is off the green job apple and that the current administration is quietly backing away from the claim that a new green economy will pull America's economic fat from the fire. The Washington Times note in September:

Noticeably absent from President Obama's latest economic-stimulus package are any further attempts to create jobs through "green" energy projects, reflecting a year in which the administration's original, loudly trumpeted efforts proved largely unfruitful.

After months of hype about the potential for green energy to stimulate job growth and lead the economy out of a recession, the results turned out to be disappointing, if not dismal. About $92 billion - more than 11 percent - of Mr. Obama's original $814 billion of stimulus funds were targeted for renewable energy projects when the measure was pushed through Congress in early 2009.

Why the sudden change of heart? It may be that even the eco-leftist ideologues within the Obama White House have come to realize that government cannot manufacture economic growth from hope and wishful thinking. But, perhaps not. Recently Obama announced a $900 million government giveaway to build a massive solar plant in California. The resulting full time job count for the plant is a paltry 300, meaning those green jobs cost $3,000,000 apiece.

The saddest part of all this wasted money and effort is that the government should have known better, for ample evidence of the green jobs folly was available from Europe. One of the nations that embraced the new green economy in a big way was Spain. Government funding for wind and solar power was aggressively pursued over the past decade, creating green jobs a declared goal. A study of Spanish green jobs by researchers at King Juan Carlos University has laid bare the truth about “green jobs” and their impact on a nation's economy. Here are the first few paragraphs of the introduction:

Europe’s current policy and strategy for supporting the so-called “green jobs” or renewable energy dates back to 1997, and has become one of the principal justifications for U.S. “green jobs” proposals. Yet an examination of Europe’s experience reveals these policies to be terribly economically counterproductive.

This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style “green jobs” agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created and the net destruction per installed MW.

The study’s results demonstrate how such “green jobs” policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil.

The Spanish study reports that since 2000, Spain spent $759,899 (€571,138) to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than $1.33 million (€1 million) for each wind industry job. The study also calculates that the programs that created those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy. That means 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every “green job” created.

Furthermore, each “green” megawatt installed destroyed 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro. “These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources,” the researchers concluded.

Despite its hyper-aggressive (expensive and extensive) “green jobs” policies it appears that Spain likely has created a surprisingly low number of jobs, two-thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance of the renewable sources of electricity

The plain truth is that the private sector will be responsible for actually producing jobs, green or otherwise. Government created jobs, like all government jobs, do not help an economy to grow. They are based on a fiction that any employment adds to the nation's wealth and productivity. This is patently untrue—government jobs are not part of economic production, they are overhead. While many of the functions of government are useful, good and even necessary—police, firemen, emergency medical and disaster recovery personnel for example—the hordes of document shuffling bureaucrats that fill government offices at all levels add nothing to a nation's economic output.

Only jobs that produce something of worth are sustainable in the long run. It is useful to grow things, dig materials from the earth, transform raw material into finished goods, transport goods from factory to consumers, etc. In short, useful jobs add value by an investment of labor. Jobs created by the government, which can only be maintained with continued public largess, are even worse than direct government jobs. Funded using money wrested from other citizens through taxation, they represent a net economic drag, a less than zero contribution. It is no wonder that green jobs are so hard to create and expensive to maintain, they are the economic equivalent of a vacuum and the economy, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

Within the energy sector there is no question that green jobs policy has distorted an otherwise free market. As markets forces correct the imbalance, Europe wrestles with the bitter fruit of its green economic policy. Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, recently announced it would close five production plants across Scandinavia and cut 3,000 jobs—green jobs. The group said the surge in demand for wind power it had hoped for in Europe had not materialized and it is closing four plants in Denmark and one in Sweden, including one in Viborg where it has been manufacturing since 1989.

Still US politicians blather on about “green jobs” and stimulating the economy. Those fully invested in the green economic myth continue to claim that green jobs will add millions of new jobs to the US economy. Climate change propagandist Al Gore claims that due to “deniers” we are losing “green jobs” to China. “Every day we fail to take action, we export green jobs and our technological advantage to China,” states the former high priest of global warming on his blog. True believers like Gore simply cannot accept that they have been proven wrong about climate change and are no longer relevant. Those pushing green jobs today claim it is to help the economy or to ensure energy independence, not to halt global warming—the world has moved on.

Given the American left's fascination with everything European it is a pity that they cannot be bothered to learn from Europe's mistakes. Even to those in socialism's thrall it should be clear that artificially created green jobs are not a cure but a disease. Know the truth: government cannot create any productive jobs, let alone green ones.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

(Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)


EU States Told GM Crop Plans May Breach Trade Rules

EU legal experts "seriously doubt" that plans to let European Union member states decide for themselves to grow or ban genetically modified (GM) crops are in line with global trade rules, officials said on Monday.

The European Commission made legal proposals in July to let governments to make their own decisions on the controversial crops, in a bid to break a longstanding EU deadlock on new GM product approvals.

But a new opinion from the EU Council of Ministers' legal service could deal a fatal blow to the plans, after several EU governments already expressed fears that the draft law risks breaching World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

"Everything to do with WTO compatibility in the legal opinion is not positive at all," one EU source told Reuters.



Senator Bingaman's Insidious National "Renewable Electricity Standards" Bill, S. 3813

Written by Glenn R. Schleede

On September 21, 2010, US Senator Bingaman (D-NM) introduced a bill1 that would create an insidious national “Renewable Electricity Standard” (RES). Bingaman now has 32 cosponsors but expects 60. The bill would result in higher monthly bills for millions of home owners and renters, farms, businesses, industries, hospitals, educational institutions, and any other organization that uses electricity.

Despite the intense citizen displeasure with Congress, Bingaman’s RES bill shows that both Democrats and Republicans, while in Washington, are eager to favor special interests and their lobbyists while ignoring the adverse impact of their actions on the nation’s ordinary citizens, consumers and taxpayers. The bill belies Republican claims that they favor less federal government intrusion, control, and damage.

Read more... (SPPI)


The Zombie Campaign for Higher Energy Prices

The American people know that cap and trade energy policies will lead to higher energy costs and fewer jobs. That is why even Democratic candidates like Sen.-elect Joe Manchin (D-WV) famously shot President Barack Obama’s cap and trade bill in a television commercial this fall.
But the progressive campaign to force Americans to pay higher energy costs did not die with cap and trade. The New York Times reports today:

Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia. By the end of the third quarter, year-to-date installations of new wind power dropped 72 percent from 2009 levels, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group.

And why are these utilities canceling their renewable energy contracts? The NYT again: Continue reading... (The Foundry)


On Cap-and-Trade: They Lost, We Won

by Myron Ebell
08 November 2010 @ 1:03 pm

Greens Desperate to Avoid Blame” was the headline on Darren Samuelsohn and Robin Bravender’s story in Politico on Wednesday. Environmental pressure groups moved quickly to spin the election results as having nothing to do with them.  In particular, they claimed that passage in the House of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill did not cause Democrats to lose.  On the contrary, the reality is that Waxman-Markey did contribute to the defeat of a number of Democrats, as I argue in Politico’s Energy Arena.

More significant is the fact that the new Republican majority in the House is largely skeptical of the claim that global warming is a potential crisis and is close to unanimously opposed to cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing measures.  Not only is…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


E.U. Sees U.S. "Disappearing" As Partner On Climate

The European Union sees the United States "disappearing as a partner" in international climate talks after President Barack Obama suffered setbacks in midterm elections, the EU's top climate official said on Friday.

Obama has conceded that big Republican gains in Tuesday's elections undermined prospects for comprehensive legislation to tackle climate change.

"We're very disappointed about the United States going that way and dropping climate legislation," said Jos Delbeke, director general of the European Commission's climate team.

"We see the U.S. disappearing as a partner in achieving meaningful climate action," he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Beijing. (Reuters)


Carbon Taxes Are Here (Even If You May Not Know It.)

Depending on what state you live in, you may be paying taxes on your energy bill to help stop global warming. That’s right, you may have been enlisted as a soldier in the war against climate change and you may not even know it! [Read More] (Art Horn, ET)


The redistributors just can't resist your money: Climate finance plan could break talks inertia

Our report showing how $100bn a year can be raised for climate adaptation will help make progress towards agreement at Cancún (Trevor Manuel and Nicholas Stern, Guardian)


Europe to Ban Carbon Offsets?

It is not clear how much support there is for such a proposal, but the EU Commission is to bring forward a proposal to ban most forms of carbon offsets:
European Union member states may oppose new rules on how far their factories and power plants can offset their carbon emissions, to be proposed by the European Commission, environment ministries told Reuters.
The EU executive is expected to propose in the next two weeks curbs or an outright ban from 2013 on the most common types of offsets.

Europe's emissions trading scheme caps planet-warming gases emitted by industry, but allows companies to offset emissions by paying for carbon cuts in developing countries, as a cheaper alternative to cutting their own.

Shutting the main supply of offsets could push up carbon prices, if agreed by a majority of member states at a meeting of Commission officials and environment ministers later this month.
Any such ban would represent a step towards a more transparent form of carbon pricing, along the lines of a straight up tax.  Offsets are of course one reason why there is no such thing as a "cap" in cap and trade. (Roger Pielke Jr.)


AGW jihad collects 700 or 39 or 6 crusaders for tough fights

Chicago Tribune and Star Tribune write about new plans for more aggressive crusades against the climate change in general and climate skeptics in particular than anything we have seen ever before:

Climate scientists plan campaign against global warming skeptics (Chicago Tribune)

Climate scientists prepare to take the fight to skeptical politicians (Star Tribune)

Scientists join forces in a hostile climate (Andrew Revkin)

John Abraham panics... (Anthony Watts)
Being threatened that the inflow of the easy stolen taxpayer money may decelerate, a group of hardcore AGW crusaders has decided to switch into the ballistic mode.

A key person in the plan is Mr Abraham (whom I have never heard of but who is claimed to have starred in a well-known attack against Lord Monckton) from a former Minnesotan Catholic seminary of St Thomas in St Paul that also became an archdiocesan university later.

He established the so-called "climate rapid response team". About seven hundred similar AGW crusaders agreed to directly face skeptical audiences. How much is seven hundred? The article indicates that the term "seven hundred" has been redefined to mean approximately 39 (inform the Oxford Dictionary of English about the change), namely John Abraham from the Catholic seminary himself and Scott Mandia from Suffolk County Community College in New York. :-)

This is what I call a powerful group of intellectual giants. ;-) But don't forget Penny's implicit finding that community college graduates can be the opposite of complete losers (although Sheldon remained a bit skeptical)!

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


Climate Scientists Plan Campaign Against Global Warming Skeptics

The American Geophysical Union plans to announce that 700 researchers have agreed to speak out on the issue. Other scientists plan a pushback against congressional conservatives who have vowed to kill regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

A new article in the LA Times says that the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is enlisting the help of 700 scientists to fight back against a new congress that is viewed as a bunch of backwoods global warming deniers who are standing in the way of greenhouse gas regulations and laws required to same humanity from itself.

Scientific truth, after all, must prevail. And these scientists apparently believe they have been endowed with the truth of what has caused recent warming.

The message just hasn’t gotten across.

We skeptics are not smart enough to understand the science. We and the citizens of America, and the representatives we have just elected to go to Washington, just need to listen to them and let them tell us how we should be allowed to live.

OK, so, let me see if I understand this.

After 20 years, billions of dollars in scientific research and advertising campaigns, cooperation from the public schools, TV specials and concerts by a gaggle of entertainers, end-of-the-world movies, our ‘best’ politicians, heads of state, presidents, the United Nations, and complicity by most of the news media, it has been decided that the American public is not getting the message on global warming!?

Are they serious!?

Americans — hell, most of humanity — have already heard the 20 different ways we will all die miserable deaths from our emissions of that life giving — er, I mean poisonous –gas, carbon dioxide, that we are adding to the atmosphere every day.

So, NOW it no more mister nice guy? Give me a break.

Finally Time for a REAL Debate?

Actually, this announcement is a good thing. There has been a persistent refusal on the part of the elitist, group-think, left-leaning class of climate scientists to even debate the global warming issue in public. Maybe they have considered it beneath themselves to debate those of us who are clearly wrong on the global warming issue.

A complaint many of us skeptics have had for years is that those who constitute the “scientific consensus” (whatever that means) will not engage in public debates on global warming. Al Gore won’t even answer questions from the press.

This is why you will mostly hear only politicians and U.N. bureaucrats give pronouncements on the science. They are already adept at weaving a good story with carefully selected facts and figures.

Why has the global warming message been presented mostly by politicians and bureaucrats up until now? Probably because it is too dangerous to put their scientists out there.

Scientists might admit to something counterproductive — like uncertainty — which would jeopardize what the politicians have been trying to accomplish for decades — control over energy, which is necessary for everything that humans do.

Scientists Ready to Enter the Lion’s Den

The LA Times articles goes on to explain how there will be “scientists prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk radio and television shows.”

Gee, how brave of them.

Kind of like when I went up against Henry Waxman? Or Barbara Boxer?

I can sympathize with Republican’s desire to have hearings to investigate how your tax dollars have been spent on this issue. But I will guarantee that if such hearings are held, the news media will make it sound like Galileo is being tried all over again.

As if climate scientists are objective seekers of the truth. I hate to break it to you, but scientists are human. Well..most of us are, anyway.

Most have strong personal, quasi-religious views of the role of humans in the natural world, and this inevitably guides how they interpret measurements of the climate system. Especially the young ones who have been indoctrinated on the subject.

Those few of us who are publishing climate researchers and who are willing to take the risk of speaking out on the biased science on this issue are now late in our careers, and we have seen the climate research field be transformed from one where “climate change” used to necessarily imply natural climate change, to one where nature does not have the power to cause its own change — only mankind does.

I have repeatedly pointed out how virtually all global warming research funds either (1) build the case for humanity as the primary cause of recent warming, or (2) simply assume humans are the cause.

Virtually NO funding has supported research into the possibility that warming might be mostly part of a natural climate cycle. And if you give scientists enough money to find something, they will do their best to find it.

Politicians have orchestrated and guided this effort from the outset, and scientists like to believe they are helping to Save the Earth when they participate in global warming research.

Anthropogenic Global Warming is a Hypothesis, Nothing More

What the big-government funded climate science community has come up with is a plausible hypothesis which is being passed off as a proven explanation.

Science advances primarily by searching for new and better explanations (hypotheses) for how nature works. Unfortunately, this basic task of science has been abandoned when it comes to explaining climate change.

About the only alternative explanation they have mostly ruled out is an increase in the total output of the sun.

The possibility that small changes in ocean circulation have caused clouds to let in more sunlight is just one of many alternative explanations which are being ignored.

Not only have natural, internal climate cycles been ignored as a potential explanation, some researchers have done their best to revise climate history to do away with events such as the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. This is how the ‘hockey stick’ controversy got started.

If you can get rid of all evidence for natural climate change in Earth’s history, you can make it look like no climate changes happened until humans (and cows) came on the scene.

Bring It On

I look forward to the opportunity to debate a scientist from the other side who actually knows what they are talking about. I’ve gone one-on-one with some speakers who so mangled the consensus explanation of global warming that I had to use up half my speaking time cleaning up the mess they made.

Those few I have debated in a public forum who know what they are talking about are actually much more reserved in their judgment on the subject than those who the pop culture presents to us.

But for those newbie’s who want to enter the fray, I have a couple of pieces of advice on preparation.

First, we skeptics already know your arguments …it would do you well to study up a little on ours.

And second, those of us who have been at this a long time actually knew Galileo. Galileo was a good friend of ours. And you are no Galileo. (Roy W. Spencer)


Inaccurate news reports misrepresent a climate-science initiative of the American Geophysical Union

8 November 2010
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON—An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times, and then picked up by media outlets far and wide, misrepresents the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and a climate science project the AGU is about to relaunch. The project, called Climate Q&A Service, aims simply to provide accurate scientific answers to questions from journalists about climate science.

“In contrast to what has been reported in the LA Times and elsewhere, there is no campaign by AGU against climate skeptics or congressional conservatives,” says Christine McEntee, Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union. “AGU will continue to provide accurate scientific information on Earth and space topics to inform the general public and to support sound public policy development.”

AGU is the world's largest, not-for-profit, professional society of Earth and space scientists, with more than 58,000 members in over 135 countries.

“AGU is a scientific society, not an advocacy organization,” says climate scientist and AGU President Michael J. McPhaden. “The organization is committed to promoting scientific discovery and to disseminating to the scientific community, policy makers, the media, and the public, peer-reviewed scientific findings across a broad range of Earth and space sciences.” (AGU Release No. 10–37)


A letter to DECC's chief scientist

Do take a look at Matt Ridley's letter to David Mackay, chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Hockey Stick Illusion is mentioned. (Bishop Hill)


IPCC Climate Science Is Fundamentally Wrong: Carbon Footprint is All Wet

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) science deliberately kept public focus on warmer temperatures and blamed it all on radiative forcing due to CO2. They virtually ignore water in all its forms, partly because terms of reference directed them to only human causes and because any consideration of the role of water destroys the CO2 hypothesis.

Water explains many elements of weather as reflected in the response of plants and animals, but they even perverted that evidence. (Tim Ball. CFP)


Soul searching enviro-journalists admit they look duped and should have talked to sceptics

There is much introspection going on among environmental journalists. Last week, in a remarkably candid piece, Margot O’Neill of the ABC revealed for the first time what the flummoxed and frustrated would-be journalists are  discussing behind the scenes.

The admissions are extraordinary. Despite the fact that hardly any of the journalists wrote about Climategate, for many the emails from East Anglia were not just important, but a defining moment (though not, apparently, because it dented their faith in the global warming dogma). Instead, it was the effect Climategate had on editors and others in the office: people who had previously thought climate science was scientific, and environmental journalists were journalists. Suddenly, others realized they had been cheated of the real news, sideswiped by a development none of the supposedly “investigative” reporters saw coming.

Now for the first time, we find out that the formerly respected writers got looks of betrayal.

Probably the most important reaction to the UEA hacking for journalists was in their own newsrooms, among their own editors who are the gatekeepers controlling if your work appears and how prominently. While some UK surveys show no dramatic loss of credibility for climate scientists with the public, here’s how some senior journalists described what it was like in their newsrooms after hacking:

“dirty looks”

“sense of betrayal”

thought we’d “gone native”

“you told me the science was settled – and it isn’t!”

Presumably, the other editors read about people using tricks to hide declines, but instead of seeing the would-be journalists pursue the obvious deceit and malpractice, they must have been shocked to hear whitewash excuses about how it was “taken out of context”. This is the point when alarm bells must have gone off for the real journalists in the room. It was not just the Climategate emails themselves, but the rush to downplay them. Methinks you doth protest too much.

How bad was climategate? Awful:

Climate-gate was extremely damaging in many ways. It gave the impression that journalists had been duped…

Wow. I mean, WOW! Let’s repeat that. It gave the impression that journalists had been duped. Yes, it did “look” like journos had been duped. That’s because they were. Fooled by one of the oldest tricks in the book. More » (Jo Nova)


Multipart essay by Ian McFadyen: The Big Lie of Global Warming

It might seem drastic, even for a global warming sceptic like myself to use the word “lie” in describing the position of the “Warmists” - even inflammatory.

Well, that’s intentional. (Ian McFadyen)


Greenland Overall Temperature Trend Shows Nothing Alarming. Schellnhuber Confirmed.

P Gosselin 8. November 2010

In two earlier posts I wrote about the shenanigans of some activist meteorologists who attempted to raise the level of alarm by claiming Greenland’s temperatures are behaving weirdly, and that it is abnormally warm up there, read Dumb Meteorologists Unaware Of Seasons and Dumb Meteorologists Part II. Too bad the data does not cooperate. (No Tricks Zone)


Oh dear... Threshold sea surface temperature for hurricanes and tropical thunderstorms is rising

IMAGE: The average tropical sea surface temperature (black) and an estimate of the sea surface temperature threshold for convection (blue) have risen in tandem over the past 30 years.

Scientists have long known that atmospheric convection in the form of hurricanes and tropical ocean thunderstorms tends to occur when sea surface temperature rises above a threshold. The critical question is, how do rising ocean temperatures with global warming affect this threshold? If the threshold does not rise, it could mean more frequent hurricanes.

According to a new study by researchers at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), this threshold sea surface temperature for convection is rising under global warming at the same rate as that of the tropical oceans. Their paper appears in the Advance Online Publications of Nature Geoscience.

In order to detect the annual changes in the threshold sea surface temperature, Nat Johnson, a postdoctoral fellow at IPRC, and Shang-Ping Xie, a professor of meteorology at IPRC and UHM, analyzed satellite estimates of tropical ocean rainfall spanning 30 years. They find that changes in the threshold temperature for convection closely follow the changes in average tropical sea surface temperature, which have both been rising approximately 0.1°C per decade.

"The correspondence between the two time series is rather remarkable," says lead author Johnson. "The convective threshold and average sea surface temperatures are so closely linked because of their relation with temperatures in the atmosphere extending several miles above the surface."

The change in tropical upper atmospheric temperatures has been a controversial topic in recent years because of discrepancies between reported temperature trends from instruments and the expected trends under global warming according to global climate models. The measurements from instruments have shown less warming than expected in the upper atmosphere. The findings of Johnson and Xie, however, provide strong support that the tropical atmosphere is warming at a rate that is consistent with climate model simulations.

"This study is an exciting example of how applying our knowledge of physical processes in the tropical atmosphere can give us important information when direct measurements may have failed us," Johnson notes. (University of Hawaii at Manoa)

The actual sea surface temperature is less important than the differential between surface and atmospheric temperature profile - no argument, that's why there has been no realistic expectation of a slightly warmer world producing more or larger storms. What is quite frightening is their attempt to bend this to suit justification of model output over observations. In fact it provides no such support since models insist the tropical atmosphere must warm more rapidly than the surface while their "in tandem" results actually suggests it is not (as do actual observations but never mind...).


HWGA: New ocean acidification study shows added danger to already struggling coral reefs

Univ. of Miami scientists illustrate threat of increased carbon dioxide to coral reproduction

MIAMI - A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that over the next century recruitment of new corals could drop by 73 percent, as rising CO2 levels turn the oceans more acidic. The research findings reveal a new danger to the already threatened Caribbean and Florida reef Elkhorn corals.

"Ocean acidification is widely viewed as an emerging threat to coral reefs," said Rosenstiel School graduate student Rebecca Albright. "Our study is one of the first to document the impacts of ocean acidification on coral recruitment." (University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science)


Iron stimulates blooms of toxin-producing algae in open ocean, study finds

SANTA CRUZ, CA--A team of marine scientists has found that toxin-producing algae once thought to be limited to coastal waters are also common in the open ocean, where the addition of iron from natural or artificial sources can stimulate rapid growth of the harmful algae. The new findings, reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, add to concerns about proposals to use iron fertilization of the oceans as a way to combat global warming.

Blooms of diatoms in the genus Pseudo-nitschia, which produce a neurotoxin called domoic acid, are a regular occurrence in coastal waters. During large blooms, the algal toxin enters the food chain, forcing the closure of some fisheries (such as shellfish and sardines) and poisoning marine mammals and birds that feed on contaminated fish. But until now, blooms of these algae in the open ocean have attracted little attention from researchers.

"Normally, Pseudo-nitschia cells are sparse in the open ocean, so they don't have much effect. But these species are incredibly responsive to iron, often becoming dominant in algal blooms that result from iron fertilization. Any iron input might cause a bloom of the cells that make the toxin," said Mary Silver, professor emerita of ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lead author of the new study. (University of California - Santa Cruz)


Further Comment By Andy Lacis On CO2 As A Climate Thermostat

Andy Lacis sent me a follow up his guest post

Guest Post “CO2: The Thermostat That Controls Earth’s Temperature” By Andy Lacis

 which I have presented below with his permission.


Thanks for the post. It looks very good. No doubt you will be receiving a variety of comments on it.

I am pleased that both Roy Spencer’s and your initial comments were basically that “there is really nothing that is particularly new” in our Science paper, for that would be precisely Jim Hansen’s opinion. Of course Jim Hansen would go further and say that there is nothing that is particularly new about proclaiming CO2 to be control knob that governs the temperature of Earth, since he has been saying that for years.

Roy felt that we were engaged in “circular” reasoning by ASSUMING(?) that water vapor and clouds were feedbacks, hence no surprise about the greenhouse effect collapsing when the non-condensing greenhouse gases are zeroed out.

I am not personally involved with the GCM evaporation and condensation of water vapor treatment. (I think that is Tony Del Genio’s job.) But it is my impression that evaporation and condensation of water vapor in the GCM is all physics based, with perhaps some coefficients based on field campaign observations. Nothing that could be interpreted as an “assumption”.

One of my objectives in writing the Science paper was to make a clear distinction between global warming (which can be understood as a cause and effect problem) and global climate change, which includes the much less well understood natural (unforced) variability on inter-annual and decadal time scales, the well documented 11-year solar variability and sporadic volcanic activity.

Since the natural variability and solar cycle forcing produce fluctuations about the global equilibrium temperature, they make no long term trend contribution (except that for a short climate record, they make it difficult to extract the global warming trend due to GHG increases from the climate record by statistical means).

Accordingly, there is a clear demonstration that without the radiative forcing provided by the non-condensing GHGs, the terrestrial greenhouse effect collapses because there is no structural temperature support to restrain the current climate water vapor from condensing and precipitating. Since atmospheric CO2 accounts for about 80% of the non-condensing GHG forcing, we thus conclude that CO2 acts as a thermostat  in controlling the equilibrium temperature of Earth.


I  invited Roy Spencer to comment, and he referred me to his post

My comments on Andy’s guest posts will appear tomorrow. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


The Antithesis

Submitted by sentient on Fri, 11/05/2010 - 14:23

You know, in science, there was once this thing we called the Theory of Multiple Working Hypotheses. Anathema (a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication) in modern climate science. So, in juxtaposition to the hypothesis of future global climate disruption from CO 2, a scientist might well consider an antithesis or two in order to maintain ones objectivity. One such antithesis, which happens to be a long running debate in paleoclimate science, concerns the end Holocene. Or just how long the present interglacial will last.

Looking at orbital mechanics and model results, Loutre and Berger (2003) in a landmark paper (meaning a widely quoted and discussed paper) for the time predicted that the current interglacial, the Holocene, might very well last another 50,000 years, particularly if CO 2 were factored in. This would make the Holocene the longest lived interglacial since the onset of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciations some 2.8 million years ago. Five of the last 6 interglacials have each lasted about half of a precession cycle. The precession cycle varies from 19-23k years, and we are at the 23kyr part of the range now, making 11,500 years half, which is also the present age of the Holocene.

Which is why this discussion has relevance.

But what about that 6th interglacial, the one that wasn’t on the half-precessional “clock”. That would be MIS-11 (or the Holsteinian) which according to the most recently published estimate may have lasted on the order of 20-22kyrs, with the longest estimate ranging up to 32kyrs.

Loutre and Berger’s 2003 paper was soon followed by another landmark paper by Lisieki and Raymo (Oceanography, 2004), an exhaustive look at 57 globally distributed deep Ocean Drilling Project (and other) cores, which stated:

“Recent research has focused on MIS 11 as a possible analog for the present interglacial [e.g., Loutre and Berger, 2003; EPICA community members, 2004] because both occur during times of low eccentricity. The LR04 age model establishes that MIS 11 spans two precession cycles, with 18O values below 3.6o/oo for 20 kyr, from 398-418 ka. In comparison, stages 9 and 5 remained below 3.6o/oo for 13 and 12 kyr, respectively, and the Holocene interglacial has lasted 11 kyr so far. In the LR04 age model, the average LSR of 29 sites is the same from 398-418 ka as from 250-650 ka; consequently, stage 11 is unlikely to be artificially stretched. However, the June 21 insolation minimum at 65N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a ‘double precession-cycle’ interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence.”

To bring this discussion up to date, Tzedakis, in perhaps the most open peer review process currently being practiced in the world today (The European Geosciences Union website Climate of the Past Discussions) published a quite thorough examination of the state of the science related to the two most recent interglacials, which like the present one, the Holocene (or MIS-1) is compared to MIS-19 and MIS-11, the other two interglacials which have occurred since the Mid Pleistocene Transition (MPT) and also occurred at eccentricity minimums. Since its initial publication in 2009, and its republication after the open online peer review process again in March of this year (2010), this paper is now also considered a landmark review of the state of paleoclimate science. In it he also considers Ruddiman’s Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis, with Rudddiman a part of the online review. Tzedakis’ concluding remarks are enlightening:

“On balance, what emerges is that projections on the natural duration of the current interglacial depend on the choice of analogue, while corroboration or refutation of the “early anthropogenic hypothesis” on the basis of comparisons with earlier interglacials remains irritatingly inconclusive.”

An astute reader might have gleaned that even on things which have happened, the science is not that particularly well settled. Which makes consideration of the science being settled on things which have not yet happened dubious at best.

As we move further towards the construction of the antithetic argument, we will take a closer look at the post-MPT end interglacials and the last glacial for some clues.

Higher resolution proxy studies from many parts of the planet suggest that the end interglacials may be quite the wild climate ride from the perspective of global climate disruption.

Boettger, et al (Quaternary International 207 [2009] 137–144) abstract it:

“In terrestrial records from Central and Eastern Europe the end of the Last Interglacial seems to be characterized by evident climatic and environmental instabilities recorded by geochemical and vegetation indicators. The transition (MIS 5e/5d) from the Last Interglacial (Eemian, Mikulino) to the Early Last Glacial (Early Weichselian, Early Valdai) is marked by at least two warming events as observed in geochemical data on the lake sediment profiles of Central (Gro¨bern, Neumark–Nord, Klinge) and of Eastern Europe (Ples). Results of palynological studies of all these sequences indicate simultaneously a strong increase of environmental oscillations during the very end of the Last Interglacial and the beginning of the Last Glaciation. This paper discusses possible correlations of these events between regions in Central and Eastern Europe. The pronounced climate and environment instability during the interglacial/glacial transition could be consistent with the assumption that it is about a natural phenomenon, characteristic for transitional stages. Taking into consideration that currently observed ‘‘human-induced’’ global warming coincides with the natural trend to cooling, the study of such transitional stages is important for understanding the underlying processes of the climate changes.”

Hearty and Neumann (Quaternary Science Reviews 20 [2001] 1881–1895) abstracting their work in the Bahamas state:

“The geology of the Last Interglaciation (sensu stricto, marine isotope substage (MIS) 5e) in the Bahamas records the nature of sea level and climate change. After a period of quasi-stability for most of the interglaciation, during which reefs grew to +2.5 m, sea level rose rapidly at the end of the period, incising notches in older limestone. After brief stillstands at +6 and perhaps +8.5 m, sea level fell with apparent speed to the MIS 5d lowstand and much cooler climatic conditions. It was during this regression from the MIS 5e highstand that the North Atlantic suffered an oceanographic ‘‘reorganization’’ about 11873 ka ago. During this same interval, massive dune-building greatly enlarged the Bahama Islands. Giant waves reshaped exposed lowlands into chevron-shaped beach ridges, ran up on older coastal ridges, and also broke off and threw megaboulders onto and over 20 m-high cliffs. The oolitic rocks recording these features yield concordant whole-rock amino acid ratios across the archipelago. Whether or not the Last Interglaciation serves as an appropriate analog for our ‘‘greenhouse’’ world, it nonetheless reveals the intricate details of climatic transitions between warm interglaciations and near glacial conditions.”

The picture which emerges is that the post-MPT end interglacials appear to be populated with dramatic, abrupt global climate disruptions which appear to have occurred on decadal to centennial time scales. Given that the Holocene, one of at least 3 post-MPT “extreme” interglacials, may not be immune to this repetitive phenomena, and as it is half a precession cycle old now, and perhaps unlikely to grow that much older, this could very well be the natural climate “noise” from which we must discern our anthropogenic “signal” from.

If we take a stroll between this interglacial and the last one back, the Eemian, we find in the Greenland ice cores that there were 24 Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations, or abrupt warmings that occurred from just a few years to mere decades that average between 8-10C rises (D-O 19 scored 16C). The nominal difference between earth’s cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) states being on the order of 20C. D-O events average 1470 years, the range being 1-4kyrs.

Sole, Turiel and Llebot writing in Physics Letters A (366 [2007] 184–189) identified three classes of D-O oscillations in the Greenland GISP2 ice cores A (brief), B (medium) and C (long), reflecting the speed at which the warming relaxes back to the cold glacial state:

“In this work ice-core CO 2 time evolution in the period going from 20 to 60 kyr BP [15] has been qualitatively compared to our temperature cycles, according to the class they belong to. It can be observed in Fig. 6 that class A cycles are completely unrelated to changes in CO 2 concentration. We have observed some correlation between B and C cycles and CO 2 concentration, but of the opposite sign to the one expected: maxima in atmospheric CO 2 concentration tend to correspond to the middle part or the end the cooling period. The role of CO 2 in the oscillation phenomena seems to be more related to extend the duration of the cooling phase than to trigger warming. This could explain why cycles not coincident in time with maxima of CO 2 (A cycles) rapidly decay back to the cold state.”

“Nor CO 2 concentration either the astronomical cycle change the way in which the warming phase takes place. The coincidence in this phase is strong among all the characterized cycles; also, we have been able to recognize the presence of a similar warming phase in the early stages of the transition from glacial to interglacial age. Our analysis of the warming phase seems to indicate a universal triggering mechanism, what has been related with the possible existence of stochastic resonance [1,13, 21]. It has also been argued that a possible cause for the repetitive sequence of D/O events could be found in the change in the thermohaline Atlantic circulation [2,8,22,25]. However, a cause for this regular arrangement of cycles, together with a justification on the abruptness of the warming phase, is still absent in the scientific literature.”

In their work, at least 13 of the 24 D-O oscillations (indeed other workers suggest the same for them all), CO 2 was not the agent provocateur of the warmings but served to ameliorate the relaxation back to the cold glacial state, something which might have import whenever we finally do reach the end Holocene. Instead of triggering the abrupt warmings it appears to function as somewhat of a climate “security blanket”, if you will.

Therefore in constructing the antithesis, and taking into consideration the precautionary principle, we are left to ponder if reducing CO 2’s concentration in the late Holocene atmosphere might actually be the wrong thing to do.

[ The preceding guest editorial was written by William F. McClenney. We welcome submission of guest articles, as long as they are cogently written, civil in tone and pertain to the general subjects presented on this website (i.e. climate change, science and energy policy). Submissions should be sent via the site “Contact” form. — admin ]

(The Resilient Earth)


BP, firms did not shirk safety for money: panel

The White House oil spill commission said on Monday it found no evidence to support accusations that the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history happened because workers for BP Plc and its partners cut corners to save money, mostly blaming the accident on a series of on-site misjudgments.

"To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety," the commission's Chief Counsel Fred Bartlit said at a meeting exploring the causes of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

Bartlit said the panel agreed with about 90 percent of the findings of BP's internal investigation of the accident released this summer. BP's report assigned much of the blame for the accident to its drilling partners.

Bartlit also said BP's well design was not inherently faulty, although it did have some impact on the drilling project's operations. (Reuters)


What Is the President Thinking When It Comes to Fracking?

by William Yeatman
08 November 2010 @ 1:26 pm

There has been a technological revolution in the natural gas industry over the last decade. In that time, a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has become economically viable, thereby allowing for the exploitation of huge natural gas reserves that had been too expensive to recover. As a result, America’s natural gas supply has roughly doubled.

In his post-election address last Wednesday, President Barack Obama indicated support for the fracking revolution. His administration’s record, however, is decidedly mixed on the issue.

On the one hand, the State Department is a big proponent of the technology, which it sees as a long term deterrent for Russia. As I’ve noted elsewhere, environmentalist policies in some European countries-but especially Germany-have rendered them increasingly…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Britain May Fund World's First Natural Gas Carbon Capture Plant

The U.K. may fund the world’s first project to capture carbon dioxide from natural-gas-fueled power stations and pipe it under the seabed for permanent storage.

Projects that demonstrate so-called carbon capture and storage, or CCS, on gas-fed plants will be able to apply for government funding, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said today in a statement on its website.

We are “opening our funding process to what could be one of the first ever commercial-scale CCS projects on a gas-fired plant in the world,” Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said in the statement. “We won’t be able to take the carbon out of all gas plants overnight, but we hope to support the process by investment in new technology now.”

Britain is seeking to cut government spending while securing energy supplies and reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. The nation may host four CCS projects by 2020, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said last month. The government didn’t say whether the projects must be on newly built power stations or fitted on existing plants. (Bloomberg)

Just stupid.


Sigh... EU Opens Bidding for $6 Billion in Carbon Capture, Renewable Energy Aid

The European Union started a contest for the first portion of about 4.3 billion euros ($6 billion) in subsidies to store carbon dioxide underground and promote renewable energy as part of the fight against global warming.

The EU invited bids for “clean coal” and renewable aid that will come from the planned sale of as many as 300 million allowances to emit carbon dioxide under Europe’s cap-and-trade program. Today’s announcement covers 200 million of the CO2 permits, which will come from a reserve set up for the post-2012 phase of the EU emissions-trading system. (Bloomberg)


Expert says development of Marcellus shale fields offers huge benefits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Development of the natural gas-rich Marcellus shale can create thousands of jobs and result in other economic benefits but must be done carefully, the American Petroleum Institute's chief economist said.

"We've admittedly been slow in terms of our outreach," said John Felmy, chief economist with the American Petroleum Institute - a national trade association representing the oil and natural gas industry.

"Basically, technology overcame us," he said. "We haven't done as effective a job as we can to explain the technology and to explain that the technology itself hasn't caused water problems but other aspects of drilling and cementing have to be done properly."

Natural gas drilling in the Appalachian basin has become a high-profile business during the past several years as companies learned how to drill horizontal wells and fracture the Marcellus shale to release natural gas.

The new drilling know-how is re-shaping the industry. There's talk that the Marcellus shale gas field may contain 500 trillion cubic feet of gas.

"That's a resource worth trillions of dollars," Felmy said. (George Hohmann, Daily Mail)


Pipeline To Nowhere

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) chief John Hanger is planning to give Alaska’s infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” a run for its money.

Mr. Hanger wants to spend $11.8 million on a water pipeline that would serve four families in the Susquehanna County’s Dimock Township who claim that their water has been polluted with methane by local natural gas drilling.

While spending so much money to bring water to so few people is absurd on its face, it gets worse.

Those four families don’t really need the pipeline since they could, as 14 neighboring families already have, allow driller Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. to install methane treatment systems that eliminate the problem altogether.

But wait, it gets worse. It turns out that the available evidence indicates that Cabot’s drilling isn’t responsible for the contamination in the first place.

Area residents have signed affidavits attesting to having had methane in their water for more than 30 years while Cabot didn’t start drilling in the area until 2006. It doesn’t end there. (Steve Milloy, The Bulletin)


Despite Billions in Subsidies, Corn Ethanol Has Not Cut U.S. Imports

Written by Robert Bryce

In the next few weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to rule on a proposal to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol that may be blended into gasoline. If the EPA approves the move, the U.S. motor-fuel market would yet again become the victim of misguided federal intervention. Since the 1970s, Congress has justified subsidies to the corn ethanol industry with the oft-repeated claim that boosting domestic production of ethanol will increase America's energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports. That claim has no basis in fact.

Read more... (SPPI)


Biofuel worse for climate than fossil fuel - study

BRUSSELS, Nov 8 - European plans to promote biofuels will drive farmers to convert 69,000 square km of wild land into fields and plantations, depriving the poor of food and accelerating climate change, a report warned on Monday.

The impact equates to an area the size of the Republic of Ireland.

As a result, the extra biofuels that Europe will use over the next decade will generate between 81 and 167 percent more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, says the report.

Nine environmental groups reached the conclusion after analysing official data on the European Union's goal of getting 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020.

But the European Commission's energy team, which originally formulated the goal, countered that the bulk of the land needed would be found by recultivating abandoned farmland in Europe and Asia, minimising the impact.

New science has emerged this year casting doubt on the sustainability of the 10 percent goal, but EU energy officials have argued that only around two thirds of that target will be met through biofuels, with the balance being vehicles powered by renewable electricity.

But 23 of the EU's 27 member states have now published their national strategies for renewable energy, revealing that fully 9.5 percent of transport fuel will be biofuel in 2020, 90 percent of which will come from food crops, the report says.

The EU's executive Commission is now considering whether to tweak legislation to take account of the emerging science.

This year's fractious quest to understand the impact of EU biofuels policy has already led to allegations of bias, court action against the Commission and warnings that the probes will kill the nascent industry. (Reuters)


Rare earths supply is a green problem

Al Gore and greens in America have used the nation’s dependency on foreign oil as a lever to push for hybrid cars and alternative energy sources, especially renewables like solar and wind.

The problem is that America is simply switching from one dependency to another. Instead of sending billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia for oil, the push toward renewable technologies shifts the dependency to China, which holds a near monopoly on the supply of rare earths which are used in wind turbines, rechargeable batteries and solar panels, not to mention its many uses in hybrid vehicles: (Daily Bayonet)


Environmentalists Blocking Wind Farms? And Solar? And Geothermal?

As demonstrated by the legal battle blocking power lines to wind farms in Kansas, environmental groups are increasingly against all forms of energy production.
November 8, 2010 - by Patrick Richardson

Kansas is ranked second in the nation behind Montana for wind energy potential, a fact which should have environmentalists jumping for joy. Instead, they’re trying to block the construction of transmission lines to wind farms in south central Kansas and north central Oklahoma. (PJM)


Rightly so: Cost of Green Power Makes Projects Tougher Sell

Michael Polsky’s wind farm company was doing so well in 2008 that banks were happy to lend millions for his effort to light up America with clean electricity.

But two years later, Mr. Polsky has a product he is hard-pressed to sell.

His company, Invenergy, had a contract to sell power to a utility in Virginia, but state regulators rejected the deal, citing the recession and the lower prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels.

“The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high,” the regulators said. Wind power would have increased the monthly bill of a typical residential customer by 0.2 percent.

Even as many politicians, environmentalists and consumers want renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, a growing number of projects are being canceled or delayed because governments are unwilling to add even small amounts to consumers’ electricity bills.

Deals to buy renewable power have been scuttled or slowed in states including Florida, Idaho and Kentucky as well as Virginia. By the end of the third quarter, year-to-date installations of new wind power dropped 72 percent from 2009 levels, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group. (NYT)


Wind Energy is Ancient (the infant industry argument for subsidies does not apply)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
November 8, 2010

 “The use of wind power is as old as history.”

- Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951), p. 62.

The day after the election, the New York Times cutely titled an editorial, “New Energy Outfoxes Old in California.” The Houston Chronicle dutifully reprinted it.

Problem is, what the Left sees as new energy is really ancient, and what is seen as old is really new. Coal, oil, and gas are several hundred years old; renewable energies are as old as human time. Solar and wind and falling water and burning plants–renewables all–are caveman energies.

This textbook from 1838 (is this old enough for you, New York Times?) explained the problem with wind, a problem that is at the center of the debate 172 years later.


Here are some quotations to show that wind is ancient, as energy historians have documented. Perhaps our newspapers can reverse the tags for their next op-ed on the subject.


“Energy from the wind is not new. Two hundred years ago windmills were a common feature of the European landscape; for example, in 1800 there were over 10,000 working windmills in Britain. During the past few years they have again become familiar on the skyline especially in countries in western Europe (for instance, Denmark, Great Britain and Spain) and in western North America. Slim, tall, sleek objects silhouetted against the sky, they do not have the rustic elegance of the old windmills, but they much more efficient.”

- John Houghton, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 7. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Solar mania will cast a shadow over Britain

Big subsidies to cover fields with solar panels are a huge waste of money, says James Delingpole.

One of the things for which Britain is justly famous is its lush, green, spectacularly beautiful countryside. One of the things for which Britain is not at all famous is its endless sunshine. Put these two basic facts together and you might reach one obvious conclusion: that any taxpayer-funded scheme to carpet that unspoilt landscape in solar panels in order to generate electricity at nearly three times the market cost is bound to end in disaster.

You know this. I know this. (James Delingpole, TDT)



Antibiotics Research Subsidies Weighed by U.S.

Worried about an impending public health crisis, government officials are considering offering financial incentives to the pharmaceutical industry, like tax breaks and patent extensions, to spur the development of vitally needed antibiotics.

While the proposals are still nascent, they have taken on more urgency as bacteria steadily become resistant to virtually all existing drugs at the same time that a considerable number of pharmaceutical giants have abandoned this field in search of more lucrative medicines. The number of new antibiotics in development is “distressingly low,” Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said at a news conference last month. The world’s weakening arsenal against “superbugs” has prompted scientists to warn that everyday infections could again become a major cause of death just as they were before the advent of penicillin around 1940.

“For these infections, we’re back to dancing around a bubbling cauldron while rubbing two chicken bones together,” said Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious disease specialist at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center in Torrance, Calif.

For example, scientists have become alarmed by the spread from India of a newly discovered mutation called NDM-1, which renders certain germs like E. coli invulnerable to nearly all modern antibiotics. About 100,000 Americans a year are killed by infections acquired in hospitals, many resistant to multiple antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, the best known superbug, now kills more Americans each year than AIDS.

While the notion of directly subsidizing drug companies may be politically unpopular in many quarters, proponents say it is necessary to bridge the gap between the high value that new antibiotics have for society and the low returns they provide to drug companies. (NYT)


HWGA: Red meat linked to esophageal, stomach cancer risks

Red-meat lovers may have a greater likelihood of developing certain cancers of the throat and stomach than people who limit their intake of steaks and hamburgers, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that among nearly 500,000 older U.S. adults followed for a decade, only a small number developed cancers of the esophagus or stomach. However, the risks were relatively greater among those who ate a lot of red meat, or certain compounds generated from cooking meat.

Overall, study participants in the top 20 percent for red-meat intake were 79 percent more likely than those in the bottom 20 percent to develop esophageal squamous cell carcinoma -- a cancer that arises in the lining of the upper part of the esophagus.

Meanwhile, the risk of a type of cancer in the upper portion of the stomach near the esophagus (gastric cardia) was elevated among men and women with the highest estimated intake of one form of heterocyclic amine (HCA). HCAs are compounds that form when meat is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as grilling over an open flame; they have been found to cause cancer in lab animals.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, do not prove that red meat promotes the two cancers, the researchers emphasize. (Reuters Health)

Nice Trojan Numbers too ;-) Actually the numbers of interest in these 50-71 year olds are a 10 year risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma of 215/494,979 (0.04%) or about 0.09% for gastric cardia cancer. Patients were classified according to estimated intake of one form of heterocyclic amine (HCA), what you might call a char-grill preference rating.


They're claiming hormesis? Lawrence Solomon: The scan that cures

CT scans may not just detect ­cancer, they may actually prevent it

‘This is the first time that we have seen clear evidence of a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality with a screening test,” said Dr. Christine Berg of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, referring to the CT scans that led to a 20% decline in cancer deaths in the largest-ever study of its kind.

“Really stunning,” said David Naidich, professor of radiology and medicine at NYU-Langone Medical Center, a member of the study’s executive oversight committee.

“Huge,” said Regina Vidaver, executive director of the National Lung Cancer Partnership, an advocacy organization. “To me this is a game changer.”

In fact, the stunning results could be even huger than these medical experts realize. CT scans (also known as computed tomography or CAT scans) not only catch tumours early, allowing for early treatment; CT scans may prevent tumours as well.

Read More » (Financial Post)


Food Justice In Frisco

Liberties: San Francisco's ban on McDonald's Happy Meals powerfully illustrates how far elected officials will go if we let them. From your kid's lunch to your doctor, government — not you — decides.

On Dec. 1, just in time for Christmas, kids living in the Golden Gate City who ask for a McDonald's burger, fries and soda with a special toy prize, served in their own colorful box adorned with cartoon characters, will be left saddened.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 last week to declare Happy Meals illegal. Time was, champions of economic freedom would have been accused of alarmism by big-government adversaries for suggesting that such a thing lay in the future. Today, the future of massively meddlesome government has arrived. (IBD)


Attack of the Food Police

The government tells us what medicines we may take and what recreational substances we may ingest, but when it comes to food, we decide what goes down our gullets. Gun-owning barbecuers coexist peacefully with Humane Society vegans. To paraphrase the old adage, your freedom ends where my stomach begins.

But not everyone is keen on emancipated eating. Public health puritans, appalled at the spread of excess weight, think the government should forcefully guide our dining choices. And when it comes to policy, they are getting a place at the table. (Steve Chapman, Townhall)


While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales

Domino’s Pizza was hurting early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left the company tied for the worst tasting pies.

Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign.

Consumers devoured the cheesier pizza, and sales soared by double digits. “This partnership is clearly working,” Brandon Solano, the Domino’s vice president for brand innovation, said in a statement to The New York Times.

Well duh! USDA is supposed to promote agriculture and its products.


Salt, sugar and fat could follow kilojoules on food labels

SALT, sugar and fat are shaping up to be the next battleground in a push by health groups for comprehensive labelling of the contents of fast foods, after the industry capitulated to government demands to display the total energy value of products.

Kilojoule counts for food and drinks sold through fast-food outlets will feature prominently on menus from February, under legislation the state government will introduce this week, though companies will have a 12-month grace period before being hit with fines for non-compliance.

The Greens believe the new laws do not go far enough and will try to amend the legislation to include salt and saturated fat content but the Premier, Kristina Keneally, said kilojoule counts were a good first step. (SMH)


Focus on HIV prevents us from curing a billion people, say scientists

Experts say governments treat 'big name' ailments like Aids and malaria when many which kill far more people in the developing world could be eradicated cheaply (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Nice one, Robbie McKie! Finally got your name on a useful article - very impressive. Do try to keep up the good work.


Misanthropists don't like being exposed: Greens angered over C4 claims they 'caused starvation'

A Channel 4 documentary accusing the green movement of causing mass starvation in Africa by getting it wrong on genetically-modified food has been attacked as "malicious" and "ridiculous" by farm groups on the continent.

"What the Green Movement Got Wrong", broadcast this week, by the same channel that aired the hugely controversial "Great Climate Change Swindle" suggests that the Western green consensus against GM foods had impoverished the southern hemisphere. (Independent)


Mad Prince Charlie, airhead to the throne: Harmony by HRH Prince Charles, Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly – review

Prince Charles is right to speak up on climate change, but some of his ideas are completely off the wall (Rowan Moore, The Observer)



M4GW's Newest Song - I'm a Denier

It's a parody of "I'm a Believer" written by Neil Diamond and performed by the Monkees. This version was written by Elmer Beauregard and Brian D. Smith and performed by Elmer & The Deniers.

This song is in honor of all the new Republican Freshman entering Congress and the Senate most of whom are Deniers and proud of it.

Now available for Download. (Minnesotans For Global Warming (M4GW))


If Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?

The CCX was the topic of thousands of MSM articles over the years, but not a single article reported their recent demise. Hmmm. (Steve Milloy, PJM)


The Green Bubble Is about to Burst

There is a revolution coming that is likely to burst the green global warming bubble: the temperature trend used by the IPCC (the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to support their conclusion about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is likely to turn out to be fake. The situation will become clear once Virginia's attorney general, Kenneth Cuccinelli, obtains information now buried in e-mails at the University of Virginia. Or Hearings on Climategate by the U.S. Congress may uncover the "smoking gun" that demonstrates that the warming trend used by the IPCC does not really exist.

It has become increasingly clear that any observed warming during the past century is of natural origin and that the human contribution is insignificant. It is doubtful that any significant warming is attributable to greenhouse gases at all.

Once the public accepts these scientific conclusions, it should have immense consequences for policy. It will mean that the impact of rising CO2 levels is negligibly small, as has already been concluded by the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), a group of scientists skeptical of the U.N.-supported IPCC. It would also mean that wind energy, solar energy, and other "non-carbon" energy sources are not needed and are in fact counterproductive. It would remove the need for alternative fuels such as ethanol (which might please many true environmentalists). It would also mean that carbon trading, cap and trade, and fanciful schemes for carbon capture and sequestration would all end up in the dustbin of history.

One may expect a huge outcry and serious and protracted opposition from those who have built their careers on global warming hype and who have made investments in alternative energy or are looking for immense profits from carbon trading. Yet the scientific facts must win out in the long run -- even against the financial interests of favored groups, wind farm profiteers, ethanol refiners, carbon traders, and the investment firms and banks that have placed hundreds of billions of dollars of their clients' money into green projects. (S. Fred Singer, American Thinker)


It’s Official! There Will Not Be Any Climate Apocalypse! (For At Least Five Years)

It’s official! The WWF is wrong. Greenpeace is wrong. Avaaz is wrong. Prince Charles is wrong. The UN climate negotiators are wrong. James Hansen is wrong. Many, many people are wrong, including Bill McKibben, Joe Romm, John Holdren. Countless people and especially children are being duped, day in, day out, into believing that the end of the world is nigh.

Simply, there is officially no hurry about climate change, as stated by the “European Union’s rapporteur on climate change” (the European Union? Or the Council of Europe? Does anybody care, can anybody tell the difference?) about the upcoming Cancun meeting:

Let’s have a voluntary agreement. Let’s stop the clock. Instead of Kyoto having to be done by 2012, stop it for about five years, put in a voluntary agreement and a verification system.

Thus spake on Thursday Lord John (Two Jags) Prescott, having cycled to China (or maybe not). His words were uttered on the august microphones of the BBC’s Today programme, but for some reason failed to materialise in the Today’s “running order” page, or anywhere else at the BBC site apart from the direct link to the interview’s recording. Had it not been for the Telegraph, I would have had to re-type them myself (Carbon News and DeHavilland are hiding their reports behind paywalls).

Anyway…what can they mean? Remember, whatever his past Lord Prescott is now talking for Europe, and European politicans have always liked to be at the forefront of quasi-suicidal climate-change-fighting binding pacts. They are hardly a bunch of Koch-sponsored evil Deniers: and still, at this stage of the negotiations they’re happy to settle for a five-year hiatus in imposing anything to anybody.

In other words, the most pro-AGW politicians on Earth are pretty much convinced we are not facing the last chance to save the world, it’s not 99 months to the apocalypse, the 350ppm threshold in CO2 concentration can be crossed for several years in a row without any cause for panic. Etc etc.

I wonder if all of that will go in the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC AR5? (Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


And this starts with such promise: Should our biggest climate change fear be fear itself?

Historian Matthias Dörries reveals the role of fear in our understanding of climate change

From apocalyptic forecasting to estimates of mass extinctions, climate change is a topic which is filled with fearful predictions for the future. In his latest research, published in WIREs Climate Change, historian Matthias Dörries examines the cultural significance of fear and how it became a central presence in current debates over climate change.

Climatic change, as represented by the media, often prompts headlines predicting disastrous events, frequently adopting fear laden language including analogies with war and warnings of the imminence or irreversibility of pending catastrophes. For Professor Matthias Dörries from the University of Strasbourg, a culture of fear is alive, and doing very well.

Professor Dörries looks at the issue of fear from a historical perspective, asking how our current society has come to conceive of climate change in terms of catastrophe and fear.

"Recently historians have underlined the necessity to revise the grand Enlightenment narrative of science as antidote to fear," Dörries stresses, "We should now look at how popular and scientific discourses frame fear, and study the constructive and destructive functions of these fear discourses in societies."

The 1960s and 1970s were characterized by an increasing appropriation of the future by science, leading to a rise of fear discourses by scientists themselves.

"For the very long run, science has indeed some terrifying prospects to offer for the planet Earth, and on a scale of decades, science has identified serious threats, such as anthropogenic climate change," Dörries remarks.

"The current discourse of fear over climate change reflects the attempts to come to grips with the long-term issue of anthropogenic climate change," concludes Dörries. "They are appeals for action, they imply claims to power, they stress that the issue is political and cultural, not merely a matter of science and reason alone." (Wiley-Blackwell)

Yes, climate superstition is a major problem but no, science has not identified anthropogenic climate change as significant at all, much less a serious threat. In fact the only place catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is found is in the virtual realms of PlayStation® climatology. We have no evidence of its existence in the real world.


Green Groups Will Fight Smaller Battles

EDF, Sierra Club, and NRDC change tactics after midterm vote.

Environmental groups are licking their wounds, regrouping, and planning a strategic comeback with a new message after Tuesday’s elections delivered a crushing blow to their agenda.

For the past three years, the nation’s most influential green groups – among them the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council – joined forces in an estimated $300 million campaign to push the most ambitious environmental policy ever: enacting a cap-and-trade emissions law that would fundamentally transform the nation’s energy economy.

Their effort sputtered this summer in the Senate and met its decisive end after Republicans surged into control of the House on Tuesday. Even President Obama has made clear that prospects for a comprehensive climate bill are politically frozen.

The big green groups will change from offense to defense. They'll do it with a stealth campaign that includes new messages, targets, tactics and allies, and, they hope, a lot more money.

The biggest pivot: Instead of media campaigns about saving the planet from global warming, look for public health pitches aimed at saving children from asthma, pregnant women from mercury poisoning, and small communities from the pollution of specific, local coal plants — such as thick, heavy coal ash. Watch for ads attacking Republicans who would seek to dismantle the Clean Air Act that regulates those pollutants. Even though the ads might not mention climate change, that’s what they’ll be about.  (Coral Davenport, National Journal)


EPA policy chief steps down

One of the Obama administration’s most aggressive officials on global warming regulations is stepping down from her post at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lisa Heinzerling, the head of EPA’s policy office, will return to her position as a Georgetown University law professor at the end of the year, said EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan.

Within EPA, Heinzerling is one of the more dogmatic proponents of regulating greenhouse gases to the maximum extent possible under the Clean Air Act. (Politico)


Climate Alarmism at the New York Times

The New York Times editorial page has been persistent in publishing alarmist editorials on climate change. The latest one appearing shortly before the November elections accused politicians of being in "denial" about climate change. What nonsense! Climate is changing all the time; it has been doing it for millions of years -- without any human intervention. And politicians are simply trying to stay in step with the public.

There is no credible evidence at all that human activities have had any appreciable influence on global climate changes during the last century. While many scientists still believe in a major human contribution, the number of skeptical scientists has been growing steadily as the evidence against AGW [anthropogenic global warming] becomes ever more apparent.

Just ask yourself: what evidence is there to indicate that any warming over the last century is due to human influences? Not even the UN- supported IPCC has been able to point to any solid facts in favor of AGW. The latest science debate revolves around "finger prints" in the climate record. Do the observations of temperature change in the atmosphere show a certain pattern, which is characteristic of greenhouse warming? The answer is a resounding No. (S. Fred Singer, American Thinker)


Still seeking their global tax regime: Bank Tax, CO2 Auctions Recommended by Soros Panel to Help Climate Efforts

At least $65 billion might be raised by taxing foreign-exchange transactions and auctioning pollution permits, a United Nations panel said today in a report recommending ways to finance aid for fighting global warming.

The panel, which includes billionaire investor George Soros and Larry Summers, director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, said selling carbon-emissions permits would generate $38 billion and a financial transactions tax an additional $27 billion, according to the report released today.

The findings are intended to guide envoys at UN climate talks that start this month in Mexico as they seek ways to pay for $100 billion in climate aid that was pledged by 2020 to poor nations at last year’s summit in Copenhagen. The report found that the goal is “challenging but feasible” to achieve. (Bloomberg)


R i g h t . . . Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics

The American Geophysical Union plans to announce Monday that 700 researchers have agreed to speak out on the issue. The effort is a pushback against congressional conservatives who have vowed to kill regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. (Chicago Tribune)


Another letter from Hal Lewis to the American Physical Society

Dr. Harold Lewis sent this today via email with a request to make it public here. I’m happy to oblige. Read the letter to understand the movie poster.- Anthony

Date: Saturday, November 06, 2010 2:32 PM
To: Curt_Callen
Cc: Kate Kirby
Subject: followup

Dear Curt:

When on October 6 I sent you my letter of resignation from APS , I of course expected the Empire to strike back in one way or another. It pleased me however, when I read your response, to find a very minimum of ad hominem attacks, confined mostly to apparently irresistible eruptions of “Lewis is a liar.” (“His statements are all false” is the equivalent.) So I thank you for that courtesy.

Continue reading (WUWT)


Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt?

Written by Dr. David Evans

How many excuses does it take? The Western Climate Establishment has allowed egregious mistakes, major errors, and obvious biases to accumulate — each factor on its own might be hard to pin down, but the pattern is undeniable.

Read more... (SPPI)


Plans Afoot for Topical Group On the Physics of Climate

During the summer, APS received two independent requests for the formation of a topical group focusing on the physics of climate. One was presented by APS Fellow Roger Cohen, who had privately circulated a petition to that effect and obtained the 200 member signatures needed to bring it to Council. The other came as an initiative of Council itself, which at its April meeting had authorized APS President Curtis Callan to poll the membership on their support for such a group; an email petition sent by him to the members of DCP, DBP, DCOMP, DAMOP and DFD in early August quickly received almost 800 signatures.

“It’s clear that there is a great deal of enthusiasm among the APS membership for the formation of a topical group on the physics of climate,” said Kate Kirby, APS Executive Officer. “There are a number of opportunities for the physics community to make substantial contributions to science in this area.” (APS)


Judith Curry, positive feedbacks, and AGW bubble

There may be things in which I disagree with Judith Curry but her viewpoint on the positive feedbacks in climate science - and not only climate science - are spot on, I think.

Reversing the direction of positive feedback Part I

Reversing the direction of positive feedback Part II

You may want to read them. Aside from the links, this blog entry is not excessively important. But I just reproduce a comment your humble correspondent has posted on her blog.

Dear Judith, I also think that you focused on actual values – and not on particular people – which is the right thing to do.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)


LABOHM: Climate change no longer scares Europe

Tide of opinion changing in the Old World

The fight against the delusion of dangerous man-made global warming remains an uphill struggle. For decades, the climate debate has been obfuscated by cherry-picking, spin-doctoring and scaremongering by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate alarmists, including the environmental movement and mainstream media. Their massive campaign to overstate the threat of man-made warming has left its imprint on public opinion.

But the tide seems to be turning. The Climate Conference fiasco in Copenhagen, the Climategate scandal and stabilization of worldwide temperatures since 1995 have given rise to growing doubts about the putative threat of "dangerous global warming" or "global climate disruption." Indeed, even Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and one of the main players in Climategate, now acknowledges that there has been no measurable warming since 1995 despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. (Hans Labohm, Washington Times)


Vincent Courtillot: The Climate Report by the French Academy of Sciences

Friday, 05 November 2010 15:10
Dr. David Whitehouse

Following a strange petition signed by hundreds of self-designated climate scientists addressed to the French minister of research and asking her to disavow what they viewed as erroneous and aggressive positions against them by Claude Allègre and myself, the minister decided on April 1st to ask the Academy of Sciences (of which we both are members) to organise a debate, in order to allow for a “serene confrontation of points of view and methods and establish the current state of the art on scientific knowledge of climate change”. The Academy decided to hold the debate in September, after a phase in which academicians interested in participating were invited to submit written statements on the Academy intranet site. Academicians and a number of scientific institutions were also asked to propose names of climate scientists who would participate. Altogether, over 40 written contributions were submitted prior to the debate, which was held at the Academy on September 20. Some 120 academicians and other scientists attended a full day with four sessions, each organized in the same way and chaired by a “neutral” Academy member : two summaries of the written contributions by Academy members, then two or three short (7 mn, 5 overheads) presentations introductory to the debate. Each of these sessions was followed by a full hour of open discussion. The four topics were: recent climate observations, past climate, numerical models, and physical processes. I gave one of the 7mn presentations on observations of recent climate change and our published work on evidence for solar forcing. There was no other “labeled climate-skeptic” presentation, but a number of presentations were critical of significant aspects of the majority view as expressed by the IPCC reports. That view remained (although of course no vote was taken) the majority view, but I was impressed by the quality and number of distinguished academicians expressing what I found to be very sensible remarks that supported at least partly the “skeptical” view and in any case insisted that the debate should remain elegant and open (which was the case for most of the day). Four colleagues wrote the final report (a geologist, an astrophysicist, plus the president and vice-president of the Academy, who are specialists in mechanics and cardiology, by the way all of them colleagues with whom I have the most friendly relationships). This report was submitted to the minister on October 28, and has been the subject of reports in the French media since then.

Several of these media view the report as definitely vindicating the IPCC conclusions. This is not at all what the September debate showed, and in my view is neither what the report given to the minister says, provided one takes the time to read it fully and carefully. Because of the distortion, I give here my own analysis of that report, and explain why I would have voted for it, had I been in the room on October 26. However, I was in Martinique, attending the annual meeting with the local authorities regarding the state of the Montagne Pelée volcano, which is monitored by my Institute (IPGP). (GWPF)


Why Mitigation Should Not Be the Climate Change Policy of Choice (Even if it’s a Real Problem)

AMS [American Meteorological Society] Policy Statement on Inadvertent Weather Modification Illustrates Fuzzy and Flawed Thinking on Public Policy

By Indur M. Goklany

The AMS has a new policy statement on Inadvertent Weather Modification (H/T to Prof. Roger Pielke, Sr., 11/4/2010). In this post I will not address its recommendations. I will, instead, focus on fundamental flaws in its two sections on mitigation and adaptation which, in my opinion, are related since they flow from a common misconception error in its policy “analysis” of global warming.

Below, I reproduce these two sections with changes in CAP-and-strikeout format that would have finessed these flaws. [CAPS indicate INSERTS into the text, and strikeouts indicate — well — strikeouts.] Also, I have inserted commentary in bold within square brackets where the rationale for my inserts and strikeouts is not self-evident.

As you can see from my inserts, strikeout and commentary, the AMS policy statement reveals fuzzy and, sometimes, fundamentally flawed, thinking.

Continue reading (WUWT)


David Cameron letting China off climate change hook, says Labour

Official delegation heads for Beijing even as £14.4m fund set up to advise on alternatives to coal is slashed

David Cameron was accused last night of sending the wrong signals on climate change to China, the world's biggest polluter, as he prepared to lead the largest-ever official UK delegation to the country. He will be accompanied by George Osborne, the chancellor, business secretary Vince Cable, the climate and energy secretary, Chris Huhne, and Michael Gove, the education minister, as well as more than 50 business leaders on the two-day visit starting on Tuesday. (The Observer)

When was China ever on the AGW "hook"?


Labor urged to follow Obama on carbon

AUSTRALIA must follow the US and abandon an emissions trading scheme, the opposition and business said yesterday.

President Barack Obama confirmed on Thursday, following the Democratic Party's mid-term election drubbing, that the US administration's cap-and-trade bill for carbon was dead.

Business leader and former Reserve Bank board member Dick Warburton said Australia should follow Mr Obama's lead and investigate other ways to cut carbon emissions.

"We should follow Obama and look to ways to clean the air of particulate pollution and make better use of resources, including gas and nuclear," Mr Warburton said. (The Australian)


Good News for Polar Bears: Goose Eggs on the Menu

Back in May, we reported on the Trumpeter Swan’s recovery from the edge of extinction that was being made a bit easier by a warming Arctic. Now comes word of another Arctic bird that is benefiting from the warming—and at the same time, helping the polar bear cope with climate change.

This time around it is the snow goose—a rather plentiful denizen of the far north.

Snow goose populations have been expanding as of late, and now are so large that some regions of the Arctic breeding grounds are getting a bit overpopulated and are facing degradation from the geese.

At the same time, polar bears are starting to have to come in off their preferred sea-ice hunting grounds sooner, as the ice is breaking up earlier and earlier in the season.

In the western Hudson Bay region, at least, this evolving situation is bringing the two species into ever-more contact. And the polar bears are finding snow geese eggs to be an excellent source of nutrition.

Such are the conclusions of a new research study performed by Robert Rockwell and Linda Gormezano just-published in the journal Polar Biology, titled “The early bear gets the goose: climate change, polar bears and lesser snow geese in western Hudson Bay.” The research was funded by the Hudson Bay Project and the American Museum of Natural History. (WCR)


Diminishing Returns From Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Simulations

I have posted that the NSF is funding grants which as part of (or all) of their focus is to provide multi-decadal global and regional climate model projections; i.e. see

The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill.

The NSF is also perpetuating an erroneously narrow view of the climate system, as I posted in

Comments On An NSF Webcast On “Will Clouds – The Wild Card of Climate Change – Speed Or Slow Warming?” By David A. Randall.

These claims and projections are based on global climate models.

Judy Curry, on her weblog Climate Etc has very effectively summarized the diminishing scientific responses from the use of these models in her post

Decision making under climate uncertainty: Part I

where she wrote

“So it seems like we are gearing up for much more model development in terms of higher resolution and adding additional complexity. Yes, we will learn more about the climate models and possibly something new about how the climate system works.  But  it is not clear that any of this will provide useful information for decision makers on a time scale of less than 10 years to support decision making on stabilization targets, beyond the information presented in the AR4.”

I agree with this viewpoint.  This culture of using models as the tool to communicate to policymakers is an inappropriate and misleading use of the scientific method. I also discussed this misuse of models in my post

Comments On Numerical Modeling As The New Climate Science Paradigm

where Dick Lindzen is quoted

“In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.”

Hopefully, the NSF (and other agencies) will soon realize that most of this funding is a waste of taxpayers money and could be better spent on other research uses in climate and elsewhere. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


Few companies meet carbon reporting norms

Most British businesses fail to comply with government guidance on reporting their carbon footprints, a Deloitte survey of 100 listed firms reveals.

Of the companies polled, only a handful came "within striking distance" of complying with the guidance, suggesting that reporting practices would need to undergo a significant overhaul if the rules become mandatory. "Many companies, particularly those outside the top tier of FTSE companies, could do better," said Jenny Harrison, a director of Deloitte's energy practice and carbon reporting and assurance team.

Last year, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published guidance on how to measure and report carbon emissions. Though currently voluntary, the Defra guidance could be rendered mandatory from 2012. (Independent)

They shouldn't provide any information to the enemy at all.


Idiots! Gas plants now eligible for £9bn carbon capture demonstration programme

Programme to store emissions rather than release them into atmosphere previously only open to coal plants

Gas plants will be eligible for the government's £9bn carbon capture demonstration programme, Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, will announce tomorrow. The programme had only been open to coal plants, which in future will be required to fit the technology to capture and store emissions rather than release them into the atmosphere.

The move follows a warning from an independent body, the Committee on Climate Change, that the UK will miss its target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 unless gas plants are subject to the same new emissions controls as coal. But Huhne will stop short of endorsing the committee's other recommendation to fit gas plants with the technology after 2020. Huhne will say only that new emissions controls will not apply to gas in the "short and medium term", although this leaves the door open for tougher action in a decade. (Guardian)


Washington Disconnect: SUV Sales Well Over 50 Percent of Market

As if to put a punctuation mark on how out-of-touch Washington is with the electorate, October vehicle sales released today reveal that SUV sales have now almost fully rebounded from their pre-recession numbers and now make up 53 percent of the market, with cars at just 47 percent. The numbers have flipped since last October as the economy recovers and customers return to bigger, more fuel-thirsty vehicles.

The figures came in the same month that the Obama administration ordered the EPA to study raising average mpg mandates to an absurd 62 mpg by 2025 (why not 100 mpg? Do I hear 150?) on top of an already fanciful 35 mpg figure by 2015. Currently, only cars like the tiny Smart two-seater make 35 mpg while the market trend is away from compacts. (Henry Payne, Planet Gore)


Offshore Drilling Commission Convenes: Same Old Attacks, Still Missing The Facts

Oil and natural gas firms have long served as straw men for politicians and "green" lobbies on the campaign trail. The 2010 election season was no different — flooded with misbegotten BP references, blurring the line between proportional reprimand for a safety outlier and political rhetoric about the industry as a whole.

Though the midterms are over, the rhetoric will likely continue this week at the D.C. meeting of the President's National Commission on Offshore Drilling.

Publicly vilifying and legislatively attacking the entire oil industry, many federal policymakers have confused proportional, appropriate responses with political rhetoric in the wake of the spill in the Gulf.

Rather than serving our nation's best interest by encouraging development of a safer, more efficient energy sector, such dubious politicking only serves special interests (especially environmental activists and renewable energy lobbies aiming to impose an anti-oil agenda). (IBD)


Shell Presses for Drilling in Arctic

HOUSTON — Eager to win approval for its stalled plan to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic, Royal Dutch Shell is beginning a public lobbying campaign, including national advertising, on Monday. As part of the effort, the giant oil company is promising to make unprecedented preparations to prevent the kind of disaster that polluted the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.

Shell’s plan to drill in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas has been snarled in regulatory delays and lawsuits for four years. The company has already invested $3.5 billion in the projects, and it was close to overcoming the final regulatory hurdles to begin drilling when BP’s Macondo well blew out April 20, killing 11 rig workers and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the gulf.

In response to the gulf accident, the Obama administration suspended most new offshore drilling, including in the environmentally sensitive waters of the Arctic.

But now that the moratorium on gulf drilling has been lifted, Shell is pressing the Interior Department to grant final approval for its Arctic projects by the end of this year so that the company has enough time to move the necessary equipment to drill next summer, when the waters offshore are free of ice.

“Every day we’re delayed, we’re delaying jobs and energy development,” Peter Slaiby, Shell’s vice president for Alaska, said in an interview. (NYT)


EPA’s Regs for Rigs – Fuel Economy Fetish Goes Diesel

by Marlo Lewis
November 5, 2010

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a proposed rule to establish first-ever greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and fuel economy standards for “heavy duty” (HD) motor vehicles.

The proposed standards, which phase in during model-years 2014–2018, apply to three types of HD vehicles: (1) “combination tractors” (semi-trucks), (2) large pickups and vans, and (3) “vocational trucks” (a wide-ranging assortment of trucks and buses).  The agencies estimate that the technologies needed to comply with the proposed standards will cost $7.7 billion but that the rule will generate $27 billion or $41 billion in net benefits (depending on whether future benefits are discounted at 7% or 3%).

Here’s the curious thing that jumps out at you from the getgo. Although the ostensible objective of the rule is to reduce GHG emissions and oil imports, the overwhelming share of the claimed benefits (fuel savings for truckers) has nothing to do with either climate change or energy security. For example, based on the unverifiable assumption that each ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted has a “social cost” of $22.00, the agencies attribute only $2.3 billion — about 6% — of the rule’s net benefits to its CO2 reductions and climate impact (p. 355). 

Six percent!

Sound familiar? Just as proponents of cap-and-trade tried to sell their stealth energy tax as a “green jobs” program when they couldn’t sell it as climate protection, so EPA and NHTSA now try to sell their save-the-planet-beyond-petroleum rule as a fuel-savings bonanza for owners and operators of big rigs, dump trucks, buses, vans, and pickups.  [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Reject All-of-the-Above Energy Approaches

With Congress divided, will anything actually get done in the next two years? President Obama recently suggested energy policy as an area in which bipartisan support could exist. Rather than trying to pass  a large climate change bill, Obama stressed the importance of increasing technologies and energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions  – including nuclear, clean coal, electric vehicles, wind, solar, and renewable fuels. Sometimes deemed an “all of the above” energy approach, it guarantees handouts and subsidies for all energy sources to make everyone happy. In other words, all the special interests win and the consumer loses. David Friedman, son of Milton, said it like this:

Special interest politics is a simple game. A hundred people sit in a circle, each with his pocket full of pennies. A politician walks around the outside of the circle, taking a penny from each person. No one minds; who cares about a penny? When he has gotten all the way around the circle, the politician throws fifty cents down in front of one person, who is overjoyed at the unexpected windfall. The process is repeated, ending with a different person. After a hundred rounds everyone is a hundred cents poorer, fifty cents richer, and happy.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


India predicts 40% leap in demand for fossil fuels

NEW DELHI – Premier Manmohan Singh told India's energy firms on Monday to scour the globe for fuel supplies as he warned the country's demand for fossil fuels is set to soar 40 percent over the next decade.

The country of more than 1.1 billion people already imports nearly 80 percent of its crude oil to fuel an economy that is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and at least nine percent next year.

Demand for hydrocarbons -- petroleum, coal, natural gas -- "over the next 10 years will increase by over 40 percent," Singh told an energy conference in New Delhi.

"India needs adequate supplies of energy at affordable prices to meet the demand of its rapidly growing economy," he said, as rising Indian incomes spur industrial demand and more people buy energy-guzzling cars and appliances.

Singh's call comes as India is locked in a race with emerging market rival China for fuel supplies to feed their booming economies in which analysts say Beijing has taken a strong lead.

India faces "immense competition from China which has been far quicker to react when an asset becomes available," Kalpana Jain, senior director of global consultancy Deloitte, told AFP.

Most of India's fuel demand must be met from imports as the increase in supply from domestic maturing oil fields is expected to be just 12 percent over the next 10 years, Singh said.

The government is "encouraging national oil companies to pursue equity in oil and gas opportunities overseas," he said, adding "hydrocarbons will continue to be our major source of energy for quite some time." (AFP)



Repeal It Now!

Our country was founded on a revolutionary concept -- a new kind of government both empowered and controlled by its citizens.

This idea, the very foundation of our great experiment in democracy, was betrayed with enactment of the new healthcare act. Every poll showed that a majority of Americans rejected this legislation and yet Congress ran right over the majority will of the American people and enacted it into law.

This act must be repealed for this reason alone but there are many more good reasons. (Michael Reagan, Townhall)


Wishful Thinking about ObamaCare Investigations

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

NPR found two Republicans who caution House Republicans that their efforts to investigate ObamaCare could “backfire.”

But all those hearings could also have the opposite effect — giving the administration a chance to make its case in favor of the law, a case that often got drowned out during the election campaign.

“The next round of this, while there will continue to be the broad sloganeering on both sides, will presumably get a little bit more into the detail,” says Martin Corry, a health care lobbyist and former official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration. “So if you’re a family with a 22-year-old still in college, you may not want to see that provision [that lets grown children stay on their parents' health plans] repealed.”

… Former Republican Sen. Dave Durenberger of Minnesota says he thinks the Democratic-led Senate could try to dampen the House repeal efforts by holding a series of hearings of its own.

Let me see if I understand.  If House Republicans hold hearings, it will be a boon to ObamaCare.   Even though House and Senate Democrats stoutly refused to hold such hearings.  If House Republicans hold hearings, sloganeering will give way to detail.  And if House Republicans hold hearings, ObamaCare supporters will finally be able to get their message out — something they were unable to do while they controlled both chambers of Congress and the executive branch.


Republicans to attack healthcare law funding

WASHINGTON | Thu Nov 4, 2010 2:45pm EDT
U.S. congressional Republicans will try to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare law next year but their leader in the Senate acknowledged on Thursday they will likely have to settle for far more modest changes. (Reuters)


ObamaCare Takes a Shellacking

Posted by Michael F. Cannon

It wasn’t just the party of ObamaCare or its champion that took a “shellacking” at the polls yesterday.  The law took a shellacking as well.  One pollster reports:

This election was a clear signal that voters do not want President Obama’s health care plan.  Nearly half (45%) of voters say their vote was a message to oppose the President’s plan….

Arizona and Oklahoma passed constitutional amendments designed to block ObamaCare’s individual mandate.  Many new governors either plan to join the 22 states already challenging ObamaCare in court, or to block its implementation in other ways.  Congressional Republicans appear determined to use every tool in their arsenal to repeal it.

President Obama is striking a conciliatory note, saying he is open to “tweaks:”

If the Republicans have ideas for how to improve our healthcare system, if they want to suggest modifications that would deliver faster, more effective reform… I am happy to consider some of those ideas.

There is room to doubt his sincerity.  The Washington Post has reported that when President Obama begins a sentence with, Let me be clear, it is “a signal that what follows will be anything but.”  Obama has likewise claimed open-mindedness and flexibility when his behavior exhibited the opposite qualities.  (Remember how last year’s White House summit on health care was all about gathering “the best ideas.”)

Yet with a firm conviction that facts and science and argument still matter, I resubmit to President Obama this Cato Policy Analysis: Yes, Mr. President: A Free Market Can Fix Health Care.  In fact, a free market is the only thing that will.  But a reasonably free market is impossible with ObamaCare still on the books.

I doubt the president will read it.  But Republicans should.  They seem pretty solid on Repeal.  They’re weaker on Replace. (Cato at liberty)


Beware the Lame Duck Bearing Gifts

When Congress returns this month, be prepared for a blizzard of far-left bills to be taken up as defeated Democrats try to enact their radical agenda on their way out the door. (Phil Kerpen, PJM)


Americans sicker but English die quicker says study

LONDON/CHICAGO | Thu Nov 4, 2010 9:28am EDT
Older Americans suffer more chronic disease than their English counterparts, but the English die earlier, according to a study on Thursday that could revive debate about whose health system is better.

Researchers at the U.S.-based RAND Corp and Britain's Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that while Americans aged 55 and older have higher rates of chronic disease, they live longer than elderly people who get ill in England.

"If you get sick at older ages, you will die sooner in England than in the United States," said James Smith, an economist with RAND in Santa Monica, California, who co-authored the study with James Banks and Alastair Muriel of the IFS.

"It appears that at least in terms of survival at older ages with chronic disease, the medical system in the United States may be better than the system in England."

But that edge comes at a price.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data show the United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation, and Banks said spending on healthcare for the elderly in the U.S. is almost double that in England. (Reuters)


Junk science machine attacks BPA

By Steve Milloy
November 4, 2010,

Radical environmentalists and unscrupulous profiteers have put together a perpetual junk science machine in hopes of driving the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to extinction. That machine includes a gullible/sympathetic media that hopes to get away with telling the public only part of the story. Consider a Nov. 2 report by Science News’ Janet Raloff, “Skin is no barrier to BPA study shows; Finding suggests store receipts could be significant source of exposures.”

Raloff starts her story by quoting the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Frederick vom Saal (more on him later), who says that

“The new study [by Daniel Zalko et al. and published in Chemosphere] is now unequivocal in showing that yes, BPA can go through human skin.”

While no one disputes that some BPA can be absorbed through the skin, the question is how much and is this harmful?

As Zalko admits in his study, BPA is metabolized to highly water soluble metabolites that are known to be estrogen inactive. This downplayed fact is, of course, devastating to the underlying scare, which relies on the hypothesis that absorbed BPA acts like an estrogen.

To get around this problem, Raloff obliquely acknowledges it by stating,

“Though such transformations are often assumed to render a chemical nontoxic…”

She then offers a naked claim by Zalko in contradiction:

“’that would be a false assumption,’ Zalko says, ‘because any compound that has been conjugated can be deconjugated’.”

But while Zalko claims that these metabolites can be converted back into BPA in the body, this is pure speculation (wishful thinking?) on his part as there is no data to support the claim.

Raloff then tells us that,

The role of metabolites in BPA’s potential toxicity is complicated, vom Saal says, because the body can — and regularly does — conjugate and deconjugate compounds. “It’s well known,” for instance, “that the body is full of desulfating enzymes, which play a role regulating estrogen levels during pregnancy.”

There is no doubt that the body is full of many chemicals that have a variety of roles — but there remains no evidence that the body converts any non-estrogenic BPA metabolites back into BPA.

Raloff’s article then goes on to discuss another earlier Zalko study involving application of BPA to the ears of dead pigs. Zalko reports that after three days, more than half of the applied BPA diffused through the skins of the pig ears.

But who cares about how much BPA can be absorbed by the ears of dead pigs? We have data from real human beings. As pointed out on this blog earlier:

A June 2010 study published in the journal Annals of Bioanalysis and Chemistry by Swiss food regulators reported that a person repeatedly touching thermal printer paper for 10 hours/day, such as at a cash register, would absorb 42 times less BPA than permitted by current safety regulations, which already have a very significant margin of safety. No workers or consumers would normally be exposed to even such infinitesimal amounts.

A February 2010 study from the University of Zurich’s Centre for Xenobiotic Risk Research reported that, “Dermal absorption (that is, absorption through the skin), is therefore at most a secondary absorption route for bisphenol A. The primary absorption route is still dietary intake. For this route, daily total amounts of bisphenol A around 10,000 times higher are considered harmless for adults.”

Raloff relies heavily on vom Saal to validate Zalko’s claims and insinuations. But she omits mention of two salient facts about vom Saal:

  1. He is a long-time and reality-free advocate against BPA; and
  2. His scientific claims against BPA have not been replicated by independent scientists.

Raloff concludes her article by pointing out that Appleton Papers is poised to rush to market BPA-free receipt paper for the upcoming holiday season. No doubt Raloff’s Science News hatchet-job will accompany Appleton’s marketing pitches — a perfect accompaniment as it contains not a single skeptical or dissenting voice.

BPA may be targeted for extinction but here’s why the rest of us ought not let that happen.

BPA is the test case for the bogus theory of endocrine disrupters. If the radical greens get away with destroying BPA’s reputation based on that never-validated hypothesis, they will proceed to use that scam against a host of other chemicals. The battle for BPA is not really about BPA. It’s about whether we will use science or circuses to determine chemical safety.

For more on BPA, check out (Green Hell Blog)


Obesity rates will reach 42 percent: study

CHICAGO | Thu Nov 4, 2010 5:34pm EDT
Americans will keep growing fatter until 42 percent of the nation is considered obese, and having fat friends is part of the problem, researchers said on Thursday.

The prediction by a team of researchers at Harvard University contradicts other experts who say the nation's obesity rate has peaked at 34 percent of the U.S. population.

The finding is from the same group, led by Nicholas Christakis, that reported in 2007 that if someone's friend becomes obese, that person's chances of becoming obese increase by more than half.

They now think this same phenomenon is driving the obesity epidemic, which will climb slowly but steadily for the next 40 years.

Alison Hill, a graduate student at Harvard and the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, said the study is based on the idea that obesity can spread like an infectious disease and people can catch it from their friends. (Reuters)


Childhood obesity an 'exaggeration'

Australia's childhood obesity problem is an "exaggeration" and calls for a junk food tax will do little to relieve the poverty that is its major driver, an expert says.

The rate of childhood obesity among low income families was almost double that seen across middle and high income families, said Dr Jennifer O'Dea from the University of Sydney.

She said a tax on junk foods, as called for by a rising number of health experts, would only place extra financial strain on those families when a "social justice" approach was needed.

And while not downplaying the serious health problems that flow from a life of obesity, Dr O'Dea also said the scale of this problem for Australian children has become increasingly overblown. (Nine MSN)


Arsenic in drinking water tied to stroke risk

NEW YORK | Thu Nov 4, 2010 11:30am EDT
People who live in areas with moderately elevated levels of arsenic in the drinking-water supply may have a somewhat increased risk of stroke, a study of Michigan residents suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Stroke, do not prove that drinking-water arsenic is responsible for the elevated risk. Nor do they suggest that water with arsenic levels that meet guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- which most U.S. drinking-water supplies do -- are a stroke hazard, the study's lead researcher told Reuters Health.

However, the study does call for more in-depth research to determine whether arsenic in the water supply is contributing to some strokes.

Arsenic is an element found naturally in rock, soil, water, the air and the food supply. It is also released into the environment through industrial activities; for instance, arsenic is used as a wood preservative and in some paints, dyes and fertilizers. (Reuters Health)


Snipping off the shackles

The red tape that ties down businesses is being modestly pruned around the world. But there is still an awful lot left to cut (The Economist)

Odd sentiment from a bunch that supports carbon hysteria and the ultimate in bureaucracy: "action to address climate change". Red tape, much?


More Matt

Matt Ridley is taking aim at the ocean acidification scare again.

Before I started looking into this, I assumed the evidence for damage from ocean acidification must be strong because that is what the media kept saying. I am amazed by what I have found. Make no mistake: there are lots of threats to the ecosystems of the ocean, from over-fishing to nutrient run-off, but acidification is way down the list. The attention is deflecting funds and action from greater threats. It is time scientists had the courage to admit this.

(Bishop Hill)


Brandenburg Frets over Beaver Boom

Environmentalists are thrilled about the fact that more and more beavers, who are endangered in the region, are making a home along the Oder River. But as the river rodents burrow their way under the dikes, worried locals have launched a campaign to protect the levees from further damage -- as well as their lives and property. (Spiegel)


UN Report Finds Development Progress Even in Poorest Countries

In a new report released on Thursday, the United Nations says most developing countries have made dramatic progress in health, education and basic living standards in recent decades, but gaps remain.

The authors of the 2010 Human Development Report go a step beyond just looking at economic indicators such as Gross National Product to evaluate and rank countries. They work from the premise that people are the real wealth of nations. So in addition to economic factors, researchers studied progress in the areas of health and education. (VOA News)


Foolish Food Policies

Statement by Viv Forbes, Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused western politicians of creating a food crisis with foolish food policies.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that climate alarmism and green extremism was being used to destroy farming and deny land to food production.

“It is no surprise that the world is facing a looming shortage of food and edible oils.

“Every market has two sides – demand and supply.

“On the demand side, increasing population and prosperity, especially in China, Brazil and India, must boost the demand for food.

“Normally this would increase food prices thus encouraging more production by farmers.

“Unfortunately, the western world is afflicted by an epidemic of anti-food legislation.

“Four foolish food policies stand out.

“Firstly, we have a massive diversion of cropland from producing food for humans to producing ethanol and biofuels for cars.

“Secondly, we have destruction of cropping and grazing land by conversion to carbon credit forests.

“Thirdly, there is a gradual suffocation of grazing land by a new politically protected species – woody weeds.

“Finally, we have the gradual creation of agricultural and horticultural deserts by the artificial droughts caused by the progressive political squeeze on irrigation water.

“If politicians are silly enough to add a carbon tax to the costs of fuels, electricity, cement and transport, even more farmers will give up and retire to the beach.

“We are told that all this anti-food legislation will save the environment and cool the climate by a degree or so over the next century.

“The real aim is to harvest green votes.

“Starving people will not appreciate this barren harvest.”

Viv Forbes
Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition


Monsanto Sees "Right Time" For GMO Wheat

Monsanto Co could start field testing genetically modified wheat within one to two years, but remains cautious about future commercialization, according to one of the company's top wheat technology executives.

Six years after shelving an earlier biotech wheat product in the face of stiff market resistance, Monsanto still sees a need for circumspection, but believes building acceptance and a need for increased food production makes the wheat seed market potentially lucrative over the long term.

Currently there is no biotech wheat on the market because of consumer and food industry opposition, but Monsanto sees attitudes changing.

"I wouldn't say we're jumping in with two feet," said Claire CaJacob, Monsanto's global wheat technology lead executive, in an interview with Reuters. "But I wouldn't say we're tentative. We have traits that make more sense. It's the right time." (Reuters)


Biotechnology: This house believes that biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complementary, not contradictory.

Defending the motion
Pamela Ronald
Professor of plant pathology, University of California, Davis
The number of people on Earth is expected to increase from the current 6.7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. How will we feed them? Genetically engineered crops will play an important role.

Against the motion
Charles Benbrook
Chief scientist, Organic Center
Biotechnology is not a system of farming. It reflects no specific philosophy nor is it guided by a set of principles or performance criteria. It is a bag of tools than can be used for good or evil, and lots in between.

(The Economist)



Skinning The Carbon Cat With EPA

Environment: Standing amid the smoking ruins of Tuesday's defeat, President Obama indicates he's backing away from a cap-and-trade law. But as great as that news is, someone still needs to watch the backdoor.

It's been said that a socialist thrown out the window will come back through the front door as an environmentalist. This reminds us of something we noticed in the president's day-after concession speech.

Though acknowledging the cap-and-trade law is no longer a legislative priority, Obama also said he's not giving up on the idea of restricting Americans' output of carbon dioxide.

"Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat," he said at Tuesday's news conference. "It was a means, not an end. I'm going to be looking for other means to address this problem."

In moonwalking away from cap-and-trade, the president was simply admitting that, with a Republican-controlled House, the bill is going nowhere in the next two years.

Unfortunately, Obama is still a believer, if not in man-made global warming, then in what he believes to be his right to meddle in private lives. If he can't supervise the clingers, enemies and the rest of bitter America through cap-and-trade, he'll settle for some other way to put limits on the masses. He suggested the EPA could beef up its police powers to rein in CO2 emissions.

Obama also implied that he could skin the cat through schemes that redistribute wealth into renewable energy programs. Though not as burdensome as a cap-and-trade law, government green energy initiatives tend to be black holes for taxpayers' money. (IBD)


U.S. Carbon Futures Fall as Obama Cools to CO2 Market

Nov. 3 -- Futures contracts in the U.S. Northeast’s carbon market fell to their lowest level in six weeks after President Barack Obama backed away from the national cap-and-trade program he once sought. (Bloomberg)


Greens desperate to avoid blame

Environmentalists are trying to stomp out the suggestion that they had anything to do with the tidal wave that washed away House Democrats in Tuesday's midterm elections.

A day after Republicans netted a 60-vote swing to recapture the House, greens brandished polls and statistics showing voters overwhelmingly endorsed both Democratic and GOP lawmakers who voted in June 2009 to pass a cap-and-trade bill.

They even went so far as to suggest that about two dozen Democrats may have lost Tuesday because they didn't support the measure crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would have placed a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

But more than anything, they insisted the wave wasn't their fault.

“Bottom line: The biggest liability in Tuesday's election [was] having a 'D' behind one's name,” said Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund Federal Communications Director Ed Chen in an e-mail to POLITICO.

This isn't just about pride.

Environmental groups struggled to be heard in Washington after the Republicans' 1994 House takeover, which came in part because of a vote the previous year to raise energy taxes based on the Btu content of fossil fuels. And U.S. opponents of unilateral action on climate change still remind them of the unanimous 1997 Senate vote to reject core pieces of the Kyoto protocol.

"It's very dangerous branding for them," said Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute and a skeptic on global warming science. "There will never be another vote on a Btu tax in my lifetime for the reason of 1993. I suggest if cap and trade is similarly thought of, there will also never be a vote on cap and trade." (Darren Samuelsohn and Robin Bravender, Politico)


California Climate Vote More about Protecting Investments

California voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that would have suspended the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) until the state’s unemployment level dropped below 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters.

AB 32 aims to return greenhouse gas emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020. Many Californians saw Proposition 23 as a battle between out-of-state oil producers versus environmentalists and in-state venture capitalists spurring a clean energy revolution, so it’s no surprise California rejected it by a 61 percent to 39 percent margin. But the vote was not about climate policy to the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Rather it was about how their investments would fall flat without the taxpayers artificially propping them up.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)


Hideously expensive cap & tax by the back door, don't fall for it: Gibbs plugs renewable electricity standard

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said a renewable-electricity standard could be an area of bipartisan energy cooperation now that President Obama has backed away from politically moribund bills to cap greenhouse-gas emissions.

“There's been bipartisan support and bipartisan proposals for things like the renewable-electricity standard, the renewable-energy portfolio, different efficiency standards as well,” Gibbs said Thursday at a White House briefing.

A renewable-electricity standard (RES) — long a pillar of Democratic energy plans — would force many utilities to supply increasing amounts of power from wind, solar and other renewable sources in coming years. (E2 Wire)


National renewable power standards? Still not practical

Some news reports are suggesting the U.S. is now less likely to pass climate change legislation, but prospects for policies boosting renewable power may have improved slightly. Ever more timely, then, is this 2008 analysis of proposed national renewable portfolio standards by Jay Apt, Lester Lave, and Sompop Pattanariyankool: “A national renewable portfolio standard? Not practical.”  Selected quotes:

“Like Mayor Bloomberg and the Alliance [for Clean Energy New York], 25 governors, and more than 100 members of Congress, we love renewable energy. However, even this wonderful idea requires a hard look to see what is sensible now and why some current and proposed policies are likely to be costly, anger many people, and undermine the reliability of our electricity system.”

“We share the goals of reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy security, maintaining electric supply reliability, and controlling costs. The mistake is to think that a blinkered emphasis on renewable energy sources is the best way to achieve these goals. Unfortunately, this mistake has swept through 25 state legislatures.”

“Many current laws mandate the use of a specific technology, apparently assuming that legislators can predict the success of future R&D. An RPS is such a law. In our judgment, laws ought to specify requirements that generation technologies must meet, such as low pollution, affordability, power quality, and domestic power sources, and leave the means of realizing the goals to technologists and the market.”

Whatever goals members of Congress might have with respect to renewable power policy, there are more efficient policies available for pursuing those goals.  Unless, of course, members of Congress are mainly interested in feel-good policy symbolism, mucking around in markets for political purposes and hiding the burden of federal policy  in consumer’s electric bills. (The Energy Collective)


No... Climate change is main barrier to development - United Nations

Climate change and destruction of the environment are the biggest threats to improving wealth and happiness around the world, according to a major United Nations report. (TDT)

Climate superstition is the main barrier to development, followed closely by other greenie obstructionism.


Idiots! UN report warns of threat to human progress from climate change

Human development report says inaction on climate change puts at risk decades of progress on education and health (Larry Elliott and Mark Tran, Guardian)

It is the lack of abundant, affordable energy that sees these people in poverty and at risk while the human condition has improved markedly in the developed world primarily through the use of the fossil fuels the UN wants to ration. How clueless can these twits be?


Election Results Likely to Proliferate Climate-Related Lawsuits -- Study

NEW YORK -- Climate-related lawsuits are growing rapidly in the United States, even as federal climate change legislation seems to have been put on hold indefinitely following the results of Tuesday's midterm elections.

The number of lawsuits either supporting or opposing efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions is set to triple by the end of this year as compared to last year. And by late 2010 or early 2011, the nation could even see some of the more public and contentious climate change legal battles come before the Supreme Court.

The spike in climate legislation is detailed in a new study published yesterday by DB Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA), a New York-based eco-investment advisory unit of Deutsche Bank Group. Data outlined in their report show that the number of lawsuits first doubled from 2006 to 2007 and then seemed to plateau as U.S. EPA began to fine-tune greenhouse gas regulations and Congress debated emissions cap-and-trade legislation.

The failure of federal cap and trade, the return of Republican control in the U.S. House and California's plans to move forward on that state's greenhouse gas law will probably inspire a new wave of lawsuits moving the climate change battle to the courts, analysts at DBCCA predict.

"It is probably inevitable that people are turning to litigation to fill the void left by the lack of legislation, and it is possible that the threat of court action will in some cases galvanize legislators to take action where before they had simply avoided the issue," DBCCA analysts say in the report, titled "Growth of U.S. Climate Change Litigation: Trends and Consequences."

Though an investment house, the Deutsche Bank unit says investors and its peers on Wall Street should be concerned about this trend, as it could prolong the uncertainty about where and how banks and financiers should put money toward future energy and technology plays.

From fewer than a handful earlier in the decade, the number of climate change lawsuits now rests in the hundreds and could expand into thousands of cases if lawmakers continue to avoid the issue. (ClimateWire)


A Surge in Lawsuits Challenging E.P.A. on Climate

With many eyes on how Tuesday’s elections will affect Congressional action on climate and energy issues, a new report points out that the battle over greenhouse gas emissions has been raging quietly on another front: the courts.

Litigation over greenhouse gas regulation is sharply on the rise, according to a report issued on Wednesday by DB Climate Change Advisors, the climate change investment and research business of Deutsche Asset Management.

The number of climate-change related lawsuits doubled in 2006-7, hit a plateau for several years and is now increasing again. DB says that such suits are on track to triple in 2010 and perhaps grow into the indefinite future.

In January, my colleague John Schwartz wrote about lawsuits brought by individuals against fuel and utility companies naming them as responsible parties in human-caused climate change.

But the new report looks mainly at lawsuits surrounding government regulation of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide. While it found that environmentalists had filed nearly a quarter of all such lawsuits since 2001, seeking more regulation, the new surge is being driven by the opposite camp.

“The largest increase in litigation has been in the area of challenges to federal action, specifically industry challenges to proposed E.P.A. efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” the report says.

In particular, industry groups are taking aim at three Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency regulations: the December 2009 finding that greenhouses cases endanger human health and welfare, the tightening of fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in April, and rules released in May governing emissions by factories and power plants.

The report noted that the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Iron and Steel Institute and the American Chemistry Council, among others, had filed multiple lawsuits in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. While both sides are accumulating amicus briefs, the court has yet to schedule arguments. (NYT Green)


NASA GISS being sued over FOIA failures

click for the full legal brief - PDF

CEI’s Chris Horner sends word of this development, via The American Spectator:

Last night the Competitive Enterprise Institute, through its outside counsel Gibson Dunn, filed its brief arguing against NASA’s rather scattershot and contradictory effort to dismiss our lawsuit requesting certain documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)(press release available here).

Our suit, CEI vs. NASA (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), followed on the heels of ClimateGate, and a December 2009 Notice of Intent to Sue if NASA did not turn over certain records withheld since CEI sought them in August 2007 and January 2008 requests. That Notice was eleven months ago and, despite NASA offering some documents and admitting — temporarily — that certain others relating to the advocacy site used by NASA scientists, were “agency records”, NASA then ceased its brief steps to comply with the transparency statute FOIA.

Continue reading (WUWT)


<chuckle> Binding climate change deal is impossible after Barack Obama's election defeat, says John Prescott

Barack Obama's setback in the US mid-term elections has killed of any hope of securing a legally binding global climate change deal, John Prescott has said. (TDT)

As if there was any such chance before that...


Obama's Climate Pessimism Dims U.N., G20 Outlook

U.S. President Barack Obama's pessimism about passing U.S. climate legislation also dims chances for action to slow global warming both in U.N. talks and in other groups such as the G20, experts say.

A lack of U.S. legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions may also hit plans to raise a promised $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor nations cope with climate change. That plan partly hinges on curbs on emissions to push up carbon prices. (Reuters)


Who Really Worries About Carbon Emissions?

Carbon Footprints

The data below is from various carbon footprint calculators scattered about the web and largely based on EPA emissions estimates and conversations.  Of all the agitators and propagandists lecturing the common person about their large carbon footprint life styles, not a single one has evidenced their belief in the “climate emergency” by their own behavior.  This has been particularly true for President Obama, Al Gore and Hollywood.

Activity CO2 footprint (lbs CO2)

Burn a gallon of gasoline                                                                           19.4

Use a kWh of electricity (U.S. average fuel mix)                                       1.3

Car trip to the grocery store (roundtrip 15 miles)                                     11.6

Mowing the lawn (1hr, gas engine push mower)                                        9.7

Watch TV (42” LCD), 4 hrs                                                                         1.1

Make a pot of coffee                                                                                    0.3

Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)


Eye-roller: Judge Asks U.S. To Review Polar Bear Listing

A U.S. judge on Thursday asked the Obama administration to clarify whether polar bears are endangered, a listing that ultimately could be used to force polluters to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan asked the Interior Department for more information on whether the bears, which are losing Arctic sea ice habitat due to global warming, could be considered endangered instead of merely threatened.

The move came after environmental groups challenged a 2008 decision by the administration of President George W. Bush to list the bears as threatened, a ruling the Obama administration upheld last year.

If Interior eventually decided to list them as endangered, the bears would get full protection under federal law.

U.S. oil refiners, coal-burning power plants and other polluters of greenhouse gases far away from Alaska could get sued for contributing to global warming and be forced to cut emissions to protect the bears. (Reuters)


Fraudster Michael Mann continues to rage at the "deniers"; suggests that the fossil-fuel industry orchestrated a CRU email hack

Professional climate change deniers' crusade continues - environment - 02 November 2010 - New Scientist

I'D LIKE to say I was surprised when news broke a year ago that emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK, had been hacked into and leaked, and that scientists' personal emails were being quoted out of context to disingenuously imply impropriety on their part. But I wasn't.

(Tom Nelson)


Oh boy... 2 Degree Celsius Climate Target May Need To Change: UK Scientist

A widely agreed international target to avoid dangerous global warming must take account of local impacts and may need to change, said the chief scientist at the MetOffice Hadley Center, Britain's biggest climate research center.

Julia Slingo said the target of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C) may need adjusting to take into account research into local and regional effects, particularly on rainfall patterns, as climate science advances.

More than 120 nations agreed to the U.N.'s Copenhagen Accord last December which aimed to limit average global warming to less than 2C, in one of the main outcomes of a fractious summit.

But hopes are low for agreement on a global climate deal, to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, at a follow-up U.N. conference in Cancun, Mexico later this month.

Slingo said the world should keep the 2C target for now to aid negotiations, but that it should be kept under review. (Reuters)


Scientific American Poll: 81% think the IPCC is Corrupt, with Group-think & Political Agenda

'Scientific' American may regret taking their recent opinion poll on the state of Climate Science given the eye-opening results cast by their "scientifically literate" readership. With a total of 5190 respondents, a consensus of 81.3% think the IPCC is "a corrupt organization, prone to group-think, with a political agenda" and 75% think climate change is caused by solar variation or natural processes vs. 21% who think it is due to greenhouse gases from human activity. 65% think we should do nothing about climate change since "we are powerless to stop it," and the same percentage think science should stay out of the political process. When asked "How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?" 76.7% said "nothing." (Hockey Schtick)


Confessions Of A Climate Crisis Skeptic

Would a global warming really be that bad?

Some folks are incredulous about the title of my new book, Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax. How can I possibly doubt that global warming is real? Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am obliged to concede that they are correct, and that such evidence truly does exist.

Yes, there is no doubt about it. The planet is experiencing a siege of abnormally high temperatures. This has now been going on for 15,000 to 18,000 years, a life-friendly period known as an interglacial cycle. During glacial ages that exist about 90% of the time, our Northern Hemisphere is mostly covered with ice up to several miles thick. Records of these alternating glacial and interglacial fluctuations reveal the near regularity of an electrocardiogram over many hundreds of thousands of years … beginning long before the man-made inventions of agriculture, smokestacks, SUVs and carbon offset trading scams. (Larry Bell, Forbes)


Twitter Bot Proves AGWers’ Mindless Attitude, Explains Their Vast Numbers Among The Educated Classes

And somebody is naive enough to find the whole situation “hilarious”.

In truth, if a software developer can write an automated responding machine for Twitter ready to spit out standard AGW Truths, logic indicates that people that repeat those same Truths are just as mindless and devoid of critical thinking as any computer program. As I commented at Technology Review:

My impression of this whole affair is that the joke will ultimately be on the bot’s creator. If you can be replaced by a mindless machine, what does that tell people about your reasoning skills?

If a bot can sustain your argument despite being devoid of critical thinking, what should one conclude about your own critical thinking?

Yes, there is a vast literature in favor of AGW, and one can go around fishing for whatever pro-AGW statement one could ever wish for. There is even a website cataloging everything that is supposed to be linked to AGW, and that means literally everything, and its opposite. What has that _quantity_ got to do with proper science, I will never understand.

Remember Einstein…”wieso hundert Autoren?”…

This squares out nicely with Judith Curry’s statement about having in the past felt “obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment“. It also explains perfectly why otherwise brainy people like the Bad Astronomer consistently and unremittingly fall for the shoddiest of climate-change “science” presentations.

Just like on Skeptical Science, it’s a matter of switching off all forms of independent thought, and from the comfort of residing in the mainstream, of repeating the usual mantras with a certitude that goes far beyond the scientific. Replace cerebral activity with quantity of citations, and you’ll be onboard to. Obligated to do so, just like the average chatbot.

ps Had myself a couple of encounters with @AI_AGW. What I remember noticing, was the absolute lack of interest in moving the discussion beyond the usual statements. Just like the average AGWer…are we sure it WAS a chatbot? 8-)

UPDATE: as if on cue, Phil Plait joins in, blissfully unaware that the age of the chatbots will pretty much force science writers to ask if you would like fries with that. This is my comment:

Phil is as wrong on this topic as an army of astrologers convinced of replacing vaccines with UFO-inspired homeopathy. The only thing the chatbot demonstrates is that it’s pretty easy to imitate an AGW believer, and that brains or critical thinking are not needed to believe in AGW. Actually, one does rather well without brains or critical thinking, if one wants to believe in AGW.

Suffice it to say that no moon hoax debunker, no astrology debunker, no creationism debunker ever dreamed of building anything like a chatbot…

So the end result is that from today onwards, every time I will discuss with a fervent AGW believer, one of those people that think that it is a scandal to ask any question about AGW, then I will have to wonder if I am talking to a human being or to a chatbot. And it will be very, very hard to tell. 8-)

(Maurizio Morabito, OmniClimate)


Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Nov. 4th 2010

The week has been dominated with news of the US mid-term elections, but that doesn’t mean it’s been all quiet on the warming front. California rejected dope and abandoned hope, Al Gore was busted for being an idle idol and the green version of George Orwell’s Youth League is alive and well in England. (Daily Bayonet)


Geoengineering: Lift-off

Research into the possibility of engineering a better climate is progressing at an impressive rate—and meeting strong opposition

AS A way of saying you’ve arrived, being the subject of some carefully contrived paragraphs in the proceedings of a United Nations conference is not as dramatic as playing Wembley or holding a million-man march. But for geoengineering, those paragraphs from the recent conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan, marked a definite coming of age.

Geoengineering is shorthand for the idea of fixing the problem of man-made climate change once the greenhouse gases that cause it have already been emitted into the atmosphere, rather than trying to stop those emissions happening in the first place. Ideas for such fixes include smogging up the air to reflect more sunlight back into space, sucking in excess carbon dioxide using plants or chemistry, and locking up the glaciers of the world’s ice caps so that they cannot fall into the ocean and cause sea levels to rise.

Many people think such ideas immoral, or a distraction from the business of haranguing people to produce less carbon dioxide, or both—and certain to provoke unintended consequences, to boot. It was the strength of that opposition which drove the subject onto the agenda at Nagoya. But that strength is also a reflection of the fact that many scientists now take the idea of geoengineering seriously. Over the past few years research in the field has boomed. What is sometimes called Plan B seems to be taking shape on the laboratory bench—and seeking to escape outside. (The Economist)


October 2010 Global Lower Temperature Anomaly Report

Phillip Gentry has forwarded the October global lower tropospheric temperature analysis discussion  to us (thanks Phil!).  Since September, the images show that regional areas of cooler than average anomalies are appearing although most areas remain above average.

The report is given below.


Nov. 2, 2010

Vol. 20, No. 6

For Additional Information:

Dr. John Christy, (256) 961-7763

Dr. Roy Spencer, (256) 961-7960

Global Temperature Report: October 2010

The ‘coolest’ month in 2010 ties second warmest October

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

October temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.42 C (about 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for October.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.37 C (about 0.67 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for October.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.47 C (about 0.85 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for October.

Tropics: +0.15 C (about 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for October.

September temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.60 C above 20-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.56 C above 20-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.65 C above 20-year average

Tropics: +0.29 C above 20-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 20-year average (1979-1998) for the month reported.)

Notes on data released Nov. 2, 2010:

How warm has 2010 been? So warm that although October was the coolest month so far this year year (compared to seasonal norms), it tied October 2006 as the second warmest October in the 32-year satellite climate record, according to Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Warmest Octobers*

Year Globe NH SH Trpcs
2005 0.47 0.48 0.45 0.15
2006 0.42 0.38 0.47 0.33
2010* 0.42 0.37 0.47 0.15
1998 0.41 0.51 0.31 0.34
2003 0.41 0.55 0.27 0.3
2004 0.36 0.33 0.38 0.19
2009 0.36 0.33 0.39 0.39
2001 0.3 0.25 0.36 0.21
2007 0.26 0.31 0.22 -0.11
2002 0.25 0 0.49 0.2
*Compared to seasonal norms.

2010 remains the second hottest year in the record, with average daily temperatures through October that were only 0.03 C — a difference that is not statistically significant — cooler than the record set in 1998 during an El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event.

Color maps of local temperature anomalies may soon be available on-line at:

The processed temperature data is available on-line at:

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the ESSC, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)


New “American Meteorological Society [AMS] Policy Statement On Inadvertent Weather Modification” Adopted

The American Meteorological Society has approved a new policy statement. It is presented below. This statement is further recognition of the correctness of the need for a broader view of the human role in the climate system, as we dicussed in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

The statement is

AMS Policy Statement on Inadvertent Weather Modification

 This statement highlights the causes and possible effects of inadvertent weather modification[1] at local and regional scales due to aerosol[2] and gas emissions[3] and to changes in land use.  The known effects can have unanticipated and often undesirable socioeconomic consequences.  This statement assesses the impacts of inadvertent weather modification and suggests potential respective actions.

The climatic effects of greenhouse gases (GHGs) have been summarized by the AMS Information Statement on Climate Change.  This policy statement, however, highlights the key understanding of anthropogenic effects on weather in order to support effective decision making for emission controls, alternate water resources, severe-storm preparedness, and climate-change mitigation and adaptation strategies.  Further, understanding anthropogenic effects on weather is important to improve short-range and longer term weather predictions.

 1. Status of inadvertent weather modification 

This section summarizes the current knowledge of the physical processes affecting weather modification as a result of changes in land use, aerosol and gas emissions.

 a. Aerosol radiative effects

 By partially blocking solar radiation from heating the surface, air pollutants lower surface heating and evaporation rates.  This slows vertical air motions, and hence causes slower dispersal rates of air pollutants, suppresses formation of convective clouds and precipitation.  Reduced surface evaporation has major implications for the global hydrological cycle and how it responds to the combined forcing of GHGs, land use change, and aerosol pollution.  In addition, surface deposition of dark aerosols accelerates ice-melt rates, hence affecting water resources.  While these conclusions are based on sound physical meteorology, many of these effects are yet to be quantified.

b. Cloud mediated effects of aerosol

 Aerosols act mostly as cloud-drop condensation nuclei (CCN), and some of them as ice nuclei (IN), both of which change cloud radiative and precipitation properties in complex ways.  Over oceans, emissions from fossil-fuel-burning ships produce tracks, observed to dramatically influence the extent and persistence of local shallow cloud cover, reducing the amount of solar radiation received at the surface and enhancing the amount reflected back to space.  Aerosols also suppress precipitation from shallow or short-lived clouds (e.g., orographic cap clouds). Their impacts on deep convective clouds are much less certain, but are of potentially great importance.  Recent research suggests that, depending on meteorological conditions, aerosols can either increase or decrease rainfall from such clouds.  In warm moist atmospheres, aerosols often invigorate deep convective clouds, usually resulting in greater electrical activity, stronger damaging winds, and a greater likelihood of flash floods.  Studies indicate that aerosols might also modulate the intensity of tornadoes and hurricanes.

c. Changes in land use

 One example of significant land use change is the rapid global increase in urbanization and its associated changes in land surface properties and topography that create “urban heat islands” and urban barrier effects that perturb regional air flows, which thus redistributes precipitation, runoff, and flood risk over and around cites. Land-use changes alter surface albedos, as well as surface fluxes of heat, water vapor, and momentum to the atmosphere, and thus modify local and regional atmospheric circulations, which in turn can modify weather. For example, when a forest is removed and replaced by an agricultural field, it can result in a significantly different albedo, especially after a snow storm.  Artificial lakes, wind and solar farms also change the surface fluxes and albedo. Such changes also occur indirectly through increases in nitrogen deposition and atmospheric CO2, which alter leaf area amounts and thus the portioning of latent and sensible heat fluxes.  Poor agricultural practices that favor wind erosion, such as from summer fallow, overgrazing, and deforestation, as well as from tillage, can produce large quantities of dust that absorb and reflect solar radiation which modify clouds and precipitation processes.

 d. Integrated effects

 The cumulative changes in surface and atmospheric heat and moisture profiles modify atmospheric circulation and weather patterns on all scales, including synoptic storm tracks in ways that are just beginning to be explored.  In the aggregate, these changes can affect air quality, ecosystems, and water resources.  The cumulative impacts of inadvertent weather modification may thus result in local or regional-scale climatic alterations superimposed on, and interacting with, natural and GHG-induced climate variability and change. Understanding, still in its infancy, of inadvertent weather modification is thus necessary for understanding the sources, triggers, and response mechanisms of climate change.

2. Mitigation

Mitigation or avoidance, of these unintended impacts requires:

  • Application of new knowledge to curtail pollutant emissions and adverse land use changes and to mitigate their impacts.
  • Advancement of scientific and engineering understanding to elucidate the causes of atmospheric changes and to lay the foundation of knowledge for countering their adverse impacts.

 Achieving these objectives requires:

  • Documentation of anthropogenic weather forcings.
  • Process studies (both observations and simulations) of how such forcings affect meteorological conditions.
  • Simulations of the extent to which such local and regional forcings influence hemispheric-scale systems, such as the subtropical and polar jet streams. 

3. Adaptation

 Adaptation is necessary when impacts cannot be fully mitigated.  Adaptation to the unavoidable components of unintended weather modification requires:

  • Consideration of environmental impacts of inadvertent weather modification as part of development and planning processes, e.g., crop adaptation, management practices, and water utilization.
  • Implementation of strategies to enhance depleted water resources in response to reduced precipitation (e.g., through desalination).
  • Evaluation and planning of public response to risks from inadvertent weather modification that can influence severe weather events.  

4. Recommendations

 High-priority research and new technological capabilities are required to improve understanding of the impacts of inadvertent weather modification.  These might include:

  • Further use of satellite remote sensing of land, trace gas, aerosol, cloud, and precipitation properties.
  • Enhanced documentation of emissions of aerosols and their precursors; their chemical evolution; radiative properties; CCN and IN activity; and their transport and deposition.
  • Expanded in situ measurements of aerosol–atmosphere and land-atmosphere interactions over a range of cloud regimes, from fair weather to severe convective storms and to hurricanes.
  • Detailed simulations of these processes at a hierarchy of scales, up to global.

These research efforts on unintended weather modification should be recognized as addressing parts of the broader question of climate variability and change, which crosses geopolitical boundaries.  As was the case of acid rain and stratospheric ozone depletion, national and international frameworks should be developed for addressing the related environmental and ethical issues for inadvertent weather modification.

[1] Inadvertent weather modification is the unintended consequence of an act, either on purpose or accidentally, that results in changes in the weather. 

[2] An aerosol is a suspension of solid or liquid particles in a gas.  Atmospheric aerosols can have natural or anthropogenic sources, the latter primarily through the combustion of fuels, but also from blowing dust due to degradation of land surfaces, particularly in semi-arid regions.  The large difference in geographic locations between sources and sinks (in deposition areas) and the variety of physical and chemical processes affecting them, lead to a large spatial variability in aerosol concentration, size distribution, and composition.  Aerosols are removed by gradual fall due to gravity (dry deposition) or precipitation (wet deposition), and almost all have a tropospheric half life from a few days to a few weeks.  Evidence exists that aerosols modify weather systems, so that the aggregated changes could affect regional systems.

[3]  Trace gases that result in noticeable atmospheric effects, and that are considered as a group in this statement include: carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, tropospheric ozone, nitrous oxide, and nitrogen oxide.  These gases have natural and/or anthropogenic sources.

(Roger Pielek Sr., Climate Science)


Double A Energy Policy

Policy makers should promote abundant and affordable energy, and oppose policies that raise energy prices and restrict energy access.

With the collapse of climate legislation in the Senate and a new GOP House certain to be hostile to the conventional wisdom about shoveling subsidies at or mandating the use of uncompetitive energy sources, American energy policy has once again been put on the back burner. The House Republicans' recent Pledge to America gives only passing mention to energy, promising to increase access to domestic energy sources and to continue opposing new energy taxes, while the White House probably never wants to hear the term "cap and trade" again. When prices are high, or environmental disasters occur, energy policy comes into vogue, but discussion is never serious. The typical epicycle of energy policy repeats itself once more.

Energy policy in the United States has primarily consisted of fantasies: fantastical claims of imminent energy independence or imminent technology breakthroughs that will banish all of our energy woes. Such fantastical thinking has led to more efforts at energy central-planning. This is a mistake, as there is no surer way of driving more manufacturing jobs overseas than to embrace costly, unreliable energy, or to ration access to energy. Yet that has been the policy focus for the last 30 years. (Kenneth P. Green and Steven F. Hayward, The American)


An Election-Night Win For Domestic Energy Jobs

by Ben Lieberman
04 November 2010 @ 4:24 pm

Draw up a map of the U.S. and shade in the regions that rely on energy jobs – places like Appalachia, the Rockies, western Gulf states, Alaska – and that’s where we saw some of the strongest anti-Obama sentiment succeeding on election day.

With few exceptions, the only Democratic congressional candidates who won in these areas were those able to distance themselves from President Obama’s energy policies – or to be more accurate, his anti-energy policies. In its first two years, the Obama administration has tried to slam the door shut on domestic production of coal, oil, and natural gas.

But now, many of the administration’s Congressional allies in this effort have gotten a pink slip from their constituents. Obama will soon…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)


Investors are realists? Go figure... Coal Still King As Green Power IPO Struggles

Waning investor interest in clean energy contrasted sharply with enthusiasm for coal on Thursday as shares in Enel Green Power fell on their debut while Coal India's soared.

Enel Green Power (EGP), which generates clean energy from hydro and geothermal to wind and solar and is Europe's biggest listing since 2008, dropped over 4 percent on its debut despite a cut price offered to lure investors.

Shares of Coal India, a similar sized share sale at around $3.5 billion, gained 40 percent in Mumbai on the same day. (Reuters)


Export coal: our power gift to Asia

SOUTH Korea and Taiwan are managing to produce cheaper power than Australia, even though they have to ship the Australian coal that fires their furnaces.

In self-sufficient Australia, households are paying one-third more for electricity than those in Taiwan and South Korea - two of the biggest buyers of Australian coal.

Residential power prices in Australia have surged 12.4 per cent in the past year, four times the rate of inflation.

Australia is now paying more for power than some of the countries to which it ships its coal, who also happen to be trade competitors.

Local households paid 14.3c for every kilowatt hour of residential power, while Asian households paid 10.6c, based on the most recent 2008 data provided by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Industrialists yesterday declared that Australia's surging power prices could rob the manufacturing and mining sectors of their competitive edge. (The Australian)


MILLOY: Clean coal is as dead as 'cap-and-trade'

Mitch McConnell had better study up on the election results

While we shouldn't expect our left-wing elitist president to understand Tuesday's electoral rejection of his "progressive" prescriptions for America, we should expect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, to get it.

But Mr. McConnell seems to have missed the message, at least when it comes to "cap-and-trade" - odd for a coal-state politician. The day after the election, Mr. McConnell said, "The president says he's for nuclear power. Most of my members are for nuclear power. The president says he's for clean coal technology. Most of my members are for clean coal technology. There are areas that we can make progress on for the country."

Aside from the canard of President Obama sincerely supporting nuclear power and the fact that Republicans ought to avoid the loaded and already co-opted-by-the-left word "progress," so-called "clean coal" is a form of Obama-think - a discredited cap-and-trade concept that was more trap than sincere policy.

Some in the coal industry and some coal-burning electric utilities had been talked into supporting cap-and-trade, provided that taxpayers and ratepayers forked over billions (if not trillions) of dollars for so-called "carbon capture and sequestration" (CCS) - that is, burying utility carbon-dioxide emissions deep underground and hoping they stay there safely.

But to the extent that any so-called environmentalists paid any lip service to clean coal and CCS, it was only to lure coal and utility suckers into cap-and-trade. Does anyone really believe, after all, that the greens would allow utilities to inject underground billions of tons of highly pressurized carbon dioxide all over the nation? They fought tooth-and-nail, after all, to prevent the storage of sealed casks of spent nuclear fuel one mile underground in the Nevada desert. (Steve Milloy, Washington Times)


Real Clean Coal: Japan’s Unit #2 Isogo Plant

by Robert Peltier
November 4, 2010

I’m often asked: what is the cleanest coal-fired power plant in the world?  I am also asked: how “clean” is clean coal?

If emissions levels from a gas-fired combined cycle plant are the measure of “clean,” then there are emissions control technologies available today for coal-fired plants that can produce comparable emissions. To be sure, low emissions from coal-fired plants isn’t a technology problem, it’s a political problem.

Unit 2 at J-POWER’s Isogo Thermal Power Station is an exemplar for low emission coal-fired plants. The second unit at the plant entered commercial service in July 2009, so the plant has been in operation for about 18 months. The 600-MW ultrasupercritical unit 2 joins an earlier, similar plant built in 2002. Together, these two new plants replaced 1960s-vintage coal-fired plants and doubled power generation from the small project site. In addition, the new unit improves the plant’s gross thermal efficiency to about 45%, while reducing air emis­sions to those of a gas-fired combined-cycle plant.

This technology, the real deal, is available today for “repowering” existing coal plants. If the future belongs to the efficient, coal is very much still in the game. [Read more →] (MasterResource)


Entertaining interview with warmist RFK Jr: The fuels he's backing are "wholesome fuels from heaven"; the ones that run our hospitals, school buses and police cars are destructive "fuels from hell"

‘A coup d’etat against the carbon cronies’: chatting with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | Grist

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a lifelong environmentalist, a lawyer, an author, a cleantech backer...
Right now we have a marketplace for energy in this country that is rigged by rules that were written by the incumbents to favor the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most destructive, most addictive fuels from hell, rather than the cheap, clean, green, abundant, and wholesome fuels from heaven. We need a marketplace that does what a market is supposed to do: reward good behavior, which is efficiency, and punish bad behavior, which is inefficiency and waste. If

(Tom Nelson)


Opposition to nuclear has led to more CO2 - say environmentalists

Green opposition to nuclear power has led to one billion extra tonnes of carbon being pumped into atmosphere, according to environmentalists who have changed their minds over the controversial technology. (TDT)

Okay, their opposition to nukes hasn't been all bad then because atmospheric carbon dioxide is an asset and environmental resource but their mindless obstructionism is still costly and harmful.


Solar blow-out may cost $600m in electricity rises

ENERGYAUSTRALIA has warned of a $600 million blow-out in power bills next year, claiming the federal government has underestimated the number of certificates it will issue as an incentive for installing small-scale solar energy systems on homes and businesses.

The NSW government-owned power company warns in a submission to the federal government that the estimate upon which the renewable energy certificate scheme was based ''is likely to prove far too modest''.

''The financial impact of this for our industry may be an additional cost in excess of $600 million in 2011 and is likely to have a serious impact on electricity consumers,'' it says. (SMH)



Autism risk gene may rewire brain, U.S. study finds

Too many connections in the frontal lobe of the brain may help explain some of the learning problems experienced by people with autism, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

They said autistic children with a common autism risk gene appear to have a lot of brain connections clustered in the frontal lobe, a part of the brain important for learning.

But they had fewer connections to other parts of the brain, a finding that may help explain how this gene variant rewires the brain.

"This is a key piece of the puzzle we've been searching for," said Dr. Daniel Geschwind of the University of California, Los Angeles, who worked on the study published in Science Translational Medicine.

"Now we can begin to unravel the mystery of how genes rearrange the brain's circuitry not only in autism, but in many related neurological disorders." (Reuters)


No link seen between high-carb diet, colon cancer

Chinese women who eat a traditional diet rich in white rice and other starchy foods that spur a surge in blood sugar do not seem to have an elevated risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests. (Reuters Health)


Well duh! of the moment: More drugs do not always mean better care: studies

Spending more on drugs does not always translate into healthier patients, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday. (Reuters)


Science takes a fresh look at mind-bending drugs

Illicit drugs may be a scourge of modern life but the use of mind-altering substances is threaded through human history and cultures, from betel nut in Asia to coca leaf in the Andes to espresso coffee in Europe.

With illegal drug use on the rise and trade in banned products worth some $320 billion a year, according to UN estimates, a new exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection seeks to put today's "high society" into perspective.

Bringing together such objects as an 11th-century manuscript on poppy remedies and a Victorian-era hallucinogenic snuff set from the Amazon, the Collection's "High Society" exhibition comes at a time when ideas about drugs are in a state of flux, according to co-curator Mike Jay.

"The line between use and abuse is very difficult to police because it keeps changing," he said in an interview. "It's changing at the moment, for example with the debate over whether we should think of cannabis as a medicine." (Reuters Life!)


Cancer cream poses little-known risk to pets

Scientific journals usually aren't the province of puppy pictures, but the October 2010 issue of Archives of Dermatology contains an image of pitiable Ruby, a young Yorkshire Terrier with a tragic medical history: Ruby died of accidental poisoning after gnawing on a tube of her owner's cancer therapy, a potent cream called 5-fluorouracil.

Doctors who reported the case caution that pet owners using the drug-commonly prescribed to patients with a form of skin cancer called actinic keratosis-should be aware of the risk it poses to their animals and take steps to keep the medication away from curious snouts. (Reuters Health)


Barack Obama's green agenda crushed at the ballot box

With a slew of new climate change deniers entering Congress, Barack Obama's environmental ambitions are now dead

Californians decisively rejected a measure to roll back the state's landmark climate change law yesterday, the sole win for environmentalists on a night that crushed Barack Obama's green agenda.

With that lone victory in California, environmentalists managed to keep alive a model for action on climate change, preserving a 2006 law that had set ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reductions and had attracted tens of millions in clean-tech investment. (Guardian)

For "green" read: "misanthropic" and the misanthropists must always be defeated and their agenda crushed. Sadly this is an ongoing effort for their pathological hatred of their own species knows no bounds and they will never stop trying to inhibit human endeavor in their quest to harm humanity.

With regard to the "lone environmental victory" in California (No on 23), that may not be much of a deal since Proposition 26 got up, meaning that punitive environmental fees must now be approved by a supermajority of two-thirds of the State Legislature. Significantly 26 has a much broader reach than 23, which applied only to California's absurd greenhouse gas regulation and may be much more useful curtailing the environmental excesses of the Granola State*.

* Parenthetically, my thanks to regular readers who explained to this sheltered down-under editor why formerly-known-as California is now Granolia -- because when you sort out the fruits and nuts you end up with a bunch of flakes (that's what they said, anyway).


So, how's that Socialism workin' for ya? Accept reforms or “we will fall off the cliff” warns Raúl Castro

Cuban President Raul Castro told unionists to accept layoffs and reforms that open the way for private enterprise as necessary for the survival of socialism.

“To defend and explain these measures, the working class must learn and be convinced of their importance for the survival of the revolution,” Castro said in an address to the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, the only union recognized by the Communist Party. “Otherwise we will fall off the cliff.”

Castro’s speech was published in the party newspaper Granma as Cuba prepares to dismiss 500,000 state workers by March, affecting 10% of the workforce.

The dismissed workers are being encouraged to go into business for themselves, and Granma said the central bank may offer micro-credits to new entrepreneurs as the island faces its worst economic slump since the former Soviet Union ended support in the 1990s. (MercoPress)


A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Business and Sustainability Programme Lecture by Jeff Immelt

I could not be more pleased that Jeff Immelt has agreed to deliver this year’s lecture to my Business and Sustainability Programme. Of course, he comes here as the Chief Executive of one of the world’s biggest companies and I was reading that they employ some 323,000 employees. I am delighted to say, one of the companies which has put sustainability at the very heart of its business model. (Wails)

Actually Charlie, Immelt has placed rent seeking at the heart of their business model. Definitely not a sustainable business practice, which is likely to become more apparent as the watermelons lose control of the House and its all-important committees.


German Wetlands Are Increasingly Yielding to Agriculture

Even as Berlin demands that developing countries preserve their rainforests, the country is doing little for biodiversity back home. Bogs and marshland in Germany are increasingly yielding to corn farming -- resulting in the release of huge quantities of CO2.

It's hard to tell just by looking at Rhinluch, a region northwest of Berlin, that an ecological drama is playing out here. Lush green vegetation stretches out toward the horizon and cranes glide across the sky. The countryside around the small river Rhin seems like an idyllic rural landscape.

But Andreas Piela, a nature conservation expert for the Environment Ministry in the state of Brandenburg, doesn't look happy. "We're destroying this ecosystem," he says, as serious as if he were gazing into the deep hole of an open pit coal mine. "Things are similar all over the country."
Piela's expert eye catches what the casual observer doesn't see -- and he knows that this landscape is missing a rich layer of peat. Farmers have drained these wetlands for decades, turning marshy areas into pasture. This allows oxygen to penetrate the peat bog, sometimes a meter or more thick, and material that has built up over the course of millennia out of reeds, sedges and mosses begins to decompose, largely into the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The drying of wetlands also spells a loss of habitat for many animal and plant species.

Meanwhile, the German government is lecturing the rest of the world on preserving ecosystems. Last Tuesday, during the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen called on countries in tropical regions to preserve their rainforests, since clearing these forests releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and wipes out species. Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to the world to take action, even if this would have a "deep impact on our way of life and our economy." The UN Climate Change Conference starting at the end of November in Cancún, Mexico, will set the stage for similar appeals. The question is how much credibility Germany has on the global stage when its own bogs are disappearing. (Spiegel)

Germany hand-wrings over its own development while hectoring others against it. Figures...


Rats targeted in mass poisoning to save endangered birds

British scientists are to mount a £1.7m operation to save a seabird from extinction by eradicating rats from one of the world's most remote islands.

Nearly 50 million pellets of rat poison will be dropped on one of the Pitcairn Islands – the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific – to safeguard the future of the Henderson petrel, which is found nowhere else.

Most of the petrels' chicks are being eaten alive by the rats with which the island is infested. The population has tumbled to a fraction of its historic levels and may soon have disappeared. As a result, the United Nations has officially warned Britain that Henderson Island was in danger of losing its World Heritage Site status, granted in 1988 due to its position as one of the few atolls in the world whose ecology has been "practically untouched by a human presence".

In fact, the island was inhabited by Polynesian settlers several hundred years ago, who subsequently left for reasons that remain a mystery. But they brought with them a population of the non-native Pacific rat, which feeds on the island's wildlife and has already resulted in the extinction of four endemic bird species – three doves and a sandpiper – a fact only apparent by the bones which are left behind.

Now the remaining birds are all at risk, including four endemic species of landbird, the Henderson reed-warbler, the Henderson crake, the Henderson fruit-dove and the Henderson lorikeet. But most threatened are the seabirds, four species of ground-nesting petrels – dove-sized relatives of the albatross – of which the endemic Henderson petrel presents the crucial concern. (Independent)


Calls for boycott of British chicken

RSPCA says welfare standards are far higher in Thailand than in domestic factory farms

Shoppers who care about animal welfare should shun standard British chicken and buy meat imported from thousands of miles away in Thailand, according to the RSPCA.

Britain's biggest animal welfare charity said that the standards in two of the biggest poultry exporters, Thailand and Brazil, were generally higher than in basic UK production.

The calls came on the same day campaigners released footage showing a "conveyor belt to death" for male chicks unwanted by the egg production industry. Vegetarian organisation Viva! said that between 30 million and 40 million chicks were killed each year in gas chambers or by being thrown into electric mincers.

The RSPCA said Thai poultry had more space – around 13 chickens per square metre compared with 20 per square metre in basic UK production – and were allowed to grow for longer, 42 days, compared to as little as 35 days here. They were also allowed more rest; six hours of darkness rather than the four they have here. (Independent)


Of course... The Hedwig effect: Harry Potter blamed for endangering owls

In the years since he was a callow pupil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter and his associated world have known no shortage of controversy.

There have been claims the young wizard has promoted witchcraft, that his creator has made millions of pounds from ordinary prose and even unfounded allegations that she may have committed plagiarism.

But perhaps one of the most unlikely allegations was made this week by India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, who suggested Harry Potter may be at least partly responsible for the decline of the country's owl popul