Archives - October 2009

October 30, 2009

 

No Deal: Chamber Chief Battles Obama

WASHINGTON -- With President Barack Obama bidding to overhaul the health-care system, tighten bank oversight and make industries pay for their greenhouse-gas emissions, some trade-association chiefs have decided to compromise with the party in power.

Not Thomas Donohue. On many of Mr. Obama's priorities, the president and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is working to defeat the administration—delighting some members, causing some to quit and sparking a furious reaction from the White House and left-wing activists. In the process, he has made the Chamber one of Mr. Obama's most visible opponents. (Stephen Power, WSJ)

 

Chamber Faces Dissent From Big U.S. Firms On Climate

BOSTON - The biggest U.S. business organization has fallen out with influential parts of Corporate America because of its trenchant opposition to climate-change legislation making its way through Congress.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the climate bill has already cost it prominent members including Apple Inc and California utility PG&E Corp.

And this week two of the lobbying group's most powerful members, the conglomerate General Electric Co and the telecommunications equipment provider Cisco Systems Inc told Reuters they do not see eye-to-eye with the group on climate regulations.

"The Chamber does not represent our views on the urgent need for climate legislation," said Peter O'Toole, a spokesman for GE, the largest U.S. conglomerate. "We need climate legislation and a price for carbon in the U.S. now."

The Chamber, which represents some 3 million U.S. businesses ranging from massive multinationals to mom-and-pop operations, says its positions take into account the needs of many sorts of businesses across a range of industries.

"Our goal is to have the positions that we actually take stances on be reflective of the democratic majority of the broad majority of the business community," said Eric Wohlschlegel, a Chamber spokesman. "There are cases, not just with energy, where companies are going to peel off and take different positions than the Chamber." (Reuters)

 

Sub Prime Carbon is Coming

There are people out there who manufacture money from nothing. Literally. The rest of the world has to earn it, but some are in it from the start–where money is created from the ether. (JoNova)

 

Six words to expose the scam - After two years of distilling this down, it’s come to me that it only takes six words: Banks want us to trade carbon

Years from now historians will write about gullible leaders who go down in history as the ones who sold their nations to Goldman Sachs. Fools who thought they might look important trying to save the planet, but who instead were negligent, ignoring the science and slavishly committing their productive workers to pay tribute to a parasitic layer of financial houses. (JoNova)

 

Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill Allowance Allocation Breakdown

Originally at the Breakthrough Institute

Late Friday night, Senator Barbara Boxer's Environment and Public Works Committee released a new draft of the Kerry-Boxer "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" (S.1733), the first version of the legislation to detail how emissions allowances created by the bill will be divvied up. These allowances, which give polluters the right to emit greenhouse gases under the bill's cap and trade program, will be worth nearly a trillion dollars over the first ten years of the program alone.

Breakthrough Institute staff worked over the weekend to dig through the new legislation and get an accurate picture of the allowance allocation pie [see summary tables and graphics below and click here to download a comprehensive spreadsheet of allowance allocations in both Kerry-Boxer and the House Waxman-Markey/ACES bill].

Overall, the allowance allocation scheme mirrors the bill's House-passed sibling, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), aka the Waxman-Markey bill (HR 2454) [for a side-by-side comparison of the two bills, click here].

K-B_Allocations_Chart.jpg
(click either graphic to enlarge)

Depending on the value of emissions allowances under the cap and trade program, an average of roughly $70 billion to $126 billion in emissions allowances will be created and distributed on each year under the first ten years of the bill's cap and trade program, 2012-2021. (Energy Collective)

 

Enemies to America….the International agenda

The push to flatten us into submission to the International elites is going just as planned. The Copenhagen Climate Treaty is set to take off December 8th, 09 just weeks away and President Obama has promised to sign it.

This would cede our sovereignty to the International elites running this Treaty. Once the Senate had ratified this, international taxes and new rules would be levied on the American people to lower the mythological effect of carbon emissions. This would lead beautifully to its domestic relative and nightmare, the Cap and Trade Bill, also a carbon emissions bloodhound Obama will gladly sign. Neither of these international schemes should happen. We must fight them with all that we have.

The UN has been exploring international controls and a one world Government for decades while the U.S. has largely looked the other way. One of the UN’s offspring, boldly declaring their real agenda was started clear back in 1945, UNESCO – United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. Their declared goal laid out for all to see is to push for a standardized one-world culture in preparation for world government. (Laurie Roth, CFP)

 

ANALYSIS - Backers of UN climate treaty look to 2010 for deal

OSLO - U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen in December are unlikely to agree a legally binding treaty and even backers of a robust pact are reluctantly starting to look to new deadlines in 2010.

After months of saying there is no "Plan B" despite bogged-down negotiations, the United Nations, host Denmark and some other European countries say Copenhagen may at best reach a political deal to step up the fight against global warming.

That is a setback for those hoping that the Dec. 7-18 conference will end with a treaty text that would be sent to all countries to be ratified and thus gain legal teeth. Agreeing to extra talks in 2010 risks a loss of momentum. (Reuters)

 

Deal-Breaker for Climate-Change Treaty May Be U.S.

 When Barack Obama was elected president, he was heralded as a possible savior for climate- treaty talks that had dragged on for years while George W. Bush rejected limits on U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.

“America is back” at the United Nations negotiating table, Democratic Senator John Kerry declared after the November election. Danish climate minister Connie Hedegaard said U.S. emissions policy moved forward 35 years overnight.

Instead, Obama may send empty-handed envoys in December to the table in Copenhagen where 192 countries will try to assign emissions reductions because Congress has given him no mandate. With the 27-nation European Union, Japan and Australia ready to pledge cuts of more than 20 percent only if other nations follow suit, the stage is set for promises to collapse.

“How can we expect other major players to move their position until they know that in the end the U.S. is also going to deliver?” Hedegaard, chairwoman of the UN talks running from Dec. 7-18, said in an interview.

The possible domino effect, along with a continuing split between the U.S. and China, erode chances for a strong treaty, negotiators and political scientists say. (Bloomberg)

 

White House Steps Up Climate Efforts

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and some Senate Democrats expressed fresh urgency on Tuesday about the need to address climate change and refashion the nation’s energy economy.

But they faced determined opposition from Republicans, new concerns from some Democrats and reminders of the financial, technological and political hurdles in remaking the way the nation produces and consumes power. (NYT)

 

At sparsely-attended global warming rally, alarmist congresswoman admits she's "so disappointed" at lack of phone calls in support of climate swindle

YouTube - Congresswoman McCollum speaking on the International Day of Climate Action
[McCollum: "I have to tell you sometimes I'm so disappointed...phones are quiet"]
In a metropolitan area population by about 3.5 million people, an underwhelming turnout for The Most Important Issue of All Time


Call Betty McCollum
phone: (202) 225-6631 or phone: (651) 224-9191 (Tom Nelson)

 

Senate Testimony of Sec. Chu Refuted, Says SPPI

The Senate testimony of Sec. Chu is predicated upon false assumptions, points out Christopher Monckton in a succinct letter to Senators posted by the Science and Public Policy Institute [SPPI], a Washington DC –based NGO.

The letter points out that Chu’s testimony cites the now-outdated 2007 Climate Assessment Report of the IPCC and a subsequent but also now-outdated MIT study, saying global warming by 2100 would be 7-11 Fº. “These excessive estimates are founded solely on computerized guesswork,” says Christopher Monckton, former adviser to UK Prime Minister Thatcher and current SPPI policy adviser.

Monckton reviews a number of recent papers having appeared in the peer-reviewed literature that put the man-made warming scare to rest, and render regulation of CO2 emissions needless and blindingly fatuous. (TransWorldNews)

 

UN signals delay in climate change treaty

UNITED NATIONS — Just weeks before an international conference on climate change, the United Nations signaled it was scaling back expectations of reaching agreement on a new treaty to slow global warming.

Janos Pasztor, director of the secretary-general's Climate Change Support Team, said Monday "it's hard to say how far the conference will be able to go" because the U.S. Congress has not agreed on a climate bill, and industrialized nations have not agreed on targets to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions or funding to help developing countries limit their discharges. (AP)

 

Should Bulgaria Pay Brazil?

The BBC has an interesting article (thx DB!) on an east-west split within the EU on financing adaptation under a potential international climate agreement.

On climate change, the EU is keen to reach a united position ahead of December's United Nations Copenhagen summit, which aims to hammer out a new global climate treaty to replace the UN Kyoto Protocol.

Mr Reinfeldt called on EU leaders to agree a "fixed sum" that would open the way for other rich donors like the US and Japan to make similar aid pledges to help developing nations cope with the effects of climate change.

But just hours before the talks, Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai said sharing the aid costs equally between all 27 EU nations was out of the question. "The burden-sharing proposal is not acceptable in its current form," Mr Bajnai said.

The Polish finance minister, Jacek Rostowski, told the BBC that nine Eastern European nations were ready to block a deal unless they were allowed to contribute according to their means, not to how much they pollute.

"There are countries there like Bulgaria and Latvia, which are considerably poorer than Brazil, and which would be expected to help Brazil in its adjustments to climate change," he said.
This is not the first time that eastern Europe has proven problematic in EU climate policy. But just wait until it comes time for the US to discuss how much money it is going to send overseas as a part of a climate deal. I can't imagine a situation in which this does not become a political lightning rod in the US -- regardless of the policy merits of doing so. (And to be perfectly clear about my views, I wrote in 1998 that the climate "winners" of the world have an obligation to help the climate "losers" - PDF - this post is about the politics of the issue.). Yvo de Boer, head of the UN FCCC helpfully explains that:
“Money, in fact, is the oil that encourages commitment and drives action”
Money also get the attention of voters, especially when you are reaching into their pockets to take it and then sending it to someone else. And in the United States, sending money overseas has never been politically popular, and I don't expect that it will be in the context either. I'll award a prize to the first person who can provide a quote from a U.S. elected official (POTUS, VP or anyone in Congress) advocating sending money overseas as part of a climate deal. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

The Church of Global Warming

Novelist Michael Crichton said that environmentalism had all the trappings of a religion: “Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday.” I never took such claims entirely seriously. But then I heard this statement from a Montana writer, Jim Robbins, interviewed by the “sustainability reporters” of government-funded Marketplace Radio:

There’s a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. I think there’s something along that line happening here. I mean, there are still some people who refuse to believe it. But I think there’s been an erosion of that disbelief and it’s changed pretty dramatically.

Darned if he isn’t using terms like “atheists” and “disbelief” in a discussion of global warming. Almost as if he were, you know, a theologian.

Reporter Sarah Gardner, by the way, says that “in my own lifetime, average temperatures in this country have gone up more than 2 degrees.” That doesn’t sound like that much — maybe like moving from Washington to Richmond? But anyway, unless Sarah is about 200 years old, she seems to be exaggerating.

For a different view of global warming — not that of an atheist or even a skeptic, just a non-fundamentalist or non-apocalyptic — see this short paper or this book by climatologist Pat Michaels. (David Boaz, Cato at liberty)

 

The cheap thrill of global warming - Ed Miliband’s ‘climate map’ confirms that climate change is the only thing providing New Labour with a sense of mission.

You’ve probably seen the advert by now. A little girl is resting in her dad’s arms as he reads her a bedtime story. As the portentous music indicates, something is not right about this story and its rather sad illustrations. One picture shows a dog drowning as water floods the town, another shows bunny rabbits weeping upon the parched earth. (Tim Black, sp!ked)

 

Cap and trade bedtime story

A few weeks ago, the British government aired an outrageous commercial with "drowning pets" on TV. Hundreds of viewers have complained. The great news is that the narration has been corrected. Here is the fixed version of the commercial:

The Minnesotans for Global Warming who helped to cure the errors want you to sign a petition against cap and trade, to be sent to Obama.

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

 

Blogs vs. MSM

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism provides some interesting data on the focus of attention on blogs and the mainstream media. The graph to the right shows the top issues for the week October 19 to 23. "global warming" is a top topic on the blogs, along with the "balloon boy" and a "cross dressing ban." Meanwhile the traditional media is focused on the economy, Afghanistan and health care.

There are of course plenty of ways to interpret this information, and my first reaction is that if your topic is sandwiched between the balloon boy and cross dressing, and nowhere to be seen in the MSM, then you've probably got a PR problem on your hands. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Freaked Out Over SuperFreakonomics - Global warming might be solved with a helium balloon and a few miles of garden hose.

Suppose for a minute—which is about 59 seconds too long, but that's for another column—that global warming poses an imminent threat to the survival of our species. Suppose, too, that the best solution involves a helium balloon, several miles of garden hose and a harmless stream of sulfur dioxide being pumped into the upper atmosphere, all at a cost of a single F-22 fighter jet.

Good news, right? Maybe, but not if you're Al Gore or one of his little helpers. (WSJ)

 

Climate change: Can we even do it? Should we even try?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has long been known worldwide for its engineering programs, and a symposium at MIT this week will draw scientists from around the globe to focus on a hot facet of the field -- climate engineering.

The title of the symposium itself underscores the questions surrounding climate-changing science: "Engineering a Cooler Earth: Can We Do It? Should We Try?"

Climate engineering may sound a little Frankensteinian and worrisome, but it's not a new concept. Governments and militaries have tried over the years to control the weather for various reasons -- and have mostly failed.

In the past decade, though, scientists have made major strides in developing technologies to cool the globe, and some of these processes are are gaining momentum among those who think drastic measures are needed to control the warming Earth.

The subject is rife with controversy, including whether intentional climate engineering itself is even new. (CNN)

 

IPCC Climatologist: “It would ruin the US economy and it wouldn’t save the climate either”

From Northern Broadcasting System:

BILLINGS-  As debate over climate change legislation heats up on Capitol Hill, the Director of the University of Montana’s Climate Change Studies Program, and a co-author of a Nobel Prize winning report, says cap and trade legislation could ruin the US economy.

During a Wednesday morning interview with statewide radio talk show host Aaron Flint on “Voices of Montana,” Dr. Steve Running said any climate change solution needs to involve all nations. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Europe Metals Producers Warn Of Relocation

MADRID - European non-ferrous metals producers may move to countries where environmental legislation is less strict unless the impact of forthcoming measures is reduced, an industry spokesman said on Thursday.

Javier Targhetta, president of Eurometaux, said the industry was concerned over high and unpredictable power costs, the added cost of a new emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2013 and a new registry of chemicals, amongst other issues.

Industry group Eurometaux estimates non-ferrous metals makers directly and indirectly employ one million people in Europe, and contribute 2 percent of its economic output. (Reuters)

 

China Steps Up Climate Diplomacy

BEIJING - China's busy climate change diplomacy has become increasingly feverish weeks before crucial talks that could forge a new pact to fight global warming, or end in rancor that could rebound onto the world's biggest emitter.

President Hu Jintao told President Barack Obama last week that China wants a successful outcome in Copenhagen when the world gathers from December 7 to wrangle over the proposed new climate pact, and the topic is sure to feature when Obama visits Beijing in mid-November.

Recent weeks have brought a flurry of meetings between China and other big hitters in the negotiations, including India. Global warming will feature too at a China-European Union summit late in November.

But Chinese diplomats and advisers doing footwork for the negotiations have echoed growing international gloom, warning the Copenhagen talks could end with a feeble agreement that evades key issues or even fails to reach a deal.

"The real negotiations will be after Copenhagen," Yi Xianliang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official involved in the climate talks told a meeting in Beijing last week. "Copenhagen will be a starting point, not an ending point." (Reuters)

 

Japan may cut emissions by less than 25 pct

TOKYO, Oct 23 - Japan cautioned on Friday that it could water down planned 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if other rich nations fail to make deep reductions as part of a U.N. deal due in Copenhagen in December. (Reuters)

 

Canada can meet its climate goals, but the West will write the cheques - Report reveals costs of taking action, now Canadians have to decide

Ottawa will have to lead a massive restructuring of the Canadian economy, with wealth flowing from the West to the rest of the country, if it is to meet its climate-change targets, a landmark report has concluded.

The Conservative government's goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 can be achieved, but only by limiting growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

This is the finding of a report, financed by the Toronto Dominion Bank and conducted by two environmental organizations, that for the first time offers a detailed regional breakdown of the economic impacts of pursuing a strategy of fighting global warming. (Globe and Mail)

 

Climate change report 'irresponsible,' Prentice says - Western provinces believe landmark study on economics of climate-change targets reaches unworkable conclusions

A landmark report on the economic impact of meeting climate-change targets has run into a storm of opposition, with Western provinces calling it divisive and the federal government saying it would spell economic disaster.

“We would be extremely opposed to any kind of a carbon tax or some other kind of tax that would result in a significant wealth transfer from our province to any other province or area of the country,” said Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd.

Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice said there is no way Western Canadians could absorb the deep economic hit projected by the report's environmentalist authors – the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute. (Globe and Mail)

 

Guest Weblog By Len Ornstein “How To Quickly Lower Climate Risks, At ‘Tolerable’ Costs?”

In keeping with my goal to permit a diversity of views to be posted on my weblog by published climate scientists, below is a post by Len Ornstein.

Guest Weblog By Len Ornstein  titled “How to Quickly Lower Climate Risks, at ‘Tolerable’ Costs?”

Preamble:

The data on climate change are very noisy. The physics of hydrodynamic systems like the oceans and atmosphere behave somewhat ‘erratically’ and ‘chaotically’, (especially in comparison, for example, to the physics of the ‘predictability’ of the Earth’s orbit around the sun) and in addition, the choices that are made about how to collect climate data, also can be subject to some uncertainty and error. So it’s not surprising that attempts to discern ‘trends’ in climate data are subject to a good deal of uncertainty. This is characteristic of all scientific data; only it’s especially severe in climate science.

Scientist construct models of the world and then they (or others) observe the behavior of  relevant, discrete, worldly events to test whether the models are useful for ‘prediction’ of future events and/or interpolation of unobserved ‘past events’ in between already observed events. In general, the larger the number of ‘pertinent’ observations, and the more similar are the ‘results’ to one another, the more ‘likely’ it is that calculated means (or trends of means), are representative of ‘reality’. Likewise, the closer a model prediction comes to such a measured trend, the more robust may be its ability to ‘predict’. To communicate how likely reality has been estimated by the measurements and by the model, science tries to cope with likelihood by using ‘agreed upon’ metrics of uncertainty – such as confidence intervals – to help make discussion of uncertainty more tractable. But the public is used to ‘statements of fact’, and mistrust the weasel words of confidence intervals; most haven’t yet learned that nothing that can be said about real world ‘facts’ is either absolutely certain – or absolutely false.

 So when some scientist suggests that the mean of a ‘calculated trend’ of  some kind of climate ‘feature’ (e.g., global mean surface temperature (GMST)) is biased on the high side because of measurement errors of a particular kind – and another says that the trend is underestimated for perhaps just the opposite reasons – the public often sees it as an ideological difference (which it sometimes may be!). But more commonly, it’s an honest difference of opinion that stems from the different data histories with which these scientists have experience. Both respect the general significance of the confidence interval around the mean of the trend. But because they differ on what they consider pertinent, one may favor the data closer to the bottom of the confidence interval – and the other, closer to the top.

 On a small number of issues, I differ with Roger. His experience and mine differ widely, and I expect we can each learn from one another. His comments on the following matters will be appreciated: (Climate Science)

 

Comments On Len Ornstein’s Post “How To Quickly Lower Climate Risks, At ‘Tolerable’ Costs?”

On October 26 2009 Len Ornstein posted a guest weblog titled “How To Quickly Lower Climate Risks, At ‘Tolerable’ Costs?”.  He has requested that I comment on his proposal to reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. 

As I have written previously, I am very concerned about geoengineering as a way to mitigate climate change from the addition of CO2 and other greenhouse gases; e.g. see

Comments On The Physics Today Article “Will Desperate Climates Call for Desperate Geoengineering Measures?” by Barbara Goss Levi.

I wrote in that post

The claim in the Levi Physics Today article that geoengineering “intervention” [can] prevent or slow changes in the climate system is completely wrong. Geoengineering  would cause changes in the climate system!  The Levi focus almost exclusively on the role of the addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is blind to the importance of altering the spatial pattern of climate forcing as a result of geoengineering.

I do find that Len’s study further confirms the role of landscape change (in this case deliberate change) as a first order climate forcing.  However, this means that weather patterns will be altered since the spatial distribution of diabatic heating in the atmosphere will be different (e.g. see also our study of this diabatic heating effect due to aerosols in Matsui and Pielke 2006).  The teleconnection effect seen in their model runs seem muted at very long distance (e.g. see Figure 5) but they are present.  For example, there is a possible effect on Atlantic hurricanes, as noted in Section 6 of Ornstein et al. This raises the issue of unintended consequences. With respect to Atlantic tropical cyclones, these bring much needed rain to the western tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean land areas as well as the southeast USA. If this is altered, as suggested in the model results, this would be an unintended negative effect to those countries.

I do agree with Len on the concern on the biogeochemical effect of added atmospheric concentrations of CO2. We do not know all of the potential effects, but there will be some. Thus the elevation of CO2 to too high a concentration should be prevented, and the engineering of Len’s proposal seems feasible.  However, as written above, unintended consequences on the climate elsewhere would need to be very thoroughly studied.

 I remain convinced that the mitigation approach with the least negative effects is the air capture of CO2 as discussed in

Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2009. An Idealized Assessment of the Economics of Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide in Mitigation Policy, Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 12, Issue 3, pp. 216-225.

 

The real climate change catastrophe

In a startling new book, Christopher Booker reveals how a handful of scientists, who have pushed flawed theories on global warming for decades, now threaten to take us back to the Dark Ages (TDT)

 

“Deconstructing Global Warming” Presentation by Dr. Richard S. Lindzen

Yesterday the Cooler Heads Coalition hosted Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Video of Dr. Lindzen’s presentation, “Deconstructing Global Warming,” will be available shortly, but his power point presentation is online now.

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

The Earth Cools, and Fight Over Warming Heats Up

Two years ago, a United Nations scientific panel won the Nobel Peace Prize after concluding that global warming is "unequivocal" and is "very likely" caused by man.

Then came a development unforeseen by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC: Data suggested that Earth's temperature was beginning to drop.

That has reignited debate over what has become scientific consensus: that climate change is due not to nature, but to humans burning fossil fuels. Scientists who don't believe in man-made global warming cite the cooling as evidence for their case. Those who do believe in man-made warming dismiss the cooling as a blip triggered by fleeting changes in ocean currents; they predict greenhouse gases will produce rising temperatures again soon.

The reality is more complex. A few years of cooling doesn't mean that people aren't heating up the planet over the long term. But the cooling wasn't predicted by all the computer models that underlie climate science. That has led to one point of agreement: The models are imperfect.

"There is a lot of room for improvement" in the models, says Mojib Latif, a climate scientist in Germany and co-author of a paper predicting the planet will cool for perhaps a decade before starting to warm again -- a long-term trend he attributes to greenhouse-gas emissions. "You need to know what you can believe and can't believe from the models."

The renewed discussion of inherent shortcomings in climate models comes on the cusp of potentially big financial commitments. In five weeks, diplomats from around the world will meet in Copenhagen to try to hash out a new agreement to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions. The science continues to evolve. (Jeffrey Ball, WSJ)

 

Comments On AP Story “Statistics Experts Reject Global Cooling Claims”

UPDATE: October 27 2009: Seth Borenstein has alerted us to a full version of his article, which does include more details on the study [only the version I posted below was seen on the google news search yesterday]. The study approach itself is also available (see). My recommendation to focus on the more recent years using the more appropriate metric, upper ocean heat content trends, remains. I have suggested to Seth that he interview Jim Hansen to update what he wrote in 2005.  I also deleted the statement about the independence of the study as requested by Seth and substantiated by the longer AP story. It was completed independently of NOAA.

There is a news report titled “Statistics experts reject global cooling claims” by Seth Borenstein which appeared today.

The article reads 

“WASHINGTON — The Earth is still warming, not cooling as some global warming skeptics are claiming, according to an analysis of global temperatures by independent statistics experts.

The review of years of temperature data was conducted at the request of The Associated Press. Talk of a cooling trend has been spreading on the Internet, fueled by some news reports, a new book and temperatures that have been cooler in a few recent years.

The statisticians, reviewing two sets of temperature data, found no trend of falling temperatures over time. And U.S. government figures show that the decade that ends in December will be the warmest in 130 years of record-keeping.

Global warming skeptics are basing their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. They say that since then, temperatures have fallen — thus, a cooling trend. But it’s not that simple.

Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, dropped again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998.

“The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.”

Statisticians said the ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.”

This article, however, (which is not a true independent assessment if the study was completed by NOAA scientists)  is not based on the much more robust metric assessment of global warming as diagnosed by upper ocean heat content. Nor does it consider the warm bias issues with respect to surface land temperatures that we have raised in our peer reviewed papers; e.g. see and see

With respect to ocean heat content changes, as summarized in the articles

Ellis et al. 1978: The annual variation in the global heat balance of the Earth. J. Climate. 83, 1958-1962.

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2003: Heat storage within the Earth system. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, 331-335

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55

and

Douglass, D.H. and R. Knox, 2009: Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance. Physics letters A

trends and anomolies in the upper ocean heat content permits a quantitative assessment of the radiative imbalance of the climate system.

Jim Hansen agrees on the use of the upper ocean heat content as an important diagnostic of global warming.   Jim Hansen in 2005 discussed this subject (see). In Jim’s write-up, he stated

“The Willis et al. measured heat storage of 0.62 W/m2 refers to the decadal mean for the upper 750 m of the ocean. Our simulated 1993-2003 heat storage rate was 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750 m of the ocean. The decadal mean planetary energy imbalance, 0.75 W/m2, includes heat storage in the deeper ocean and energy used to melt ice and warm the air and land. 0.85 W/m2 is the imbalance at the end of the decade.

Certainly the energy imbalance is less in earlier years, even negative, especially in years following large volcanic eruptions. Our analysis focused on the past decade because: (1) this is the period when it was predicted that, in the absence of a large volcanic eruption, the increasing greenhouse effect would cause the planetary energy imbalance and ocean heat storage to rise above the level of natural variability (Hansen et al., 1997), and (2) improved ocean temperature measurements and precise satellite altimetry yield an uncertainty in the ocean heat storage, ~15% of the observed value, smaller than that of earlier times when unsampled regions of the ocean created larger uncertainty.”

As discussed on my weblog and elsewhere (e.g. see and see), the upper ocean heat content trend, as evaluated by its heat anomalies, has been essentially flat since mid 2003 through at least June of this year.  Since mid 2003, the heat storage rate, rather then being 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750m that was found prior to that time (1993-2003), has been essentially zero.

Nonetheless, the article is correct that the climate system has not cooled even in the last 6 years. Moreover, on the long time period back to 1880, the consensus is that the climate system has warmed on the longest time period. Perhaps the current absence of warming is a shorter term natural feature of the climate system.  However, to state that the “[t]he Earth is still warming” is in error. The warming has, at least temporarily halted.

The article (and apparently the NOAA study itself), therefore, suffers from a significant oversight since it does not comment on an update of the same upper ocean heat content data that Jim Hansen has used to assess global warming. (Climate Science)

 

The “Statisticians: ‘Global Cooling’ a Myth” story

By William M. Briggs, professional statistician

“J’accuse! A statistician may prove anything with his nefarious methods. He may even say a negative number is positive! You cannot trust anything he says.”

Sigh. Unfortunately, this oft-hurled charge is all too true. I and my fellow statisticians must bear its sad burden, knowing it is caused by our more zealous brethren (and sisthren). But, you know, it really isn’t their fault, for they are victims of loving not wisely but too well their own creations.

First, a fact. It is true that, based on the observed satellite data, average global temperatures since about 1998 have not continued the rough year-by-year increase that had been noticed in the decade or so before that date. The temperatures since about 1998 have increased in some years, but more often have they decreased. For example, last year was cooler than the year before last. These statements, barring unknown errors in the measurement of that data, are taken as true by everybody, even statisticians.

The AP gave this data—concealing its source—to “several independent statisticians” who said they “found no true temperature declines over time” (link) Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Keeping Prediction in Perspective

Mike Hulme, Suraje Dessai and I have a piece out today in Nature Reports Climate Change titled Keeping Prediction in Perspective. Here is an excerpt, which references the figure above:

But evidence that climate predictions can provide precise and accurate guidance about how the long-term future may evolve is fundamentally lacking. Scientists and decision-makers alike should treat climate models not as truth machines to be relied upon for making adaptation decisions, but instead as one of a range of tools to explore future possibilities. A recent example2 from the Australian state of Victoria highlights the perils of relying on the predict-then-adapt mode of planning. In 2005, the Victoria government conducted a study to develop water-supply scenarios for its capital city Melbourne to 2020 under conditions of human-caused climate change. Before then, water planning in Victoria had been done with little consideration of the potential effects of climate change. The exercise resulted in a range of forecasts implying a 3-per-cent decline in storage under a 'mild' effects scenario and an 11-per-cent decline under a 'severe' scenario. The study concluded that the existing plan put into place in 2002 "provided [a] sufficient buffer ... across the full range of climate change and alternative demand forecasts considered in this case study" out to 2020.

If nature has a sense of humour, it is a vicious one. In 2006, water supply to Melbourne dropped to a record low level of 165 gigalitres (Gl), well below the 1913–2005 average of 588 Gl and the recently lower average of 453 Gl from 1996 to 2005 (Fig. 1). In the three years since the 2005 modelling study, the average water supply level was less than half the long-term average and well below the estimated outcome for the 'severe' scenario considered in the study.

Find the piece here. Comments welcomed. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Further Comments On The Vulnerability Perspective

On September 21 2009 I posted The Vulnerability Perspective. In it, I identified 5 major resource areas that should be the focus of assessments as to the spectrum of risks from climate variability and change, as well as from other environmental and social threats.  I wrote

There are 5 broad areas that we can use to define the need for vulnerability assessments : water, food, energy, health and ecosystem function. Each area has societally critical resources. The vulnerability concept requires the determination of the major threats to these resources from climate, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risk from natural- and human-caused climate change (estimated from the GCM projections, but also the historical, paleo-record and worst case sequences of events) can be compared with other risks in order to adopt the optimal mitigation/adaptation strategy.

In our my book chapter with Dev Niyogi

Pielke Sr. R.A., and D. Niyogi, 2009: The role of landscape processes within the climate system. In: Otto, J.C. and R. Dikaum, Eds., Landform – Structure, Evolution, Process Control: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Landforms organised by the Research Training Group 437. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences, Springer, Vol. 115, in press

we presented a section that introduces a framework to investigate vulnerabilities. The section reads

“Within the climate system, the need to consider the broader role of land-surface feedback becomes important not only for assessing the impacts but also for developing regional vulnerability and mitigation strategies.

The IPCC fourth assessment second and third working groups deal with a range of issues targeted to these topics (Schneider et al. 2007). The IPCC identifies seven criteria for “key” vulnerabilities. They are: magnitude of impacts, timing of impacts, persistence and reversibility of impacts, likelihood (estimates of uncertainty) of impacts and vulnerabilities and confidence in those estimates, potential for adaptation, distributional aspects of impacts and vulnerabilities, and the importance of the system(s) at risk. While a number of potential vulnerabilities and uncertainties are considered (such as irreversible change in urbanization), the resulting feedback on the atmospheric processes due to such changes is still poorly understood or unaccounted for in these assessments. Indeed the UNFCCC Article 1 states: “‘Adverse effects of climate change’ means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare.” Thus, while the role of landscape is inherent within the UNFCCC framework, the corresponding translation for the assessments still remains largely greenhouse gas driven.

Further, while the climate change projections have largely been at coarser resolution, the impacts and potential mitigation policies are often at local to regional scales. For example, climate models often project increasing drought at a regional scale. The resilience to such increased occurrence as well as changes in the intensity of droughts is, however, dependent on the local scale environmental conditions (such as moisture storage, and convective rainfall), and farming approaches (access to irrigation, timing of rain or stress, etc). As summarized in Adger (1996), an important issue for IPCC-like global assessments is to assess if the top-down approach can incorporate the “aggregation of individual decision-making in a realistic way, so that results of the modelling are applicable and policy relevant”.

Therefore, as the community braces to develop resilience strategies it will becoming increasingly important to consider a bidirectional impact, i.e., not just the role of atmospheric changes (such as temperature and rainfall) on the physical environmental or biota, but also a feedback of the biota and other land-surface processes on further changes in the atmospheric processes – such as reviewed in this chapter.

Klein et al. (1999) sought to assess whether the IPCC guidelines for assessing climate change impacts as well as adapative strategies can be applied to one example of coastal adaptation. They recommend that a broader approach is needed which has more local-scale information and input for assessing as well as monitoring the options. Again the missing link between local-scale features with global scale projections become apparent. The expanded eight-step approach of Schroter et al. (2005), designed to assess vulnerability to climate change, states the need for considering multiple interacting stresses. They recognize that climate change can be a result of greenhouse gas changes which are coupled to socioeconomic developments, which in turn are coupled to land-use changes – and that all of these drivers are expected to interactively affect the human – environmental system (such as crop yields).

To extract the significance of the individual versus multiple stressors on crop yields, Mera et al. (2006) developed a crop modeling study with over 25 different climatic scenarios of temperature, rainfall, and radiation changes at a farm scale for both C3 and C4 types of crops (e.g., soybean and maize). As seen in many crop yield studies, the results suggested that yields were most sensitive to the amount of effective precipitation (estimated as rainfall minus physical evaporation/transpiration loss from the land surface). Changes in radiation had a nonlinear response with crops showing an increased productivity for some reduction in the radiation as a result of cloudiness and increased diffuse radiation and a decline in yield with further reduction in radiation amounts. The impact of temperature changes, which has been at the heart of many climate projections, however, was quite limited particularly if the soils did not have moisture stress. The analysis from the multiple climate change settings do not agree with those from individual changes, making a case for multivariable, ensemble approaches to identify the vulnerability and feedbacks in estimating climate-related impacts (cf. Turner et al. 2003).

Another issue is the coupled vulnerability of the land surface to socioeconomic and climate change processes. This question was addressed byMetzger et al. (2006). They concluded that most assessment studies cannot provide needed information on regions or on ecosystem goods that are vulnerable. To address this question, we can hypothesize that the vulnerability of landscape (V) change is a product of the probability of the landscape change (Lc) and the service (S) provided by the landscape:

V = prob (Lc) ∗S

The service provided is a broad term and could mean societal benefits (such as recreation), or economic benefits (such as timber and food), or physical feedback as in terms of the modulating impact a landscape may have on regional temperatures or precipitation. While a variety of studies on vulnerability have sought to look at the economic and the societal feedbacks, the physical feedback of the fine-scale land heterogeneities have been critically missing in the literature. It is however important that land heterogeneity and transformation potential be considered at a finer scale because the landscape changes will in turn affect the regional and local vulnerability.

Current economical assessment studies (Stern 2007) conclude that controlling land-use change such as from deforestation provides an opportunity cost in excess of $5 billion per annum. This estimate however appears to only consider the land transformation impact of deforestation and the resulting greenhouse emissions. As summarized in this chapter, the dynamical effects such as changes in rainfall, evaporation, convection, and temperature patterns due to landform changes can cause additional vulnerability (or resilience in some cases) and needs to be considered in such assessments (Marland et al. 2003). Similarly, the UNFCCC Article 3 also seeks afforestation (reforestation minus deforestation) since 1990 as a country’s commitment towards the green house gas emission controls. Not considering the dynamical feedbacks due to such forest land transformation can lead to additional vulnerabilities as described in Pielke et al. (2001a, 2002).”

I plan to have further posts on this topic, focusing on the 5 resource areas of  water, food, energy, health and ecosystem function, in future weblogs. (Climate Science)

 

The make-believe world is sicker, too: U.S. seen needing more health preparedness for climate change

WASHINGTON - Climate change will mean new health problems for the United States, but public health officials play only a limited role in decisions about how to cope with the changing environment, a report said on Monday.

A study by the Washington-based health advocacy group Trust for America's Health predicted that warming temperatures will mean more infectious diseases while changes in rainfall are likely to bring new disease and safety challenges whether from floods, storms, droughts or wildfires.

Changes in crop-growing conditions and yields could even threaten rural communities with food insecurity. (Reuters)

 

Oh, he's one of those... Climate chief Lord Stern: give up meat to save the planet

People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.

In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.” (The Times)

 

Critics round on Lord Stern over vegetarian call

Farmers and meat companies across Britain reacted with a mixture of anger and exasperation yesterday after one of the world’s leading climate change campaigners urged people to become vegetarian to help to fight global warming. (The Times)

 

Mixed Messages

From the Times, several mixed messages from Lord Stern:

People will need to consider turning vegetarian if the world is to conquer climate change, according to a leading authority on global warming.

In an interview with The Times, Lord Stern of Brentford said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.”

Then comes this rather embarrassing admission,

Lord Stern, who said that he was not a strict vegetarian himself, was speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change.
He also explains that the magnitude of effort is enormous:
He said that he was deeply concerned that popular opinion had so far failed to grasp the scale of the changes needed to address climate change, or of the importance of the UN meeting in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18. “I am not sure that people fully understand what we are talking about or the kind of changes that will be necessary,” he added.
But, I thought it was a postage stamp per day? (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Global Warming Is a Myth: James Altucher Says Invest for a Colder Planet

Global warming is a myth, or at least far from certain, according to James Altucher, managing director of Formula Capital.

"Peak temperatures world wide were hit in 1998 and the world has been cooling ever since," Altucher says. Over the same time period, carbon emissions have gone straight up. "Does that mean the linkage between carbon emissions and temperature is not real?," he wonders. "Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But so far in the past 10 years the evidence is there's no linkage."

Noting there's arguments and counterarguments on both sides of the global warming debate, Altucher declares: "Nobody really knows" whether the globe is heating or cooling or how much is manmade and how much is just the Earth's natural cycle.

For investors, Atucher says the message is clear: Avoid solar stocks, since solar power is "never efficient" without massive government subsidies.

For those looking for ways to invest in a global cooling theme, Altucher recommends Campbell's Soup and American Ecology Group, which does waste management - including nuclear waste. (Tech Ticker)

 

Tornado Losses in the United States

Stan Changnon (a past collaborator of mine) has a new paper out in Natural Hazards Review titled, Tornado Losses in the United States (PDF). In it he concludes:
The 58-year time trends for the number of catastrophes and for losses of tornado-only catastrophes showed no upward trends with time and are not suggestive of increases potentially related to global climate change.
The figure above shows this data, with the economic losses adjusted according to a normalization methodology that Chris Landsea and I first proposed in 1998 (PDF), and it is described in the text as follows:
A new measure of tornado losses has been developed using recently available data from a different source, the property-casualty insurance industry. This industry has identified all weather events causing $1 million or more in losses since 1949 and labeled as catastrophes. . .

Fig. 3a presents the annual frequencies of tornado-only catastrophes during 1949–2006. The annual average incidence was 1.4 with a maximum of eight events in 1967 and none occurred in 20 years. The 58-year values exhibit a downward trend over time. The annual loss values for tornadoes Fig. 3b also exhibited a downward trend over time. The annual average loss was $128 million, with a 1-year maximum of $1,243 million 1953 and no losses in 20 of the 58 years.
Changnon paper reinforces a 2001 study by Harold Brooks and Chuck Doswell titled,
Normalized Damage from Major Tornadoes in the United States: 1890–1999 that concluded:
We find nothing to suggest that damage from individual tornadoes has increased through time, except as a result of the increasing cost of goods and accumulation of wealth of the United States. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

How Much Future Hurricane Damage Can Stopping Global Warming Achieve?

In the Huffington Post Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) makes a familiar argument:
Whether or not it was caused or worsened by climate change, the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina provide a window into the kind of world we can expect if global warming continues unabated.

Earlier this month, President Obama visited New Orleans. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina took an estimated 1,700 lives and displaced 1 million people. The total cost of the storm is estimated at well over $100 billion, with some estimates much higher. Four years later, the people of the region are still suffering, and it will take billions more to rebuild the Gulf Coast and protect coastal communities from future storms. And that's just what one storm cost us. How many of these disasters can we withstand? We must take action to address these real and costly threats. . .

Comprehensive clean energy legislation like the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that Senator Kerry and I have introduced in the Senate is not only the right choice to transform our economy, create jobs, and make America more secure. It is also our most effective insurance policy against a dangerous future.
In a 2007 paper (peer-reviewed, and subsequently replicated/confirmed) I looked at the relative roles of climate change and societal change on future tropical cyclone losses. In the paper I simply assumed a very large anthropogenic climate change effect of a 36% increase in the intensity of every storm from what it would have been otherwise. I also assumed that efforts to reduce emissions have an instantaneous and proportional effect on storm intensity. No one in the scientific community that I am aware of believes either of these assumptions to be the case in the real world, so I have clearly erred on the side of overstating both the magnitude of potential changes in storm intensity and the efficacy of emissions reductions to reduce that intensity.
Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Future Economic Damage from Tropical Cyclones: Sensitivities to Societal and Climate Changes, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 365, No. 1860, pp. 1-13.
Here is what I found in the paper:
. . . the analysis in this paper, consistent with that in earlier studies, suggests that any practically or politically conceivable energy policies can have at best a very small and perhaps imperceptible effect on future tropical cyclone damage. Consequently, policy action should focus on reducing vulnerabilities, at least in the short term. This finding should not diminish the importance of mitigation policies in response to climate change, but can help to better align political advocacy with potential policy effectiveness.
It is misleading, at best, to sell emissions reduction policies on the basis of their potential "to address these real and costly threats" and to assert that "clean energy legislation" now being considered in the U.S. Congress "is also our most effective insurance policy against a dangerous future."

To be absolutely clear, here is what my paper concluded:
To emphasize, the analysis presented here should not be interpreted as an argument against mitigation of greenhouse gases. And there is no suggestion here that human-caused climate change is not real or should not be of concern. Instead, this simple analysis under the most favourable assumptions for mitigation indicates that in the coming decades any realistically achievable mitigation policies can have at best only a very small and perhaps imperceptible effect on global tropical cyclone damage, whatever the costs of those policies might happen to be. This reality explains why adaptation necessarily must be at the centre of climate policy discussions and viewed as a complement to mitigation policies. It also helps to explain why mitigation policies in the short term necessarily must be focused on their non-climate benefits.

Most importantly, these results show how misleading it is to use tropical cyclone damage as a reason for greenhouse gas mitigation when other actions have far more potential effectiveness. The images of storm-spawned death and destruction are no doubt compelling, but it is misleading or disingenuous to suggest that energy policies can have an appreciable effect on future damages. The only way to arrive at tropical cyclone damages that exceed the societal factors is to hold societal change constant and focus only on the climate component, which is in fact what some studies have done in the past.12 Climate change is an important issue and policy action on mitigation makes sense, but when compared with available alternatives for addressing the escalating costs of tropical cyclones, ameliorating damage from tropical cyclones should not be conflated with other justifications for changing energy policies. Those interested in honest advocacy and effective policy should keep these issues separate.
The fact that reducing emissions will do little to address the growing toll of disasters is an example of what my colleague Steve Rayner from Oxford calls "uncomfortable knowledge." This is especially the case for those who continue to misjustify policies that are better justified for other reasons. In the long run climate policy will be better served by making honest arguments. A step in that direction would be to stop the pattern of using the specter of future Hurricane Katrinas (and disasters like it) as a basis for changing energy policies. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Exaggerated claims undermine drive to cut emissions, scientists warn

Exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the threat from global warming risk undermining efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and contain climate change, senior scientists have told The Times.

Environmental lobbyists, politicians, researchers and journalists who distort climate science to support an agenda erode public understanding and play into the hands of sceptics, according to experts including a former government chief scientist.

Excessive statements about the decline of Arctic sea ice, severe weather events and the probability of extreme warming in the next century detract from the credibility of robust findings about climate change, they said.

Such claims can easily be rebutted by critics of global warming science to cast doubt on the whole field. They also confuse the public about what has been established as fact, and what is conjecture. (Mark Henderson, The Times)

 

Multiyear Arctic Ice Is Effectively Gone: Expert

OTTAWA - The multiyear ice covering the Arctic Ocean has effectively vanished, a startling development that will make it easier to open up polar shipping routes, an Arctic expert said on Thursday.

Vast sheets of impenetrable multiyear ice, which can reach up to 80 meters (260 feet) thick, have for centuries blocked the path of ships seeking a quick short cut through the fabled Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They also ruled out the idea of sailing across the top of the world.

But David Barber, Canada's Research Chair in Arctic System Science at the University of Manitoba, said the ice was melting at an extraordinarily fast rate.

"We are almost out of multiyear sea ice in the northern hemisphere," he said in a presentation in Parliament. The little that remains is jammed up against Canada's Arctic archipelago, far from potential shipping routes.

Scientists link higher Arctic temperatures and melting sea ice to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. (Reuters)

 

Climate Whiplash

From NSIDC here at the University of Colorado in May, 2008:
Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible.
From the UK Met Office this week:
. . . the first ice-free summer [is] expected to occur between 2060 and 2080. It is unlikely that the Arctic will experience ice-free summers by 2020.
Climate whiplash is a one good reason why efforts to motivate action should not be built on the backs of predictions. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

An ice-free boom

Global warming alarmists never take the time to consider that an ice-free Arctic would provide benefits (Barry Zellen, Financial Post)

 

EU Looks To Divert Budget Spending Towards Climate

BRUSSELS - The European Union should shift more of its spending to climate and energy security as part of a radical overhaul of the bloc's budget, according to a draft paper by the EU's executive arm

The proposal, which the European Commission is likely to be table in late November, would mark a long-term shift of funds away from agriculture.

Budgets worldwide could be affected by a new global climate pact to be agreed at a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December. (Reuters)

 

In the virtual realm (and in time for Nohopenhagen, too!) Aerosols make methane more potent

Aerosols' complicated influence on our climate just got more threatening: they could make methane a more potent greenhouse gas than previously realized, say climate modellers.

Drew Shindell, at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, and colleagues ran a range of computerized models to show that methane's global warming potential is greater when combined with aerosols — atmospheric particles such as dust, sea salt, sulphates and black carbon. (Nature)

All these "worse" things they keep coming up with and still the world has struggled to recover a paltry 0.6 °C since the less-than-optimal Little Ice Age. Whatever remains of carbon dioxide's estimated 40% of total effect after counting land use change etc. (and it can't be much with all these other interlopers getting into the act or seizing greater proportions of effect) the bottom line is that plus 100 parts per million CO2 accumulation has delivered at most 0.6 x 0.4 = 0.24 °C warming (and probably significantly less if even some of the other claims are true). And we are supposed to spend how much -- and reduce our living standards how far to avoid a doubling of that?

So how does this sit with earlier claims that the cooling/lack of warming of the 1950s through 1970s was due to aerosols "masking" the warming that was certain to have occurred in their absence? Methane levels were actually rising then and aerosols are now supposed to have increased methane's effect? Is there any room left for carbon dioxide to have any effect at all?

Forget carbon constraint, there simply is no safe level of doing so and no value in its stated purpose.

 

More: Interactions with Aerosols Boost Warming Potential of Some Gases

For decades, climate scientists have worked to identify and measure key substances -- notably greenhouse gases and aerosol particles -- that affect Earth’s climate. And they’ve been aided by ever more sophisticated computer models that make estimating the relative impact of each type of pollutant more reliable. (PhysOrg.com)

 

Federal power grab based on the phantom menace: Australia Needs National Plan For Rising Seas

SYDNEY - Australia needs to adopt a national policy to combat rising sea levels, which may see people forced to abandon coastal homes and banned from building beachside homes, said a parliamentary climate change committee. (Reuters)

 

More threats in the make-believe world: Climate change ‘will put endangered monkeys at further risk’

Several endangered species of monkey are likely to be pushed further towards extinction by the effects of climate change, research has suggested.

At least four primates from South America that appear on the international Red List of endangered species are adversely affected by climate phenomena that are predicted to worsen as the world warms, scientists have found.

The muriqui, the Colombian red howler monkey, the woolly monkey and Geoffroy’s spider monkey, have all declined in population either during or soon after recent El Niño events, according to a study from a team at Pennsylvania State University.

Many scientists expect El Niño events, in which abnormally warm ocean temperatures in the southern hemisphere affect the climate, to become stronger or more frequent over the next century. (The Times)

 

The Sun Defines the Climate – an essay from Russia

Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc. – Head of Space research laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory, Head of the Russian/Ukrainian joint project Astrometria – has a few things to say about solar activity and climate. Thanks to Russ Steele of NCWatch

Russ1__550x348

Total Solar Irradiance over time in watts per square Variation in the TSI during the period 1978 to 2008 (heavy line) and its bicentennial component (dash line), revealed by us. Distinct short-term upward excursions are caused by the passage of faculae on the solar disk, and downward excursions by the passage of sunspot groups.

Key Excerpts:

Observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is “not guilty” and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop.

[...] Over the past decade, global temperature on the Earth has not increased; global warming has ceased, and already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

From CO2 Science this week:

Editorial:
Do Earth's Soils Contain Enough Nitrogen for Its Plants to Receive the Full Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment?: Once again, experiment trumps theory, as is also demonstrated in the last of the Journal Reviews below.

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 752 individual scientists from 442 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from Gallipoli Terrace, Gulf of Taranto, Ionian Sea, Central Mediterranean. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Tornados: Have they increased in frequency and ferocity in response to 20th-century global warming?

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Beech (Rodenkirchen et al., 2009), Slender Amaranth (Sudderth and Bazzaz, 2008), Soybean (Matsunami et al., 2009), and Spotted Lady's Thumb (Sudderth and Bazzaz, 2008).

Journal Reviews:
The Top-of-the-Atmosphere Radiation Budget: Model Simulations vs. Direct Measurements over the Tropics: Are they compatible? ... or are they significantly at odds with each other?

Landfalling Tropical Cyclones of East Asia: Have they increased in frequency as the planet has warmed?

Elevated CO2 Leads to More Nutritious Spinach ... and More of It!: "Popeye" would have celebrated the rising CO2 content of our evolving atmosphere.

Neotropical Tree, Shrub and Liana Species Richness: To what environmental factor is the species richness of the three woody-plant types most tightly coupled?

CO2 Enrichment of a Scrub-Oak Woodland Low in Nitrogen: Can the growth-promoting effect of elevated CO2 be sustained in such a circumstance? (co2science.org)

 

North Carolina sea levels rising 3mm a year? UOP sea level data says differently

Below: North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound.

Note marker at 36N -76W.

Albemarle-Pamlico-35N76W

Image from Google Earth

First the Press Release from the University of Pennsylvania:

North Carolina Sea Levels Rising Three Times Faster Than in Previous 500 Years, Penn Study Says
October 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –- An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania has shown that sea-level rise, at least in North Carolina, is accelerating. Researchers found 20th-century sea-level rise to be three times higher than the rate of sea-level rise during the last 500 years. In addition, this jump appears to occur between 1879 and 1915, a time of industrial change that may provide a direct link to human-induced climate change.

The results appear in the current issue of the journal Geology.

The rate of relative sea-level rise, or RSLR, during the 20th century was 3 to 3.3 millimeters per year, higher than the usual rate of one per year. Furthermore, the acceleration appears consistent with other studies from the Atlantic coast, though the magnitude of the acceleration in North Carolina is larger than at sites farther north along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast and may be indicative of a latitudinal trend related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Further Support For Temperature Trends Associated With Land Use Change – Rosenzweig Et Al 2009 “Mitigating New York City’s Heat Island”

There is an important, well written new paper that provides further evidence that land use change significantly influences the use of surface air temperatures in these areas as part of the construction of a global average surface temperature anomaly.

The paper is

Rosenzweig Cynthia, William D. Solecki, Lily Parshall, Barry Lynn, Jennifer Cox, Richard Goldberg, Sara Hodges, Stuart Gaffin, Ronald B. Slosberg, Peter Savio, Frank Dunstan, and Mark Watson: 2009, Mitigating New York City’s Heat Island: Integrating Stakeholder Perspectives and Scientific Evaluation. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Volume 90, Issue 9 (September 2009) pp. 1297–1312.

The abstract reads

“This study of New York City, New York’s, heat island and its potential mitigation was structured around research questions developed by project stakeholders working with a multidisciplinary team of researchers. Meteorological, remotely-sensed, and spatial data on the urban environment were brought together to understand multiple dimensions of New York City’s heat island and the feasibility of mitigation strategies, including urban forestry, green roofs, and high-albedo surfaces. Heat island mitigation was simulated with the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–NCAR Mesoscale Model (MM5). Results compare the possible effectiveness of mitigation strategies at reducing urban air temperature in six New York City neighborhoods and for New York City as a whole. Throughout the city, the most effective temperature-reduction strategy is to maximize the amount of vegetation, with a combination of tree planting and green roofs. This lowered simulated citywide surface urban air temperature by 0.4°C on average, and 0.7°C at 1500 Eastern Standard Time (EST), when the greatest temperature reductions tend to occur. Decreases of up to 1.1°C at 1500 EST occurred in some neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where there is more available area for implementing vegetation planting. New York City agencies are using project results to guide ongoing urban greening initiatives, particularly tree-planting programs.”

The paper is not written specifically with respect to the issue of diagnosing regional representative multi-decadal surface air temperature trends. However, it clearly shows the magnitude of the effect of land use change on surface air temperatures. For example,  Table 3 presents a summary of the effect of increased vegetation and higher surface albedo on urban air temperatures during heat waves for different areas of New York City. The average differences for different parts of New York range up to over 1 degree Celsius at 1500 EST and are even larger at individual locations for the maximum effect as shown in Table 4.

This paper effectively shows how deliberate land management can alter the urban temperature environment. It also shows that as the region became  urban, temperature trends of these magnitudes occurred due to these landscape changes.

The new Rosenzweig et al 2009 paper, while silent on the issue in its text, is an effective rebuttal of the papers

Parker, D.E., 2004: Large-scale warming is not urban. Nature, 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a

 Peterson, T.C., 2003: Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: No difference found. J. Climate, 16, 2941-2959.

As we have shown in

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229

there remain significant issues with the use of surface air temperatures from land based observations, as a diagnostic of global warming and cooling. (Climate Science)

 

For the latest in creative accounting: EU Can Cut CO2 By 30 Percent By 2020 At No Cost: Report

LONDON - The European Union can cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 at almost no cost, according to a report by climate consultancy firm Ecofys released on Wednesday.

EU leaders have a target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. They have pledged to increase the target to 30 percent if other world leaders at a U.N. climate summit this December agree to join in.

By replacing all energy equipment at the end of its life with low-carbon technologies, the 27-nation bloc could halve its greenhouse gas emissions within two decades, the report found. (Reuters)

 

Carbon Values Drive Forest Investment, Greens Wary

LONDON - New rewards to store carbon in trees are driving forestry investments, but green groups fear they pose a threat to ancient woodlands and rainforests.

A new environmental focus is driving momentum in the forestry sector, with new demand for wood to replace coal and natural gas in Europe, and emerging markets for carbon offsets.

But a focus on the carbon benefits of trees has exposed differences between some green groups and investors on what counts as "sustainable" forestry. (Reuters)

 

Nonsense: Big Polluters To Reap Benefit Of Climate Deal

LONDON - Big energy and engineering companies will reap most profit from a climate deal due in December, as they use their financial and intellectual clout to grab low carbon subsidies.

Utilities and oil companies, among the biggest polluters, are using their market awareness to stay ahead of a climate race, maneuvering to own the most viable low-carbon technologies.

In addition, they are a natural magnet for government incentives as big emitters which have to drive cuts. (Reuters)

Carbon dioxide is an environmental asset, not pollution, and should be encouraged rather than discouraged.

 

D'oh! The Dark Side of Green - Gaming the global-warming fight.

Climate change is the greatest new public-spending project in decades. Each year as much as $100 billion is spent by governments and consumers around the world on green subsidies designed to encourage wind, solar, and other -renewable-energy markets. The goals are worthy: reduce emissions, promote new sources of energy, and help create jobs in a growing industry. Yet this epic effort of lawmaking and spending has, naturally, also created an epic scramble for subsidies and regulatory favors. Witness the 1,150 lobbying groups that spent more than $20 million to lobby the U.S. Congress as it was writing the Clean Energy bill (which would create a $60 billion annual market for emission permits by 2012). Government has often had a hand in jump--starting a new -industry—both the computer chip and the Internet got their start in American defense research. But it's hard to think of any non-military industry that has been so completely and utterly driven by regulation and subsidies from the start. (Stefan Theil, NEWSWEEK)

 

Hefty bill to come from clean coal power

CLEAN coal technology will face extraordinary price hurdles over the next 10 years, a major stocktake of all the world's carbon capture and storage projects has found. The report, prepared by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, finds the cost increase to coal electricity generation if fully-fledged clean coal technology is installed will be up to 78 per cent.

If the technology is widely introduced, price increases in generating electricity are likely to significantly increase household power bills.

The report, which looked at all global carbon capture and storage projects around the world, found that it will only be competitive with other energy sources if a high carbon price exists.

That would mean a carbon price of between $61-$112 a tonne, and between $80-90 a tonne for the large-scale technology needed for the massive NSW and Victorian coal plants. (Sydney Morning Herald)

 

“Carbon Capture & Burial – Monuments to Madness.”

It is no surprise that Mr Rudd’s CCS Institute thinks that Carbon Capture & Storage will not be viable for twenty years (Aust 29th Oct).

A viable business is one that gets no government favours or market guarantees, but earns profits selling products or services to willing buyers in an open market.

There is no evidence that burial of carbon dioxide will have any beneficial effects on climate. Moreover, reducing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere will reduce plant growth and lower the ability of plants to cope with heat and drought.

Under CCS, every tonne of coal burnt produces three tonnes of carbon dioxide for burial. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but the source of carbon for all plants, which sustain all animals. It is precious plant food. Sterilisation of this valuable natural resource produces community losses not benefits.

If you combine zero or negative benefits with huge capital and operating costs it is obvious that CCS can NEVER make a profit or be “viable”.

Moreover, every three tonnes of carbon dioxide buried contains one tonne of carbon, the building block of all life on earth, plus two tonnes of oxygen, the gas of life for all animals.

All planets gradually lose their atmospheres by natural processes. To hasten that fatal day by deliberately burying essential life-supporting atmospheric gases is biological suicide.

Spending billions of dollars on burial tombs for the gases of life is as useful to Australians as the pyramids were to the ancient Egyptians.

All of these expensive carbon cemeteries with their gas collectors, compressors and long pipelines to remote burial facilities are destined to be abandoned and, like the pyramids, will stand as mournful monuments to the madness of the modern Pharaohs.

Carbon Capture and Burial is a non-viable idea.

Let’s bury it.

Viv Forbes
Rosevale Qld Australia 4340

Mr Forbes is Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition.

 

Coal Producer Massey: Mine Permitting Hurts Growth

NEW YORK - The demand for coal to generate power and make steel is growing, but environmental bureaucracy is making it more difficult to mine the fuel, the head of Massey Energy said on Wednesday.

"Our government is at least temporarily impeding the attainment of coal's full value ... and frustrating domestic opportunities for production growth," Chief Executive Officer Don Blankenship told Wall Street analysts.

"More production reductions will likely occur in central Appalachia as a result of the generally weak economic conditions and increasing regulatory and permitting constraints." (Reuters)

 

Terence Corcoran: Dirty wind-power war - How public relations can drive public policy

When industries look for government subsidies for money-losing propositions, a common business model these days, one of the most important strategic elements is to make sure you have a well-oiled public relations machine to keep the facts from getting in the way. Voters don’t like to back money-losers, which means keeping them steadily misinformed or at least confused.

Renewable energy industries — wind, solar, biomass, human treadmills — have a particularly tough job. In North America, where so-called green energy companies and electric utilities are on the brink of receiving uncountable billions in direct subsidies and zillions in indirect subsidies via higher electricity prices, the PR effort is in full swing.

Ontario, Alberta and other provinces along with Ottawa are busy working on wind and solar development schemes, even though they are documented money-losers. U.S. President Obama this week was hailed as “the man who’s done more to advance the cause of renewable energy than anyone in the nation’s history.” Or so said the head of Florida Light and Power after Mr. Obama announced $3.7-billion in economic stimulus spending on smart meters that would make it possible for utilities to manipulate prices and force people to pay more for renewable energy. In Congress this week, debate is raging over a clean energy bill that would direct windfall carbon taxes on fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

To what degree do voters in Canada and the U.S. know they are to be come feeder funds for subsidy-seeking industrial firms? If the industry has its way, not too much. What the voters don’t know they shouldn’t be told.

All of which is to introduce a little public relations story related to a commentary we ran on this page last week by the authors of a new German study on Germany’s disastrously wasteful rush into alternative energy. The study, “Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energies: The German experience,” showed how German electricity consumers and the German economy paid dearly for the country’s plunge into wind and solar energy. The program was massively expensive, and the authors of the study warned that other jurisdictions would be well advised avoiding the German model. (Financial Post)

 

Typical climate arithmetic: PG&E's ClimateSmart program draws little interest

A 2-year-old PG&E program to help customers offset the size of their carbon footprint has drawn little interest and consumer advocates are arguing it should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.

Only 30,000 households and businesses have enrolled in "ClimateSmart," which allows residential and commercial customers of the San Francisco-based utility to add a tax-deductible "donation" to their monthly bill that allows PG&E to buy carbon offsets.

But with California's unemployment rate at 12 percent and many households struggling each month to stay on top of mortgages and other bills, persuading people to give extra money to PG&E has been a hard sell.

Some consumer advocates think the program is a waste of money and should be scrapped.

ClimateSmart charges customers to have the carbon emissions footprint of their gas and electricity use calculated. A small fee — the average is less than $5 a month — is then added to their monthly bill. The revenue generated by ClimateSmart allows PG&E to buy carbon offsets from a variety of projects, including forest conservation efforts in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

"When you plug something into the wall here, you're generating greenhouse gas emissions somewhere else," said PG&E spokeswoman Katie Romans. "We're hoping to make that connection."

PG&E has 5 million "customers of record," or billing addresses, and serves 15 million people from Eureka to Bakersfield.

But so far, only 30,000 customers — 0.6 percent — have enrolled. The largest concentration of ClimateSmart customers is in San Francisco. There are about 4,000 enrolled customers in Silicon Valley, including businesses like Fresh Choice, eBay, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, IKEA and the San Jose Convention Center.

PG&E has asked the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to extend the program, which is set to expire at the end of the year, in hopes that it can increase enrollment.

But consumer advocates with TURN, The Utility Reform Network, say PG&E should just pull the plug.

"The numbers are abysmal, and we think PG&E should just scrap the program altogether," said Mindy Spatt of TURN. "This is not a good deal for consumers."

TURN says that while only 30,000 PG&E customers have enrolled in ClimateSmart since it launched in 2007, all PG&E customers subsidize the costs of the program through the rates they pay. Since its launch, ClimateSmart has collected approximately $4.5 million in contributions from residential, commercial, and municipal customers. TURN argues that PG&E has allocated $12 million for marketing and advertising with little results. (Mercury News)

Misguided do-gooders donate money to increase the costs for everyone else. Such helpful souls... and how clever of PG&E to operate such a loser.

 

Electricity That's Cheaper Than Free

Would you believe that there are places and times when power companies generate so much renewable energy that they give it away?

In west Texas and Illinois, when the wind blows at night and nuclear plants run around-the-clock, power generators produce more electricity than people need. This oversupply "has forced electricity prices into the negative range," an expert explains-meaning that some customers are paid to use electricity.

The expert is Terry Boston, and he knows what he's talking about. Boston is the CEO of PJM, the company that manages the electricity grid that serves 51 million people in 13 mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C. It's not an everyday occurrence but when demand exceeds supply, "cement manufacturing plants can get paid to take electricity," he says.

It sounds crazy, but there's a perverse economic logic at work. Owners of the wind turbines collect a production tax credit of 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour when they generate electricity, so they don't want to shut the turbines down. So long as they pay customers less than the subsidy to consume power, they make money. Put simply, taxpayers dollars pay the wind companies who pass along a portion to their customers.

"It is not sustainable to have large negative prices for long periods of time," says Boston. No kidding. Think about how you would behave if you were paid to use electricity. You can be sure no one at the cement company is chasing around turning the lights off. (Greener World Media)

 

Peter Foster: No requiem for this pipeline

If a planned Alaskan pipeline is built, the Petroleum Age could be over before the Mackenzie line is reconsidered (Financial Post)

 

Green tax proposals 'would increase household energy bills by £800 a year'

A proposed green tax to cut carbon emissions would lead to an £800 increase in the average annual household energy bill over the next decade (TDT)

 

£3,300 per car: Lord Turner unveils green tax blitz

An influential think-tank, supported by the government, will tomorrow urge £150 billion of new green taxes on businesses and households — including a £3,300 levy on new cars.

The recommendations from the Green Fiscal Commission (GFC), to be presented by Lord Turner, head of the committee on climate change — and chairman of the Financial Services Authority — could bring a drastic reshaping of the tax system to curb greenhouse gas emissions and encourage investment in low-carbon technology. Among the proposals are a tripling of fuel duty over the next decade, a household energy tax, and the hefty tax added to the price of every new car. (The Times)

 

Still with the idiotic carbon fixation: EU Starts Clampdown On Gas-Guzzling Vans

BRUSSELS - The auto industry should stop selling its most gas-guzzling vans and minibuses in the European Union by 2016 or face fines, the EU's executive arm said on Wednesday.

The deadline would be four years later than first envisaged after powerful auto makers pushed hard for a delay until the EU's 27 member states have recovered from the economic crisis.

Average carbon emissions for each van would have to be cut by 14 percent between 2014 and 2016 to 175 grams for every kilometer driven, compared to an EU average of 203 grams today, the European Commission said.

By 2020, van makers would have to hit a target of 135 grams. (Reuters)

 

Senate healthcare bill draws skeptics, opponents

WASHINGTON - A healthcare reform bill with a government-run insurance option faced an uncertain future in the Senate on Tuesday, with many centrist Democrats uncommitted and Senator Joe Lieberman strongly opposed.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's decision to include a government-run "public" option in the Senate bill failed to sway about a dozen moderates who said they wanted more details before making their decisions.

Democrats said Reid was still short of the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles and pass a bill with a public option, which has become one of the most contentious issues in the debate on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.

The healthcare bills in the Senate and the House of Representatives aim to rein in costs, expand coverage to millions of uninsured and bar insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or dropping coverage for the sick.

Health insurer stocks rallied on skepticism that a government-run plan, seen as detrimental to the industry, would win passage. That view was fueled by Lieberman's comments.

Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he would not join Republicans on a procedural vote to block the healthcare bill from coming up for debate, but would be willing to block a final vote on the plan if it remained unchanged.

"I don't support a government-operated health insurance company that will end up costing the taxpayers a lot of money," he told reporters. (Reuters)

 

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers controversy: Fair arguments or flawed methods?

On October 11, 2009, PricewaterhouseCoopers released a report titled “Potential Impact of Health Reform on the Cost of Private Health Insurance Coverage.” Since then, the media coverage of the health care debate has refocused sharply on the question of the integrity of the report and the validity of its conclusions. How well does the report hold up under scrutiny? Should we be concerned that proposed reforms will drive up private insurance premiums, as the report concludes? Or is the report itself merely a thinly-veiled effort by the insurance industry to protect its own interests, as much of the media coverage has suggested? (Nirit Weiss, STATS)

 

Shortage of Vaccine Poses Political Test for Obama

WASHINGTON — The moment a novel strain of swine flu emerged in Mexico last spring, President Obama instructed his top advisers that his administration would not be caught flat-footed in the event of a deadly pandemic. Now, despite months of planning and preparation, a vaccine shortage is threatening to undermine public confidence in government, creating a very public test of Mr. Obama’s competence.

The shortage, caused by delays in the vaccine manufacturing process, has put the president in exactly the situation he sought to avoid — one in which questions are being raised about the government’s response.

Aware that the president would be judged on how well he handled his first major domestic emergency, the Obama administration left little to chance. It built a new Web site, Flu.gov — a sort of one-stop shopping for information about H1N1, the swine flu virus. It staged role-playing exercises for public health officials and members of the news media. (NYT)

 

City Parents Opting Out of Swine Flu Vaccine

As people across the country clamor for the swine flu vaccine, fewer than half of New York City parents with children in elementary school have given permission for their children to receive the vaccine at school, reflecting some ambivalence about the need for the vaccine or concern about its effects.

Health officials said that while they did not have a citywide figure, 5 percent to 50 percent of parents had given consent for their children to receive the vaccine at schools that had it. At Public School 157 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where health officials opened the school vaccination effort on Wednesday, only a third of students had permission to receive it. (NYT)

 

Statin drugs may lower deaths from flu: study

WASHINGTON - Patients taking statin drugs were almost 50 percent less likely to die from flu, researchers reported on Thursday in a study providing more evidence the cholesterol-lowering drugs help the body cope with infection.

The findings are compelling enough to justify doing controlled studies in which some patients are given the drugs deliberately and some are not, said Meredith Vandermeer of the Oregon Public Health Division, who helped lead the study.

"Our preliminary study shows these cholesterol-lowering medications called statins are associated with a decrease in mortality," Vandermeer told a news conference at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

"This early research suggests there may be a role for statins in influenza treatment and it should be studied further." (Reuters)

Perhaps these patients are under more medical supervision. Perhaps taking statins is a marker for increased health care affordability. Just because the worried well take something does not make that something a wonder drug, a status remarkably bestowed on statins. Hmm...

 

Low vitamin D tied to heart, stroke deaths

NEW YORK - Low vitamin D levels in the body may be deadly, according to a new study hinting that adults with lower, versus higher, blood levels of vitamin D may be more likely to die from heart disease or stroke.

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin mostly obtained from direct sunlight exposure, but also found in foods and multivitamins. (Reuters Health)

 

No link seen between coffee and heart failure

NEW YORK - Contrary to findings from an earlier study, new research suggests that coffee lovers do not face an increased risk of heart failure.

Researchers found that among more than 37,000 middle-aged and older Swedish men, those who regularly drank coffee were no more likely to develop heart failure than those who infrequently, if ever, drank the beverage.

The findings, reported in the American Heart Journal, add to evidence that coffee may not be the heart-health threat it was once suspected to be. (Reuters Health)

 

Tricked By Treats - The candy study that suckered the world.

If there really were a nation of Oompa Loompas secreted away in some dark, sugar-coated mill churning out candy, they might be singing a slightly different tune about the dangers of over-indulging, based on a recent study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. To their sing-song question, "What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?" the answer now appears to be not just greedy brats, but violent criminals. (Trevor Butterworth, Forbes)

 

A Beer Tax Won't Reduce The Clap - Booze, STDs and the irrational exuberance of public health experts.

In the history of medicine, nothing has been used so widely and to so little effect as Hirudo Medicinalis--better known as the leech. For two millennia, leeches were used to balance the humors--or to drain the patient of "excess" blood and other substances thought to be the cause of most of humanity's physical and mental ailments. In a similar vein, some doctors and public health advocates are turning to a modern equivalent of the leech--taxes--in order to draw "excess" money from going to "unhealthy" activities, thereby reducing disease and balancing health care spending. (Trevor Butterworth, Forbes)

 

More on Chinese drywall

We follow-up last week's introductory Health News Digest piece on the topic, with one more; this one focuses on some new developments.

Since there are now at least two confirmed cases whereby "Chinese" symptoms have been identified in domestic drywall, the favored term has become "tainted drywall." Of course, domestic stuff so implicated is a very troubling finding, and no reasonable explanation has yet been proffered.

There are those who believe that sulfide-emitting drywall is ultimately caused by bacteria, and this etiology seems to make sense. Recent studies have shown that samples taken from tainted product will culture as much as 10,000 times more sulfate-reducing bacteria as non-affected drywall. Moreover, the observation that tainted drywall requires somewhat elevated temperatures and humidity to become problematical is what one would expect if he were growing bacteria.

If the cause IS bacterial, then remediation can be effected by treatment with chlorine dioxide, which has the additional property of removing the sulfide smell.

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

 

Bad drivers? Blame their genes

WASHINGTON - No need to curse that bad driver weaving in and out of the lane in front of you -- he cannot help it, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

They found that people with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people with a different DNA sequence.

The study may explain why there are so many bad drivers out there -- about 30 percent of Americans have the variant, the team at the University of California Irvine found.

"These people make more errors from the get-go, and they forget more of what they learned after time away," Dr. Steven Cramer, who led the study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, said in a statement. (Reuters)

 

Kill your limits, not the speed, groups say

DRIVING faster on some NSW roads is safer than driving slowly, two motoring groups say.

With new figures out yesterday showing the state's road toll is well up on this time last year, NRMA Motoring & Services and the lobby group National Motorists Association Australia have argued that speed can save lives.

They say speed restrictions that keep motorists driving on rural roads for long periods may increase the likelihood of an accident occurring as this pushes up levels of fatigue, boredom and frustration.

"Sensible higher limits will rid our roads of much intimidating and aggressive driving," said the NMAA's vice-president, Gavin Goeldner. (Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Roads are for cars, not Lycra louts

Whoever made up the Roads and Traffic Authority's 1990s slogan ''the road is there to share'' has a lot to answer for. It's a big fat lie. The road is not there to share. Roads are built for cars. Pretending otherwise is unfair to motorists and cyclists alike. (Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald)

 

Part of a global greenie attack on all useful chemicals: LIBERAL AND LABOR COMBINE TO DEFEAT TRIAZINE BAN MOVE - Big Parties Prioritise Forestry Over Human Health

The Tasmanian Greens today expressed their extreme disappointment at the couldn’t-care-less-attitude of the Bartlett Government and Liberal Opposition, and accused both of prioritising the economics of the forest industry over the long-term health of Tasmanians, after both combined to vote down the Greens’ motion for a total ban on the use of Triazine herbicides in Tasmania. (Tasmanian greens media release)

 

Forget Science, the Greens Know Best on Triazines

Health Minister LaraGiddings today said the Government would continue to take advice from health experts informed by world leading scientific data when making decisions about the potential health impact of triazines.

Ms Giddings said there was no credible evidence to support the Greens’ claims that minute concentrations of such chemicals occasionally detected in Tasmania’s water supply had caused elevated levels of cancer.

“Unlike the Greens, the Government is not taking an ideological approach on triazines – we will continue to take the advice of health experts and act accordingly,” Ms Giddings said.

“Issues such as these are being closely monitored by experts in our national regulatory bodies, and if they or our State’s top health experts ever advise the Government that we need to take further action on these chemicals then of course we will do that.

“But the Greens aren’t interested in science or expert advice – they are zealots who think they know best.

“And they will stop at nothing in their misleading fear campaign. (Tasmanian government media release)

 

As EPA re-evaluates safety of herbicide atrazine, Minnesota conducts its own review

cornfield

REUTERS/John Sommers IIAtrazine is heavily used in corn production throughout the Midwest.

It's been only three years since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) after one of the most exhaustive scientific investigations of a commercial product ever undertaken, reauthorized use of the herbicide atrazine, the longtime weed-killing staple of corn growers everywhere. Now, nine months into a new administration that has promised a renewed commitment to science and greater transparency on environmental issues, the EPA says it will re-evaluate atrazine yet again.
  
The agency's Oct. 7 announcement came just weeks ahead of the expected release of a separate, yearlong study of atrazine done jointly by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the state's Department of Health, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Gregg Regimbal, supervisor of the Pesticide Management Unit in the state's Agriculture Department — which, along with the EPA, has regulatory authority over restricted-use farm chemicals in the state — said it would be premature to speculate on whether atrazine use in Minnesota will be modified as a result of the study, but that the review has been "worthwhile." (William Souder, Minnesota Post)

 

NCGA Wants Growers to Have a Chance to Speak Up About Atrazine

A Science Advisory Panel of the Environmental Protection Agency is set to meet next week to start a reevaluation of the risk of atrazine. The National Corn Growers Association wants them to postpone that meeting until after the comment period regarding the reconsideration of atrazine’s use closes, a period they’d like to see extended 30 days. NCGA President Darrin Ihnen says the fall is a busy time for corn growers. NCGA wants to ensure they have ample time to submit comments on the importance of atrazine in their farming practices.

Ihnen says after 50 years of use - atrazine is one of the most studied herbicides available on the market. He adds that existing data from both the EPA and World Health Organization shows atrazine can - and has been - used safely.

Originally NCGA notes the EPA only allowed 15 days for organizations to provide written comments on this issue. The American Farm Bureau Federation, CropLife America and Syngenta have also requested an extension. (NAFB News Service)

 

Fighting Food Fright

The National Corn Growers Association is fighting back against food fright scare tactics with some of their own.

The NCGA started a viral email with a Halloween theme and links to the two videos that address some of the top food fears. The email links to a couple of new videos from NCGA that are filled with facts about food production to counteract the “urban legends” that family farmers have been gobbled up by giant corporate monsters that are ravaging the land and poisoning us with unsafe food.

Email Mark Lambert at NCGA to get the viral email to send along to your food friends and foes. It makes a great Halloween card. (AgWired)

 

U.S. aid saves lives but few know, Bill Gates says

WASHINGTON - Foreign aid may provide the best value for money spent by the U.S. government, Bill and Melinda Gates said Tuesday, but few seem to know it.

They launched a new project to try to publicize some public health successes in foreign aid, to encourage the U.S. and other governments to keep giving money.

"Dollar for dollar, global health is America's best investment for saving lives," Gates told reporters. "U.S.-supported global health programs are saving and improving the lives of millions of people."

Gates, the billionaire Microsoft founder who retired in 2008, has given millions of his own money to programs such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization or GAVI and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

But he said government money is vital, too, and a new website -- www.livingproofproject.org -- shows it is working, he said.

Gates's wife Melinda, who with Gates heads the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said she helps check up on money that has gone toward helping causes -- and been pleasantly surprised.

"When we make an investment we are going to go back and make sure -- did it work. We see that these things are working," she said. "We realize that we are seeing a lot of hope on the ground. The hope is really palpable."

Gates said he wanted to thank taxpayers and to ask the administration of President Barack Obama, along with Congress, to do more.

"U.S. support has already helped to reduce deaths of young children by more than 50 percent in the past 50 years. If we keep up our commitment, it's possible to cut child mortality in half again," Gates said.

"What's more, we can do it with proven interventions that already exist."

This includes the distribution of AIDS drugs by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR, launched in 2003, a Global Fund project to distribute mosquito nets and insecticides to fight malaria, and the distribution of vaccines to prevent diarrhea and pneumonia by the GAVI Alliance. (Reuters)

 

BILL GATES BETS A BILLION ON AG RESEARCH

CHURCHVILLE, VA—“Environmentalists are standing in the way of feeding humanity through their opposition to biotechnology, farm chemicals and nitrogen fertilizer”—straight talk from billionaire Bill Gates at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines October 15th

Gates could have said with equal truth that the same environmentalists, by demanding organic-only farming, are risking the future of the planet’s wildlife. The world will need more than twice as much food by 2050 to feed a peak population of 8 billion affluent humans and their pets. Gates believes we should get that additional food from higher yields on the 37 percent of the earth’s land area we already farm, not by threatening massive numbers of wildlife species by clearing more land for low-yield crops. (Dennis T. Avery, CGFI)

 

I think they're actually serious: Why we need a world environment organisation

There is an urgent need for an environmental organisation within the UN system with real political clout (The Guardian)

I think we need to get rid of the UN altogether and for "environmental organization" I read "misanthropists". You can put me in the "Nay" column.

 

Oh... Food, Humanity, Habitat and How We Get to 2050

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, feeding humanity in 2050 — when the world’s population is expected to be 9.1 billion — will require a 70 percent increase in global food production, partly because of population growth but also because of rising incomes.

The organization hopes that this increase can be brought about by greater productivity on current agricultural acreage and by greening parts of the world that aren’t now arable. It is also “cautiously optimistic” that, even with climate change, there will be enough land and probably enough water to do so. It’s important to look at this projection in light of another United Nations goal — preserving biodiversity — and ask whether the two are compatible. (NYT)

In fact "climate change" would help achieve this goal, as rising atmospheric carbon dioxide most certainly is through increased green plant productivity and associated increased water efficiency.

 

Fraud Plagues Sugar Subsidy System in Europe

Call it the mystery of the European sugar triangle.

It began when Belgian customs officials examined shipping records for dozens of giant tanker trucks that outlined an odd, triangular journey across Europe. The trucks, each carrying 22 tons of liquid sugar, swung through eight nations and covered a driving distance of roughly 2,500 miles from a Belgian sugar refinery to Croatia and back — instead of taking the most direct, 900-mile route.

Along the way the trucks made a brief stop in Kaliningrad, a grim and bustling Russian border checkpoint on the Baltic Sea.

Suddenly the sugar triangle made sense to them. Because Russia, and not Croatia, was listed as the intended destination, the shipments qualified for valuable special payments known as export rebates from the European Union’s farm subsidy program.

Some 200 shipments roared along this route over a three-year-period, investigators say, earning 3 million euros in refunds (about $4.5 million) for the Belgian sugar maker Beneo-Orafti. In the spring, dozens of Belgian and European investigators raided the company’s offices, freezing half of its refunds and initiating an investigation that could cost the company the remaining 1.5 million euros, and possibly more.

In the sprawling European subsidy program — which lavishes more than 50 billion euros ($75 billion at current exchange rates) a year in agricultural aid — no commodity is more susceptible to fraud, chicanery and rule-bending, experts say, than simple household sugar. (NYT)

 

Asteroid blast reveals holes in Earth's defences

As the US government ponders a strategy to deal with threatening asteroids, a dramatic explosion over Indonesia has underscored how blind we still areMovie Camera to hurtling space rocks.

On 8 October an asteroid detonated high in the atmosphere above South Sulawesi, Indonesia, releasing about as much energy as 50,000 tons of TNT, according to a NASA estimate released on Friday. That's about three times more powerful than the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima, making it one of the largest asteroid explosions ever observed. (David Shiga, New Scientist)

 

October 26, 2009

 

Heat builds around U.S. Chamber's stance on climate change - Lobbying spending rises as group takes on Obama, fights hoax.

Losing key members, fending off a high-profile hoax and facing political headwinds, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent a record $34.7 million in the third quarter lobbying against the Obama administration's proposals to overhaul energy policy, financial regulation and health care.

The Chamber's money paid for more than a dozen lobbyists to visit Congress, the White House and agencies from Agriculture to Treasury. Most of the Chamber's positions -- free trade, unfettered credit card lending, Cash for Clunkers rebates -- enjoy broad support among the Chamber's diverse corporate members.

The Chamber's lobbying agenda encompasses virtually any issue that affects business -- so the group has a stance on virtually every issue. Debates on far-reaching effects, such as health care, often occupy the most attention. But the Chamber disclosure also shows the group devoted serious resources to issues important to a smaller number of members -- Internet taxation, immigration enforcement and forcing children to speak English.

However, on one broad issue considered critical to the Obama administration's success the Chamber's anti-regulatory postures created a rift. On the question of how to address climate change, the Chamber has seen a growing number of companies defect. They say the self-proclaimed "voice of business" doesn't speak for them when it denies global warming and lobbies against climate change legislation. (Salt Lake Tribune)

 

GOP Senators Object to Including Global Warming in NEPA Regs

Two of the Senate's most prominent global warming skeptics are taking aim at a potential move by the Obama administration to include climate change as a factor in environmental reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are demanding information about the administration's ongoing deliberations on whether to amend regulations to require climate change to be one of the elements considered in an environmental impact statement.

The question has been pending since February, when a petition was filed with the White House Council on Environmental Quality by the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and International Center for Technology Assessment.

Saying they are "very concerned about the consequences of CEQ acceding to that request," the senators sent a letter to CEQ head Nancy Sutley asking for a wide range of documents and communications about the issue by Nov. 13. They called NEPA a "bedrock environmental statute" but said it is "not an appropriate tool to set global climate change policy."

"Any attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must be debated on its merits and not regulated under laws that were never intended for such purposes," they wrote. "We firmly believe that NEPA should achieve environmental goals without unnecessarily obstructing economic development. Requiring analysis of climate change impacts during the NEPA process, especially at the project-specific level, will slow our economic recovery while providing no meaningful environmental benefits." (Greenwire)

 

Government TV climate ad is propaganda

The government is trying to terrify you. That is the only possible interpretation of its latest television advertising campaign on the supposed dangers of global warming. Whether or not you accept the scientific premises behind the “bedtime story” advert which is now to be investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after attracting over 350 complaints from the public, there is no question that it is propaganda in the strict technical sense of the word.

That is to say, it is an attempt by the state to manipulate opinion and evoke emotional reactions without offering argument or evidence for its case. It accepts uncritically the most extreme rendition of the anthropogenic global warming narrative as if it were entirely uncontentious and presents it in the most sentimentally evocative possible way (ie as a threat to one’s own children and to defenceless creatures generally). It uses the techniques once associated with totalitarian societies not to persuade (which is what advertising properly does) but to coerce: to create fear and guilt. And to what purpose? Without offering constructive argument or serious explanation of the options, we can only assume that this is a campaign designed to browbeat the public into accepting any new restrictions or “green” taxes which government may choose to impose. Fortunately, it seems that ordinary people still have the independence of mind to know when they are being bullied. (Janet Daley, TDT)

 

Alternate ad: NOT WORK SAFE! Climate Change Bedtime Story (OK until child voiceover, which could stand some improvement)

One brave little girl confronts the cult of climate change. Will the story have a happy ending?

 

This one is better, IMHO: Cap And Trade Bedtime Story

A parody of the ACTON CO2 commercial scaring children into believing that they are killing the planet. Sign the petition to stop Cap and Trade http://www.nocapandtrade.com/petition/  Minnesotans For Global Warming http://minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw

 

An Expensive Urban Legend

About.com describes an “urban legend” as an apocryphal (of questionable authenticity), secondhand story, told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific…series of events….it’s likely to be framed as a cautionary tale. Whether factual or not, an urban legend is meant to be believed. In lieu of evidence, however, the teller of an urban legend is apt to rely on skillful storytelling and reference to putatively trustworthy sources.

I contend that the belief in human-caused global warming as a dangerous event, either now or in the future, has most of the characteristics of an urban legend. Like other urban legends, it is based upon an element of truth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose concentration in the atmosphere is increasing, and since greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, more CO2 can be expected, at least theoretically, to result in some level of warming.

But skillful storytelling has elevated the danger from a theoretical one to one of near-certainty. The actual scientific basis for the plausible hypothesis that humans could be responsible for most recent warming is contained in the cautious scientific language of many scientific papers. Unfortunately, most of the uncertainties and caveats are then minimized with artfully designed prose contained in the Summary for Policymakers (SP) portion of the report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This Summary was clearly meant to instill maximum alarm from a minimum amount of direct evidence.

Next, politicians seized upon the SP, further simplifying and extrapolating its claims to the level of a “climate crisis”. Other politicians embellished the tale even more by claiming they “saw” global warming in Greenland as if it was a sighting of Sasquatch, or that they felt it when they fly in airplanes.

Just as the tales of marauding colonies of alligators living in New York City sewers are based upon some kernel of truth, so too is the science behind anthropogenic global warming. But there is a big difference between reports of people finding pet alligators that have escaped their owners, versus city workers having their limbs torn off by roving colonies of subterranean monsters.

In the case of global warming, the “putatively trustworthy sources” would be the consensus of the world’s scientists. The scientific consensus, after all, says that global warming is…is what? Is happening? Is severe? Is manmade? Is going to burn the Earth up if we do not act? It turns out that those who claim consensus either do not explicitly state what that consensus is about, or they make up something that supports their preconceived notions.

If the consensus is that the presence of humans on Earth has some influence on the climate system, then I would have to even include myself in that consensus. After all, the same thing can be said of the presence of trees on Earth, and hopefully we have at least the same rights as trees do. But too often the consensus is some vague, fill-in-the-blank, implied assumption where the definition of “climate change” includes the phrase “humans are evil”.

It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting. A relatively recent survey of climate scientists who do climate research found that 97.4% agreed that humans have a “significant” effect on climate. But the way the survey question was phrased borders on meaninglessness. To a scientist, “significant” often means non-zero. The survey results would have been quite different if the question was, “Do you believe that natural cycles in the climate system have been sufficiently researched to exclude them as a potential cause of most of our recent warming?”

And it is also a good bet that 100% of those scientists surveyed were funded by the government only after they submitted research proposals which implicitly or explicitly stated they believed in anthropogenic global warming to begin with. If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded. Is it any wonder that scientists who are required to accept the current scientific orthodoxy in order to receive continued funding, then later agree with that orthodoxy when surveyed? Well, duh.

In my experience, the public has the mistaken impression that a lot of climate research has gone into the search for alternative explanations for warming. They are astounded when I tell them that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that warming is just part of a natural cycle generated within the climate system itself.

Too often the consensus is implied to be that global warming is so serious that we must do something now in the form of public policy to avert global catastrophe. What? You don’t believe that there are alligators in New York City sewer system? How can you be so unconcerned about the welfare of city workers that have to risk their lives by going down there every day? What are you, some kind of Holocaust-denying, Neanderthal flat-Earther?

It makes complete sense that in this modern era of scientific advances and inventions that we would so readily embrace a compelling tale of global catastrophe resulting from our own excesses. It’s not a new genre of storytelling, of course, as there were many B-movies in the 1950s whose horror themes were influenced by scientists’ development of the atomic bomb.

Our modern equivalent is the 2004 movie, “Day After Tomorrow”, in which all kinds of physically impossible climatic events occur in a matter of days. In one scene, super-cold stratospheric air descends to the Earth’s surface, instantly freezing everything in its path. The meteorological truth, however, is just the opposite. If you were to bring stratospheric air down to the surface, heating by compression would make it warmer than the surrounding air, not colder.

I’m sure it is just coincidence that “Day After Tomorrow” was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed the 1996 movie “Independence Day,” in which an alien invasion nearly exterminates humanity. After all, what’s the difference? Aliens purposely killing off humans, or humans accidentally killing off humans? Either way, we all die.

But a global warming catastrophe is so much more believable. After all, climate change does happen, right? So why not claim that ALL climate change is now the result of human activity? And while we are at it, let’s re-write climate history so that we get rid of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice age, with a new ingenious hockey stick-shaped reconstruction of past temperatures that makes it look like climate never changed until the 20th Century? How cool would that be?

The IPCC thought it was way cool…until it was debunked, after which it was quietly downgraded in the IPCC reports from the poster child for anthropogenic global warming, to one possible interpretation of past climate.

And let’s even go further and suppose that the climate system is so precariously balanced that our injection of a little bit of that evil plant food, carbon dioxide, pushes our world over the edge, past all kinds of imaginary tipping points, with the Greenland ice sheet melting away, and swarms of earthquakes being the price of our indiscretions.

In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen, in their attempts to forge a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. Indeed, these politicians and governmental representatives need it to be true. Their careers and political power now depend upon it.

And the fact that they hold their meetings in all of the best tourist destinations in the world, enjoying the finest exotic foods, suggests that they do not expect to ever have to be personally inconvenienced by whatever restrictions they try to impose on the rest of humanity.

If you present these people with evidence that the global warming crisis might well be a false alarm, you are rewarded with hostility and insults, rather than expressions of relief. The same can be said for most lay believers of the urban legend. I say “most” because I once encountered a true believer who said he hoped my research into the possibility that climate change is mostly natural will eventually be proved correct.

Unfortunately, just as we are irresistibly drawn to disasters – either real ones on the evening news, or ones we pay to watch in movie theaters – the urban legend of a climate crisis will persist, being believed by those whose politics and worldviews depend upon it. Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion. (Roy Spencer)

 

Carrying carbon superstition to a whole new level: To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates

STOCKHOLM — Shopping for oatmeal, Helena Bergstrom, 37, admitted that she was flummoxed by the label on the blue box reading, “Climate declared: .87 kg CO2 per kg of product.”

“Right now, I don’t know what this means,” said Ms. Bergstrom, a pharmaceutical company employee.

But if a new experiment here succeeds, she and millions of other Swedes will soon find out. New labels listing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of foods, from whole wheat pasta to fast food burgers, are appearing on some grocery items and restaurant menus around the country.

People who live to eat might dismiss this as silly. But changing one’s diet can be as effective in reducing emissions of climate-changing gases as changing the car one drives or doing away with the clothes dryer, scientific experts say. (NYT)

 

Similarly stupid: How Dogs Damage The Planet Like A 4x4

A MEDIUM-sized dog has the same carbon impact as a Toyota Land Cruiser driven 6,000 miles a year, a new book claims.

Time To Eat The Dog: The Real Guide To Sustainable Living also suggests a cat is equivalent to running a Volkswagen Golf.

The findings are based on the amount of land needed to grow food for pets.

Even a pair of hamsters do the same damage as running a plasma television, say the book’s authors Robert and Brenda Vale.

But rabbits and chickens were eco-friendly because they provide meat for their owners, while a canary or a goldfish does little harm to the planet, the authors said. (Daily Express)

 

Bad professors, BAD. The truth about “Eat the Dog”

Guest post from Cocoa the dog

****************************************************

I am told humans are smart, but sometimes I wonder. I was born back in ‘02, and I have learned a trick or two in my 49 years. But this old dog will never play the kind of trick that Brenda and Robert Vale are playing. They are off by a factor of 20 when comparing the energy to power an SUV with the energy to power a dog.

Brenda and Robert Vale are professors at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. They are either complete mathematical boneheads, or they have simply realized that in today’s world there is no limit to the outrageous claims that they can peddle to other completely credulous humans. They claim in their book “Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living” that I am an energy hdogs – worse than a gas guzzling SUV. Here is their (il)logic, as reported in the New Zealand Dominion Post… (Climate Sanity)

 

Poor wee Robie McKie, of course: Deep freeze 'arks' to save coral reefs - Researchers fear coral reefs won't survive next 50 years, so cryogenic plans are laid to rebuild them

Scientists are preparing plans to store coral in cryogenic vaults, so that the world's vanishing reefs can be rebuilt once the climate is stabilised.

Researchers consider there is now little chance that coral reefs – which are built by living creatures, and support up to a third of the world's marine biodiversity – will survive the next 50 years. They are threatened by rising sea temperatures and increasing acidification, triggered by rising carbon dioxide levels. (Robin McKie, The Observer)

Be interesting to see if anyone else is idiotic enough to publish it. For the initiated, corals evolved when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were at least 10 times those of today and far higher than humanity will ever be able to push them.

 

Misanthropy and class division: Fewer British babies would mean a fairer planet - It's not the growing number of people in poverty who are causing climate change, it's the rich

The worst thing that you or I can do for the planet is to have children. If they behave as the average person in the rich world does now, they will emit some 11 tonnes of CO² every year of their lives. In their turn, they are likely to have more carbon-emitting children who will make an even bigger mess. If Britain is to meet the government's target of an 80% reduction in our emissions by 2050, we need to start reversing our rising rate of population growth immediately. (The Observer)

 

Climate-change skeptics causing delays: Scientist

Canadian climate-change scientists say growing skepticism about global warming in the media is confusing federal politicians and causing delays in action that could prevent dangerous changes in the Earth's atmosphere.

The warning comes as Conservatives and Liberals teamed up in Parliament on Wednesday in a vote to slow down legislation, proposed by the New Democrats, to set science-based targets for reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere before an upcoming international climate summit this December in Denmark. (Mike De Souza, Canwest News Service)

 

NOW On BBC World Service (Radio): The Importance Of AGW Skepticism

Just started (00:30GMT, Oct 25) on BBC World Radio: “Letter from…Clive James reflects on the importance of scepticism in every walk of life“

Listen live

BBC iPlayer link

UPDATE: The programme lasted around 8 minutes.

Very quick summary of the relevant points:

  • It is notable that on the issue of man made climate change the language used is hard to distinguish from the language used centuries ago against heresy
  • Whoever shows skepticism is called a “denialist” – a nasty word that suggests equivalence to denying the holocaust
  • In Australia somebody suggested that climate change skeptics are worse than Holocaust denialists, as this time it’s the whole human race that is at risk
  • But the Holocaust has actually happened, the destruction of the Earth by man made climate change hasn’t
  • The number of skeptical scientists in on the  increase. But Mr James claims he knows next to nothing about the subjects
  • The one thing he knows is that many of the commentators don’t know much either, since they keep saying that the science is settled. And it is not.
  • Now fewer are repeating that assertion. and their voices are raising harder, as if protecting their faith
  • Skeptics are accused not to care about the future human race. That is the opposite of the truth. Modern medicine for example raised from skepticism
  • At the end of the day, no matter what effort is put in protecting a conjecture, a theory must suit  the facts (OmniClimate)

 

Lament for an old friend

Our mothers would pack us some sandwiches and give us our tube fare and a few pennies for drinks. We would spend the whole day in the museums of London’s Exhibition row. Our favourite was The Science Museum and especially its Children’s Gallery with all its push button working displays. Oddly enough, the one that stands out in memory is the demonstration of the triple-point of carbon dioxide, in which you could make a liquid appear and disappear like magic. At that time Karl Popper was still actively writing and exploring the philosophy of science, having made the great breakthrough with the statement of the principle of falsifiability.

But that was all in the middle of the last century. In recent times science has received a number of damaging blows at the hands of the New Believers. It was thus almost routine that the appointment of a well-known Global Warming fanatic had been made to the Directorship of the Science Museum. It was only a matter of time before he delivered and the coming Copenhagen Junkfest was the trigger.

The museum has now officially declared Popper to be a non-person, with a new campaign called Prove It. The very title is not just junk science or pseudo-science, it is anti-science. They might as well have an exhibition proving that all swans are white.

They appear, however, to have made a strategic error in allowing people a free vote. It seems that you still cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Almost half a century after those days of sandwiches and wonder, your bending author made a return visit to the Museum to receive the Callendar Silver Medal for contributions to scientific measurement. The completion of a circle. There is no incentive to go back and witness the corruption of an ideal. Something that is now common throughout the world of scientific institutions. How could it all go so wrong, so quickly? (Number Watch)

 

Vote: ‘Count Me Out’ of Unsound, Unachievable Climate Policy

As a follow up to my recent post about the Science Museum climate propaganda website ‘PROVE IT!’ there is now the opportunity to vote in order to be ‘counted out’ or ‘counted in’ on the basis of the following statement:

“I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.”

Vote here:

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/proveit.aspx

At the time of posting, 511 are ‘in’ and ‘3423′ are ‘out’ including me.

Of course, the British public were not allowed to vote on the unilateral UK Climate Change Act (2008), which sets legally binding, unachievable CO2 emissions reduction targets of 34% by 2020, and 80% by 2050 for the UK’s tiny, less than 2% contribution to global man-made aerial plant food (CO2). We weren’t allowed to vote on the EU ‘Lisbon Treaty,’ and we won’t be allowed to vote on the forthcoming ‘Copenhagen Treaty.’ So use this online vote well! (CRN)

Good luck, the page crashed when I tried to vote (uh, "count me out", in case you were in any doubt).

 

You are answering incorrectly, so it must have been "hijacked": Science Museum's climate change poll backfires

A poll by the Science Museum designed to convince the nation of the perils posed by climate change has backfired after being hijacked by sceptics. (TDT)

Results of the poll are due to be published in December.

 

Despite propaganda, 30% of Australians aren’t fooled

Graph: poll online opinon australians carbon climate
The Question: Do increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere pose an unacceptable risk of a catastrophic change in earth’s temperature in the future?

Of 1022 people polled, 55% agreed and 31% opposed (including the 19% who strongly opposed). Nearly half, or 45% are not convinced a catastrophe is on the way due to carbon dioxide. Source: OnlineOpinion

My sense is that the curve of opinion on this complex science is the inverse of what you would expect. Normally on a complex scientific topic,  the most common answer would be neither agree nor disagree (or don’t know), and the strong opinions would taper off like a bell curve with few people being sure either way. Instead opinions are polarized. “Catastrophic” is strong language. One side here is passionately wrong.

46 % of Australians surveyed believe the Emissions Trading Scheme should be delayed.

With 3000 times as much funding supporting the side with professional PR teams, the endless repetition of the assumption that man-made carbon dioxide causes warming is becoming a liability in itself. The more the advocates for action whitewash, the more people grow suspicious. They more they bully, the more people get a gut feeling that things are not right. The harder the activists push, the stronger the opposition becomes. The only thing that would rescue the case for Cap N trade or an ETS  is good scientific evidence. James Hansen and Al Gore can hardly claim they can’t get their message across in the media, so we wonder why they keep the evidence a secret?

US belief in a climate change crisis is plummeting

Pew poll opion climate change USA

Results from US polls show that they are even more skeptical and attitudes are changing fast. In results out today the Pew Poll shows that belief in man-made global warming is declining faster than ever and across all voter profiles (See graphic, left). Only 36% of people agreed that human activities warm the planet, down from 47% last year. (Warming the planet is a much weaker claim than the catastrophic one above). Curiously Republican voters convictions started falling in 2007, and Independent voters in 2008. Are Democrat voters next?

Careers and Incomes

In Australia, predictably but disappointingly the group of workers who were the most likely to see the risk of catastrophe as unacceptable were educators (75%). Meanwhile income and disagreement was a U-shaped curve. Those with low incomes and high incomes were like to disagree. Those earning between $25,000 and $75,000 were more likely to believe. For what it’s worth, my unsubstantiated speculation is that the high earning – highly educated, hard nosed business managers are unimpressed with the explanations. The well educated middle class have been exposed to a large amount of the propaganda, but possibly don’t have the tools, the time, or the contacts to understand why it’s wrong (yet). The lower income people don’t need to understand the details of the science to recognize when someone is being rude, dodging the question, or bullying instead of reasoning. They have a street sense that someone is trying to put one over them.

There was a small sample of scientists of which 70% still think that the risk is unacceptable but we have no information on the spread of their specialties. Other surveys of scientists have produced wildly different results — and positions on the potential for catastrophe vary widely from specialty to specialty. For example, 90% of geoscientists at the 2008 Japan Geoscience Union Symposium do not believe the IPCC report. [Source.]

“Dr Maruyama said many scientists were doubtful about man-made climate-change theory, but did not want to risk their funding from the government or bad publicity from the mass media, which he said was leading society in the wrong direction.” (JoNova)

 

We Can Do It

Every day, the critical December summit in Copenhagen grows closer. All agree that climate change is an existential threat to humankind. Yet agreement on what to do still eludes us. (Ban Ki-Moon)

Um... no. Gorebull warming, which is what most people seem to mean or think of when "climate change" is mentioned, presents no known threat whatsoever. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels are helping green the Earth and I'm proud to be doing my part. Anything else?

 

The science of deceit

Science is about simplicity

A well-accepted aphorism about science, in the context of difference of opinion between two points of view, is “Madam, you are entitled to your own interpretation, but not to your own facts”.

The world stoker of the fires of global warming alarmism, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), cleverly suborns this dictum in two ways. (Bob Carter, Quantum)

 

350 day: a failing struggle for an unattractive utopia

You may have not noticed but Saturday, October 24th, 2009 was an International Day of Climate Action: see 350.org & Google News.

Hundreds of people in the whole world organized events urging the world's CO2 concentration to return to 350 ppm (350 parts per million: 3.5 molecules out of 10,000 are CO2 molecules). Even in the Czech Republic, a dozen of activists gathered at the Old Town Square, emitting dozens of dirty black "CO2" latex balloons into the air.

(They also used masks of various well-known world politicians for a childish puppet show in which these politicians declare 350 ppm to be the new Copenhagen law.)



A few stupid hippies can easily get into the national TV news if they're on the "right side" (i.e. the far-left side) of the political correctness.

Twenty years ago when the CO2 concentration was at 350 ppm, the environmental activists would fight against things such as latex balloons in the air. They are polluting the environment and some animals may get into trouble when they swallow the balloon.

Today, they don't care. They decided that the CO2 concentration should be 350 ppm - instead of the correct current value, 388 ppm, shown by the world climate widget. (This figure, corresponding to the maximum of 2009, increases approximately by 1.8 ppm a year, and the annual difference between the maximum and minimum due to the seasons on the dominant Northern Hemisphere's lands is around 7 ppm.)

I think that they obtained the meaningless figure of 350 ppm from a pseudoscientist named James Hansen and his 8 collaborators. And because these little green men are mindless brainwashed sheep, they didn't manage to figure out that there is nothing special about 350 ppm: the figure was randomly picked by Hansen et al. in order to produce a new "slogan" for their movement.

Even Gavin Schmidt realizes - and was quoted in The New York Times as saying - that his boss Hansen's focus on 350 ppm completely misses the point. Of course, Schmidt was instantly attacked by RealClimate readers. Well, he helped to create (by brainwashing) thousands of such Frankensteins so he shouldn't be shocked if they kill him on a sunny day.

It's very obvious that there is no qualitative difference between 350 ppm and 388 ppm. And the doubled pre-industrial levels - concentrations near 560 ppm that we may reach sometime before 2100 - are not special, either.



In proterozoic, half a billion years ago (you may think it is a long time ago but the Earth was just 10% younger than it is today), the concentration was around 4,500 ppm. That's 12 times the current value and it seems like a lot.

However, we could actually live there just fine (once we would realize how tasty the food from the picture above is). The unpleasant concentrations are much higher than 4,500 ppm.

Some people start to feel drowsy when the CO2 concentration reaches 10,000 ppm. Below 20,000 ppm, most people still can't notice the elevated concentrations. At 30,000 ppm, their breath speeds up: this is still a result of a deficit of oxygen rather than excess of CO2. Only above 50,000 ppm (5% of the air), CO2 becomes directly toxic.

The warming effect of 4,500 ppm was pretty small, too. The total warming is approximately proportional to the logarithm of the relative concentration increase. You know, the warming doesn't start to accelerate when the concentrations grow (an obvious myth that some people want to be promoted among the gullible laymen): quite on the contrary, the warming effect of one CO2 molecule slows down as the concentration increases.

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

 

Day of apathy

image

Sydney yesterday demonstrated the depth of international passion about global warming through several highly pictorial stunts:

It was part of a series of events across Sydney yesterday by the environment movement 350.org. Australia was the first of 179 countries to take part in 4500 events worldwide as part of the International Day of Climate Action.

Counting the people in the picture, though, I’d say that this is not a global day of action, but global day of apathy. Or, let’s hope, a global day of mounting scepticism.

And that’s even without discounting for the tourists and the unfortunate children who were simply dragged there by parents warning them they may not have a future:

Among those on the Opera House steps showing their support was Rae Lawrence from Croydon, who brought her sons, Cameron, 6, and Nicholas, 8. ‘’We care about the future and I want them to have one to live in,’’ she said.

UPDATE

Apologies. From Greenpeace, this proof that the crowds in Sydney may have been even bigger than I sneeringly suggest:

image

(UPDATE: A reader protests that this second picture is of a Sydney protest a week earlier.)

UPDATE 2

The global day of apathy rolls on in Rome:

image

And in Kiev:

image

And Dunedin, just the one:

image

In Copenhagen, where the world’s leaders will meet in December to discuss slashing emissions - or not:

image

And in Shanghai, city of 17 million, in a country that is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases:

image

UPDATE 3

SBS tries its unprofessional worst to beef up the numbers. Senior correspondent Brian Thomson reports in his most serious voice on a 350 protest from Kiribati, which alarmists have warned for years is about to drown under our warming seas:

Hundreds gather today to form a number with special significance.

Hundreds? Reader Bob counts around 167 on the video, a job SBS factcheckers could have done in a few seconds before airing a falsehood. You’d think if the 100,000 islanders really felt threatened with imminent drowning, a few more of them might wave to the watching world for rescue.

It’s a pity that Thomson didn’t add that the measurements of sea levels around where he’s standing actually don’t support claims of dangerous rises, as warming escalates. Even the Bureau of Meteorology is forced to very reluctantly concede that the very tiny rises (and at one Kiribati station, a tiny fall) measured so far, come nowhere close to the warmists predictions:

Historical sea level trends, and even to an extent the current SEAFRAME sea level trends, would suggest that we could expect sea level rises of less than 0.5m over the next 50 years, which is considerably at variance to current scientific commentary. It is possible, therefore, that the effects of recent accelerations in climate change have not yet started to have a significant contribution to or impact on current sea levels; but based on international scientific opinion, it is more a case of when, rather than if.

Isn’t that a brilliant example of what we’re facing? The BOM suggest we be guided not by the data, but by “opinion”. SBS dutifully ignores the data completely to report only the (exaggerated) opinion. (Andrew Bolt blog)

 

What does a reduction to 350 PPM of CO2 get you?

With some hubub recently over the 350.org day (designed to highlight the opinion that we must return the Earth to a 350 parts per million atmospheric CO2 level) I thought it might be a good idea to have a look at what the reversal might gain us.

For this, I’m drawing on the excellent guest post made by Bill Illis here on 11/25/2008 titled:

Adjusting Temperatures for the ENSO and the AMO

One of the graphs (along with a model in a zip file) that Bill presented in that guest post was this graph, which I’ve annotated to show the 350 PPM desired by activists, versus the 388 PPM (MLO seasonally corrected value) where we are now:

click for larger image

click for larger image

Here is the same graph, annotated again with intersecting lines and values, and zoomed on the areas of interest. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Joe Romm's Latest 3,500 Words on Me

If you'd like to see the dynamics that I describe here in action, have a look at Joe Romm's latest fit. I encourage everyone to have a look. Maybe I touched a nerve? ;-) It is sure going to be fun when my book comes out, stay tuned!

Let me add that for those visiting here for the first time, wanting to see what all the hubbub is about, you can find my publications -- peer-reviewed and otherwise -- at this link. If you have questions about any of this work, or specifically about any of my views, please use this thread to ask, I'm happy to answer. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

The way the wind is blowing for global warming

You can tell by choice of topic what's happening in the global warming world.

From the skeptical side, you see:

Contrast that with the pro-warming point of view, where we see:

  • Real Climate recommending a book about 'climate deniers' and their nefarious connections
  • Joe Romm with a truly juvenile whine about Roger Pielke, which I'll address in a moment
  • Open Mind--nothing since October 5 (Tamino, the blog's author, has been ill)
  • DeSmogBlog, a post on their comment policy
  • Deltoid, an echo of Romm's attack on Pielke, and a related attack on the book SuperFreakonomics

Do you see a difference? (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

 

Forget Global Warming, The Sky Really Could Fall

One of the things that has been obscured by all the hand wringing and arm waiving about global warming is the existence of a threat to our planet that is very real and could arise suddenly. That threat is from non-planetary bodies within the solar system: asteroids, comets and other celestial wanderers. While the world's politicians and tree-hugging blowhards rail about the damage climate change might cause, a symposium was held in San Francisco to address a problem that actually could end life on Earth.

At a symposium during the annual meeting of the AAAS Pacific Division, former US astronauts Rusty Schweickart and Edward Lu stated that the threat of a devastating impact from an unknown asteroid is quit possible, even probable. They further emphasized that the time to plan and prepare is now. What's lacking, they said, is political recognition that asteroids will periodically threaten Earth in the future. Furthermore, Schweickart and Lu suggested that technology is already available that would allow humans to closely track such an asteroid and to redirect its orbit if a collision appeared likely.

Scientists are convinced that such collisions have changed the course of terrestrial life in the past. The Chicxulub impact, now enshrined in textbooks and the public mind as the “asteroid that killed the dinosaurs,” is probably the best know impact induced catastrophe. This most famous extinction was also the most recent: the K-T or end-Cretaceous Extinction, 65 million years ago. Because it was the most recent extinction event, scientists know more about the K-T event than the other great extinctions. The subject of innumerable books and TV shows, most people know the story of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. What most people don't know is that, along with the dinosaurs, 85% of all species on Earth vanished during that time.

In 1990, a team of scientists found conclusive evidence of a well-hidden 110 mile (180 kilometer) wide crater overlapping the seafloor and coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Named the Chicxulub Crater after a nearby village, it was made by a Mt. Everest-size object impacting Earth right at the time of the K-T boundary. Previously, Walter Alvarez and his father, Nobel Prize wining physicist Luis Alvarez, had proposed just such an impact based on finding a layer of iridium enriched sediment at the K-T boundary in several different places around the globe. In 2008, in part for this discovery, Walter Alvarez won the Vetlesen Prize—geology's closest equivalent to a Noble Prize (see “What Catastrophe Awaits?”).

Many scientists believe that asteroid impacts were involved in several of the other six great extinctions that life has endured since the beginning of the Phanerozoic Eon, some 545 million years ago. The end-Triassic Extinction, 199 mya, doesn't get much press, coming on the heels of the worst ever extinction (the Permian-Triassic 251 mya), and before the dramatic meteorite impact that extinguished the dinosaurs. As we reported in Chapter 6 of The Resilient Earth, “Ancient Extinctions,” at least two impact craters have been found from around the time of this extinction. One is in Western Australia, where scientists have discovered the faint remains of a 75 mile (120 km) wide crater. The other is a 212 million year old crater in Quebec, Canada, forming part of the Manicouagan Reservoir. The Manicouagan impact structure is one of the largest impact craters still visible on the Earth's surface, with an original rim diameter of approximately 62 miles (100 km).


The Manicouagn impact crater in Canada. Source NASA.

“What do we do when we find one with our name on it?” asked Schweickart. “It's going to be very important to build public confidence when, 20 years from now, we discover a Near-Earth Object where there's one-in-10 chance that it will hit the Earth,” he added. “That's going to send a panic around the world. At that point, it will be very important to persuade the public that these scientists know what they're doing and can succeed.”

Because every nation on Earth could be affected, and because national interests and abilities are so diverse, preventing future impacts should be a front burner geo-political issue. I would like to know why President Obama was not in attendance at the conference. After all, asteroid collision is a threat that we know has happened in the past, with devastating impact on all earthly lifeforms at the time. Where were the president's science advisers? Does the administration even have a policy regarding this potentially disastrous situation?

Instead, we see the world's politicians preparing to make the pilgrimage to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference, scheduled to take place December 7th through 18th. Those backing the conference include American President Barak Obama, fresh off his humiliating rebuff by the International Olympic Committee's site selection, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The official host of the meeting in Copenhagen is the government of Denmark represented by Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister of Climate and Energy and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. The conference is the the winter political season's must attend party—be there or find yourself out of the media spotlight (something no politician can abide).

The actual conference promises to mark a major attempt at a comeback for the supporters of anthropogenic global warming. AGW has been taking a real pummeling lately, with the announcement that global temperatures have not been increasing for the past decade and a number of scientists expressing skepticism about the UN back hypothesis. In a foreshadowing of the type of overheated rhetoric likely to typify the proceedings, UK PM Gordon Brown warned that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic” future of killer heatwaves, floods and droughts unless governments speed up negotiations on climate change before vital talks in Copenhagen in December. According to Brown:

In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history, because they change the course of history. Copenhagen must be such a time. 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.

Evidently the bombastic Mr. Brown sees for himself a green path to salvation, much like the one followed by Al Gore after his ultimate political failure. Not to be outdone, two British Cabinet ministers, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his brother, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, showed off a doomsday vision of disappearing cities and rising seas. One wonders how many ecological prophets the planet can bear. This is part of the effort to frighten and intimidate nations into signing a new pact limiting CO2 emissions. All of this is taking place as a blue ribbon panel is preparing to tell NASA not to build its new moon rocket—a vehicle that could be indispensable in any effort to redirect a planet killing asteroid in the future.

The review panel claims that NASA doesn't have nearly enough money to meet its goals and one of the cost saving options is pulling the plug on the Ares I rocket. NASA has been working on the Ares I for four years. The giant rocket booster is supposed to replace the space shuttle, which is scheduled to have its final flight in late 2010. Billions have already been spent on the rocket, but not as much as NASA's GISS has spent constructing inaccurate climate models in order to promote the myth of global warming [for details on just how inaccurate those models are see “Seven Climate Models, Seven Different Answers,” or Chapter 14 of The Resilient Earth, “The Limits of Climate Science”].

As I have said before, it always amazes me that many who call themselves ecologists or eco-friendly harbor such animosity for humankind, all the while bestowing upon humanity powers of destruction far beyond our actual capabilities. Those who value the well being of animals, fish and even plants above their fellow Homo sapiens are legion: Green Peace, fruitarians, Peta, militant vegetarians and the human extinction movement to name a few.

Along with discounting the worth of human life, these same characters often claim that humans are destroying all life on Earth: either intentionally, accidentally or just by existing at all. Here is a little something to put human caused climate change's destructive powers in perspective—something that has happened before and will undoubtedly happen again.

Consider the predicted effects of global warming: ice caps may shrink, oceans may rise a few inches and average temperatures increase a couple of degrees. Which threat seems more dire, global warming or global extinction?

No matter, Copenhagen will serve as notice to the citizens of the world that the IPCC and its climate change catastrophists will not go away quietly. We can look forward to more outbreaks of unsubstantiated claims, more proclamations of pending disaster, with every upward tick of the thermometer and every calving glacier. Skeptics, be forewarned—this fight is far from over. In climate science, as in politics, being in the wrong is no reason to give up—the global warming scaremongers will be back.

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

 

Really? Attention Green Investors: Get Over Your Hatred Of Coal – Carbon Capture & Storage Here to Stay

Why should any self-respecting "green" investor invest in companies developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology?

Because whether or not you hate coal, and whether or not you believe that CCS is a scam perpetrated by the fossil-fuel industry, if you want to make money, CCS looks like a very good sector to be in.

Fact is, governments around the world hope to clean up the atmosphere by spending many billions of dollars on the commercialization of CCS. (Energy Tech Stocks)

 

Economics prove fatal to carbon capture projects

Another one bites the dust.

Another energy company has quietly scuttled plans to join the Alberta government's grand experiment to green the province's energy industry. This week, Capital Power announced the cost of capturing carbon dioxide from a power plant's smokestack and stuffing it underground is too expensive.

It is the latest in a long line of potential carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) projects that have proved to be as solid as a puff of smoke.

What is proving fatal to the projects is economics. Companies are realizing the cost is prohibitive, even with massive government aid. Of all the potential CCS projects initially envisioned by proponents, only two have survived. And those only with generous government funding. (Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal)

They should crash and burn because there is absolutely no purpose in doing it.

 

D'oh! Russian 'hot air' threatens UN climate deal

The European Union is wondering what to do with billions of unused pollution credits accumulated by Russia, Ukraine and other former communist states of Eastern Europe under the Kyoto Protocol as lawmakers worry about the continuity of the carbon market beyond 2012.

Environment ministers from the 27-member bloc met in Luxembourg on Wednesday (21 October) to thrash out the position that the European Union will take to UN climate talks in December.

But as an international agreement slowly takes shape, the question of what to do with the billions of unused pollution credits accumulated during the 2008-2012 period has become the "elephant in the room" for negotiators.

"There is a lot of money involved," said the European Commission's environment spokesperson Barbara Helfferich. "We haven't clarified our position on this in detail," she told EurActiv after the ministers' meeting on Wednesday.

Kyoto legacy

Under the Kyoto Protocol, countries were granted a certain number of permits to release greenhouse gases in the atmosphere called Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), which are equivalent to one tonne of CO2.

Kyoto targets were decided based on 1990 emission levels. But in the wake of massive deindustrialisation that followed the fall of communism, Eastern European countries are now finding themselves sitting on a huge stockpile of unused pollution credits.

"The Russians have accumulated something like five billion units" during 2008-2012, said an EU diplomat from one of the large EU member states. "This is enormous," he added, saying the amount is equivalent to the effort expected from the entire EU during the upcoming 2013-2020 period.

"We have a big problem of hot air in the system," the diplomat said.

Stefan Singer, director of global energy policy at WWF, warned that the possibility for Russia and Ukraine to carry over their surplus credits after 2012 would probably "sink" international climate talks.

"This amount is more than the entire annual emissions of the EU 27 and may - if traded and sold - sink any environmental integrity of targets for developed countries," he told EurActiv.

Britain and Germany said they wanted to kill off the excess permits, arguing that they undermine the system. (EurActiv)

 

Carbon trust has tonnes of work ahead

VANCOUVER — Calculating the difference between a $25 carbon credit purchased in British Columbia and a 14-cent credit purchased in daily trading on the Chicago Climate Exchange is apparently not a matter for simple arithmetic.

The $25 credit is what you, as taxpayers, are forking out to support the B.C. government’s ambitious, precedent-setting plan to make itself carbon-neutral before 2011.

B.C. anticipates that core government agencies and offshoots, including schools and health districts, will be annually responsible by the end of 2010 for about one million more tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions than their conservation efforts can reasonably prevent.

That’s where you come in.

The government’s ambition, announced by Premier Gordon Campbell in 2007, is to compensate for every one of those million tonnes by purchasing carbon credits from businesses and industries that reduced their reliance on fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, or coal — and had their efforts certified by independent, third-party auditors.

The credits are collected by Pacific Carbon Trust, a new Crown corporation that pays emitters an unspecified amount for each tonne of CO2 emissions they cut through innovative conservation efforts, and resells them to government at $25 a tonne. (Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun)

 

Investment Risks Could Maim Kyoto Emissions Scheme

LONDON - A combination of investment risks threatens to obstruct an already stumbling U.N.-backed $6.5 billion market in clean energy projects in emerging nations, years before the scheme's first phase is due to end.

Under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), companies or governments can outsource mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by buying offsets, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), from projects such as wind farms or hydro dams in developing nations.

But with the economic downturn having already dented global investment in clean energy, a mix of political risk in the least developed nations, worries over counter-party credit and growing uncertainty over the scheme's future after Kyoto expires in 2012 could halt CDM funding in the next few years.

After peaking at $7.4 billion in 2007, investment in the CDM dipped by 12 percent last year, according to the World Bank, and observers expect it to fall further this year. (Reuters)

 

Call you help?

With Copenhagen coming up, we are close to a crunch point. To reach a wider audience I need things like copyright free photos for example. It would help people put this in perspective and understand what we mean when we ask for empirical evidence. I’m putting together another skeptics handbook right now as well as some articles. Things are urgent. Once legislation is in place it will be very very hard to unwind. (JoNova)

 

The Copenhagen Climate Extortion

Going into the Copenhagen climate change summit, the delegates appear to be competing over who can offer the most ambitious and least realistic targets.

If the upcoming Copenhagen climate change summit fails to result in substantive agreements, as increasingly seems likely, look for the global warming lobby to turn up the extortion heat. Here’s the dilemma:

The United States, Europe, Japan, and other developed countries are steadily cutting per capita emissions. But there remain contentious divisions about what future cuts are technologically and economically feasible. Going into the talks, the delegates appear to be competing over who can offer the most ambitious and least realistic targets so everyone can return from Copenhagen satisfied that they did their part to save the world, at least on paper.

Using 1990 as the benchmark, Britain pledges to reduce emissions by the year 2020, or shortly thereafter, by at least 34 percent. Japan pledges a 25-percent cutback. The U.S. House of Representatives bill passed in June of this year, less ambitious by the airy standards of climate geopolitics but no more realistic, assures a 17-percent reduction from 2005 levels.

But as Roger Pielke, former director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, notes, “the problem with all these promises to achieve deep and rapid cuts in emissions is that no one knows how these cuts are going to happen, and most simply cannot happen as promised. So these countries have turned to designing very complex policies full of accounting tricks, political pork, and policy misdirection.” (Jon Entine, The American)

 

Gordon Brown’s climate change finance package hangs in balance

Gordon Brown’s plan for Europe to lead the world in tackling climate change stands on the brink of failure as a row about its cost threatens to overshadow the European Council.

The Prime Minister was the first to call for a $100 billion (£60 billion) fund to help emerging nations to meet the terms of the replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, to be finalised at a United Nations summit in December.

As part of this, he wants the EU to pledge €10 billion (£9 billion) a year to the fund, but two groups of member states are fighting to block the plan at the council on Thursday and Friday.

Britain, already facing a public spending squeeze, has offered to find €1 billion a year to help to fund the scheme from 2020. (The Times)

 

The B-Cast Interview: Lord Monckton Defends His Warning for America

Lord Christopher Monchton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, answers critics of his claim that Obama intends to cede U.S. sovereignty at the upcoming COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. (Breitbart TV)

 

Lawrence Solomon: The high risks of climate-change policy

Earlier this week, I addressed a meeting of the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for National Security in Winnipeg. An abbreviated version of my presentation appears below. (National Post)

 

The real climate change catastrophe

In a startling new book, Christopher Booker reveals how a handful of scientists, who have pushed flawed theories on global warming for decades, now threaten to take us back to the Dark Ages (TDT)

 

President Obama won’t talk climate change in Copenhagen

President Obama will almost certainly not travel to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December and may instead use his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to set out US environmental goals, The Times has learnt.

With healthcare reform clogging his domestic agenda and no prospect of a comprehensive climate treaty in Copenhagen, Mr Obama may disappoint campaigners and foreign leaders, including Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, who have urged him to attend to boost the hopes of a breakthrough.

The White House would not comment on Mr Obama’s travel plans yesterday, but administration officials have said privately that “Oslo is plenty close” — a reference to the Nobel ceremony that falls on December 10, two days into the Copenhagen meeting. (The Times)

 

Obama ought to do a lot more

The US President has so far “not put his weight behind” a proposed Senate climate bill, says Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (CoP15)

 

Pessimism Abounds as Copenhagen Climate Talks Near

The Copenhagen climate talks, to be held in December, were originally conceived as the final milestone on the road to a global emissions reduction agreement. Now, though, few expect the summit to produce a pact. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Sweden's climate change envoy about the remaining hurdles. (Der Spiegel)

 

Africa afraid of being taken hostage

Highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, Africa badly needs an agreement in Copenhagen. But an agreement could become so weak, that it would be better to walk away, some analysts say. (CoP15)

On the "better to walk away" part we are largely in agreement...

 

China, India Cancel Out Copenhagen

With less than two months to go before the big Copenhagen Conference on global warming, two major nations have said "no thanks" to the no-growth agenda. For that reason alone, so should we.

Following a deal signed late Thursday between China and India, anything we might agree to do in Copenhagen is likely moot anyway. The two mega-nations — which together account for nearly a third of the world's population — said they won't go along with a new climate treaty being drafted in Copenhagen to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.

They're basically saying no to anything that forces them to impose mandatory limits on their output of greenhouse gas emissions. Other developing nations, including Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, will likely reject any proposals as well.

The deal was already in trouble. Three weeks ago, the Group of 77 developing nations met in Thailand to discuss what they wanted to do about global warming. Their answer: nothing. (IBD)

 

Climate targets can't be achieved, say energy companies

Energy companies have privately warned the Government that its climate change targets are "illusory" and "delusional" as global leaders prepare to sign up to stricter guidelines at the Copenhagen climate change conference in six weeks. (TDT)

 

Senate Global Warming Bill Is Seeking to Cushion the Impact on Industry

WASHINGTON — The Senate bill aimed at reducing global warming pollution will initially grant billions of dollars of free emissions permits to utilities and industry but will require the bulk of the money be returned to consumers and taxpayers, according to newly released details.

The bill will also provide a cushion to energy-intensive manufacturing companies to ease the transition to a lower-carbon economy and to help them compete internationally, although the subsidies will disappear over time. The measure also sets a floor and ceiling on the price of permits to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

With these and other changes considered, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that overall cost of the bill at roughly $100 a year per household, similar to that of a House climate change and energy bill passed in June.

The Senate measure, sponsored by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under a cap-and-trade system that sets a nationwide limit on emissions but allows polluters to buy and sell permits to meet it. (NYT)

We doubt many people are fooled by these lowball cost estimates when the stated purpose of the legislation is to make energy too expensive for consumers. Regardless, it wouldn't matter if it was completely free, there's absolutely no point in doing it for the simple reason it can not achieve any predictable or controllable effect on global climate.

 

Warren Buffett Slams "Cap and Trade" as a Regressive Tax on All Americans

This morning on CNBC's "Squawk Box," billionaire investor and prominent Obama supporter Warren Buffett slammed the administrations proposed $646 billion carbon tax known as cap and trade as a regressive tax that customers are going to pay for. (John Boehner)

 

Senate's climate bill a bit more ambitious - Early version would cap carbon allowance prices -- and deficit

Climate legislation took a small step forward late Friday night as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a version that includes big benefits for farmers, provisions for deficit reduction and a ceiling on carbon prices.

The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Boxer, calls for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to a level 20 percent below 2005 emissions, a more ambitious target than the 17 percent set in a climate measure approved by the House in June.

The draft, which resembles the House bill, sets the parameters for what promises to be a sharp debate on one of President Obama's top legislative priorities. (WaPo)

 

Barack Obama in new global warming fight - Stonewalling by opponents means key legislation is unlikely to be in place by Copenhagen summit

Barack Obama's efforts to forge a new American consensus around the need for action on climate change has run into a brick wall of Republican opposition, with senators threatening a boycott of a proposed law to cut carbon emissions.

The Senate opens a three-day blockbuster of hearings on Tuesday, calling 54 administration officials and environment experts to try to push ahead on a climate change law before a meeting in Copenhagen that is supposed to produce a global action plan on climate change. (The Observer)

 

Graham attacked over cap-and-trade in new ad

WASHINGTON – An interest group supported by energy companies is attacking Sen. Lindsey Graham in his own backyard over his willingness to support cap-and-trade legislation.

The Republican has been collaborating with moderate senators to put together bipartisan energy legislation that would link a cap-and-trade program to expanded nuclear energy production and offshore oil and gas drilling. But many in Graham's party view a cap-and-trade program as a tax on energy companies that would be passed along to consumers.

Now the American Energy Alliance, a group funded in part by oil and gas companies that back offshore drilling, is launching a week of radio ads in South Carolina accusing Graham of supporting policies that will weaken the state's already suffering economy.

"So why would Senator Lindsey Graham support new energy taxes called cap-and-trade that will further harm our economy and kill millions of American jobs?" a narrator asks in the radio spot, which went up Thursday. "If that wasn't bad enough, Senator Graham's new energy taxes will have all of us paying more at the pump for a gallon of gas while seeing a 53 percent jump in electricity bills. Who can afford that in this economy?"

The quarter million dollar campaign against Graham will also include television and online ads in the coming weeks.

While he has made efforts to get fellow Republicans on board by advocating for provisions to increase nuclear power and offshore drilling, Graham has not signed onto the leading climate change bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Barbara Boxer.

His office released a statement Thursday that focused on the Senator's support for nuclear energy and offshore drilling but made no mention of cap-and-trade. (CNN)

 

Green taxes 'under threat from Treasury', claims Greenpeace

Greenpeace and other development agencies have written to the prime minister calling on him to exercise authority over the Treasury and stop it blocking vital climate change initiatives.

The call comes ahead of a report to be published tomorrow by the Green Fiscal Commission (GFC), which will call for a dramatic £150bn shake-up in the country's fiscal system – including a £3,300 tax on new cars and a tripling of fuel duties over the next decade, to be balanced by a cut in income tax and national insurance. (The Guardian)

 

The "Shameful Article": A Review and Update

As the world continues to suffer a "depression" in global tropical cyclone activity with activity at 30-year lows, and hurricane forecasters try to keep busy while watching the listless Atlantic, I thought that for those who haven't been reading this blog for the past 5 years (which I assume is most everyone;-) it would be worth reviewing a bit of the history of the science on hurricanes and global warming, and how that science was ignored by the IPCC.

In 2004 and 2005 (before Katrina), I led an interdisciplinary effort to review the literature on hurricanes and global warming. The effort resulted in a peer-reviewed article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (here in PDF). Upon its acceptance Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at NCAR here at Boulder and the person in charge of the 2007 IPCC AR4 chapter that reviewed extreme events including hurricanes, said this in the Boulder Daily Camera (emphasis added) about our article:
I think the role of the changing climate is greatly underestimated by Roger Pielke Jr. I think he should withdraw this article. This is a shameful article.
Here is what the "shameful article" concluded:
To summarize, claims of linkages between global warming and hurricane impacts are premature for three reasons. First, no connection has been established between greenhouse gas emissions and the observed behavior of hurricanes . . . Second, the peer-reviewed literature reflects that a scientific consensus exists that any future changes in hurricane intensities will likely be small in the context of observed variability . . . And third, under the assumptions of the IPCC, expected future damages to society of its projected changes in the behavior of hurricanes are dwarfed by the influence of its own projections of growing wealth and population . . . While future research or experience may yet overturn these conclusions, the state of the peer-reviewed knowledge today is such that there are good reasons to expect that any conclusive connection between global warming and hurricanes or their impacts will not be made in the near term.
When Trenberth called the article shameful I responded on Prometheus with this comment:
Upon reading Kevin’s strong statements in the press a few weeks ago, I emailed him to ask where specifically he disagreed with our paper and I received no response; apparently he prefers to discuss this issue only through the media. So I’ll again extend an invitation to Kevin to respond substantively, rather than simply call our paper ’shameful’ and ask for its withdrawal (and I suppose implicitly faulting the peer review process at BAMS): Please identify what statements we made in our paper you disagree with and the scientific basis for your disagreement. If you’d prefer not to respond here, I will eagerly look forward to a letter to BAMS in response to our paper.

Climate change is a big deal. We in the scientific community owe it to the public and policy makers to be open about our debates on science and policy issues. We’ve offered a peer-reviewed, integrative perspective on hurricanes and global warming. I hold those with different perspectives in high regard — such diversity makes science strong. But at a minimum it seems only fair to ask those who say publicly that they disagree with our perspective to explain the basis for their disagreement, instead of offering up only incendiary rhetoric for the media. Given that Kevin is the IPCC lead author responsible for evaluating our paper in the context of the IPCC, such transparency of perspective seems particularly appropriate.
Not surprisingly the IPCC chapter that Trenberth led for the IPCC made no mention of our article, despite it being peer reviewed and being the most recently published review of this topic prior to the IPCC publication deadline (the relevant IPCC chapter is here in PDF). Even though the IPCC didn't see the paper as worth discussing, a high-profile team of scientists saw fit to write up a commentary in response to our article in BAMS (here in PDF) . One of those high-profile scientists was Trenberth. Trenberth and his colleagues argued that our article was flawed in three respects, it was,
. . . incomplete and misleading because it 1) omits any mention of several of the most important aspects of the potential relationships between hurricanes and global warming, including rainfall, sea level, and storm surge; 2) leaves the impression that there is no significant connection between recent climate change caused by human activities and hurricane characteristics and impacts; and 3) does not take full account of the significance of recently identified trends and variations in tropical storms in causing impacts as compared to increasing societal vulnerability.
Our response to their comment (here in PDF) focused on the three points that they raised:
Anthes et al. (2006) present three criticisms of our paper. One criticism is that Pielke et al. (2005) “leaves the impression that there is no significant connection between recent climate change caused by human activities and hurricane characteristics and impacts.” If by “significant” they mean either (a) presence in the peer-reviewed literature or (b) discernible in the observed economic impacts, then this is indeed an accurate reading. Anthes et al. (2006) provide no data, analyses, or references that directly connect observed hurricane characteristics and impacts to anthropogenic climate change. . .

In a second criticism, Anthes et al. (2006) point out (quite accurately) that Pielke et al. (2005) failed to discuss the relationship between global warming and rainfall, sea level, and storm surge as related to tropical cyclones. The explanation for this neglect is simple—there is no documented relationship between global warming and the observed behavior of tropical cyclones (or TC impacts) related to rainfall, sea level, or storm surge. . .

A final criticism by Anthes et al. (2006) is that Pielke et al. (2005) “does not take full account of the significance of recently identified trends and variations in tropical storms in causing impacts as compared to increasing societal vulnerability.” Anthes et al. (2006) make no reference to the literature that seeks to distinguish the relative role of climate factors versus societal factors in causing impacts (e.g., Pielke et al. 2000; Pielke 2005), so their point is unclear. There is simply no evidence, data, or references provided by Anthes et al. (2006) to counter the analysis in Pielke et al. (2000) that calculates the relative sensitivity of future global tropical cyclone impacts to the independent effects of projected climate change and various scenarios of growing societal vulnerability under the assumptions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This series of exchanges was not acknowledged by the IPCC even though it was all peer-reviewed and appeared in the leading journal of the American Meteorological Society. As we have seen before with the IPCC, its review of the literature somehow missed key articles that one of its authors (in this case Trenberth, the lead for the relevant chapter) found to be in conflict with his personal views, or in this case "shameful." Of course, there is a deeper backstory here involving a conflict between my co-author Chris Landsea and Trenberth in early 2005, prompting Landsea to resign from the IPCC.

So almost five years after we first submitted our paper how does it hold up? Pretty well I think, on all counts. I would not change any of the conclusions above, nor would I change the reply to Anthes et al. Science changes and moves ahead, so any review will eventually become outdated, but ours was an accurate reflection of the state of science as of 2005. However, you won't find any of this in the IPCC.

Papers and links

Anthes et al. 2006, Hurricanes and global warming: Potential linkage and consequences, BAMS, Vol. 87, pp. 623-628.

Pielke, Jr., R. A., C. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Laver and R. Pasch, 2005. Hurricanes and global warming, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 86:1571-1575.

Pielke, Jr., R. A., C.W. Landsea, M. Mayfield, J. Laver, R. Pasch, 2006. Reply to Hurricanes and Global Warming Potential Linkages and Consequences, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 87, pp. 628-631, May. (Roger Pielke Jr

 

Maldives' underwater cabinet meeting was a sorry stunt - A world expert on sea-levels wants to tell the people of the Maldives they are not in danger of being inundated, says Christopher Booker

In the avalanche of publicity stunts being staged in advance of December's Copenhagen conference on climate change, none was more bizarre than the meeting of the cabinet of the Maldives government 20 feet beneath the waves. President Mohammed Nasheed and his ministers sat before desks in scuba gear to discuss the forthcoming submergence of their country, due to global warming.

This prompted an open letter to President Nasheed from Dr Nils-Axel Morner, the former head of the international Inqua Commission on Sea Level Change. The Swedish geologist, who has been measuring sea-level change all over the world for over 30 years, reminded the president that his commission had visited the Maldives six times in the years since 2000, and that he himself had led three month-long investigations in every part of the coral archipelago. Their exhaustive studies had shown that from 1790 to 1970 sea-levels round the islands had averaged 20 centimetres higher than today; that the level, having fallen, has since remained stable; and that there is not the slightest sign of any rise. The most cautious forecast based on proper science (rather than computer model guesswork) shows that any rise in the next 100 years will be "small to negligible". (TDT)

 

Comments On Roy Spencer’s Excellent Post “IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity, 91-0″

Roy Spencer published an excellent post on October 18 2009 titled “IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity, 91-0″.

He post includes the statements

“The most glaring example of this bias [that of the IPCC] has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system…….”

“The IPCC is totally obsessed with external forcing, that is, energy imbalances imposed upon the climate system that are NOT the result of the natural, internal workings of the system…”

“Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean….”

“Thus, small changes in ocean circulation can lead to small changes in the Earth’s albedo (how much sunlight is reflected back to space), which in turn can lead to global warming or cooling. The IPCC’s view (which is never explicitly stated) that such changes in the climate system do not occur is little more than faith on their part….”

The identification by Roy of a much more significant role for internal climate variability in altering even the global average radiative heating over multi-year and longer time scales is a major research finding. This hypothesis was not tested by the IPCC. Of course, none of the IPCC models can skillfully predict, even in retrospect, the multi-year variations that Roy has identified. Thus the IPCC simply chose to essentially ignore this issue.

We presented this perspective of the climate system as a chaotic system in our papers; e.g. see

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746

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,

but these also were ignored by the IPCC.

We look forward to Roy’s  seminal publication of  “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing”.  Of course, it needs to first hurdle the inappropriate role of some reviewers and even editors as gatekeepers of the IPCC dogma. (Climate Science)

 

Natural Variation vs Human Influence

Table of contents for Natural Variation

  1. Natural Variation vs Human Influence
  2. Natural Variation – 60 year cycle

One simple way to separate the influence of humans from natural variation is to fit a simple linear regression containing sinusoidal terms, as shown in previous posts.

The figure below shows the result: linear (dotted red), periodic (dashed red) and their sum (solid red) applied to global temperature data sets (A) GISS and (B) HadCRUT and (C) to a selection of simulation models.

article-001

 

Two sinusoidals of period 21 and 63 years were used, but the phase, or start and end points, were not determined. The model fit results in the lowest points of both oscillations around 1976 (the Great Pacific Climate Shift???) and the highest point just after 2000. Interestingly the period of 21 years is an odd multiple of 63 years which allows the amplitudes to be reinforced.

Its also clear that the climate models have much lower natural variation than observed in Nature. Admittedly, these are averaged results from a selection of models in the KNMI data center, and individual runs show more variation. The lack of variation is a combination of both lack of calibration of climate models with the phase of observed climate oscillations, and the deficit of decadal variation.

An underlying linear increase in these equations is a paltry 0.05C/decade. This linear increase is all that can potentially be attributed to anthropogenic factors: CO2, methane, and Urban Heat Island effects.

This illustration demonstrates the short-sightedness of ignoring natural variation, and the bias introduced by presenting trends beginning around 1950, when temperature increased at about a rate of 0.15C/decade to 2000. This simple empirical model suggests natural variation could have contributed around 0.1C/decade over that period, significantly exceeding the linear trend.

Next in series (David Stockwell, Niche Modeling)

 

Erroneous Claim in an AP News Article

UPDATE #2 October 24 2009: If Dina Cappiello, Seth Borenstein and/or Kevin Freking chose to reply in order to refute my criticism of their statement in the news article, we would be glad to post as a guest weblog.

UPDATE Oct 24 2009:  To make sure my text is clear, I repeated “the primary cause”in the text  below. As I weblogged on this morning, the human addition of CO2 from fossil fuel emissions is a first order global warming, and more generally a first order climate change forcing.  Efforts to reduce the magnitude of the human intervention into the climate system must include mitigation approaches with respect to CO2 emissions. However, by itself, this is only a part of the issue, as other human climate forcings are also of first order importance.

There is an Associated Press [AP] news article today by Dina Cappiello, Seth Borenstein and Kevin Freking titled “Poll: US belief in global warming is cooling”.  In this article the reporters perpetuate the myth that

“Though there are exceptions, the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.”

This is not true and is a case of the media seeking to make up news.

We have already documented that a significant minority of climate scientists do not consider greenhouse gases as the primary cause for global warming, and, more generally, [as the primary] cause [of] climate change; e.g.  see

Brown, F., J. Annan, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2008: Is there agreement amongst climate scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?

and

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.

In the coming month, we will be presenting another article that documents that the AP authors are erroneous in their claim “that the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.”

If the reporters want to be balanced in their presentations, rather than lobbyists and advocates, they would persue the validity of their claim.  So far, however, they have failed in this journalistic role. (Climate Science)

 

Is The Human Input Of CO2 A First Order Climate Forcing?

In response to my post Erroneous Claim in an AP News Article, I have been asked if I consider if the human addition of CO2 is a first order climate forcing.  The answer, of course, as I have consistently emphasized in my research papers and presentations, and on my weblog, is a categorical YES (e.g. see, see, see and see). 

 The human addition of CO2 is a positive radiative forcing as well as a biogeochemical forcing.  It is a first order human climate forcing.

The AP statement itself has two parts:

1. “ the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring

2.  ”that the primary cause is a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal.”

Item 1 is correct if the time scale is over the last century. Global warming since mid-2003, however, based on the diagnosis of the upper ocean heat content, has halted, at least up through mid 2009.

Item 2 is the “myth”.  Even with respect to global warming during the last 100 years, the addition of CO2 is just one of a number of positive radiative forcings (e.g. see), and natural forcings appear to be more significant than previously understood (e.g. see).  The statement that the “primary cause” of global warming is a buildup of greenhouse gases is incomplete and, therefore, incorrect.

Thus, while I agree that the human addition of CO2 is a first order climate forcing, the claims that it is the primary human climate forcing is not supported by the science. This means that attempts to “control” the climate system, and to prevent a “dangerous intervention” into the climate system by humans that focuses just on CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases will necessarily be significantly incomplete, unless all of the other first order climate forcings are considered.

 Moreover, as I have written on extensively, climate change is much more than global warming and cooling (e.g. see  and see).  Human caused climate change can occur even in the absence of global warming (such as from land use change).  This makes attempts to mitigate climate change a much more daunting problem than assuming that all we need to do is control the human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion into the atmosphere.

For the summary overview of my perspective see Main Conclusions. (Climate Science)

 

Why does Ocean Heat Content diverge from GISS projections?

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale:

Why Are OHC Observations (0-700m) Diverging From GISS Projections?

INTRODUCTION


My post “NODC Corrections to Ocean Heat Content (0-700m) Part 2” illustrated the divergence between observed Global Ocean Heat Content (OHC) and the GISS projected rise. Figure 1 shows that GISS models projected a rise of 0.98*10^22 Joules per year, but, since 2003, global OHC has only been rising at 0.079*10^22 Joules per year. How could there be such a significant difference between the projection and the observed OHC data?

http://i36.tinypic.com/5dscxg.png
Figure 1

GISS FAILS TO MODEL ENSO

Read the rest of this entry »
(WUWT)

 

The Climatically Controlled Extent of Britain’s Winelands

There is a very interesting book available, now in its Second Edition, entitled: ‘THE WINELANDS OF BRITAIN: PAST, PRESENT & PROSPECTIVE’ by Richard Selley.

Wild vines have grown in Britain for over 50 million years. Only in the Ice Age of the last 2 million have vines retreated from Britain during the glacial maxima, returning during warmer interglacials, such as the present one. The ‘Winelands of Britain’ uses a database of some 500 vineyards ancient and modern, to map the ebb and flow of viticulture correlative with temperature across the British Isles since Roman times.

The winelands of the world occur between the 10-20 degree C. annual isotherms. Between these limits the interplay of geology and climate controls the landscape within a vineyard stands, and the soil in which it grows. The ‘Winelands of Britain’ shows how the interplay of geology and climate forms important winelands such as the Pleistocene terrace gravels of the Thames and other rivers, the sunny southern slopes and dry valleys of the chalk Downs, , and the Palaeozoic rocky rivieras of Wales and the West Country.

The ‘Winelands of Britain’ combines geology with climate change to delineate the past, present, and prospective winelands of England and Scotland. In the present Industrial Revolution Warm Phase abandoned Roman and Medieval winelands are becoming re-established, sometimes with vineyards being re-planted on the sites of ancient ones. New winelands, such as the Weald, have become established in areas that were not de-forested until the Little Ice Age. Some ancient winelands, like the Greensand Hills of Surrey, have not been re-established, due to re-forestation. Since the publication of the first edition in 2004 the northern limit of English vineyards has advanced from Mount Pleasant, Lancashire, to Acomb, Yorkshire, within 5km of Hadrian’s Wall.

wineofbritainmap

Map showing the northern limits of British viticulture in the Roman and Medieval warm phases, the Little Ice Age and the present Industrial Revolution warm phase.

Had the decline in viticulture during the 15th – 19th centuries been due to factors other than climate then the geographic limits of viticulture should have remained unchanged. The restriction of vineyards to southeast England suggests that the ebb and flow of viticulture across Britain is climatically controlled.

This conclusion therefore enables predictions to be made of the future northward advance of winelands if global warming continues. (CRN)

 

What's the bet they spin this as "things will be even worse!"? Palms Grew In Ice-Free Arctic 50 Million Years Ago: study

OSLO - Palms flourished in the Arctic during a brief sweltering period about 50 million years ago, according to a study on Sunday that hints at big gaps in scientific understanding of modern climate change.

The Arctic "would have looked very similar to the vegetation we now see in Florida," said Appy Sluijs of Utrecht University in the Netherlands who led an international study. Evidence of palms has never been found so far north before.

The scientists, sampling sediments on a ridge on the seabed that was about 500 km (300 miles) from the North Pole 53.5 million years ago, found pollens of ancient palms as well as of conifers, oaks, pecans and other trees.

"The presence of palm pollen implies that coldest month mean temperatures over the Arctic land masses were no less than 8 Celsius" (46.40F), the scientists, based in the Netherlands and Germany, wrote in the journal Nature Geoscience.

That contradicts computer model simulations -- also used to predict future temperatures -- that suggest winter temperatures were below freezing even in the unexplained hothouse period that lasted between 50,000 and 200,000 years in the Eocene epoch.

Palms are quickly killed by frost. (Reuters)

 

New low energy light bulb works with dimmer switches - but costs £30

A low energy light bulb which is as bright as conventional models and works with dimmer switches has gone on sale in Britain's shops for – the only problem is that it costs £30. (TDT)

 

Let the battle begin over black gold

Amid centenary celebrations at BP, the oil giant is squaring up to rivals to secure the fossil fuel resources necessary to underpin future prosperity. (TDT)

 

Multiple fuels, multiple solutions - TransAlta's carbon-spewing coal plants are part of a ‘green' plan that blends technology and renewable energy

Steve Snyder sees no contradiction in the fact that his company is one of the biggest renewable energy producers in Canada, while it remains a huge greenhouse gas emitter.

Indeed, the chief executive officer of TransAlta Corp. says the electricity generator's mix of coal-, gas-, wind- and hydro-powered plants is eminently logical, as the world begins a shift toward “green” energy but still needs cheap and plentiful electricity generated by traditional means.

The 100-year-old Calgary-based utility is in the process of purchasing Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. – Canada's biggest publicly traded generator of wind and water power. But it has had a “multiple fuels” strategy for more than a decade, Mr. Snyder said, in order to manage risk by spreading the company's activities among several power sources. (Globe and Mail)

 

Schlumberger CEO Sees New Gas Drilling Regulation

SAN FRANCISCO - Schlumberger Ltd, the world's largest oilfield services company, expects new U.S. regulations for a key natural gas drilling process because of public fears about water pollution, its CEO said on Friday.

Asked by an analyst why Schlumberger supported disclosure of "hydrofracturing" fluid ingredients, Chief Executive Andrew Gould said he recognized the concerns of regulators and the public and wanted to be involved in the discussions early on.

"I'm pretty sure that there will be some form of new regulation in order to satisfy the authorities and the public's desire to know that what is being done is safe," Gould said on a conference call on Friday to discuss third-quarter earnings. "And that seems to me a perfectly natural thing to want." (Reuters)

 

Nothing better to do? Samso Island Is Face of Danish Green Revolution

The Danish island of Samso is a mecca for climate protection experts, because its residents generate more energy than they consume -- with wind turbines, solar panels, straw combustion and heat exchangers that extract heat from cow's milk. The small ecotopia will be held up as a model at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. (Der Spiegel)

 

Go back to beer summits... Obama Presses Case for Renewable Energy

BOSTON — Taking aim at business interests that have lobbied against an energy and climate bill moving through Congress, President Obama urged lawmakers on Friday to rally around the push toward using more renewable energy.

In a wide-ranging speech on energy and the environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Obama called for legislation that would make “the best use of resources we have in abundance, through clean coal technology, safe nuclear power, sustainably grown biofuels and energy we harness from wind, waves and sun.”

Mr. Obama chided critics of the proposed legislation, saying, “There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs.” (NYT)

 

Kyoto pays you for deforestation

Because the Chromium team has just fixed a somewhat serious PDF bug your humble correspondent reported ;-), it's time to look at a much more serious bug, a bug of the Kyoto protocol and the related European laws:

Science, NPR, Australian ABC, Carbon Positive, TIME
The Kyoto protocol and similar treaties and bills are designed so that you get paid if you cut forests, burn the wood, and seed biofuel plants on the empty place instead. ;-) So the legal support for the biofuels is likely to be more harmful to the environment than petrol.

The authors, Timothy Searchinger et al., elaborate upon their February 2008 article in Science Express that described the regression. Now, in 2009, they also claim that there exists an "easy fix".

Some additional thoughts

So far, the price for the CO2 has been small enough not to cause any effects. However, it's plausible that if the price increased sufficiently for the net CO2 emissions to be changed by the legislation, we could see a lot of deforestation.

It's questionable whether such "loopholes" may ever be completely fixed. The main problem is the inherent non-market character of the "caps".

In 1968, the author of the economic transformation of Dubček's Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring (a third way), Mr Ota Šik, an economist born in Pilsen, has found a power plant and a colliery near Ostrava, in the Northeastern Czech Republic. A funny feature of this pair was that the power plant produced as much electricity as the colliery consumed and the colliery mined as much coal as the power plant burned. :-)

This is a typical bug that socialism routinely experiences. As Mr Petr Vopěnka, a mathematician who told us about this story in the 1990s, emphasized, there can exist not just pairs but much more complex "circles" of economic relationships in socialism that imply that the system doesn't work.

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

 

Who says it's green to burn woodchips? - Woodchip power stations are set for a boom. But conservationists are increasingly challenging their green credentials. Special report by Graham Mole

One of the most cherished articles of faith of the green movement – that wood-fuelled power stations can help save the planet – is being increasingly challenged by campaigners and conservationists around the world.

Electricity generated by burning woodchips is on the verge of a global boom. America is planning 102 power stations fuelled by woodchips in the next few years. Europe is reported to be planning a similar, if yet unquantified, expansion. And in Britain, the next three years will see wood-fuelled power station capacity increase sevenfold, requiring, according to the campaign group Biofuelwatch, so much timber that it would need an area 12 times the size of Liechtenstein to grow it.

The power companies say the source will be "sustainable forests", but campaigners and ecologists claim that untold damage will be caused by the burgeoning market for wood. They say that, although traders in the developing world are being tempted to grub up and sell native forests, the chief danger is in the creation of monoculture plantations, where single species of trees are grown in straight rows and little wildlife can establish a home for itself.

They also challenge the "green" assumptions behind woodchip power, claiming that, far from fighting climate change, transporting large amounts of bulk wood across oceans and then burning it will increase carbon discharges by 50 per cent more than would have been caused by burning a fossil fuel like coal. (The Independent)

 

Ooh! Bad timing with this little feature: Historic chance to halt the scourge of deforestation - In the first of a landmark series on issues behind the climate summit, Michael McCarthy explains why a 'Redd' treaty is vital to cut CO2

At last, the wreck of the rainforests is being tackled. One of the key parts of the Copenhagen climate agreement which the international community will try to construct in December is a comprehensive treaty aiming to reduce deforestation rates in the developing countries by at least 50 per cent by 2020.

Not before time. It has been 20 years since we woke up to the reality of large-scale rainforest loss: in the late 1980s, the terrible scale of destruction in regions such as the Brazilian Amazon, and later, in Indonesia and other areas, dawned on the world, but in the time since then, all we have been able to do, in effect, has been to wring our hands. (The Independent)

 

Rainforest treaty 'fatally flawed' - Climate summit loophole lets palm oil producers cull vital wilderness

A vital safeguard to protect the world's rainforests from being cut down has been dropped from a global deforestation treaty due to be signed at the climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

Under proposals due to be ratified at the summit, countries which cut down rainforests and convert them to plantations of trees such as oil palms would still be able to classify the result as forest and could receive millions of dollars meant for preserving them. An earlier version of the text ruled out such a conversion but has been deleted, and the EU delegation – headed by Britain – has blocked its reinsertion.

Environmentalists say plantations are in no way a substitute for the lost natural forest in terms of wildlife, water production or, crucially, as a store of the carbon dioxide which is emitted into the atmosphere when forests are destroyed and intensifies climate change. (The Independent)

 

Getting closer to the next generation of biofuels

Biofuels have had a rollercoaster ride in the last few years, and their story illustrates some of the best and worst aspects of human behaviour. Best because the use of annual crops to supplement fossil fuels seems sensible and a tremendous amount of ingenuity has gone into ways to make them efficiently. Worst, because the current (first generation) products make little positive contribution to environmental problems, compete with food use of crops and in some cases seem to be little more than a way of keeping farmers happy by paying them a subsidy. Most egregiously, tariff barriers are put in the way of imports of sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, which is the only source which currently makes economic sense.

A much more sensible way to produce fuel from crops is to make use of the cellulosic, structural parts of the plant not used for food: wheat straw or maize cobs, for example. These make up a large proportion – perhaps half – of the biomass produced by food crops, but are at present treated largely as waste. The problem is that breaking down cellulose and related plant materials into fermentable sugars (to replace those derived from maize starch or sugar cane, for example) needs a series of specialised enzymes such as cellulases.

These exist in nature (hence the slow rotting of wood, for example) but no-one has yet come up with a way to convert straw to sugar simply and quickly. This is not for want of trying; large amounts of money have gone into research on the problem, with the expectation that whoever cracks this one will open up a potentially vast market. It is estimated that about one quarter of the world's current consumption of fuel could come from existing agricultural waste, and this could easily be supplemented by woodchips or specialised non-food crops.

Once an appropriate enzyme mix has been developed, a viable process might be in sight. Not surprisingly it is the world's largest maker of industrial enzymes, Novozymes, which claims to have solved the puzzle. According to an interview in the Sunday Times with Steen Riisgard, the company's President and CEO, trials are underway in 30 pilot plants in the USA, China and Brazil, and volume production of the new enzyme mix is due to start next year. According to the article, the first refinery to process biomass will then be opened by Poet, America's largest biofuels producer.

Novozymes are not alone in the race, but we do not yet know whether even this new enzyme or similar ones from competitors will make second-generation biofuels commercially viable. Enzyme cost is an important part of the equation, but there are many other factors, particularly energy consumption and the time needed to break down the cellulose backbone. If this is long, large process tanks are needed, and capital costs begin to rise.

But with the amount of effort going into projects like this, it now seems a question of when rather than if agricultural waste becomes a valuable industrial resource. And not just for fuels; Riisgaard talks of the 'sugar economy' replacing the current oil-based one. Maybe this is a little optimistic, but plant waste will almost certainly make a significant contribution to the global economy before too long. (Scientific Alliance)

 

Wesley Clark Used to Promote Ethanol, Now He’s Pushing Electric Cars

A few months ago, Wesley Clark was hawking corn ethanol. Now it’s electric cars. Take your pick – ethanol or electricity. Both of them are worse for the environment than conventional gasoline.

That’s not my claim. That’s the assessment of the National Academy of Sciences, which released a report on Monday on the cost of fossil fuels. But before we turn to the report, let’s review Clark’s history. He’s the retired four-star general who graduated first in his class from West Point. He went on to serve as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. In 2004, he ran for president as a Democrat but quit the race after racking up a single primary win: Oklahoma.

Since then, Clark, like many other retired military types, has re-invented himself as an expert on energy. In that capacity, he’s been carrying water for the corn ethanol scammers. In February, Growth Energy, an upstart group which claims that more corn ethanol production will help the US economy “through cleaner, greener energy,” announced that Clark will serve as its co-chairman and that he “will help America take an important step closer to becoming energy independent.” (Robert Bryce, Energy Tribune)

 

Power And Economy

Thanks to a rules loophole you could drive a truck through, a beautiful result looms:

The two thirstiest, most powerful cars in the field are on track to win the Global Green Challenge, an environmentally focussed fuel economy run from Darwin to Adelaide.

Two of the fastest cars ever produced in Australia – the HSV Maloo R8 and Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo – are first and second in the 14-car “Eco Challenge” field.

They’re on track to beat a fleet of fuel misers and even an electric car, which must be followed by a fuel sucking truck that’s likely to use as much fuel as six of the fuel misers fighting for line honours.

How can this be? It’s all due to government experts:

The event ranks teams according to their fuel use in comparison to the official, Government-supplied rating that goes on the fuel label.

Cars that use less than their claim as a percentage will be crowned the green car winners.

It turns out that government economy ratings aren’t friendly to massive V8s and turbocharged dual-cam sixes, handing them a huge advantage. Holden’s monster V8 – aided by the highway-based course – is pulling figures up to 64 per cent better than listed. One car is notably absent:

Despite the surplus of frugal fuel misers, Australia’s greenest car, the Toyota Prius, is not in the event.

It’s understood organisers offered Toyota significant incentives to compete in the Challenge, but the maker declined repeated approaches.

A possible reason for this: under highway conditions, the Prius is just a heavy four-cylinder car hauling around unemployed batteries. Its hybrid capacities mainly kick in during low-speed urban running. (Tim Blair blog)

 

Heathrow-on-Sea

Such is the inevitable nickname given to the proposal to build a major airport in the Thames Estuary as an alternative to further development of Heathrow. Boris Johnson, London's mayor, would like to see it replace Heathrow in time, although present plans merely propose limiting the use of the existing airport and linking it by high-speed rail to the new airport to the east.

Although the estimated cost of £40bn is huge, it may be time for such a radical solution to be considered seriously again. The plans include possible wind farms and tidal barrages which could generate up to 7% of England and Wales's electricity needs, and significant new rail links would be built. This is more than just an airport. Now that an initial feasibility study has been positive, a more detailed study is to be undertaken under the guidance of Sir David King, ex-government chief scientist.

With the appointment of someone of his stature, heavyweight backing from Boris Johnson, and the involvement of the engineer Douglas Oakervee, who planned Hong Kong's successful new airport (also built on an artificial island) this project now has a head of steam up and must have a reasonable chance of coming to fruition.

The costs look high, but the fact is that Heathrow is in the wrong place. Eventual closure would free up a vast site ideally suited to residential and commercial development and end the blight of aircraft noise which affects so many Londoners. But the demand for flying is not going to go away, despite the demands of some environmentalists. How much better, then, to bite the bullet and adopt the best solution for the long term rather than simply the cheapest. (Scientific Alliance)

 

See this feature as an independent file

JunkScience.com
October, 2009

Daily we are bombarded with claims of a catastrophically heating Earth and the need to take drastic action. One thing we don't do, however, is stop to look at the actual numbers.

We are told the Earth is so many hundredths of a degree from specified norms, in the case of NASA's GISTEMP that averages +0.59 °C for the period 1999-2008 (latest available decade and allegedly the hottest on record), to which we are instructed to add 14.0 °C to derive the globe's mean temperature of 14.59 °C (see footnote of linked file). Immediately we have a problem though, because Earth's 33 °C "normal" greenhouse effect is predicated on Earth's mean temperature of 15 °C, i.e., warmer than its current allegedly overheated state. This is a figure with which NASA's Goddard Institute traditionally agrees, making the current panic somewhat mystifying.

Most of us probably remember the derivation like this (your radii and temperatures may not match precisely and so, as they say, your mileage may vary):

The sun behaves approximately like a black body of radius rs=6.955 x 105 Km, at a temperature of Ts=5,783 K. The radiative flux at the sun's surface is given by the expression σTs4, where σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann Constant (5.6704 x 10-8 Wm2K4). Flux refers to radiation per unit area. Thus, at the Earth's distance from the sun, res=1.496 x 108 Km, this flux is reduced by the factor (rs/res)2. The Earth's disk has a cross section, acs=πre2, where re is the Earth's radius (6.371 x 103 Km), and thus intercepts acsσTs4(rs/res)2 radiation from the sun. In order to balance this intercepted radiation, the Earth would warm to a temperature Te, where σTe44πre2 = acsσTs4(rs/res)2. This leads to a solution Te=272 K. Clouds, which obviously require an atmosphere, and other features of the Earth reflect 31% of the incident radiation. Taking this into account reduces Te to 255 K.

Actually it would be surprising if everyone derived the same value due to rounding and base number variations, just look at these potential causes of confusion:

Solar temperature:

  • These two methods give a rough temperature for the Sun of about 5800 K. ... You can use the absorption line strengths as an accurate temperature probe to measure a temperature of about 5840 K. http://www.astronomynotes.com/starsun/s2.htm
  • Eventually its temperature was determined to be 5,770 Kelvins (6,000 C or 11,000 F). [!] http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/2009/TTT/65_surfacetemp.php (No e-mails, please -- NASA has indeed made a major conversion error here: t °C = (t + 273.15) K is still true and 5,770 K remains 5,497 °C or 9,927 °F)
  • "Temperatures in the photosphere usually do not exceed 6,000 °C (6,273 K)" (Loble-Murray-Rice. Earth Science.)
    "The sun's surface or photosphere is about 340 miles thick and its temperature about 5,500 °C (5,773 K)" (World Book Encyclopedia Vol. 18.)
    "The Solar surface is not solid like the earth's, but its high temperature 5,700 °C (5,973 K) …." (Davis, Dan & Anny Levasseur-Regourd. Our Sun.)
    "… temperature of the sun is about 6,000 °C (6,273 K)" (Principles Of Science. Columbus, OH: Merrill, 1979.)
    "… while the sun's surface (photosphere) is 5,600 °C (5,873 K)" (Dichristina, Mariett. "Our Violent Star." Popular Science. 249, 3 (September 1996): 17.) http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1997/GlyniseFinney.shtml
  • Effective temperature: 5,778 K http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/sunfact.html

So there you go, you have a range of 500 kelvins with apparently credible sources.

NASA says Earth is subjected to a solar irradiance of 1,367.6 W/m2 http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html while Astronomy Notes states: "From the Inverse Square Law of Light Brightness, you find that the solar flux at the Earth's distance = the Sun's surface flux × (Sun's radius/Earth's distance)2 = 1,380 Watts/meter2." http://www.astronomynotes.com/starsun/s2.htm

How much incoming solar radiation is reflected by bright clouds, snow & ice fields, bright deserts, atmospheric dust and other aerosols? Again, we don't know for sure -- commonly this figure (albedo) is cited as 30% (0.3) but it could be anywhere from 28%-32% for an average (it constantly varies with cloud cover, season and regional drought).

In the following form we have plugged in some fairly uncontroversial numbers:
AU (earth's average distance from the sun) = 149,597,870 km;
solar radius = 695,500 km;
pi = 3.1415926535897931 and;
sigma (Stefan–Boltzmann constant) = 0.000000056704.

It was a bit of a toss-up whether we used a solar radius of 696,000 instead as it is very commonly used but this does not materially affect the results below. You've seen these types of forms here before so you can play to your heart's content deriving "expected" temperatures for planet Earth and no one knows what it "should be" for sure so they can't really prove you wrong :-) This form is somewhat more sophisticated than the previous calculator we gave you in that it begins with solar temperatures rather than simply accepting TOA irradiance numbers as provided.

Sun temperature in kelvin (o)
Resulting solar "constant" (W/m2) or TOA irradiance
Resulting mean global surface temperature (K) without albedo or greenhouse
Temperature (C)
Temperature (F)

 

 

Albedo (proportion solar radiation reflected) (o)
Resulting mean global surface temperature (K) with albedo but no greenhouse
Temperature (C)
Temperature (F)

 

 

Greenhouse effect (proportion OLR returned to Earth) (o)
Resulting mean global surface temperature (K) with albedo and greenhouse
Temperature (C)
Temperature (F)

In the past we have shown you this graphic from Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget (Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997)

They have recently come up with a more politically correct version:

Trenberth, K. E., J. T. Fasullo, and J. Kiehl, 2008: Earth's global energy budget. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., in press.

Abstract: An update is provided on the Earth's global annual mean energy budget in the light of new observations and analyses. In 1997 Kiehl and Trenberth provided a review of past such estimates and performed a number of radiative computations to better establish the role of clouds and various greenhouse gases in the overall radiative energy flows, with top-of-atmosphere (TOA) values constrained by Earth Radiation Budget Experiment values form 1985 to 1989, when the TOA values were approximately in balance. The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) measurements from March 2000 to May 2004 are used to TOA but adjusted to an estimated imbalance from the enhanced greenhouse effect of 0.9 W m-2. Revised estimates of surface turbulent fluxes are made based on various sources. The partitioning of solar radiation in the atmosphere is based in part on the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) ISCCP-FD computations that utilize the global ISCCP cloud data every 3 hours, and also accounts for increased atmospheric absorption by water vapor and aerosols. Surface upwards longwave radiation is adjusted to account for spatial and temporal variability. A lack of closure in the energy balance at the surface is accommodated by making modest changes to surface fluxes, with the downward longwave radiation as the main residual to ensure a balance. Values are also presented for the land and ocean domains that include a net transport of energy from ocean to land of 2.2 Petawatts (PW) of which 3.2 PW is from moisture (latent energy) transport, while net dry static energy transport is from land to ocean. Evaluations of atmospheric reanalyses reveal substantial biases. (em added)

Figure caption: The global annual mean Earth's energy budget for the March 2000 to May 2004 period in W m-2. The broad arrows indicate the schematic flow of energy in proportion to their importance.

Now, we understand their desire to "get with the program" and support their AGW colleagues' claims but we have a real problem with the emphasized portion. We showed you methods here for calculating atmospheric heating, to quote Dr. John Christy: "In my classes I make the problem simpler by describing what happens in a single atmospheric column of 1 m square. We have about 10,000 Kg of air in that meter squared, so the calculations are simpler. Change in temperature is simply cp*d(T)*mass = Q where Q is the heating rate and cp = 1004 j/K/Kg or essentially d(T) = Q*0.0000001 for the whole column. So, if you dump heat in at a rate of 0.9 j/s/m2, then you can calculate the average rate of temperature change as 0.00000009 per second for the whole column.", which yields 0.00000009 x the number of seconds in a year, or a little over 2.8 °C warming per year.

So where is it? We know atmospheric temperatures have flatlined (or "plateaued" in the IPCC's preferred parlance) since 2001 and we know also that there has been no warming of the upper 700 meters of the oceans either. Are they trying to suggest less than 30% of the Earth's surface preferentially absorbed 100% of the planet's alleged radiative imbalance, sharing none with oceans or atmosphere (an atmosphere where enhanced greenhouse is actually supposed to manifest itself)?

Sorry, not buying it. There's a world of difference between not knowing how energy moves through the system and simply declaring a politically correct "imbalance" which can not in reality exist and when empirical measure demonstrates unequivocally that it is not functioning now or over at least half the period they studied.

Their adjustment of albedo from 31% down to 30.5 implied in the new paper simply don't appear justified, any more than their energy imbalance assumption.

As you saw in the form above, no one knows for sure exactly what temperature Earth "should be", all we have are a range of values according to assumptions made. Is the Earth currently "too warm" or is it simply adjusting to a previous equilibrium state following the Little Ice Age? We don't know -- and nor does anyone else.

Importantly, we haven't even agreed what we are trying to measure when we talk about surface air temperature:

Q&A with James Hansen: The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT)

Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT ?
A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.

Q. What do we mean by daily mean SAT ?
A. Again, there is no universally accepted correct answer. Should we note the temperature every 6 hours and report the mean, should we do it every 2 hours, hourly, have a machine record it every second, or simply take the average of the highest and lowest temperature of the day ? On some days the various methods may lead to drastically different results.

...

Q. If SATs cannot be measured, how are SAT maps created ?
A. This can only be done with the help of computer models, the same models that are used to create the daily weather forecasts. We may start out the model with the few observed data that are available and fill in the rest with guesses (also called extrapolations) and then let the model run long enough so that the initial guesses no longer matter, but not too long in order to avoid that the inaccuracies of the model become relevant. This may be done starting from conditions from many years, so that the average (called a 'climatology') hopefully represents a typical map for the particular month or day of the year.

Q. What do I do if I need absolute SATs, not anomalies ?
A. In 99.9% of the cases you'll find that anomalies are exactly what you need, not absolute temperatures. In the remaining cases, you have to pick one of the available climatologies and add the anomalies (with respect to the proper base period) to it. For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse. (NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

Hansen is being disingenuous with his claims about models, to say the least. Irrespective of the model flavor used, from the most basic to the multipartite coupled models utilizing each other's output as dynamic input, all models are by necessity overly simplistic and inadequate to represent the chaotic, nonlinear coupled system we call climate. While the average of model representations of global climate suggests Earth's mean temperature is about 14 °C (287 K), the 16 most trusted and 'stable' models tested in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) (see original .pdf) are not well able to reproduce this result.

This graphic represents the unforced control runs for the "ensemble" (IPCC-speak for "haven't got a clue if any of these actually represent reality -- throw 'em all together and say the errors average out"). The range starts out guessing mean Earth surface temperature as anything from 11.5 to 16.5 °C (roughly 285-290 K) and ends -- without messing with carbon dioxide levels or anything else -- with the guesses even further apart. If they can't agree where they should start in a 5 °C range how are they supposed to figure out trends an order of magnitude smaller?

Note also that several of these models produce at least as much warming as we think we have measured over the entire Twentieth Century absent any additional forcing whatsoever. Seven of the sixteen controls even suggest the world should be a little (or a lot) warmer than we believe it to be at present (how's that for "consensus"?).

Precipitation results for the various models are similarly erratic, signifying a huge problem in the way models handle the most important greenhouse gas: water vapor. At this time they appear more a disarray of models and we will not be paying attention to model "guesstimations" any time soon.

One thing is for sure: this whole "emergency" is predicated on a few guesses and no real knowledge. Do you really believe it is a good idea to radically change the global energy supply at great expense and certain interruption merely because some people made some scary guesses?

 

Have Obama's Daughters Been Vaccinated Yet?

By Steve Milloy
JunkScience.com, October 26, 2009


Fox News blogger, Anne Marie Riha, reported on October 8th that neither Sasha or Malia Obama had received the H1N1 flu vaccine. Now that their father has declared a national emergency due to the swine flu epidemic, will the first daughters finally get the protection that our government insists everyone else's children need?

( http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2009/10/08/first-daughters-not-vaccinated-against-h1n1/ )

Interestingly, her post quotes White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' claim that the vaccine is not available to them based on their risk.

But, wait a minute Malia Obama has asthma - which automatically places her in the high-risk category as defined by the CDC and other health organizations. And both girls fall within the age-range for recommended vaccination (6-months to 18 years) according to various health authorities.

Although there have been some localized vaccine shortages, public clinics and private pediatricians in the Washington DC metro-area began vaccinating children in Malia and Sasha's age-range the week of October 19th.

Just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that several H1N1 flu shot clinics in Washington DC have been largely deserted due to residents' concerns that they can't trust a vaccine administered by the government.

Several vaccine-refusing parents interviewed (including pregnant women) cited a general mood of mistrust in the African-American community due to events such as the infamous U.S. government-sponsored Tuskegee medical experiments. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/23/AR2009102303818.html )

Isn't it up to President Obama to set an example for fearful parents?

Government health authorities have been strenuously reassuring parents about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. If the Obamas continue to hold out on the vaccination front, don't we need to ask what they know that the rest of us don't?

 

H1N1 Widespread in 46 States as Vaccines Lag

WASHINGTON — President Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of patients, the White House said on Saturday.

The declaration came as thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to receive vaccinations, and as federal officials acknowledged that their ambitious vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start. Only 16 million doses of the vaccine were available now, and about 30 million were expected by the end of the month. Some states have requested 10 times the amount they have been allotted. (NYT)

 

In U.S., less education means more H1N1 concern

WASHINGTON - Low-income Americans with no more than a high school education appear more likely to get vaccinated against H1N1 swine flu than people with more money and better schooling, according to a poll released on Friday.

A telephone survey of 3,003 U.S. adults conducted by Thomson Reuters found that 49.8 percent of people with lower education levels were very concerned about H1N1, compared with only 29 percent of those with at least a four-year college degree.

Forty-five percent of the less-educated said they and their families were likely to vaccinate, while only 36 percent of college-educated people expected to be immunized.

All told, 47 percent of those surveyed said they were unlikely to seek vaccination. (Reuters)

 

Believe Me, This Will Hurt Us More

Gov. David Paterson of New York and his health commissioner have suspended a pioneering regulation that required all health care workers to get vaccinated for the flu — both the seasonal flu and the new swine flu. It is a mistake, and New Yorkers, especially those in hospitals, could pay a high price for it.

The Paterson administration says it needed to save scarce vaccine supplies for the most vulnerable people. Others suspect the administration had given in to the fierce objections of health care workers and their unions.

There are good reasons for making the shots mandatory for all health care personnel. Voluntary efforts seldom persuade more than half to get vaccinated. If they become sick, they may be unable to go to work when they are most needed. Even worse, they may work while contagious with virus, and infect vulnerable patients, causing needless complications and death. (NYT)

 

H1N1 matches seasonal flu peak months early: CDC

WASHINGTON - H1N1 swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected, a top U.S. health official said on Friday.

"Forty-six states having widespread transmission is the peak of flu season. To be basically in the peak of flu season in October is extremely unusual," said Dr Thomas Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Frieden said seasonal flu normally peaks sometime between late November and early March. And he noted that this virus was sickening young adults and children as opposed to seasonal flu, which usually hits people over 65 the hardest.

"We expect that influenza will occur in waves and we can't predict how high, how far or how long the wave will go or when the next will come," he told reporters in a telephone briefing. (Reuters)

 

Pelosi Intensifies Pressure for Public Health Plan

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped up the pressure on House Democrats on Friday to support her preferred version of legislation that would require the federal government to sell health insurance in competition with private insurers.

Her action came amid indications that Ms. Pelosi had not locked down the votes for the proposal, the most contentious element in a bill that would provide health insurance to more than 35 million people, at cost of nearly $900 billion over 10 years.

Other provisions of the bill, including enhanced Medicare benefits, could take the total cost over $1 trillion, Democrats said. But they promised to offset the cost and avoid any increase in federal budget deficits. (NYT)

 

The Fraudulent Death Statistic That Won't Die

Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida has found his calling: death demagogue.

First, he accused Republicans of wanting sick patients to "die quickly." Next, he likened health insurance problems to a "holocaust in America." Now, he's unveiling a new Web site, NamesOfTheDead.com, in memory of the "more than 44,000 Americans (who) die simply because they have no health insurance."

Just one problem: The statistic is a phantom number. Grayson's memorial, like the Democrats' government health care takeover plan itself, is full of vapor. It comes from a study published this year in the American Journal of Public Health. But the science is infused with left-wing politics.

Two of the co-authors, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, are avowed government-run health care activists.

Himmelstein co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program, which bills itself as "the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program." Woolhandler is a co-founder and served as secretary of the group.

Sounding more like a MoveOn.org organizer than a disinterested scientist, Woolhandler assailed the current health reform legislation in Congress for not going far enough: "Politicians are protecting insurance industry profits by sacrificing American lives."

How did these political doctors come up with the 44,000 figure? They used data from a health survey conducted between 1988 and 1994. The questionnaires asked a sample of 9,000 participants whether they were insured and how they rated their own health. The federal Centers for Disease Control tracked the deaths of people in the sample group through the year 2000.

Himmelstein, Woolhandler and company then crunched the numbers and attributed deaths to lack of health insurance for all the participants who initially self-reported that they had no insurance and then died for any reason over the 12-year tracking period.

At no time did the original researchers or the single-payer activists who piggybacked off their data ever verify whether the supposed casualties of America's callous health care system had insurance or not. In fact, here is what the report actually says: (Michelle Malkin, IBD)

 

No Free Lunch: The True Cost of ObamaCare

Far from providing "affordable" care for everyone, as President Obama has promised,1 the main health care proposals working their way through Congress would in fact come at a painful price - higher insurance premiums, more and higher taxes, fewer jobs, lower wages, a reduced standard of living and an erosion of privacy and individual liberty.

Here's what ObamaCare would cost you, and how. (Matt Patterson, National Center)

 

Small Business Faces Sharp Rise in Costs of Health Care

As Congress nears votes on legislation that would overhaul the health care system, many small businesses say they are facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years.

Insurance brokers and benefits consultants say their small business clients are seeing premiums go up an average of about 15 percent for the coming year — double the rate of last year’s increases. That would mean an annual premium that was $4,500 per employee in 2008 and $4,800 this year would rise to $5,500 in 2010.

The higher premiums at least partly reflect the inexorable rise of medical costs, which is forcing Medicare to raise premiums, too. Health insurance bills are also rising for big employers, but because they have more negotiating clout, their increases are generally not as steep.

Higher medical costs aside, some experts say they think the insurance industry, under pressure from Wall Street, is raising premiums to get ahead of any legislative changes that might reduce their profits.

The increases come at a politically fraught time for the insurers, as they try to fight off the creation of a government-run competitor and as they push their case that they have a central role to play in controlling the nation’s health care costs. (NYT)

 

HWGA: Mobile Use Is Linked To Brain Tumours

LONG-term mobile phone users could face a higher risk of developing cancer in later life, according to a decade-long study.

The report, to be published later this year, has reportedly found that heavy mobile use is linked to brain tumours.

The survey of 12,800 people in 13 countries has been overseen by the World Health Organisation.

Preliminary results of the inquiry, which is looking at whether mobile phone exposure is linked to three types of brain tumour and a tumour of the salivary gland, have been sent to a scientific journal.

The findings are expected to put pressure on the British Government – which has insisted that mobile phones are safe – to issue stronger warnings to users. (Daily Express)

 

Asbestos ruling sees firms face huge claims - As Esso pays £300,000 to one family, a campaign to change the law could see more former workers eligible for compensation.

A British court last week ordered Esso to pay £300,000 to a widow who lost her husband to asbestos-related cancer. Nestlé is facing a similar legal challenge.

The legal actions come as a private members' bill to help victims of asbestos-related conditions is introduced in the House of Lords. The GMB trade union will also lobby parliament on Wednesday in a bid to force the Government to overhaul compensation regulations for sufferers of pleural plaques, an asbestos-related condition.

Pleural plaques sufferers are currently ineligible for compensation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland following a legal ruling in October 2007, but pressure is building for the law to be overturned. Trade unions believe insurance companies could face claims of up to £1.4bn if the law is overhauled and the insurance industry has lobbied hard against any change. (TDT)

 

Hmm... Obesity May Hinder Optimal Control Of Blood Pressure And Cholesterol

Obese patients taking medications to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are less likely to reach recommended targets for these cardiovascular disease risk factors than their normal weight counterparts, according to new research presented at the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress hosted by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. (ScienceDaily)

But what evidence is there that cholesterol levels are really of significance?

 

Scientists seek origins of obesity in the womb

NEW YORK — When Kathy Perusse had weight-loss surgery and shed 120 pounds, she may have done more than make her own life easier.

She went on to have two daughters, and she may have boosted their chances of avoiding becoming obese, like her two older children are.

That's the implication of research suggesting that something in an obese woman's womb can program her fetus toward becoming a fat child and adult. It's not about simply passing along genes that promote obesity; it's some sort of still-mysterious signal.

The idea has only recently entered conversations between doctors and female patients, and scientists are scrambling to track down a biological explanation. That knowledge, in turn, may provide new ways to block obesity from crossing generations.

While there's some disagreement on how important the womb signal is, "the evidence is building and building that it is a substantial issue," said Dr. Matthew Gillman of Harvard Medical School, who studies prevention of obesity. (AP)

 

Who's to blame for Britain's obesity epidemic?

As newspapers last week descended on an Ipswich bungalow to chart the extraordinary life of the world's heaviest man, a fierce debate broke out about how to respond to the surge in obesity in Britain. How much is it a self-inflicted condition? Should the NHS bear the cost of dealing with its effects?

At the age of 48 Paul Mason is immobilised by his own fat. The 70-stone man needs an operation to save him from obesity-related death and the surgery will cost the NHS around £20,000 and require the hiring of special transport to take him across the country to a specialist unit.

It was discovered last week that the world's heaviest man was not in America, the junk food and obesity capital of the world, but in a housing association bungalow in Ipswich eating takeaways and playing computer games. Mason cannot work but needs a team of carers to wash, move and feed him as well as adapted doorways, strengthened furniture and other equipment inside his house. So over the past few years his condition has cost the state hundreds of thousands of pounds. Are we right to ask if this is a self-inflicted condition and question the cost to the taxpayer?

Like illnesses caused by smoking and excessive drinking, some people feel that obesity is not an illness but a lifestyle choice and therefore something for which the NHS should not pick up the bill. The lack of sympathy directed at overweight people is concerning many campaigners who feel that a new area of discrimination is opening up.

Mason's case was uncovered in the same week that a US research team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, discovered that overweight people were treated with a contempt that increased directly in line with their weight. The fatter the patient, the less respect they got from their doctor. (Tracy McVeigh, The Observer)

 

Women have 'same heart symptoms'

It is a myth that women have different heart attack symptoms compared to men, according to Canadian researchers.

A study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress found no gender differences in symptoms after studying 305 patients undergoing angioplasty.

They say it is a commonly held belief that men and women feel the effects of a heart attack differently.

Dr Beth Abramson, of Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation, said: "Heart disease is an equal opportunities killer." (BBC)

 

The continuing misanthropists' assault on all useful chemicals... Greens continue push to ban triazine chemicals

The Tasmanian Greens are pushing ahead with plans for a state wide ban on triazine chemicals used in the forestry and agricultural sectors.

The Greens' water spokesman Tim Morris says over recent years there have been 139 positive contamination test results for triazine chemicals in Tasmania's rivers with 13 of those coming directly from water treatment plants supplying Hobart and Launceston.

Mr Morris says the number of times atrazine and simazine have been detected in those cities' water supplies is worrying. (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

The detection of chemicals means exactly nothing, of import is whether these compounds are affecting people and the answer is "no".

 

Polar Bear Habitat Proposed for Alaska

WASHINGTON — The Interior Department on Thursday proposed designating more than 200,000 square miles of land, sea and ice along the northern coast of Alaska as critical habitat for the shrinking polar bear population.

The area, the largest single designation of protected habitat for any species, encompasses the entire range of the two polar bear populations that exist on American land and territorial waters. Government scientists estimate that there are roughly 3,500 bears in the two groups, known the Chukchi Sea and the Southern Beaufort Sea populations.

Officials said the bears’ range was shrinking because of the disappearance of sea ice linked to global warming. (NYT)

 

Breathing Room for the Bear

The Obama administration’s proposed designation of 200,000 square miles of Alaskan waters and sea ice as critical habitat for the polar bear is not just encouraging news for the bear. It signals a more sympathetic attitude toward endangered species, and is further evidence that the secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, will take a more measured approach than the Bush administration to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. (NYT)

 

Bleeding Biotech

Given all the hopes for medical progress that ride on biotech progress, one might assume that Congress and the administration would seek ways to encourage investment. One would be wrong.

In San Francisco this week, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is holding its eighth annual investors’ forum. The relentless optimism usually characteristic of corporate communications is missing these days:

“We are coming out of period of intense pressure and conservatism in life sciences investment,” a BIO conference press release said.

“Private equity and capital markets are increasingly failing to fund promising early-stage scientific research, primarily because it is viewed as too high-risk,” Martin Sabarsky, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of HR BioPetroleum, said on behalf of BIO before a congressional hearing. But:

“While today’s uncharted economic environment and evolving legislative landscape pose major challenges . . . we remain optimistic about long-term growth,” said John L. Craighead, BIO’s managing director of investor relations and business development. (James V. DeLong, The American)

 

The Royal Society and farming

The Royal Society has this week launched a new report 'Reaping the benefits – Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture'. Lord Rees, President of the Society, says in his foreword ' To meet the needs of a growing population with changing consumption patterns, productivity must be enhanced, but it must be done so sustainably… Improvements in farming practices and crop management are essential, but modern genetics must be utilised too.'

The headline messages are that Britain needs to invest £2 billion in agricultural R&D over the next ten years, up to twice the present level, that this research effort should be used in part to actively help with challenges in developing countries, and that the Research Councils should support 'long-term high-risk approaches to high-return improvement of crops' such as nitrogen fixation or improved photosynthetic efficiency.

It is good that the Royal Society has addressed such an important issue as food security and come up with a set of balanced recommendations on how the country's science base can be mobilised to make a difference. Good also that the words 'sustainable' and 'intensive' can now be used together. The message is that the challenges are great and no technology should be left out of the mix.

However, perhaps inevitably, media comment has tended to focus on GM crops. The report is quite clear that all the tools of biotechnology have a role to play and that stretching targets such as nitrogen fixation will have to be tackled using genetic modification. However, this is not the full picture: marker-assisted breeding, ecosystem approaches and improved crop and soil management also have their place, as the authors make clear.

On the other hand, the fact that GM was once again in the news did not bring scare headlines or high-profile attacks. The debate has moved on and there is now a more mature attitude to crop biotechnology. That can only be a good thing. (Scientific Alliance)

 

Is Nanotechnology Dangerous?

A background paper by Germany's Federal Environment Agency earlier this week triggered fearful headlines in some of the country's biggest newspapers. But the agency is distancing itself from the coverage, saying it had presented nothing new in the report -- and that it also sees opportunities in nano. (Der Spiegel)

 

October 23, 2009

 

Levis. Original jeans. Original hypocrisy.

Levi Strauss & Co. is so worried about CO2 emissions that it quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in protest over the Chamber’s opposition to climate legislation.

But if Levi Strauss were really concerned about CO2 levels, it would also go out of business.

According to the company’s own analysis, a typical pair of the company’s jeans is responsible for about:

  • 70 pounds of CO2 emissions;
  • 750 gallons of water use; and
  • 111 kilowatt-hours of electricity use.

About 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the U.S. annually. Of this amount, about one-third are sold by Levi Strauss.

Simple math indicates, therefore, that Levi Strauss annual sales of jeans are responsible for about:

  • 7.5 million tons CO2 emissions — equal to the annual emissions of 625,000 SUVs;
  • 112 billion gallons of water use — about the annual water use of 879,000 homes; and
  • 1.67 gigawatt-hours of electricity use — about the annual use of 150,000 average homes.

To help Levi Strauss save the planet, then, the answer is clear: we should go naked and it should go broke. (Green Hell)

 

U.S. presses ahead on climate bill

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will press ahead with climate control legislation, despite difficult odds of passage before December's international summit on global warming.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Reuters Washington Summit that he was putting in long hours on climate issues and believes there was "a reasonably good possibility" that the Congress could deliver legislation reducing carbon dioxide emissions in time for the Copenhagen meeting.

"Look, I'm still going to be optimistic and say there is a chance that there will be a bill that the Senate and House have agreed upon that goes before the president before Copenhagen," Chu said.

But Senator John McCain, who wants to rejuvenate nuclear power in the United States to help reduce carbon pollution, said there's been no progress and he accused Democrats of being "beholden" to environmentalists who oppose an expansion of the industry.

"I'd like to see one concrete commitment on the part of the administration and Democrats," McCain told the Reuters Washington Summit on Wednesday. (International Business Times)

 

White House encouraged by climate bill status

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 - The White House is encouraged by progress on a climate change bill in the Senate and is working to advance it even if a December deadline passes, an aide to President Barack Obama said on Thursday.

Carol Browner, Obama's top adviser on climate and energy issues, told Reuters that White House officials were reaching out to Democratic and Republican senators in an aggressive push to move the bill forward.

"There have been some bipartisan conversations that we find very encouraging," Browner said in an interview. "We are going to continue to do everything in our power to keep this moving."

If a law is not passed by the time U.N. talks on a global warming pact begin in December in Copenhagen, the United States would still have a strong position on the issue in the negotiations, she said.

"Wherever we are in the process, we will be able to manage in Copenhagen."

Browner, who has expressed doubts that a bill would become law by December, said U.S. negotiators would stress Obama's domestic initiatives on climate change and renewable energy since coming into office. (Reuters)

"We'll have been in office by the time we get there, what, 10 months? And yet if you look at what we've accomplished, its quite significant," she said.

Okay... what would that be? The economy is in the toilet, the greenback is under threat as the global reserve currency, unemployment is sky high but pales into insignificance compared with the deficit -- how am I doing so far?

 

Climate bill crunch time

A climate change bill will get top billing Friday with a critical meeting among Democratic leaders to set a timeline for debate, a major speech by President Barack Obama and release of a crucial impact study by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the lead sponsor of a Senate climate bill, plans to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday to set a timeline for committees to finish work on the legislation – possibly as soon as Thanksgiving. And Environment and Public Works Chairwomen Sen. Barbara Boxer said she plans to release new sections of the climate bill that she co-authored with Kerry on Friday. The release of her bill comes as the EPA is set to release a study of the economic impact of the Senate version of the global warming legislation. (Politico)

 

Kerry Vows Climate Change Push, but Vote May Slip

The likelihood of climate change legislation making it to the Senate floor this year may be in doubt, but Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) vowed Thursday he would press on with negotiations in order to keep the issue ripe for next year.

“I can’t tell you exactly when we’re going to have a vote, but we’re serious about this,” Kerry said.

Likewise, Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), whose panel shares jurisdiction over climate change legislation, said he does not expect to mark up a bill this year. (Roll Call)

Do you suppose they are really stupid enough to try it in an election year? Now that could be interesting.

 

Oh... Prepare for climate change, US report warns White House

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 - As Congress considers curbs on carbon dioxide pollution, a U.S. report on Thursday urged the White House to prepare now for flooding and other natural disasters brought by global warming.

Federal agencies, working with Congress, state and local governments, should "develop a national strategic plan that will guide the nation's efforts to adapt to a changing climate," said a report by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

John Stephenson, director of GAO's natural resources and environment office, told a congressional panel that higher concentrations of greenhouse gases may have significant effects, including threats to coastal areas from rising seas. (Reuters)

Just how do they propose to prepare for make-believe events? Gorebull warming only presents a threat in the virtual realm. Efforts to address the phantom menace, however:

 

Cap and Trade = $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax for American Families and Businesses
Senators Hutchison & Bond Join a Farmer & Trucker to Release Report

WASHINGTON, DC - As Democratic lawmakers and climate change proponents continue to push cap-and-trade bills through Congress, U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Kit Bond (R-MO) today discussed and released a report, Climate Change Legislation: A $3.6 Trillion Gas Tax, which explains how the proposals will levy a massive new national gas tax on American families, farmers, workers and truckers.

“Cap-and-trade is a giant new gas tax on America’s families, farmers and workers,” said Senator Kit Bond. “We should not increase pain at the pump in these tough times.”

“We can improve the environment and economy through American ingenuity and technological advancement, not with taxes and mandates that increase costs and burden American families and businesses,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The Hutchison-Bond report reveals how climate legislation, such as the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill, will increase the price of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, which is essential to farmers, small business workers, truckers and air passengers. The report details how gas taxes will affect farmers growing crops, workers driving to work, truckers delivering goods and other businesses running operations. The report also highlights that while provisions in proposed climate change bills intend to reduce the impact of these massive costs, the impact is extremely modest and leaving consumers with a $3.6 trillion gas tax bill.

During the news conference today, Senators Hutchison and Bond joined Richard Cortese, a grain and livestock farmer, and Barbara Windsor, owner of a Maryland-based trucking company Hahn Transportation. They represent the small businesses and family farm operations which will be hurt by the current cap-and-trade proposals. Many farmers and ranchers like Cortese will share the pain of a $2.0 trillion gasoline tax and a $1.3 trillion diesel tax. Similar to Cortese and other producers, Windsor and millions of truckers will also suffer under the $1.3 trillion Waxman-Markey diesel tax. The Hutchison-Bond report illustrates how the new gas tax will total 3.6 trillion and affect all users of transportation fuel, directly or indirectly.

In support of the fight against the Senate’s Kerry-Boxer and House-passed Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bills, the Hutchison-Bond report is supported by a variety of farming, small business and trucking consumer groups including the American Highway Users Alliance, American Trucking Association, American Farm Bureau and National Black Chamber of Commerce. At the time of the press conference, key details, which would allow for a precise calculation of the gas tax in the Boxer-Kerry cap-and-trade bill, remained hidden. However, the Kerry-Boxer bill includes even more mandates than the House bill, which will result in a larger gas tax on Americans.

RESOURCES
Hutchison-Bond Report
Hutchison-Bond op-ed in the Washington Times: Democrats’ Hidden Gas Tax
Organizations’ Letters of Support (Media Release)

 

Climate Change: The Resilience Option (far better than climate stasis)

In general, the mainstream response to the issue of climate change has been reactive, pessimistic, authoritarian, and resistant to change. Those alarmed about a changing climate would stand athwart the stream of climate history and cry “stop, enough!” Rather than working to cease human influence on climate, they want to find a way to make the climate stand still. This focus on creating climate stasis has led to policy proposals that would have been laughed at or dismissed as wacky conspiracy theories in the 1980s. But mainstream anti-climate-change activists are proposing nothing less than the establishment of global weather control through energy rationing, regulations, and taxes, all managed by a global bureaucracy with a goal of leading humanity into a future that will become smaller, more costly, and less dynamic over time. Environmental groups, along with organizations like the United Nations IPCC, are calling for nothing less than imposing climate stasis on a chaotic system. (Kenneth P. Green, Master Resource)

 

U.S. public support for AGW orthodoxy dropped by 14 percentage points since 2008

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has published their newest numbers documenting the changing opinions about global warming in the U.S.

Pew, The Guardian, Associated Press, a WSJ blog I, II, Wash. Indep., Dakota Voice
The October 2009 numbers are mainly compared with the results in April 2008: I will refer to 2008 and 2009.



The American worries about global warming cooled down, Pew Research Center showed, even as Pew Center on Global Climate Change attempted to gather its last worriers again.

Is there solid evidence that the Earth is warming [at all]?

In 2008, "Yes" was chosen by 71% of the respondents. Now it is 57% only: a drop by 14 percentage points. You may want to know that both in 2006 and 2007, the figure was at 77% - a drop by 20 percentage points in 2 or 3 years.

Is there solid evidence that the Earth is warming because of human activity?

In 2008, the "Yes" score was at 47%, i.e. almost one half agreed with the basic AGW statement. In 2009, the number dropped to 36%, i.e. by 11 percentage points. About one third of Americans believe in man-made global warming today - which makes this religion less popular than creationism. ;-)

If we extrapolate this trend, the number of AGW believers in the U.S. will become negative in five years. ;-)

Is it serious?

The "very serious" group went from 44% to 35% between 2008 and 2009, "not too serious" went from 13% to 15%, "not a problem" went from 11% to 17%, the last two "largely unworried" groups combined went from 24% to 32%.

GOP, DEM, IND: party lines

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

 

Public Opinion Realities

UPDATE: Jon Krosnick doesn't believe it:

Since 1997, the percentage of Americans that believe the Earth is heating up has remained constant — at around 80 percent — in polling done by Jon Krosnick of Stanford University. Krosnick, who has been conducting surveys on attitudes about global warming since 1993, was surprised by the Pew results.

He described the decline in the Pew results as "implausible," saying there is nothing that could have caused it.

A new poll is out by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press that indicates that the public is losing steam on the issue of climate change, but nonetheless, favors action to address accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Once again we have solid evidence that there is plenty of political will for action even if not everyone thinks alike on the issue.

Only 18% of Republicans and only 50% Democrats think that recent warming is because of human activity, as shown in the following chart. the data indicates that advocates should be well past time trying to get everyone to a single view on the scientific aspects of climate change. It just is not going to happen.

Remarkably, only liberal Democrats have shown an increase in concern on the issue, as shown below. meanwhile, it has become of diminishing seriousness for just about every other group of Democrats. What this means is that continued efforts to intensify concern over global warming could have the effect of turning this issue into a being perceived solely as a liberal cause (more so than it is already perceived to be) and alienate the rest of the voting populace, the vast majority of which do not consider themselves to be liberal Democrats.

One reason to stop focusing on what people think about the science of climate change is that a majority of the public supports action on emissions (shown below) and well as international cooperation on climate change (not shown). The policy challenge is thus to design policies that can be effective given the strong political support that has existed on this topic for some time. The realities are that support is about as strong as it is likely to be, and really hasn't changed much over a decade or longer. Efforts to make climate change a top line issue will inevitably backfire. For some these facts may be frustrating, but they are the reality of the issue.

(Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Democrats are abandoning Obama on global warming

Only 50% of Democratic voters in the U.S. agree with President Obama’s belief that humans are responsible for global warming, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center released today. This figure is down from the 58% average among Democrats in the last three years of the Bush Administration, and represents the first time that a majority of Democrats have not endorsed the man-made theory of global warming.

Independent voters in the U.S., meanwhile, have stopped blaming humans for global warming in even greater numbers. Only 33% now blame us. Last year, independents believed humans were to blame at the same 50% level that Democrats are now at. Republicans are also abandoning the “blame human” stance, dropping from 27% last year to 18% this year.

Among all Americans, only 36% blame humans, the lowest figure yet. Last year, 47% blamed humans. (Financial Post)

 

Lawsuits point to climate change litigation threat

HOUSTON, Oct. 22 -- A climate change litigation threat appears to be looming for the oil and gas industry in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision allowing the regulation of greenhouse gases as air pollutants.

Federal courts recently issued conflicting decisions in climate change litigation. One case involved Murphy Oil USA, and another case involved ExxonMobil Corp. and others. Power companies face the same issues.

The recent litigation all stems from an Apr. 2, 2007, decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. That ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Massachusetts and several other states, US cities, and environmental groups.

On Sept. 21, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in San Francisco allowed a coalition of eight states, New York City, and environmental groups to sue coal-burning utilities over climate change. The San Francisco ruling later was cited in the Murphy Oil ruling.

Anthony Cavender of the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP law firm in Houston said, “Given that the Obama administration has already advocated for tighter regulations related to the environment as a whole, and in particular for tougher policies governing carbon emissions, many plaintiffs may now feel that the time is right to file such suits.” (OGJ)

 

Foreign Secretary David Miliband accuses public of climate change apathy

The Foreign Secretary accused the public yesterday of lacking a sense of urgency in the face of the potentially devastating consequences of climate change.

David Miliband said that people had grown apathetic about the issue when they needed to be galvanised into action before the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.

“For a lot of people the penny hasn’t dropped that this climate change challenge is real and is happening now,” he said. “There isn’t yet that feeling of urgency and drive and animation about the Copenhagen conference.” (The Times)

 

UK warns of lack of urgency over Copenhagen talks

LONDON, Oct 22 - The world lacks a sense of urgency over the importance of the U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen in preventing a "human emergency" affecting hundreds of millions of people, the British government said on Thursday.

With United Nations talks on a new deal to combat global warming less than 50 days away, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said too many people still failed to grasp the scale and urgency of the problem. (Reuters)

 

UN: For 7th year, warming emissions grew again

BONN, Germany — The industrialized world again in 2007 boosted, rather than reduced, its emissions of global-warming gases, the U.N. reported Wednesday, as international negotiators looked ahead to crucial climate talks in December.

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases rose by 1 percent between 2006 and 2007 among 40 nations classified as industrialized under the 1992 U.N. climate treaty, the treaty secretariat reported, detailing data for the latest available reporting period.

It was the seventh consecutive year of an upward trend, it said.

European Union countries did cut their emissions year-to-year, by an average of 1.6 percent, led by Denmark's 6.1 percent reduction. But the United States, the biggest emitter in this group, increased its emissions by 1.4 percent, and the output of heat-trapping gases by Japan, Canada and Australia also rose, the data show. (AP)

 

Animal rights whacko wants to harm people: A day to act in the name of planetary justice

PRINCETON, N.J. — What we are doing to our planet, to our children and grandchildren, and to the poor, by our heedless production of greenhouse gases, is one of the great moral wrongs of our age. This Saturday is a day to stand up against this injustice. (Peter Singer, Japan Times)

 

Remember the pre-CoP15 idiocy we warned you about? Science Museum unveils climate change map showing impact of 4C rise

A new map of the world that details the likely effects of a failure to cut carbons emissions has been developed by Met Office scientists (The Guardian)

 

'Day after tomorrow' map shows consequences of climate change

Britain faces rising sea levels, floods and drought unless more is done to stop global warming, according to a new map produced by the Government. (TDT)

 

Government launches map to highlight global warming threat

A nightmare in the not-very-distant future: the map below shows the enormous temperature rises which British scientists believe the planet may be experiencing in as a little as 50 years from now if global warming remains unchecked. (The Indy)

 

Pine beetles as a harbinger of manmade climate change destruction

A tiny little bug about the size of a grain of rice has become a focal point in the debate about manmade climate change. Over the last 12 years, the mountain pine beetle has spread quickly through the Mountain West and Canada killing millions of acres of pine trees.

The beetle thrives when conditions are drier and warmer than average and some experts have blamed its spread on manmade climate change and a warming environment. From Canada south to Colorado, images of acres of dead, brown trees amongst their healthy neighbors make for a stark picture of what may be forests in decline.

Global warming activists have been quick to seize on the pine beetle ‘epidemic’ as a sign of things to come and an impending ecological disaster. In truth, drawing the line between manmade climate change and the pine beetle outbreak is a stretch that few experts make. Rather, most see the outbreak as a natural function of forests and in many ways it is Mother Nature correcting man’s previous mistakes.

Colorado finds itself front and center in the battle against the mountain pine beetle. In the coming weeks the state’s forest service will be releasing its annual report and is expected to estimate that 2.5 million acres have been infected by the beetles since 1996 – the largest outbreak in state history. However, that represents a fraction of the state’s forest land and areas are being naturally rehabilitated after the infections pass.

The state’s forest service is reluctant to connect manmade climate change with the outbreak and studies have shown that while the outbreak is large, it is not entirely unprecedented. Sky Stephens, Forest Entomologist for the Colorado State Forest Service, says that while climate change is a hot topic, there "hasn’t been a well structured argument” connecting the two. (Tony Hake, Examiner)

 

Global Warming Isn’t The Worst Issue Facing Africa

Life in Africa is often nasty, impoverished and short reports Fiona Kobusingye. “AIDS kills 2.2 million Africans every year according to WHO (World Health Organization) reports. Lung infections cause 1.4 million deaths, malaria 1 million more, intestinal diseases 700,000. Diseases that could be prevented with simple vaccines kill an additional 600,000 annually, while war, malnutrition and life in filthy slums send countless more parents and children to early graves.” (1)

She adds, “Yet Africans are told the biggest threat they face is global warming. Conferences, news stories, television programs, class lectures and one-sided ‘dialogues’ repeat the claim endlessly. They are told using oil and petrol, even burning wood and charcoal, will dangerously overheat our planet, melt ice caps, flood coastal cities, and cause storms, drought, disease and extinctions.” Africans are told climate change threatens humanity more than all the diseases listed above.

Will Alexander of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, points out that since the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 not a single person in South Africa has died as a result of provable climate change. But thousands have died from poverty-related starvation, malnutrition and disease. He says, “How dare those who call themselves scientists deliberately suppress this information? How dare they ignore the suffering of all these people? How dare they steadfastly refuse to participate in multidisciplinary studies where their alarmist theories can be demonstrated to be without foundation?” (2) (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Obama 'ought to do a lot more' on climate: Pachauri

STOCKHOLM — US President Barack Obama should do more to push for a US climate deal, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said Thursday.

"I personally feel he ought to be doing a lot more," Pachauri told reporters after a debate on climate change in Stockholm, adding the president "really has to assert himself to see that the US passes legislation" prior to the Copenhagen summit. (AFP)

Actually, a lot of us think he's doing way too much already. If he'd just stick to beer summits...

 

Bull spit! Sharing clean energy technologies crucial in climate change fight – UN official

22 October 2009 – Ensuring that developing countries can access cleaner energy-producing technologies to meet their development needs without increasing pollution will be crucial in the global fight against climate change, a top United Nations official stressed today.

Addressing a high-level meeting in New Delhi on climate change and technology transfer, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang noted that innovation in low-emissions technology still takes place largely in the developed countries.

“But climate change demands urgent action and rapid, wide diffusion,” he told the gathering, which comes with just over a month left to go before countries meet in Copenhagen to ‘seal the deal’ on a new pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The world cannot afford to wait for these technologies to follow the usual path of gradual diffusion, from rich to middle-income to poor countries,” said Mr. Sha.

“Global climate policy will succeed – or fail – depending on whether it brings low-emissions technologies and technologies for adaptation within the reach of poor countries, and poor communities, without further delay.” (UN News)

No amount of intellectual property piracy will influence global climate. We have no reason to suspect that any amount of carbon constrain will have a measurable influence on the globe's temperature either.

 

Singh calls for sharing of clean power

Developed economies must release green technology to help developing nations cut carbon emissions in the same way that pharmaceutical companies relaxed patents to help sufferers of HIV/Aids, Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, said on Thursday.

Mr Singh appealed for a review of intellectual property rights for green technology, saying they needed to be balanced to allow their wider deployment to halt the potential ravages of global warming. He also asked for financial commitments to pay for technology transfer from the global community.

However, his demand was greeted with frustration by officials in developed countries concerned that it would cause further friction in the talks on a new global framework on climate change, set to culminate in a summit in Copenhagen in December. (Financial Times)

 

Denmark urges EU to maintain climate-change ambition - Deal is still feasible, says energy minister.

A global deal on climate change at December's Copenhagen conference is still within reach, according to Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's climate and energy minister, who will host the conference.

“I believe that if we want to, then it is still do-able to include an ambitious, binding, political agreement in Copenhagen,” she said, warning that postponing decisions to 2010 would be a mistake.

“If we pass Copenhagen without any result I would not see any guarantees in the world that we would see anything four or six months later.” (European Voice)

The minister misunderstands -- a deal is the least desirable outcome of all.

 

With great faith Nohopenhagen will crash and burn: Europe offers to cut emissions 95% by 2050 if deal reached at Copenhagen

Europe attempted to reassert its international leadership in the fight against global warming today, offering to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95% by 2050 and by 30% by 2020 if a climate change pact is sealed in Copenhagen in six weeks' time. (The Guardian)

 

Barroso hopes for EU climate funds deal next week

STOCKHOLM, Oct 22 - The head of the European Commission expressed hope on Thursday that European Union leaders will agree on funding for a global climate change deal at a summit next week, despite deadlock at talks.

EU finance ministers were unable this week to reach agreement on how much funding should be provided for poor countries as part of a deal to tackle climate change which world leaders hope to clinch in Copenhagen in December.

It is now up to EU heads of government to try to break the impasse at an Oct 29-30 summit. (Reuters)

 

No, they don't: Poor may need to curb CO2 by 15 percent: U.N.

NEW DELHI - Developing nations may need to slow projected growth in their carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2020 if rich countries agree to reduce theirs by up to 40 percent for a new global deal, a top U.N. official said on Thursday.

Negotiations for a global deal to fight climate change, to be agreed in Copenhagen in December, have stumbled on the question of levels of emission cuts to be taken by rich states and developing nations.

A U.N. climate panel report in 2007 said that cuts would have to total 25-40 percent to avert the worst of climate change such as more wildfires, sandstorms, extinctions, rising ocean levels and more powerful cyclones.

At the same time, all but the poorest among developing nations would have to make a "substantial deviation" from baseline by 2020.

"If industrialized countries are reducing by 25-40 percent by 2020, then I think you would also by 2020 perhaps need to see something in the order of a 15 percent deviation below business as usual in developing countries," Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference.

So far, 2020 offers of greenhouse gas cuts from developed nations total between 11 and 15 percent below 1990 levels. And most offers are conditional on what others do. (Reuters)

 

Smoke And Mirrors

It's official. Rich countries continue to pollute more than ever, and this is evident from the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) figures released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed countries emitted 12.8 per cent more GHGe in 2007 than in 1990, the base year for calculating emissions according to the Kyoto Protocol, despite many of them agreeing to cut back emissions under the protocol's mandate. The US's CO2 emissions have increased by 20 per cent in 17 years. Yet India, with its track record of comparatively less pollution, is a target for rich countries. It is accused of aggravating climate change as an emerging economy. (Times of India)

 

'Climate change fight shouldn't hit development' - Focus of India’s efforts will be targeted towards achieving time-bound outcomes related to energy efficiency.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asserted that developing countries “cannot, and will not” compromise on development in the context of climate change.

“The challenge before the developing world is how to achieve our developmental goals while at the same time minimising ecological costs. Our per capita consumption of primary energy is less than one-fourth of the world average and our per capita emission of CO2 is among the lowest in the world. Moreover, the energy intensity of our output has been continuously declining in the last 30 years,” said Singh while addressing the New Delhi High Level Conference on Climate Change here today.

In the run-up to the Copehnagen summit, India also asked rich nations to make “serious” efforts to bring down their greenhouse gas emissions to tolerable levels. The climate change summit in Copenhagen in December is expected to deliberate and finalise a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle global warming.

“I have stated earlier that we stand committed to ensure that our per capita carbon emissions will never exceed the average of the per capita carbon emissions of developed countries. Equating GHG emissions across nations on a per capita basis is the only just and fair basis for a long-term global arrangement on climate change which is truly equitable,” he reiterated. (Business Standard)

 

And just in case anyone didn't get it: Indian emission will meet economic aspirations, says PM

In the face of growing global pressure on limiting carbon dioxide emission, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that Indian emission will continue to rise to meet national economic aspirations. (Deccan Herald)

 

China hopeful about Copenhagen climate talks

BEIJING — China wants to increase cooperation with the U.S. and other nations to reach a deal at global climate talks in December, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday.

Li's comments come less than two months ahead of the global climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, that seeks an international agreement on a treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It would replace the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Negotiations have been deadlocked for months amid rising doubts about whether a new pact can be reached in time.

China and the U.S. together account for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, and no treaty would succeed without the participation of both nations. (AP)

So what? No treaty will succeed in controlling the climate with their participation either.

 

A little known 20 year old climate change prediction by Dr. James Hansen – that failed badly

The news today from the Pew Institute tells us that many Americans are backing away from the predictions of catastrophic climate change. This may be because many predictions simply haven’t come true.

Most, if not all, WUWT readers know Dr. James Hansen of GISS. He’s credited with jump starting the debate in 1988 with his now famous “sweaty” testimony before Congress in June 1988. See more about the stagecraft of that event here.

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/hansen_1988_congress.jpg

Readers might be tempted to think that I’m going to point out the discrepancies between the three different model scenarios that Dr. Hansen presented to Congress in 1988, as shown below. But these model projections are very well known. I’m talking about something else entirely.

hansen20.gif

Hansen's 3 model scenarios compared to temperature records from RSS (satellite) and GISS (surface). Graphic: Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit

In Dr. Hansen’s case, he’s been living the life of a scientist in the media spotlight since, giving thousands of interviews. He’s also taken on the role of activist during that time, getting himself arrested this year for obstructing a public highway.

He likely doesn’t remember this one interview he gave to a book author approximately 20 years ago, but fortunately that author recounted the interview on Salon.com. What is most interesting about this particular Hansen interview is that he dispenses with the usual models and graphs, and makes predictions about what will happen in 20 years to New York City, right in his own neighborhood. Sea level figures prominently.

Here’s the interview. (WUWT)

 

Scientists Develop New Method to Quantify Climate Modeling Uncertainty

(From PhysOrg.com h/t to Leif Svalgaard )– Climate scientists recognize that climate modeling projections include a significant level of uncertainty. A team of researchers using computing facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has identified a new method for quantifying this uncertainty.

Photo: Martin Koser of Denmark

Photo: Martin Koser of Denmark

The new approach suggests that the range of uncertainty in climate projections may be greater than previously assumed. One consequence is the possibility of greater warming and more heat waves later in the century under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) high fossil fuel use scenario.

The team performed an ensemble of computer “runs” using one of the most comprehensive climate models–the Community Climate System Model version 3, developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)–on each of three IPCC scenarios. The first IPCC scenario, known as A1F1, assumes high global economic growth and continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels for the remainder of the century. The second scenario, known as B1, assumes a major move away from fossil fuels toward alternative and renewable energy as the century progresses. The third scenario, known as A2, is a middling scenario, with less even economic growth and some adoption of alternative and renewable energy sources as the century unfolds. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Global Warming’s Pause For Thought

Stu has an article up on Spiked about the reaction to Paul Hudson’s BBC article ‘What Happened to Global Warming?’:

A BBC News journalist’s willingness to report more than climate orthodoxy should be encouraged not condemned…

While we’re on the subject, it’s strange that no one seems to have mentioned the far more pronounced temperature plateau/decline that occurred between the mid-1940s and the early 1970s. The orthodox explanation for that one is that the cooling effect of white aerosols such as sulphates - released from coal and oil burning - was masking the warming effect of greenhouse gases until various clean air acts allowed the anthropogenic warming trend to re-emerge.

We wrote last year about how alarmists have wielded the aerosol-masking theory to beat down anyone who suggests that the post-war slump is a problem. Here’s George Monbiot:

Temperatures declined after the Second World War as a result of sulphate pollution from heavy industry, causing global dimming. This is well-known to all climate scientists. The exclusion of this information from [The Great Global Warming Swindle] was straightforward scientific dishonesty.

For Bob Ward, the Swindle’s omission represented one of ‘five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence’ in the programme.

The Independent’s Steve Connor also made a meal of it:

The programme failed to point out that scientists had now explained the period of “global cooling” between 1940 and 1970. It was caused by industrial emissions of sulphate pollutants, which tend to reflect sunlight. Subsequent clean-air laws have cleared up some of this pollution, revealing the true scale of global warming - a point that the film failed to mention.

The trouble is that there remains little empirical evidence to support the idea, as we were surprised to find out when we talked to UC San Diego atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan about his research showing that another type of aerosol - black carbon - had a significant warming effect:

Climate Resistance: What are the implications of this work for the idea that the post-war temperature decline is the result of sulphate aerosols masking the warming effect of CO2 emissions?

Veerabhadran Ramanathan: After the 1970s, when the West was cleaning up pollution, there was a rise in temperatures. We stopped burning coal in cities etc, and coal puts out a lot of sulphates, and sulphates mask global warming. At the same time, in the tropics, China and India, they were growing fast and putting a lot more Black Carbon.

CR: So the sulphate component must have been reduced more than the Black Carbon component for the aerosol masking theory to hold? We now need empirical data to compare the effect of black and white aerosols during the post-war temperature slump?

VR: Exactly.

CR: Do we have that empirical data?

VR: No. The data we have is for 2002-2003. We don’t know what happened in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. The implication of this study is that we have to understand what is the relative change in the sulphur emissions versus the Black Carbon emissions - and we don’t know that.

CR: So what is the empirical evidence that, 50 years ago, white aerosols were masking GW due to CO2?

VR: It’s pretty flimsy. The main information we have [...] is our understanding of the SO2 emissions by coal combustion, and oil. But we need to know not so much how much SO2 we put out, but how much was converted to sulphates, how much was removed [etc]

CR: So you don’t even know the life cycle of the SO2 and sulphates?

VR: No. All the information we have is from models… It could still be true [that white aerosols account for the post-war temperature slump]

CR: But it could not be true?

VR: Yes. The picture is complicated. But this paper is not saying it is wrong[...]

CR: So we now have a better idea of what is happening aerosol-wise in the present, but what was going on in the 1950s/’60s is still elusive?

VR: Yes, There’s a lot of research needs to be done on that - what happened in the ’50s and ’60s, and then why the rapid ramp up [from the '70s]. I’m not saying our current understanding is wrong, just that it is a more complicated picture. I would say it’s uncertain.

We wouldn’t suggest the aerosol-masking theory is wrong either. What’s interesting is how a neat idea is sold as an established fact, how a working hypothesis has become a truth ‘well-known to all climate scientists’, how ’scientists are investigating’ becomes scientists ‘have explained’. Without the masking theory, the orthodoxy would have a serious problem. The research that shows that decade-long periods of static/declining temperatures are to be expected against the background of a warming trend (see the Spiked article above) makes no claims that such natural variation could account for the much longer post-war slump.

Meanwhile, it will be worth watching to see how the tactics of the climate orthodoxy change as - and if - the present slowdown in temperature rise continues. The slump has already robbed the orthodoxy of much of its potential for short-term alarmism about record temperatures, and the Met, for example, seems already to have ditched its yearly climate forecast in favour of a decadal one. And how long before serious efforts are made to explain the slump in causal terms - not to mention how quickly those investigations are deployed as proof that climate science has nailed it? (Climate Resistance)

 

Natural Variation – 60 year cycle

Below is quick review of some of the evidence and consequences of a 60 year climate cycle. According to Roy Spencer, the argument that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming is reasoning in a circle. By ignoring natural variability, they end up claiming that natural variability is insufficient.

However, the recent paper by Craig Loehle finds only a very small linear warming trend is left (potentially attributable to AGW) after subtracting the 60–70 yr cycle. While cause of the 60yr cycles is unexplained at present, he claims the small trend disproves AGW because it is:

clearly inconsistent with climate model predictions because the linear trend begins too soon (before greenhouse gases were elevated) and does not accelerate as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate with no acceleration in recent decades.

That oscillations are persistent features of the climate has been known for a long time. Stoker and Mysak in 1992 reviewed ice cores, tree-ring index series, pollen records and sea-ice extents over the last 10,000 years, finding:

The traditional interpretation that decadal-to-century scale fluctuations in the climate system are externally forced, e.g. by variations in solar properties, is questioned. A different mechanism for these fluctuations is proposed on the basis of recent findings of numerical models of the ocean’s thermohaline circulation. The results indicate that this oceanic circulation exhibits natural variability on the century time scale which produces oscillations in the ocean-to-atmosphere heat flux. Although global in extent, these fluctuations are largest in the Atlantic Ocean.

Even a paper by Michael Mann in 2000 identifies the cycle:

Analyses of proxy based reconstructions of surface temperatures during the past 330 years show the existence of a distinct oscillatory mode of variability with an approximate time scale of 70 years.

As far back as 1995 Mann published a paper in Nature stating:

THE recognition of natural modes of climate variability is essential for a better understanding of the factors that govern climate change. Recent models suggest that interdecadal (roughly 15–35-year period) and century-scale (roughly 50–150-year period) climate variability may be intrinsic to the natural climate system.

The issue is: How large is the cycle relative to potential warming due to AGW?. Klyashtorin and Lyubushin (2003) demonstrated that a 50–60 year period temperature signal is dominant from about 1650 (the end of the Little Ice Age) in Greenland ice core records, in several very long tree ring records, and in sardine and anchovy records in marine sediment cores. This result was also reported by Biondi et al. (2001), who also made the pithy remark:

Anthropogenic greenhouse warming may be either manifested in or confounded by alterations of natural, large-scale modes of climate variability.

A wide range of phenomena move in sync with this cycle. Long-term changes of Atlantic spring-spawning herring and Northeast Arctic cod commercial stocks also show 50-70-year fluctuations: sufficient to predict the probable trends of basic climatic indices and populations of major commercial fish species for up to 20-30 years into the future.

Zhen-Shan and Xian (2007) found China temperature from 1881 can be completely decomposed into four quasi-periodic oscillations including an ENSO-like mode, a 6–8-year signal, a 20-year signal and also a prominent 60-year timescale oscillation of temperature variation. While they found CO2 concentration contributed a small trend, its influence weight on global temperature variation accounted for no more than 40.19% of the total increase.

Perhaps its all a coincidence. Or perhaps we have yet to see much global warming from CO2, and its all going to suddenly leap out and ambush us in 20 years time.

Maybe, but speculation is a mugs game. Just the facts please. The last 50 years coincides with an upswing in the 60 year cycle, and the recent flat global temperatures coincide with the peak and subsequent downturn. (David Stockwell, Niche Modeling)

 

Australian Dust Storms And Land Use Change

The dust storms that occurred last month in Australia are an example of how land use change can alter this major weather (and climate) effect even in the absence of any larger scale climate change (thanks to Jos de Laat for alerting us to this).

There are excellent satellite photos of the dust storms of the dust storm (e.g. see).

The explanation of these dust storms is in the report  ‘Australia: State of the Environment 2001 Main Report’.

Excerpts read

“Dune fields were once vegetated, but in the past 150 years they have been grazed or cleared for agriculture in some regions, and this has contributed to more dust storms than would otherwise occur with today’s climate.”

“The 1996 State of the Environment Report provided dust storm frequency to show that the annual frequency of dust storm across Australia has
notably decreased since the 1970s (SoE 1996, p 6-30). This was attributed to the improved control of rabbits and (through myxomatosis); the spread of ‘woody weeds’ and Accacia nilotica (Atlas of Australian Resources 1990) and the adoption of conservation tillage.”

 As Jos pointed out as a conclusion from these reports, this “yet another example of the influence of human activity via LULC on (regional) climate – in this case farming and the release and subsequent control of non-native species.” (Climate Science)

To a very large extent agreed, although I have seen large areas of Australia completely denuded by drought in the absence of feral and/or farm animals. This is a harsh land and it would be wise to remember nature too delivers periods on enhanced dust storms with no assistance from people whatsoever. Moreover, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide could be contributing to the decline observed in the frequency and severity of these storms as woody plants encroach in regions previously too hostile with lower aerial fertilization and water efficiency.

 

Melting glaciers create great upheavals

Wetter winters, drier summers and melting glaciers force changes for people and the hydropower industry. (CoP15)

 

Advanced Biofuels Will Stoke Global Warming: Study

LONDON/WASHINGTON - A new generation of biofuels, meant to be a low-carbon alternative, will on average emit more carbon dioxide than burning gasoline over the next few decades, a study published in Science found on Thursday.

Governments and companies are pouring billions of research dollars into advanced fuels made from wood and grass, meant to cut carbon emissions compared with gasoline, and not compete with food as corn-based biofuels do now.

But such advanced, "cellulosic" biofuels will actually lead to higher carbon emissions than gasoline per unit of energy, averaged over the 2000-2030 time period, the study found. (Reuters)

 

Carbon advantage of biofuels may be overstated

The world's policymakers and scientists have made a critical error in how they count biofuels' contribution to human-generated greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

Although the article addresses a wonkish subject -- how to measure the environmental impact of energy sources such as ethanol and wood chips, which absorb carbon as they grow but release it back into the atmosphere when they're burned -- it has broad implications. The method undercounts the global-warming contribution of some bioenergy crops, the team of 13 researchers wrote, because it doesn't factor in what sort of land-use changes might occur to produce them.

"We made an honest mistake within the scientific framing of the debate, and we've got to correct it to make it right," said Steven P. Hamburg, chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and one of the paper's authors.

When calculating the greenhouse-gas emissions limit, government officials in the United States, Europe and elsewhere do not count the carbon that biofuels release when they are burned. But carbon is released when a producer clears and burns trees, even to grow a crop destined for the biofuels market. Officials also established a legal system that limits emissions from energy use but not from land-use activities such as clearing forests.

In recent months, researchers have begun to worry that bioenergy crops could replace the world's forests and savannahs on a huge scale unless climate policies start to take full account of how these crops' production affects greenhouse-gas concentrations. None of the major climate regimes -- including the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union's carbon market and the House-passed climate bill -- account for the carbon released by changing land use for biofuels. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington)

 

Study: Accounting error undermines climate change laws

An important but fixable error in legal accounting rules used to measure compliance with carbon limits for bioenergy could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging deforestation, according to a new study by 13 prominent scientists and land use experts published in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Science.

The error affects the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union's Emissions Trading System, and is written into a U.S. climate change bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June. (Princeton)

 

They’d Shoot Trees, Wouldn’t They? Climate Laws Encourage Deforestation, Scientists Say

The law of unintended consequences strikes yet again.

Global plans to tackle climate change, from the Kyoto Protocol to the recently-passed Waxman-Markey bill, have a fatal flaw: They essentially encourage large-scale deforestation, which pretty much undermines the whole idea of curbing greenhouse-gas emissions in the first place.

That’s the argument from a new paper published in Science today, written by Princeton University’s Tim Searchinger and others. The upshot? Clearing out forests to use the wood for bioenergy clearly has an environmental cost, but that’s simply not accounted for in any of the prevailing climate-change programs. Kyoto, the European cap-and-trade plan, and the House climate bill all treat bioenergy as carbon-neutral; nobody counts the effect of disappearing forests. (WSJ)

 

Yes, Mr. President, a Free Market Can Fix Health Care

At his White House forum on health reform back in March, President Barack Obama offered:

If there is a way of getting this done where we’re driving down costs and people are getting health insurance at an affordable rate, and have choice of doctor, have flexibility in terms of their plans, and we could do that entirely through the market, I’d be happy to do it that way.

In a new Cato study titled, “Yes, Mr. President, a Free Market Can Fix Health Care,” I take up the president’s challenge and explain that markets are indeed the only way to achieve those goals.  I also explain how Congress can remove the impediments that currently prevent markets from doing so:

  1. Give Medicare enrollees a voucher (adjusted for their means and health risk) and let them purchase any health plan on the market,
  2. Reform the tax treatment of health care with “large” health savings accounts, which would give workers a $9.7 trillion tax cut (without increasing the deficit) and free them to purchase secure coverage that meets their needs,
  3. Free consumers and employers to purchase health insurance across state lines (i.e., licensed by other states), which could cover up to one third of the uninsured,
  4. Make state-issued clinician licenses portable, which would increase access to care and competition among health plans, and
  5. Block-grant Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, just as Congress did with welfare.

Unlike the president’s health care proposals (which, as Victor Fuchs explains, would merely shift costs), these reforms would reduce costs, expand coverage, and improve health care quality – without new taxes, government subsidies, or deficit spending.

Would a free market be nirvana?  Of course not.  But fewer Americans would fall through the cracks than under the status quo or the government takeover advancing through Congress.

There is a better way.

(Cross-posted at Politico’s Health Care Arena.) (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

“Why Don’t We Fix the Two Public Options We Have Now instead of Creating a Third One?”

That sensible — and hopefully not rhetorical — question was posed by Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) on National Public Radio, according to The Hill.

Regarding recent polling that shows that a new Fannie Med (my term) commands majority support among the public, Landrieu quipped, “I think if you asked, ‘Do you want a public option, but it would force the government to go bankrupt?’, people would say no.”

Real health care reform wouldn’t bankrupt taxpayers or the government. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

This is truly astonishing behavior

 

Twin study underscores role of genes in autism

NEW YORK - When one identical twin develops the developmental disorder autism, the risk of the other developing it is high -- substantially higher than it is for fraternal twins, a new study confirms.

The study, which gathered information from 277 twin pairs in which at least one had an autistic disorder, found that when one identical twin developed an autistic disorder, the other one also did 88 percent of the time.

That compared with 31 percent among fraternal twins. Unlike identical twins, fraternal twins are no more genetically similar than non-twin siblings.

What's more, researchers found, identical twins also had greater similarities in the form of autism that they developed, their level of day-to-day functioning and the risk of intellectual impairment.

The findings, reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, confirm the importance of genes in autism development. (Reuters Health)

 

Too little sleep won't make you fat: study

NEW YORK - Skimping on sleep, is unhealthy, but it doesn't make people fat, according to a new study.

"We hoped we were going to find good evidence for that," Dr. Diane S. Lauderdale told Reuters Health, "because it was such an interesting, intriguing, novel idea, with some reasons to think biologically it made sense. But we found nothing."

Chronic sleep deprivation is thought to be a risk factor for weight gain. While several studies have linked higher body mass index (BMI) to shorter nightly sleep, most have been cross-sectional, meaning they looked only at a single point in time -- making it hard to prove whether sleeping too little leads to weight gain or vice versa, Lauderdale and her colleagues explain in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Also, they say, most studies have relied on people's own estimations of how much they sleep at night, which are notoriously inaccurate. (Reuters Health)

 

Ambulances start charging extra for obese patients

TOPEKA, Kan. — The memory still bothers Ken Keller: A panicked ambulance crew had a critically ill patient, but the man weighed more than 1,000 pounds and could not fit inside the vehicle. And the stretcher wasn't sturdy enough to hold him.

The crew offered an idea to Keller, who was then an investigator with the Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services. Could they use a forklift to load the man — bed and all — onto a flatbed truck? Keller agreed: There was no other choice.

"I'm sure it was terribly embarrassing to be in his own bed, riding on the back of a flatbed with straps tying him down, going to the hospital, and then have a forklift at the hospital unload him," Keller said.

As the nation battles the obesity crisis, ambulance crews are trying to improve how they transport extremely heavy patients, who become significantly more difficult to move as they surpass 350 pounds. And caring for such patients is expensive, requiring costly equipment and extra workers, so some ambulance companies have started charging higher fees for especially overweight people. (AP)

 

Extra pounds, and attitudes about them, can affect doctor-patient relationships

Doctors can be fairly significant, one would think, in helping people combat obesity-related health problems. But a good working relationship usually begins with respect. And that might be a stumbling block.

In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report on their questioning of 238 patients -- and their physicians -- from 14 medical offices about their encounters. The patients for whom doctors said they had little respect just happened to have higher body-mass index scores.

Here's the news release. The study is to appear in the November issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

And here's a recent L.A. Times column from Dr. Valerie Ulene suggesting that doctors might be at least partly to blame for those weight problems: What the doc doesn't say: You're overweight

Plus, an article exploring the effect of a physician's excess weight on patients: Does a doctor's weight matter?

Apparently, attitudes about weight can affect both sides of the doctor-patient relationship. (LA Times)

 

Eye-roller: Yale professor researches frogs in area ponds

Yale University ecology professor Dr. David Skelly is conducting research find connections between mutations in common green frogs that have reproductive deformities around Central Connecticut and possible water contamination that may affect humans.

“The short answer is that we’ve found lots of deformities,” said Skelly.

A pesticide by the name of atrazine, which is used in agriculture, may be spreading toward the suburbs. Scientists thought the deformities would occur only in agricultural areas.

The frogs being looked at are common green frogs, which are often found in people’s backyards and are formally called Rana clamitans. While looking at agricultural areas, 7 percent of frogs examined had reproductive deformities compared to 21 percent in suburban areas, according to Skelly. Those frogs are growing male and female sexual parts with 13 percent of the male frogs having immature eggs in their testes. (New Britain Herald)

Talk about bass-ackwards! 3 times as many suburban frogs exhibit the studied deformities and yet this may indicate farm chemicals coming closer to town? I don't know about frogs but these guys definitely have a bee in their bonnet and serious preconceptions about their "study". Atrazine has been safely used for 50 years and still the anti-chemical fruit loops are gunning for it. Sheesh! What a nonsense.

 

Hmm... Clean Water: Still Elusive

Rightly celebrated as one of this country’s most important environmental statutes, the 1972 Clean Water Act has greatly improved the quality of America’s waters, turning contaminated rivers and lakes into swimmable, fishable and even drinkable waters.

But even its staunchest allies agree that the act has grown old and fallen well short of its goals, crippled by uneven and sometimes nonexistent enforcement by state and federal agencies — particularly during the Bush years, but even before — and by shortcomings in the law itself.

A comprehensive series of investigative articles in The Times by Charles Duhigg makes it clear that the time has come to strengthen enforcement and the law. More than 40 percent of the country’s waters, he found, remain dangerously polluted. Nearly 20 million Americans fall ill every year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses. Polluters — public and private, large and small — treat the law with contempt. Violations have jumped significantly. Penalties for noncompliance are small and rarely assessed. (NYT)

Seems from afar as though the CWA is one of your most abused and ill-used pieces of legislation (not as bad as the ESA perhaps but plenty bad enough). How much does it have to do with declining pollution rates? Probably not a lot since most improvements predate and occur in spite of, not because of this sort of legislation.

 

Spirit of NAWAPA

The environmental movement’s “climate change” campaign is mainly an effort to phase out coal-fired electrical generation. This social movement also conducts a much publicized decades-old campaign against nuclear power. Almost forgotten is environmentalism’s first victim – hydro-electricity. When the social movement now called “environmentalism” surged forth in the 1960s it did so just in time to cripple North America’s remarkable and ambitious hydro engineering industry. What follows are seven articles discussing the promise of river development and its nemesis. (William Walter Kay, Environmentalism is Facism)

 

I am become Death, destroyer of worlds - The story of how the dinosaurs disappeared is getting more and more complicated

EVERYONE knows that the dinosaurs were exterminated when an asteroid hit what is now Mexico about 65m years ago. The crater is there. It is 180km (110 miles) in diameter. It was formed in a 100m-megatonne explosion by an object about 10km across. The ejecta from the impact are found all over the world. The potassium-argon radioactive dating method shows the crater was created within a gnat’s whisker of the extinction. Calculations suggest that the “nuclear winter” from the impact would have lasted years. Plants would have stopped photosynthesising. Animals would have starved to death. Case closed.

Well, it now seems possible that everyone was wrong. The Chicxulub crater, as it is known, may have been a mere aperitif. According to Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, the main course was served later. Dr Chatterjee has found a bigger crater—much bigger—in India. His is 500km across. The explosion that caused it may have been 100 times the size of the one that created Chicxulub. He calls it Shiva, after the Indian deity of destruction.

Dr Chatterjee presented his latest findings on Shiva to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon, on October 18th. He makes a compelling case, identifying an underwater mountain called Bombay High, off the coast of Mumbai, that formed right at the time of the dinosaur extinction. This mountain measures five kilometres from sea bed to peak, and is surrounded by Shiva’s crater rim. Dr Chatterjee’s analysis shows that it formed from a sudden upwelling of magma that destroyed the Earth’s crust in the area and pushed the mountain upwards in a hurry. He argues that no force other than the rebound from an impact could have produced this kind of vertical uplift so quickly. And the blow that caused it would surely have been powerful enough to smash ecosystems around the world. (The Economist)

 

Why? US to give threatened polar bears vast 'critical habitat'

The United States will designate more than 200,000 square miles in Alaska as a critical habitat for polar bears, a key step towards increasing protection for the threatened species. (TDT)

 

GM crops must be grown in Britain, Royal Society says

British farmers must cultivate a new generation of genetically modified (GM) "supercrops" to prevent a global food crisis, the UK's leading scientists have said. (TDT)

 

October 22, 2009

 

The Chamber fights Obama's regulatory robbery

Barack Obama's White House has declared war on the largest lobbying organization in the country, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It figures to be a tough fight.

Obama has had a good deal of success winning the support of individual companies by pushing regulations that would cement their market share and increase their profits.

But the chamber represents a wide variety of businesses spread across the economic spectrum. As a group, they would suffer along with the whole economy under the weight of Obama's restrictions, mandates, and taxes.

The White House and liberal groups have leaned on the chamber's members in retaliation for the lobby's opposition to current health care overhaul bills and climate-change legislation. The chamber has responded by ramping up its lobbying efforts to record levels. It spent $34.6 million in the third quarter of 2009, according to reports released Monday -- four times what it spent in the second quarter and the largest quarterly lobbying expenditure by any entity since reporting began a decade ago.

Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten told me that White House is picking a high-profile fight with his group because, given Democratic supermajorities, Obama "needs an enemy" to blame for the difficulty he's having in getting his policies approved.

But there's another reason Obama is running low on enemies: He's already bought off many of the most powerful industries and businesses. (Timothy P. Carney, Examiner)

 

Obama accused of using Nixon-like techniques

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama is facing accusations his White House is creating an "enemies list," as administration aides step up efforts to marginalize an array of political opponents in American business and media.

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who worked for former president Richard Nixon, said Wednesday the hardball tactics employed by Obama's staff increasingly resemble those his former boss infamously used against critics in the early 1970s.

"Let's not start calling people out and compiling an enemies list. Let's push the street-brawling out of the White House," Alexander said in a speech on the Senate floor.

"As any veteran of the Nixon White House can attest, we've been down this road before and it won't end well. An 'enemies list' only denigrates the presidency and the republic itself."

Alexander's warning to Obama comes as the White House pursues a get-tough strategy against several organizations — from Wall Street banks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Fox News Channel — that have spoken out against the president's domestic agenda.

The White House's most public feud has been against the conservative Fox channel, which aides have labelled a de facto arm of the Republican party. Obama officials this week urged other U.S. news organizations against following Fox stories, and suggested the network be ostracized from the White House press corps.

The administration has also recently sought to isolate the U.S. Chamber, long the dominant voice of American business in Washington, by quietly building alliances with individual CEOs and firms more friendly to Obama's policies. (Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News)

 

Terence Corcoran: Climatism and the new green industrial state - Industry, government and NGOs are creating a new political model

One of the big green lies about global warming science and climate change policy is that the issues are vicious battlegrounds between corporate interests and environmentalists. David Suzuki has been pushing this idea for years, at times going so far as to claim that the National Post and some of its editors/writers are corporate pawns and shills for big business’s anti-climate change agenda. One of Mr. Suzuki’s associates and chairman of the Suzuki Foundation, Jim Hoggan, operates a blog site and has a new book dedicated to the corporate-manipulation theme. Mr. Hoggan claims there exists a concerted public relations assault on climate science and policy that “could not be accomplished without the compliance of media as well as the assent and participation of leaders in government and business.” He talks of “a global PR machine that is too often in the service of special interests and too little concerned about the public interest.”

Let us now return to reality, where this idiot’s guide to climate policy making doesn’t survive 24-hours’ worth of news reports and press releases. The daily news flow is packed with evidence to the contrary and proof that the opposite is true: Big business and the globe’s greatest corporate powers are marching in lock step with governments and environmentalists to impose climate policy on the world and its people. At the Copenhagen climate conference in December, no group looks forward more fervently than big business to a global carbon control agreement filled with firm targets, big tax increases and massive subsidies for special interests all over the world.

If there’s a corporate-driven global PR machine, it’s firmly on the side of climate control, grinding out one corporate climate agenda after another, an avalanche of business-government co-operation the likes of which the world has never seen. And smack in the middle of this global PR machine, shifting the gears and greasing the wheels, are the world’s leading environmentalists and green NGOs: The World Wildlife Fund, David Suzuki, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defence, Forest Ethics, the Pembina Institute and many more. Together with industry, they pressure government in the creation of the green industrial state.

The shape of the green industrial state rises out of a not-so-attractive place in history. The two great theories of modern statism are part of the recent past: Communism has been dead for two decades, discredited with the fall of the Soviet Union; and full-blown fascism, with government in total control of a subservient corporate private economy, has been a non-starter since 1945. What we have now rising out of the ashes to fill the void is climatism. (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)

 

Tolasz: Klaus may not be wrong

Today, the #1 Czech newspaper, MF DNES ("Youth Front TODAY"), published an interview of a top Czech journalist, Ms Barbora Tachecí, with climatologist Mr Radim Tolasz.

Because I consider him the ultimate role model of a mainstream Czech climatologist, the "guy in the middle" (who also holds, in some sense, the highest climatological job in Czechia), I decided to translate the whole interview so that the readers from the whole world may learn that the climate hysteria is pretty much absent in the Czech climatological circles - and in fact, also in the Czech media.

The printed version starts with a big headline, "Klaus may not be wrong" ("Třeba se Klaus nemýlí"). The electronic version has a more refined title:



Politicians are satisfied as soon as the fight against the climate change is being written about; economists should calculate how much it costs, Dr Radim Tolasz says. Picture: Mr Michal Šula, MF DNES

Klaus may not be wrong but he oversimplifies things, a climatologist says
(title)

Weather fluctuations in recent days have confused everyone. There is an exception: climatologists are not surprised and they will probably never be. This statement was also confirmed by Mr Radim Tolasz, a deputy director for meteorology and climatology of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, in an interview with Ms Barbora Tachecí.

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

 

Lawmakers hear contrasting primers on climate change - Testimony leaves many still unsure about policy stands.

Climate scientists gave lawmakers a primer Wednesday, advising them that temperatures are increasing. It was the first time such experts have been invited to testify at the Utah Legislature.

But Jim Steenburgh of the University of Utah and Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama-Huntsville offered the Legislature's Interim Public Utilities and Technology Committee sharply different views of how well-understood climate change is. And, in the end, lawmakers wondered aloud whether learning more will help them make sensible policy.

"I cannot express the frustration I feel as a policy-maker who is not a scientist how difficult it is for me to make policy decisions when it seems the science has become so politicized," said Rep. Lorie D. Fowlke, an Orem Republican and attorney.

"I hope the scientific community in some way will be able to reach a broader consensus," she added. "And I appreciate those who are willing to look at other options before we invest our entire future on science that may not be conclusive."

Several lawmakers expressed a similar uneasiness about making policy on what they see as an ongoing debate in the scientific community. That despite a recent poll published by the American Geophysical Union that found that 97.4 percent of active climate researchers consider human activity a significant contributing factor to recent warming -- a point shared with lawmakers by Steenburgh, professor and chair of atmospheric sciences at the U. (Salt Lake Tribune)

 

In the make-believe realm: Southeast U.S. exposed to climate change impact: Oxfam

MIAMI - Poverty and climate hazards make the southeast United States the country's most vulnerable area to climate change impact, Oxfam America said on Wednesday.

A report released by the relief organization identified high-risk "hotspots" across 13 southeast states from Arkansas to Virginia where poverty factors combined with high risk of drought, flooding, hurricanes and sea-level rise.

"Social factors like income and race do not determine who will be hit by a natural disaster, but they do determine a population's ability to prepare, respond, and recover when disaster does strike," Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser said in a statement accompanying the report.

"As climate change increases and intensifies floods, storms, and heat waves, many of the world's poorest communities, from Biloxi (Mississippi) to Bangladesh, will experience unprecedented stress," Offenheiser added.

Oxfam said the study, using a method developed by experts from the University of South Carolina's Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, for the first time overlaid risk of climate hazards with social variables. (Reuters)

 

All the activists out to play: America's dirty little secret - Influence wielded by coal-producing states – 25 of them – is the big reason the U.S. is a climate-change laggard

The United Nations Climate Change Treaty, signed in 1992, committed the world to “avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.” Yet, since that time, greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar.

The United States has proved to be the biggest laggard, refusing to sign the 1997 Kyoto Protocol or to adopt any effective domestic emissions controls. As we head into the global summit in Copenhagen in December to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. is once again the focus of concern. Even now, American politics remain strongly divided over climate change – though President Barack Obama has new opportunities to break the logjam.

A year after the 1992 treaty, Bill Clinton tried to pass an energy tax that would have helped the U.S. to begin reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. The proposal not only failed, but triggered a political backlash.

When the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997, Mr. Clinton did not even send it to the Senate for ratification, knowing that it would be rejected.

President George W. Bush repudiated Kyoto in 2001 and did essentially nothing on climate change during his presidency.

There are several reasons for U.S. inaction – including ideology and scientific ignorance – but a lot comes down to one word: coal. No fewer than 25 states produce coal, which not only generates income, jobs and tax revenue, but provides a disproportionately large share of their energy. (Jeffrey Sachs, Globe and Mail)

Um, no, Jeffrey, the real reason no one actually "does anything" about the climate is that we can't. Dubya took a lot of flack for simply being honest about not presenting Kyoto for ratification whereas the Clinton/Gore Administration simply subjected it to a back pocket veto (i.e., they sat on it and did nothing).

We could cool the world if necessary but there is no indication the world is actually too warm or that humanity and/or the biosphere would benefit if it were cooler.

 

Refuting the Case for a CO2 Tax: William Nordhaus's "DICE Model" Reconsidered

Editor Note: Robert Murphy’s peer-reviewed article in The Independent Review, “Rolling the DICE: William Nordhaus’ Dubious Case for a Carbon Tax”, is available online [.pdf].

When I first began working for the Institute for Energy Research, my preliminary research indicated that William Nordhaus (now a co-author of Paul Samuelson’s famous economics textbook) was a great representative of the mainstream case for a Pigovian carbon tax. I have gone on to study his case, presented in articles and a book, in great detail. What I have found is an eager willingness to spot “market failure” coupled with a naive faith in government “solutions.” The full article deals with these big picture issues, but this post will dwell on the narrow technical results–using Nordhaus’s own numbers–that should give average economists pause when it comes to the typical recommendation of a carbon tax to “internalize the externality” of greenhouse gas emissions. (Robert Murphy, Master Resource)

 

Government climate change figures 'are misleading'

The Government has been accused of exaggerating Britain’s success in fighting climate change by presenting “misleading” figures on carbon emissions.

Sir Michael Scholar, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, said that presentation of data by the Department of Energy and Climate Change was “unsatisfactory”.

In a letter to Tim Yeo, the chairman of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, he said that a statistical bulletin released in February “fell short” of the Government’s code of practice.

Sir Michael raised serious concerns about the claim that CO2 emissions had fallen by 12.8 per cent compared with 1990 levels.

Nearly a third of that fall is made up of carbon credits purchased by polluters in an EU trading scheme and do not represent actual cuts in UK emissions. Without the credits, the fall is a much more modest 8.5 per cent. (The Times)

 

Oh good grief! The Economic Case for Slashing Carbon Emissions

The climate change news from Washington is cautiously encouraging. No one in power is listening to the climate skeptics any more; the economic stimulus package included real money for clean energy; a bill capping U.S. carbon emissions emerged, battered but still standing, from the House of Representatives, and might even survive the Senate. This, along with stricter emission standards in Europe and a big push for clean energy and efficiency standards in China, provides grounds for hope for genuine progress on emissions reduction.

But while climate policy is finally moving forward, climate science is moving faster. One discovery after another suggests the world is warming faster, and climate damages are appearing sooner, than anyone had expected. Much of the policy discussion so far has been aimed at keeping the atmospheric concentration of CO2 below 450 parts per million (ppm) - which was until recently thought to be low enough to prevent dangerous levels of warming. But last year, James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist, argued that paleoclimatic evidence shows 450 ppm is the threshold for transition to an ice-free earth. This would imply a catastrophic rise in sea levels, eventually flooding all coastal cities and regions.

To avoid reaching such a crisis stage, Hansen and a growing number of others now call for stabilizing CO2 concentrations at 350 ppm. The world is now around 390 ppm and rising; since CO2 persists in the atmosphere for a long time, it is difficult to reduce concentrations quickly. In Hansen's scenario, a phaseout of coal use, massive reforestation, and widespread use of carbon capture and storage could allow the world to achieve negative net carbon emissions by mid-century and reach 350 ppm by 2100. (Frank Ackerman, Yale Environment 360)

Only a complete idiot would buy house insurance that cost many multiples of the cost of replacing the house -- the "insurance" analogy is and always has been a complete nonsense.

If carbon dioxide is a problem (and all indications are to the contrary) then the least-cost, least-harm response is development and wealth generation so that we can protect ourselves and deal with the negative consequences.

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is not a cost-free nor negative impact-free undertaking. We mine carbon specifically to oxidize for a cheap and abundant energy source and failure to do so has negative consequences for all but especially so for the poorest among us. Emissions of carbon dioxide are also increasing the bioproductivity of the planet -- helping to feed humanity while reducing the area needed us to do so.

Misanthropists claim there is no safe level of carbon emission when the fact is that there is currently no safe level of carbon constraint.

 

Activist Hubris: "We've basically got the whole world organised"

I always find it interesting when activists and dissidents have neither formal scientific education, nor degrees in the exacting field of climatology. What they do have is a creepy, devoted following willing to do whatever they ask. Especially if that group believes only they can save the Earth.

Enter Jim McKibben. He's the idea guy behind 350.org and is little more than an "American environmentalist and writer" who preys upon the uninformed and the easily influenced. In short, he targets the youth of the world who don’t have the the requisite experience to spot a charlatan.

McKibben lectures his impressionable followers on what he considers safe levels of carbon dioxide, then footnotes it all with end-of-the-world prognostications. Ibid, repeat. Even more worrying is that he specifically targets the world's youth, exacerbating this group's natural tendency to making risky chances, protest unconditionally, challenge authority, and place unconditional faith in a higher power. No, not God. McKibben. (Thomas Richard, CCF)

 

Government climate change ad investigated after 350 complaints

Advertising Standards Authority to look into £6m campaign accused of scaremongering and misleading the public (The Guardian)

 

So, they don't just hate people: Sustainable living now includes “edible pets” to curb global warming

In my opinion, this over the top idea isn’t sustainable at any level. On a personal note, my cat eats with a footprint more like a Volkswagen microbus. I think I’ll give “Minners” a can of dolphin safe tuna tonight, just for spite.

http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/robinamused.jpg?w=312&h=299

From Stuff.co.nz

By TANYA KATTERNS – The Dominion Post

Save the planet: time to eat dog?

The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found.

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

The couple have assessed the carbon emissions created by popular pets, taking into account the ingredients of pet food and the land needed to create them.

“If you have a German shepherd or similar-sized dog, for example, its impact every year is exactly the same as driving a large car around,” Brenda Vale said. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Extremists More Willing To Share Their Opinions, Study Finds

From Ohio State University, an explanation for the existence of bloggers like Joe Romm and why many moderate scientists don’t speak out. There’s even “fake data” involved.

I’ve seen this phenomenon of extreme views being the most vocal in my own hometown of Chico, where a small vocal group of people often hold sway of the city council because they are the ones that show up up regularly to protest, well, just about anything. The council, seeing this regular vocal feedback, erroneously concludes that the view accurately represents the majority of city residents. The result is a train wreck, and the council sits there scratching their heads wondering why after making such decisions, they get their ears burned off by people unhappy with the decision. Bottom line, we all need to be more active in the public input process if we want decisions to be accurately reflected.


COLUMBUS, Ohio – People with relatively extreme opinions may be more willing to publicly share their views than those with more moderate views, according to a new study.

The key is that the extremists have to believe that more people share their views than actually do, the research found.

The results may offer one possible explanation for our fractured political climate in the United States, where extreme liberal and conservative opinions often seem to dominate.

“When people with extreme views have this false sense that they are in the majority, they are more willing to express themselves,” said Kimberly Rios Morrison, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University.

How do people with extreme views believe they are in the majority?  This can happen in groups that tend to lean moderately in one direction on an issue.  Those that take the extreme version of their group’s viewpoint may believe that they actually represent the true views of their group, Morrison said. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Ministers fail to agree on climate financing

Discord reigned supreme at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday (20 October), with the most notable failure in the area of climate financing.

The Swedish EU presidency had hoped to reach an agreement on individual member state contributions towards a EU pot of funding, destined to help developing countries tackle climate change.

Swedish finance minister Anders Borg (centre) struggled to get EU states to agree on Tuesday (Photo: Swedish Presidency)

"It is a disappointing outcome, that we weren't able to reach an agreement," said Swedish finance minister Anders Borg after the meeting.

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken described the meeting as a "fiasco", adding that the likelihood of failing to secure a global deal in Copenhagen this December to replace the Kyoto protocol was now "very real." (EUobserver)

 

No EU consensus on climate aid

European Union finance ministers failed to agree Tuesday on how much money they should offer poor nations, so now it's up to the EU's 27 leaders to try to reach a deal on an aid figure next week in Brussels. (CoP15)

 

Methane to Markets Partnership Spurs Global GHG Reductions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a new report that shows the international Methane to Markets (M2M) Partnership has significantly reduced methane emissions. In 2008, U.S.-supported M2M projects delivered methane emissions reductions of more than 26 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, roughly the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 4.7 million passenger vehicles. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times as potent as CO2.

The M2M Partnership is a public-private partnership that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by promoting the cost-effective, near-term recovery and use of methane, while providing clean energy to markets around the world. (EPA)

So, having atmospheric methane levels rise for the first time in a decade is a "success"? Okay...

 

EU agreement to curb CO2 emissions from planes and ships

European environment ministers have agreed to cut global emissions by 10 percent from planes and 20 percent from ships. (CoP15)

 

China, India to jointly counter West on climate change

Notwithstanding the border dispute, India and China have agreed to jointly counter global pressure on emission cuts and extend their cooperation in climate change beyond the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December. (Deccan Herald)

 

The Hundred Billion Dollar Question - Senator Barnaby Joyce.

In Senate Economics Estimates today, Senator Joyce asked the CSIRO the million dollar question, or should that be the hundred billion dollar question, “Will the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme change the temperature of the globe?”

The answer confirmed my worst fears in that I could not get the answer “Yes”. I was told it would depend on global factors of course! There will be no global factors if the rest of the world is not part of a global scheme. The CSIRO was sensibly and more inclined to tell me that my question was a policy issue. That is correct as it lacks scientific credibility that there will be any discernable change in the climate by reason of an Australian ETS. Later in the morning, the chief scientist said there would be a change in the climate by way of an Australian Emissions Trading Scheme. She also acknowledged there would be a change in the climate if I personally parked my car in the garage.

That is to say an indiscernible change, apart from the fact that the process involved in the most absurd form of minutia, follows the same mathematics as the overall equation of climate change.

The Australian Emissions Trading Scheme is merely a policy, a political statement, a gesture. The cost to the Australian citizen of this massive new tax associated with it, is very real however.

If you are involved in the emission of carbon, which might be from anything as obscure as ironing your clothes, cooking dinner, putting fertiliser on your field or pouring a concrete slab for your house, you will pay the tax. You may not see it but you will definitely pay it.

The removal of wealth from your life and transferred to the Treasury will be discernable, with the commission going to stock brokers and bankers on the way through.

I have to query, is the purpose of the Emissions Trading Scheme to cool the planet, which clearly it will not do, or is it to prop up a parlous state of our Government finances? The more I hear, the more I am inclined to the latter.

Australians will deliver tens of billions of dollars to the Treasury by reason of this tax in the near future.

There is far more empirical evidence in what it will cost you, the resident of Australia, than any scientific evidence that an emissions scheme will do anything for the climate. (Senator Barnaby Joyce)

 

First, find your problem, then "address it": Engineering a Cooler Planet

Four years ago, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner wrote a bestseller called “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” (which begat a popular blog, now at the Times). The sequel, “Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance,” was officially published yesterday but has been heatedly debated for over a week in opinionland, primarily the “global cooling” bit.

That ongoing ruckus is not our topic today. Rather, it’s the robust discussion the controversy has kicked up on the new-fangled environmental strategy known as geoengineering. (Eric Etheridge, The Opinionator)

If gorebull warming ever becomes a problem then yes, we have the technical means to address it through geoengineering but no, there is no indication we will ever actually need to cool the planet.

 

More debunking of the Yarrow Axford midge study: glaciers releasing pollutants into lakes years later.

From the American Chemical Society via Eurekalert yet another reason why we asked “did you check the lake for DDT?”. Also, a review of Miller et al 2005 suggests that Baffin Island glaciers are significant with 37,000 square kilometers of area out of 507,451 square kilometers.

In the press release on the Yarrow Axford study at UC, they say: “The ancient lake sediment cores are the oldest ever recovered from glaciated parts of Canada or Greenland.”

Thus it is certainly not unreasonable to conclude that the lake is a collection point for glacial meltwater. So again I ask the question: did you check the lake for DDT?

Glacial melting may release pollutants in the environment

Those pristine-looking Alpine glaciers now melting as global warming sets in may explain the mysterious increase in persistent organic pollutants in sediment from certain lakes since the 1990s, despite decreased use of those compounds in pesticides, electric equipment, paints and other products. That’s the conclusion of a new study, scheduled for the Nov. 1 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the study, Christian Bogdal and colleagues focused on organic pollutants in sediment from a model body of water –– glacier-fed Lake Oberaar in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland –– testing for the persistent organic pollutants, including dioxins, PCBs, organochlorine pesticides and synthetic musk fragrances. They found that while contamination decreased to low levels in the 1980s and 1990s due to tougher regulations and improvements in products, since the late 1990s flow of all of these pollutants into the lake has increased sharply. Currently, the flow of organochlorines into the lake is similar to or even higher than in the 1960s and 1970s, the report states. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

More proof of the Medieval Warm Period from midges

The whole can of larvae opened up by the flawed University of Colorado study turned press release keeps getting squirmier. The study, led by Yarrow Axford studies midge larvae in sediment cores from Baffin Island to reconstruct temperature for the past and claims that “The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores,” and “We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on Earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes.”

As I’ve pointed out on WUWT several times, the study is terribly flawed, because they haven’t considered other possible factors, such as DDT and other pesticides being transported into the lake from nearby military outposts and settlements, plus the tendency for transport or organotoxins into glacial ice which ends up in meltwater lakes. Plus the nearby weather station shows no significant warming.

WUWT reader “Ecotretas” points out this July 2009  peer reviewed study Evidence for a warmer period during the 12th and 13th centuries AD from
chironomid assemblages in Southampton Island, Nunavut, Canada
by Nicholas Rolland et al, which uses the same techniques, but just one island west of Baffin:

southhampton_island

The Rolland et al study temperature reconstruction shows a significantly different result than that of Axford: Read the rest of this entry »

 

COOLING, WARMING AND THE TRACK RECORD OF CLIMATE MODELS

Norm Kalmanovitch <kalhnd@shaw.ca>

Dear Benny,

The pollution resulting from the rapid uncontrolled post war industrial expansion spawned two environmentalist movements. One group primarily composed of physical scientists and engineers set about to directly address the pollution problems by developing facilities and legislative controls that have to date virtually eliminated industrial contamination of soil, water and air.

A second group primarily composed of activists with little or no physical science background did nothing but protest against industry without ever having addressed a single environmental problem for which they created a solution.

While the physical scientists and engineers worked quietly with industry solving the environmental problems, the ideology driven environmentalist activists, used dramatic alarmist rhetoric to gain media control and have become a dominant political force capable of forcing their self serving ideologies on the general public with impunity.

The Earth entered a cooling phase in 1942, and by 1970 the environmentalists found a way to blame this cooling on industrial expansion. The concept was that particulate matter from fossil fuel usage was blocking energy from the sun giving this cooling effect. This concept was incorporated as a parameter in the crude climate models of the time, and the predictions from models run by James Hansen in 1971 projected fifty years of further cooling from the increased use of fossil fuels.

Only four years later, and in spite of the continued increase in fossil fuel usage global cooling came to an end, proving that the models did not have a proper physical basis for relating fossil fuel usage to global cooling.

By 1988, after 13 years of global warming the ideological environmentalists developed a new tact for blaming fossil fuels. The British Government had embarked on a political campaign to promote their nuclear industry and attack the powerful coal unions by creating alarmist scenarios of "runaway global warming" resulting from CO2 produced by coal and other fossil fuels. This was entirely political in nature with absolutely no scientific backing, but it did make the perfect weapon for the environmentalists to promote their anti energy (and anti humanity) ideology. All that was needed was some scientific justification.

As was done in 1971, climate models which were now far more sophisticated provided the science backing. Instead of blaming fossil fuels for blocking incoming solar radiation, the models removed this parameter and replaced it with a newly contrived parameter that now related global warming to the effect of fossil fuel sourced CO2 on the outgoing thermal radiation from the Earth.

This model also produced by James Hansen, projected warming for the next century because of the fossil fuel CO2 emissions that were increasing at a continued accelerated rate. As with the 1971 model, the 1988 model was proven to be false when global warming ended after 1998 even as CO2 emissions continued to rise at unprecedented rates. To make matters worse since 2002, the Earth has been cooling making all of the projections clearly in the wrong direction.

By even the most basic standards of ethical science, models that first predict cooling from fossil fuel usage that are discredited just four years later when warming occurs with increased usage, and then predict warming from fossil fuel usage and are again discredited ten years later as cooling reoccurs with increased usage, would be declared absolutely invalid; but when ideology is involved science protocol is totally abandoned.

As a result of the alarmist predictions of the 1988 climate models of Hansen, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed under the auspices of the United Nations. This body was given a science mandate to investigate the possibility of human effects on climate to determine if the projections of Hansen were valid.

The true nature of the IPCC was not that of a science based body, but that of a political body to give scientific legitimacy to false alarmist predictions in order to meet a political self serving environmentalist agenda. Since its inception, the IPCC has used its position of authority to promote its agenda to the detriment of science and even more importantly to the detriment of the global population.

From 1997 to 1998 the average global temperature increased by over half a degree C and from 1998 to 1999 the average global temperature fell by over half a degree C. This was due to an extraordinary el Niño and has nothing to do with either the greenhouse effect or CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions increased from 24.0gt/y in 1997 to 24.2gt/y in 1998 to 24.4gt/y in 1999).

An honest scientific body would have made some sort of statement to this effect, but the IPCC in their 2001 Third Assessment Report and particularly in their Summary for Policy Makers for this report not only made no mention of the fact that from 1998 to 1999 the Earth cooled more than it had ever cooled during the entire global temperature record, but emphatically stated that from 1997 to 1998 the Earth had warmed more than it ever had.

This is an absolute violation of science ethics because the policy makers were purposely misinformed with alarmist rhetoric. This same 2001 report also stated that the observed global warming for the past century which they stated was attributable to CO2 emissions was measured at 0.60°C + 0.20°C. This is only 0.006°C per year making the el Niño temperature spike over eighty times greater than what the IPCC stated was attributable to CO2 emissions, so it is clear that this was stated for the purpose of politically motivated alarmism and not to properly convey information in a scientifically justified manner.

The 2001 IPCC report also included the infamous MBH98 “Hockey Stick” temperature proxy which used physical temperature measurement data up to and including 1998 which gave the alarmist impression of twice the 20th century warming because 1999 was not included.

The Hockey Stick graph became the pivotal evidence that convinced governments around the world to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, that has resulted in such detrimental effects to the global population and global economy.

In this regard the el Niño temperature spike of 1998 may be considered the most significant climate event in recent history, and when one considers the hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people starving because of Kyoto biofuel initiatives that has literally taken their food away and made it into “Kyoto friendly” fuel, this el Niño might also be considered the most tragic climate event as well.

Through diligence and hard work physical scientists were able to correct most of the environmental problems that had been created through industrialization, but there is no scientific effort capable of undoing the damage caused to the global population by the ideological environmentalists. This issue is now out of the hands of the scientists and the only salvation for the global population is the media who must readopt their lost journalistic integrity and expose the true nature of this global fraud.

Norm Kalmanovitch
Calgary Canada

PS This link to a 1999 article is very enlightening http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ba299.pdf (via CCNet)

 

Recent Papers On The Uncertainty and Biases In the Long Term Assessment Of The Global Average Surface Temperature Trend

The  multi-decadal global surface temperature trend is used (inappropriately; e.g. see) as the primary metric to diagnose the magnitude of global warming and cooling. This post lists major unresolved issues with the use of this surface temperature trend metric, along with examples of recent papers and weblog posts that build on the set of problems identified in our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

 Issues with the global average surface temperature trend assessment [the sections are from the Pielke et al 2007 paper]:

  • The use of one average temperature trend, which neglects that long wave cooling is proportional to the 4th power of temperature. This is a warm bias if the predominance of temperature increases are at cold absolute temperatures and a cool bias if at warm absolute temperatures [Section 2].

An Error In The Construction Of A Single Global Average Surface Temperature

Guest weblog by Lucia Liljegren

  • There is a warm (cool) bias when the temperature measurements are just at one level near the surface and an overlying stably stratified boundary layer warms (cools) [Section 3].

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.

Lin, X., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, K.C. Crawford, M. A. Shafer, and T. Matsui, 2007: An examination of 1997-2007 surface layer temperature trends at two heights in Oklahoma. Geophys. Res. Letts., 34, L24705, doi:10.1029/2007GL031652.

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., in press.

  • The use of temperature data from poorly station sited locations introduces local non-spatially representative climate effects. This could be either a warming or cooling effect when the local environment of the siting changes over time [Section 4].

Brooks, Ashley Victoria. M.S., Purdue University, May, 2007. Assessment of the Spatiotemporal Impacts of Land Use Land Cover Change on the Historical Climate Network Temperature Trends in Indiana. Major Professors: Dev Niyogi and Michael Baldwin.

Jamiyansharav, K., D. Ojima, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2006: Exposure characteristics of the Mongolian weather stations. Atmospheric Science Paper No. 779, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, 75 pp.

Watts, A. 2009: Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable? 28 pages, March 2009 The Heartland Institute.

  • The effect of concurrent multi-decadal near surface water vapor trends complicates the interpretation of long term temperature trends. If the location becomes drier (wetter) the actual heat in Joules of the surface air can decrease (increase) due just to this effect even if the long term surface temperature trend were zero [Section 5].

Davey, C.A., R.A. Pielke Sr., and K.P. Gallo, 2006: Differences between near-surface equivalent temperature and temperature trends for the eastern United States – Equivalent temperature as an alternative measure of heat content. Global and Planetary Change, 54, 19–32.

Fall, S., N. Diffenbaugh, D. Niyogi, R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Rochon, 2009:  Temperature and equivalent temperature over the United States (1979 – 2005). Int. J. Climatol., submitted.

  • There remains an important statistical spread with the time of observation and instrument adjustments which necessarily introduces an uncertainty in the magnitude of the long term trends in surface air temperatures [Section 6] . There is also the dependence of nearby surface stations when the “homogenization” of the surface temperature trend data is applied in order to calculate a regional average [Section 7]. This later effect reduces the confidence in the magnitudes of the trends that are obtained since the stations are adjusted to some extent to conform to each other.

Pielke Sr., R.A. J. Nielsen-Gammon, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, N. Doesken, M. Cai., S.  Fall, D. Niyogi, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, X. Lin, H. Li, and S. Raman, 2007: Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88:6, 913-928.

  • The effect of land use/land cover change on the surface temperature trends [Section 9]. This effect seems to be mostly a warming effect, although situations such as conversion to irrigation would be cooling effect during the growing season.

Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, D.  ”>Niyogi, G. Bonan, P. Lawrence, B. Baker, R. McNider, C. McAlpine, A. Etter, S. Gameda, B. Qian, A. Carleton, A. Beltran-Przekurat, T. Chase, A.I. Quintanar, J.O. Adegoke, S. Vezhapparambu, G. Conner, S. Asefi, E. Sertel, D.R. Legates, Y. Wu, R. Hale, O.W. Frauenfeld, A. Watts, M. Shepherd, C. Mitra, V.G. Anantharaj, S. Fall,R. Lund, A. Nordfelt, P. Blanken, J. Du, H.-I. Chang, R. Leeper, U.S. Nair, S. Dobler, R. Deo, and J. Syktus, 2009: Impacts of land use land cover change on climate and future research priorities. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Submitted.

Fall, S., D. Niyogi, A. Gluhovsky, R. A. Pielke Sr., E. Kalnay, and G. Rochon, 2009: Impacts of land use land cover on temperature trends over the continental United States: Assessment using the North American Regional Reanalysis. Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.1996.

We look forward to further papers on these uncertainties and biases in the use of the use of the surface air temperature to diagnose global climate heat changes. To avoid these problems with respect to their use to diagnose global warming and cooling, however, upper ocean heat content changes should be adopted as the primary approach, as recommended most recently in

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55

and

Douglass, D.H. and R. Knox, 2009: Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance. Physics letters A. (Climate Science)

 

Motorcycle deaths rise as gas prices go up

NEW YORK - As gas prices rise, more people switch to motorcycles -- and more people die in motorcycle accidents, results of a new study indicate.

"If gas prices increase by a dollar, that leads to about 1,500 more people dying a year on motorcycles," Dr. Fernando A. Wilson of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth told Reuters Health.

While deaths in car crashes have been falling steadily since the 1990s, motorcycle accident fatalities have risen, Wilson and his team note in the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

To investigate whether price increases at the pump might be a factor, they looked at data from the Fatality Accident Reporting System, which covers every single vehicle-related death on US roads.

Gas prices, in 2007 dollars, fell from $2.06 a gallon in 1990 to $1.36 a gallon in 1998, the researchers found, while the percentage of registered vehicles represented by motorcycles dropped from 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent during that time. But from 1998 to 2006, gas prices nearly doubled, to $2.70 a gallon. And the percentage of motorcycles representing registered vehicles rose too, to 2.7 percent. (Reuters Health)

 

Greenpeace: Optimists, Apologists, Opposition and Principled Action

Greenpeace has a new report out -- called Business as Usual (PDF) -- critical of the House and Senate approaches to climate policy now working their way through the Congress. I don't agree with everything in the report, but one point I strongly agree with is its highlighting of the prominent role given to coal: (Roger Pielke Jr)

Well yes, if carbon dioxide were a problem. Since it is not this is just another idiotic attack on the energy supply.

 

Understanding E = mc2

Ed. note: A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing William Tucker speak at a conference in Washington, DC. His explanation of E = mc2 was the best I had ever heard. Even better, Tucker explained how Einstein's equation applied to renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro. His lecture was a revelation. It showed that the limits of renewable energy have nothing to do with politics or research dollars, but rather with simple mathematics. During a later exchange of emails with Tucker, I praised his lecture and suggested he write an article that explained E = mc2 and its corollary, E = mv2.

To my delight, he informed me that he'd already written such an essay and he agreed that we could publish it in Energy Tribune.

I love this essay. And I'm proud that Tucker has allowed us to run it. -Robert Bryce (Energy Tribune)

 

Soaring Oil Raises Fresh Possibility Of Windfall Profits Tax On Crude

Oil's surge to $82 a barrel in intraday trading Wednesday is significant for two reasons.

First, it represents a 2009 high. In February, oil fetched just $34 a barrel. Second, and more ominously, prices for the first time in a year are butting up against what President Barack Obama believes is a legitimate price for a barrel of crude.

It seems so long ago when oil prices were a grave political issue, with public officials decrying how $140 oil was crushing the average American.

Republicans proposed opening up off-limits energy reserves to treat what they considered a supply-and-demand problem. Democrats suggested large companies were purposefully manipulating the price of their product. Their solution was to institute a punitive tax on so-called windfall profits. (Max Schultz, IBD)

 

Brazil Drivers Ditch Biofuel Over High Sugar Costs

SAO PAULO - Some Brazilian motorists who fuel their cars solely on cane-based ethanol are switching back to gasoline as high sugar prices now make the biofuel more costly in some states.

Brazil is a pioneer in biofuel with its millions of flex-fuel cars that can run solely on ethanol or gasoline, or any mixture of both. Usually cheaper than gasoline, drivers needed no persuasion to switch when flex-fuel arrived in 2003.

But as mills use cane to produce more sugar in response to a world deficit that pushed prices to near their highest in three decades, prices for ethanol, made using the same cane, have leapt up to 50 percent in places in just a few months. (Reuters)

 

Germany's renewable myth - Germany is seen as a leader in renewable energy, but its experience has been a costly waste

An aggressive policy of generously subsidizing and effectively mandating “renewable” electricity generation in Germany has led to a doubling of the renewable contribution to electricity generation in recent years.

This preference came primarily in the form of a subsidy policy based on feed-in tariffs, established in 1991 by the Electricity Feed-in Law, requiring utilities to accept and remunerate the feed-in of “green” electricity at 90 percent of the retail rate of electricity, considerably exceeding the cost of conventional electricity generation.

A subsequent law passed in 2000 guaranteed continued support for 20 years. This requires utilities to accept the delivery of power from independent producers of renewable electricity into their own grid, paying technology-specific feed-in tariffs far above their production cost of ¢2.9-10.2 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

With a feed-in tariff of ¢59 per kWh in 2009, solar electricity generated from photovoltaics (PV) is guaranteed by far the largest financial support among all renewable energy technologies.

Currently, the feed-in tariff for PV is more than eight times higher than the wholesale electricity price at the power exchange and more than four times the feed-in tariff paid for electricity produced by on-shore wind turbines.

Even on-shore wind, widely regarded as a mature technology, requires feed-in tariffs that exceed the per-kWh cost of conventional electricity by up to 300% to remain competitive.

By 2008 this had led to Germany having the second-largest installed wind capacity in the world, behind the United States, and largest installed PV capacity in the world, ahead of Spain. This explains the claims that Germany’s feed-in tariff is a great success.

Installed capacity is not the same as production or contribution, however, and by 2008 the estimated share of wind power in Germany’s electricity production was 6.3%, followed by biomass-based electricity generation (3.6%) and water power (3.1%). The amount of electricity produced through solar photovoltaics was a negligible 0.6% despite being the most subsidized renewable energy, with a net cost of about $12.4 billion for 2008. (Manuel Frondel, Nolan Ritter and Colin Vance, Financial Post)

 

High Capital Costs Plague Solar (RPS mandates, cost dilution via energy mixing required) Part II

Renewable energy generates a larger portion of the world’s electricity each year. But in relative terms, solar power generation is hardly a blip on the energy screen despite its long history of technological development. Solar-generated electricity has one major advantage over it’s more ubiquitous cousin wind power: electricity is generated during typical peak demand hours making this option attractive to utilities that value solar electricity for peak shaving. However, the capital cost of all the solar technologies are about $5,000/kW and higher and projects are moving forward only in particular regions within the U.S. with tough RPS requirements and subsidies from states and the federal government.

In Part I, we reviewed the enormous scale and capital cost considerations of photovoltaic projects and then introduced the standard taxonomy of central solar power generating plants. By far the favored technology for utility-scale projects is the concentrated solar power (CSP) option that either produces thermal energy that produces electricity in the familiar steam turbine process or by concentrating the sun’s thermal energy on an air heat exchanger to produce electricity via a gas turbine. In this Part II, we review a sampling of recent projects. In sum, CSP and Stirling engine technology appears to be favored in the U.S., while the “turbine on a stick” projects are gaining a foothold elsewhere.

The final post will explore the latest developments in hybrid projects that combine many of the available solar energy conversion technologies with conventional fossil-fueled technologies. Hybrid projects offer the opportunity for utilities to reduce fuel costs, while simultaneously helping utilities cope with onerous renewable portfolio mandates. (Robert Peltier, Master Resource)

 

GM's Lauckner wishes for bigger incentives to get drivers out of gas-powered vehicles

At this point, it's no secret that the Chevy Volt and other plug-in vehicles are not going to come cheap. About the least pricey full-speed electric vehicle may very well be the Nissan Leaf, which after incentives may be in the $27-28,000 range before the extra cost of leasing the battery. While the operational costs of these cars should be substantially less than any internal combustion vehicle, customers rarely think that far ahead when signing up for a car loan. That's especially true when gas remains well under $3 a gallon here in the US.

Speaking at the Business of Plugging In Conference in Dearborn, Michigan this week, GM's VP of Global Program Management told the audience that incentives will need to be increased for plug-in vehicles to start gaining a real foothold in the US market.

Although GM won't announce pricing until its launch a year from now, most observers expect the Volt to run about $40,000. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, it will still be well over $30,000, which is very expensive for a compact car. Unless gas prices get significantly higher or incentives are increased, most buyers are unlikely to find this or other plug-ins to be a good economic proposition. (Auto Blog)

 

Stewart Brand’s ‘Ecopragmatism’

091021brandcover220

In the 1960s, Stewart Brand became one of the country’s first and most famous champions of a new ecological awareness. His Whole Earth Catalog spoke to a generation of hippies and back-to-nature commune dwellers.

Now, at 70, Stewart Brand is calling on environmentalists to reframe their understanding of the problem — and solutions. It’s too late for back-to-nature, he says. Global warming is beyond that.

To survive now, Brand says, we need nuclear power, genetic engineering, giant cities. We must manage nature or lose civilization.

This hour, On Point: In the face of global warming, Stewart Brand redefines green. (On Point Radio)

 

Brand vs. Lovins On Nuclear Power

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand

In today’s first hour, Whole Earth guru Stewart Brand and energy expert Amory Lovins debated whether the U.S. should build more nuclear power plants in the effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Brand’s new book, “Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto,”  takes on a number of what he calls environmental “pieties,” including opposition to nuclear power. He says nuclear is now “green” — and that we can’t afford to oppose it any longer on the old grounds, given the urgent need to address climate change. 

Amory Lovins

Amory Lovins

Lovins has recently argued against Brand’s view, in a posting at Grist.org, and he layed out his case for us on the air today.

It all mirrors a debate in Washington about whether more nuclear power should be a serious component of a new energy-climate bill.

You can listen to the exchange here:

(On Point Radio)

 

Myocardial Infractions

Six years ago, when I asked an epidemiologist about a report that a smoking ban in Helena, Mont., had cut heart attacks by 40 percent within six months, he thought the idea was so ridiculous that no one would take it seriously. He was wrong.

Since then, 10 other studies have attributed substantial short-term reductions in heart attacks to smoking bans, and last week an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee endorsed their findings. But a closer look at the IOM report, which was commissioned by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests its conclusions are based on a desire to promote smoking bans rather than a dispassionate examination of the evidence.

Thousands of jurisdictions around the world restrict smoking. Some of them are bound to see significant drops in heart attacks purely by chance, while others will see no real change or significant increases. Focusing on the first group proves nothing unless it is noticeably bigger than the other two groups.

The largest study of this issue, which used nationwide data instead of looking at cherry-picked communities, concluded that smoking bans in the U.S. "are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction." It also found that "large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature." (Jacob Sullum, Townhall)

 

Global immunizations hit record but miss millions

WASHINGTON - Global efforts to immunize children against life-threatening diseases set a record high last year but failed to protect millions of youngsters in the world's poorest countries, health officials said on Wednesday.

A joint report by the World Health Organization, United Nations and World Bank said 106 million babies under the age of 1 were vaccinated in 2008, while a record 120 vaccines became available against a host of diseases from measles and flu to meningitis and a virus linked to cancer.

The data provide a snapshot of an immunization boom that has tripled the global vaccine market to $17 billion in eight years and set off a renaissance of vaccine development aimed at AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and dengue fever.

The report coincides with new efforts to provide the world with a vaccine against the H1N1 flu that WHO declared a pandemic in June.

Immunization, in a downward spiral before 2000, has gained momentum in recent years partly through a financing partnership among WHO, the U.N. childrens' fund UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The partnership, known as the GAVI Alliance, also includes drug makers such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG, Crucell NV, Merck & Co. Inc., Sanofi Pasteur and Wyeth.

As a result of recent efforts, vaccines now reach more than 200 million children in developing countries.

But the report also acknowledged significant shortcomings in the immunization campaign, saying that 24 million infants -- almost 20 percent of the children born each year -- did not receive first-year-of-life vaccinations that are common in the wealthiest countries.

The children who missed out typically live in poorly served remote rural areas, deprived urban settings, fragile states and strife-torn regions, mostly in Africa and Asia. (Reuters)

 

Parsing Pelosi: House Health Takeover Would Cost around $2.25 Trillion

Just like the Senate Finance Committee’s government takeover, the House of Representatives’ government takeover hides more than half of its cost by pushing those costs off the government’s budget and onto the private sector.

So when Speaker Pelosi says the House bill would cost under $900 billion, what she actually means is that it would cost around $2.25 trillion. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Medicare for Everyone?

According to The Hill, House Democrats are considering re-branding their new government-run health insurance program.  A “public option” evidently isn’t catchy enough.  Now they’re thinking, “Medicare Part E” as in, Medicare for Everyone.

By all means, model a new government program after Medicare, which:

Pleeeeease don’t throw me into that briar patch. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Universal Coverage Means ‘Willing to Let You Die Sooner’

I cannot disagree with Uwe Reinhardt’s response to my previous post at National Journal’s Health Care Experts blog. But his response bears clarification and emphasis.

Improving “population health” generally means “helping people live longer.”

To paraphrase, Reinhardt then writes:

If helping people live longer were our objective in health reform, we could do better than universal coverage. But health reform is not (solely or primarily) about helping people live longer. It is (also or primarily) about other things, like relieving the anxiety of the uninsured.

I applaud Reinhardt for acknowledging a reality that most advocates of universal coverage avoid: that universal coverage is not solely or primarily about improving health.

Will Reinhardt go further and acknowledge that, since universal coverage is largely about some other X-factor(s), that necessarily means that advocates of universal coverage are willing to let some people die sooner in order to serve that X-factor?

(Cross-posted at National Journal’s Health Care Experts blog.) (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Nice Insurance Company. Shame If Anything Were to Happen to It.

Just days after the health-insurance lobby released a report criticizing the Senate Finance Committee’s health care overhaul (for not expanding government enough!), Democrats and President Barack Obama lashed out at health insurers, threatening to revoke what the Government Accountability Office calls the insurers’ “very limited exemption from the federal antitrust laws.”

Democrats say they’re motivated by the need to increase competition in health insurance markets.  Right.

According to Business Week:

David Hyman, a professor of law and medicine at the University of Illinois College of Law and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute…considers it unlikely that repeal would fundamentally change the nature of the market. While it might increase competition in some markets, he says, it could actually decrease it in others, such as those where small insurers survive because they have access to larger providers’ data. Changes to the act could therefore hurt smaller companies more than larger ones, he says.

Because the act doesn’t outlaw the existence of a dominant provider but simply prohibits collusion, says Hyman, a repeal would fall short of breaking up existing market monopolies that are blamed for artificially inflating prices. The current move against [the] McCarran-Ferguson [Act], he says, “has more to do with the politics of pushing back against the insurance industry’s opposition to health reform than it does with increasing competition in health-insurance markets.”

Combined with what The New York Times described as the Obama administration’s “ham-handed” attempt to censor insurers who communicated with seniors about the effects of the president’s health plan — the Times editorialized: “the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had to stretch facts to the breaking point to make a weak case that the insurers were doing anything improper” — it’s hard to argue that this is anything but Democrats threatening to use the power of the state to punish dissidents.

When Republicans were in power, dissent was the highest form of patriotism.  Now that Democrats are in power, obedience is the highest form of patriotism. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Cancer Society, in Shift, Has Concerns on Screenings

The American Cancer Society, which has long been a staunch defender of most cancer screening, is now saying that the benefits of detecting many cancers, especially breast and prostate, have been overstated.

It is quietly working on a message, to put on its Web site early next year, to emphasize that screening for breast and prostate cancer and certain other cancers can come with a real risk of overtreating many small cancers while missing cancers that are deadly.

“We don’t want people to panic,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the cancer society. “But I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated.” (Gina Kolata, NYT)

 

Farmers' pesticides may not raise heart risks

NEW YORK - Good news for men who farm U.S. fields. Regular exposure to pesticides used commonly on the farm does not appear to increase the risk of heart attack.

As part of the Agricultural Health Study, between 1993 and 1997, researchers asked more than 54,000 male farmers what pesticides they used regularly, how much time they spent using tractors and other farm equipment, and whether they raised poultry or other livestock.

Dr. Jane A. Hoppin, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and colleagues surveyed roughly 32,000 of these men 5 years later and discovered 839 non-fatal heart attacks.

They also followed the entire study population for nearly 12 years on average and found that a total of 476 farmers died from heart attack.

In analyses adjusted for factors that might increase heart attack risk, such as older age, smoking and being overweight, the researchers found some suggestion of an increased risk of heart attack with exposure to six specific pesticides, although the link was not statistically significant.

These pesticides were the organochlorines aldrin and DDT, the herbicide 2,4,5-T, the fumigant ethylene dibromide, and the fungicides maneb and ziram.

By contrast, five other pesticides - carbaryl, terbufos, imazethapyr, pendimethalin, and petroleum oil - seemed to be associated with a somewhat reduced risk of death from heart attack.

However, none of the 49 pesticides were statistically associated with heart attack, nor did the investigators note similar risk due to other farm-related "exposures."

In a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Hoppin and colleagues point out that farmers commonly have heart attack rates lower than those of the general population.

Hoppin and colleagues say further investigations are needed to confirm their findings and to assess short- and long-term heart-related risks from exposure to pesticides. (Reuters Health) [em added]

 

Shellfish may raise diabetes risk: study

NEW YORK - Eating white and oily fish regularly may provide protection against type 2 diabetes, but eating shellfish may have the opposite effect, a study from the UK hints.

The study team noted about 25 percent less risk type 2 diabetes among men and women who reported eating one or more, as opposed to fewer, servings of white or oily fish each week.

Unexpectedly, however, they found that men and women who ate similar amounts of shellfish -- primarily prawns, crab, and mussels -- had about 36 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But "it may not be the 'shellfish' per se which increased the risk for diabetes," Dr. Nita Forouhi, of Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Rather, the cooking and preparation methods used in the UK, for example, oils used when frying or butter- and mayonnaise-based sauces served with shellfish, may increase cholesterol intake which, in turn, may raise diabetes risk. (Reuters Health)

 

Fight fat with dairy: Curtin scientist

Contrary to popular belief, new West Australian research shows a higher intake of dairy foods while on a reduced calorie diet can help fight obesity.

As part of her PhD research, Wendy Chan She Ping Delfos, from Curtin University of Technology, compared three serves of dairy with five serves within a lower calorie diet prescribed to overweight participants over 12-weeks.

Dr Chan She Ping Delfos found greater weight loss and reduced risk factors for heart disease and diabetes could ensue.

Subjects who consumed five, rather than three, serves of dairy per day lost more weight and abdominal fat, and had lower blood pressure.

"Many people commonly believe that when trying to lose weight dairy products are key foods that they have to cut out of their diet, as they are high in fat," Dr Chan She Ping Delfos said.

"This study has shown that when trying to lose weight people can actually benefit by increasing the amount of dairy they consume beyond the normally-recommended three daily serves, as long as during the weight loss period total energy intake is less than their requirements. (WA Today)

 

If you need an introduction to Chinese drywall

Check out my latest HND piece.

Some of the good guys involved with trying to solve this problem are...

Spiderman Mulholland and Michael Foreman.

The new ASTM work group has been formed, to develop a peer-reviewed protocol for home inspection--for Chinese drywall, and this will be followed by an accredited protocol for remediation. We will keep you up-to-date as to our progress right on this blog. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

‘Reefer Sanity’

Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post:

Arguments for and against decriminalization of some or all drugs are familiar by now. Distilled to the basics, the drug war has empowered criminals while criminalizing otherwise law-abiding citizens and wasted billions that could have been better spent on education and rehabilitation.

By ever-greater numbers, Americans support decriminalizing at least marijuana, which millions admit to having used, including a couple of presidents and a Supreme Court justice. A recent Gallup poll found that 44 percent of Americans favor legalization for any purpose, not just medical, up from 31 percent in 2000.

Read the whole thing.  For more Cato work, go here. (Tim Lynch, Cato at liberty)

 

Oh blimey... Scientists try to calm '2012' hysteria - As an upcoming action movie fuels Internet rumors, several scientists make public statements: The world will not end in 2012, and Earth is not going to crash into a rogue planet.

Is 2012 the end of the world?

If you scan the Internet or believe the marketing campaign behind the movie "2012," scheduled for release in November, you might be forgiven for thinking so. Dozens of books and fake science websites are prophesying the arrival of doomsday that year, by means of a rogue planet colliding with the Earth or some other cataclysmic event.

Normally, scientists regard Internet hysteria with nothing more than a raised eyebrow and a shake of the head. But a few scientists have become so concerned at the level of fear they are seeing that they decided not to remain on the sidelines this time.

"Two years ago, I got a question a week about it," said NASA scientist David Morrison, who hosts a website called Ask an Astrobiologist. "Now I'm getting a dozen a day. Two teenagers said they didn't want to see the end of the world so they were thinking of ending their lives."

Morrison said he tries to reassure people that their fears are groundless, but has received so many inquiries that he has posted a list of 10 questions and answers on the website of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific ( www.astrosociety.org ).

Titled "Doomsday 2012, the Planet Nibiru and Cosmophobia," the article breaks down the sources of the hysteria and assures people that the ancients didn't actually know more about the cosmos than we do.

"The world will not come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012," E.C. Krupp, director of Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory, declared in a statement released Thursday by the observatory and Sky & Telescope magazine. Krupp debunks the 2012 doomsday idea in the cover story of the magazine's November issue.

Morrison said he attributes the excitement to the conflation of several items into one mega-myth. One is the persistent Internet rumor that a planet called Nibiru or Planet X is going to crash into the Earth. Then there's the fact that the Maya calendar ends in 2012, suggesting that the Maya knew something we don't. Finally, end-of-the-worlders have seized upon the hubbub about the 2012 date to proclaim their belief that end times are drawing near. (Los Angeles Times)

No wonder con artists and scammers find it worth their effort to create and sustain fears over food, chemicals, industry, energy, climate and who knows what else when people are so superstitious and outright gullible...

 

A Nobel Prize for Showing That Freedom Works

Pundits and politicians act as if government can solve almost any problem. At the slightest hint of trouble, the ruling class reflexively assumes that knowledgeable, wise and public-spirited government regulators are capable of riding to the rescue. This certainly is the guiding philosophy of the Obama administration.

So how remarkable it is that this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in economics was shared by Elinor Ostrom, whose life's work demonstrates that politicians and bureaucrats are not nearly as good at solving problems as regular people. Ostrom, the first woman to win the prize (which she shared with Oliver Williamson of UC-Berkeley), is a political scientist at Indiana University. The selection committee said that she has "challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized. Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes and groundwater basins, Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories. She observes that resource-users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts". (John Stossel, Townhall)

 

Experts Worry as Population and Hunger Grow

ROME — Scientists and development experts across the globe are racing to increase food production by 50 percent over the next two decades to feed the world’s growing population, yet many doubt their chances despite a broad consensus that enough land, water and expertise exist.

The number of hungry people in the world rose to 1.02 billion this year, or nearly one in seven people, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, despite a 12-year concentrated effort to cut the number.

The global financial recession added at least 100 million people by depriving them of the means to buy enough food, but the numbers were inching up even before the crisis, the United Nations noted in a report last week.

“The way we manage the global agriculture and food security system doesn’t work,” said Kostas G. Stamoulis, a senior economist at the organization. “There is this paradox of increasing global food production, even in developing countries, yet there is hunger.”

Agronomists and development experts who gathered in Rome last week generally agreed that the resources and technical knowledge were available to increase food production by 50 percent in 2030 and by 70 percent in 2050 — the amounts needed to feed a population expected to grow to 9.1 billion in 40 years.

But the conundrum is whether the food can be grown in the developing world where the hungry can actually get it, at prices they can afford. Poverty and difficult growing conditions plague the places that need new production most, namely sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. (NYT)

 

October 21, 2009

 

USCAP appeasement not working for BP

At the urging of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Obama administration is throwing up roadblocks to BP’s upgrading of a large refinery in northwest Indiana.

Ironically, BP and NRDC are both members of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) that is lobbying for global warming legislation.

We’d call the NRDC a bunch of backstabbers, but then again, BP walked face-first into this one. (Green Hell)

 

Oh my... Hurricane Katrina Victims Have Standing To Sue Over Global Warming

katrinaFor years, leading plaintiffs’ lawyers have promised a legal assault on industrial America for contributing to global warming.

So far, the trial bar has had limited success. The hurdles to such suits are pretty obvious: How do you apportion fault and link particular plaintiffs’ injuries to the pollution emitted by a particular group of defendants?

Today, though, plaintiffs’ lawyers may be a gloating a bit, after a favorable ruling Friday from the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, which is regarded as one of the more conservative circuit courts in the country. Here’s a link to the ruling.

The suit was brought by landowners in Mississippi, who claim that oil and coal companies emitted greenhouse gasses that contributed to global warming that, in turn, caused a rise in sea levels, adding to Hurricane Katrina’s ferocity. (See photo of Bay St. Louis, Miss., after the storm.)

For a nice overview of the ruling, and its significance in the climate change battle, check out this blog post by J. Russell Jackson, a Skadden Arps partner who specializes in mass tort litigation. The post likens the Katrina plaintiffs’ claims, which set out a chain of causation, to the litigation equivalent of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

The central question before the Fifth Circuit was whether the plaintiffs had standing, or whether they could demonstrate that their injuries were “fairly traceable” to the defendant’s actions. The defendants predictably assert that the link is “too attenuated.”

But the Fifth Circuit held that at this preliminary stage in the litigation, the plaintiffs had sufficiently detailed their claims to earn a day in court.

In so holding, the court notably quoted a recent Supreme Court opinion that “accepted as plausible the link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming” along with the fact that “rising ocean temperatures may contribute to the ferocity of hurricanes.” (WSJ)

Never mind that there is some indication warming reduces tropical storms due to increasing wind shear, let's just look at the carbon cycle for a moment:

According to the IPCC, the "natural" carbon cycle is 210 PgC/yr (Petagrams, or billions of metric tons) each year. To this human activity adds a net 3.3 PgC/yr.

3.3 / 210 * 100 = 1.57%. So, all human activity could be claimed 1.57% "culpable" provided there is really a direct relationship between storms and carbon emissions, right? So, regardless of the impossibility of determining whose carbon dioxide molecules might have been involved, how do we calculate that? Assume Katrina had wind speeds of 150mph (don't argue about whether there were any such sustained speeds after landfall, just go with it) -- 150 * 1.57% = 2.36mph, so human activity was responsible for a gentle zephyr and nature responsible for the rest? If nature was responsible for 147.64mph winds what difference an anthropogenic 2.36mph, even if real?

 

Lawyers' Next Victim

Which industry will the trial lawyers go after next? A suit filed by Mississippi property owners who had losses from Hurricane Katrina might provide a glimpse of the mischief to come.

In less than a month, two federal appeals courts have reversed trial court decisions to throw out global warming lawsuits.

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that a class-action suit against energy companies can proceed. In Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, the plaintiffs are alleging that 30 oil, electric and coal companies are liable because they have made products that contributed to the global warming that intensified the effects of Katrina. The plaintiffs are Mississippians whose property was damaged in the 2005 storm.

On Sept. 21, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City reinstated Connecticut v. AEP. In this suit, eight states, the city of New York and three land trusts are seeking an injunction that would order six power companies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Both cases are alarming. Courts shouldn't let plaintiffs sue over global warming when it's nothing more than speculation. But the Comer case is cause for greater concern. (IBD)

 

Hurricane Katrina Victims Have Standing To Sue Over Global Warming

I say BRING IT ON. Finally we’ll get to put this absurdity about the connection between global warming and hurricanes to rest, because, it doesn’t exist. I hope the defense will bring in the findings of Ryan Maue at FSU COAPS as shown below.

12-month running sums of Accumulated Cyclone Energy for the entire globe. 1979-current

From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog

For years, leading plaintiffs’ lawyers have promised a legal assault on industrial America for contributing to global warming.

So far, the trial bar has had limited success. The hurdles to such suits are pretty obvious: How do you apportion fault and link particular plaintiffs’ injuries to the pollution emitted by a particular group of defendants? Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

If a hurricane dies in the middle Atlantic, does it make a sound?

Desperate de jour – trying to locate unreported hurricanes prior to the satellite era by looking through old seismometer records in an attempt to prop up the imagined “global warming equals more hurricanes” connection….which we know doesn’t exist and has been debunked time and again. Most recently is was falsified  yesterday with FSU’s ACE graph, showing hurricane levels at a 30 year low.

Seismograph

From a Geological Society of America press release:

Seismic Noise Unearths Lost Hurricanes

Boulder, CO USA – Seismologists have found a new way to piece together the history of hurricanes in the North Atlantic – by looking back through records of the planet’s seismic noise. It’s an entirely new way to tap into the rich trove of seismic records, and the strategy might help establish a link between global warming and the frequency or intensity of hurricanes.

“Looking for something like hurricane records in seismology doesn’t occur to anybody,” said Carl Ebeling, of Northwestern University in Evanston. “It’s a strange and wondrous combination.”

The research is attempting to address a long-standing debate about whether the warming of sea-surface waters as a result of climate change is producing more frequent or more powerful hurricanes in the North Atlantic. It’s a tough question to answer. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Next Move: Suing the Sun for Unseasonably Cool Weather

The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit, the federal court of appeals where I once clerked, has allowed a class action lawsuit by Hurricane Katrina victims to proceed against a motley crew of energy, oil, and chemical companies.  Their claim: that the defendants’ greenhouse gas emissions raised air and water temperatures on the Gulf Coast, contributing to Katrina’s strength and causing property damage.  Mass tort litigation specialist Russell Jackson calls the plaintiffs’ claims “the litigator’s equivalent to the game ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.’”

In Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, the plaintiffs assert a variety of theories under Mississippi common law, but the main issue at this stage was whether the plaintiffs had standing, or whether they could demonstrate that their injuries were “fairly traceable” to the defendant’s actions.  The court dismissed several claims but held that plaintiffs indeed could allege public and private nuisance, trespass and negligence.  The court also held that these latter claims do not present a so-called “political question” that the court doesn’t have the authority to resolve.  You can read about the Court’s ruling in more detail at the WSJ Law Blog and Jackson’s Consumer Class Actions and Mass Torts Blog.

This is actually the second federal appeals court to rule this way; last month, the Second Circuit (based in New York) held that states, municipalities and certain private organizations had standing to bring federal common law nuisance claims to impose caps on certain companies’ greenhouse gas emissions.  Here’s the opinion in that case, Connecticut v. American Electric Power Company, and you can read a pretty good summary and analysis here.

Both of these cases, which herald a flood of global warming-related litigation, so to speak, owe their continuing vitality to the Supreme Court’s misbegotten 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA.  The 2006-2007 Cato Supreme Court Review covered that case in an insightful article by Andrew Morriss of the University of Illinois.  (To get your copy of the latest (2008-2009) Review, go here.)

I should note from my own experience at the Fifth Circuit that the panel here consisted of the two worst judges on the court — Clinton appointees Carl Stewart and James Dennis — and one of Reagan’s weakest federal appellate appointments, Eugene Davis.  Even Davis, however, wrote separately to note that while he agreed on the standing issue, he would have affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the suit on a different ground (that pesky proximate cause issue).

I predict that the full (16-judge) Fifth Circuit will review this case en banc –and if not that the Supreme Court will eventually take it up (if the district court on remand doesn’t again dispose of the case on causation grounds). (Ilya Shapiro, Cato at liberty)

 

Giant Fish, Big Fish and Minnows of the Liberal Blogosphere

Yesterday was sure interesting. Nothing like a little personal conflict to motivate dozens of emails to me and plenty of comments across the blogosphere. For better or worse I have a much better sense of how the liberal slime machine works in practice, having been inside now a bit. This is all the more ironic because I consider myself to be cut from a similar political cloth to many of those who are engaged in all out war against me. Here are a few reflections.

Here is how it works. The really giant fish -- public intellectuals like Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman -- confer authority on the big fish of the liberal blogosphere. They do so by applauding the work of the big fish and saying that they trust them. This is a useful exchange because the big fish amplify the writings of the giant fish in the blogosphere and do the dirty work of taking down their political opponents by playing some gutter politics that the giant fish would rather not be seen playing. This has the effect of establishing the big fish as people to be listened to, not because they are necessarily right about things, but because the giant fish listen to them and the giant fish set political agendas.

Among these big fish feeding the giant fish are Joe Romm, Brad Delong, RealClimate, and there are of course many others, but these are the ones I have first-hand experience with (lucky me). Each of these professionals has great potential to positively influence policy debates in positive ways. Instead they all actively have chosen to engage in pretty embarrassing and unethical behavior that caters to tribal, echo-chamber politics. Their behavior is not only a poor reflection on them as individuals but it serves to intensify partisan splits and actually work against effective policy making, as has been written about by Cass Sunstein and Clive Crook. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Bloomberg printing misinformation, sourced from Romm? Freakonomics Guys Flunk Science of Climate Change: Eric Pooley

Oct. 20 -- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner are so good at tweaking conventional wisdom that their first book, “Freakonomics,” sold 4 million copies. So when Dubner, an old friend, told me their new book would take on climate change, I was rooting for a breakthrough idea.

No such luck. In “SuperFreakonomics,” their brave new climate thinking turns out to be the same pile of misinformation the skeptic crowd has been peddling for years.

“Obviously, provocation is not last on the list of things we’re trying to do,” Dubner told me the other day. This time, the urge to provoke has driven him and Levitt off the rails and into a contrarian ditch.

Their breezy take on global warming unleashed a barrage of highly detailed criticism from economists and climate experts, including a scientist who is misrepresented in the book.

Dubner wonders why everyone is so angry. In part, it’s because the book’s blithe remedies -- “We could end this debate and be done with it, and move on to problems that are harder to solve,” Levitt told the U.K. Guardian newspaper -- are an insult to the thousands of scientists who have devoted their careers to this crisis.

One of the injured parties is Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford University who is quoted (accurately) as saying that “we are being incredibly foolish emitting carbon dioxide.” Then Dubner and Levitt add this astonishing claim: “His research tells him that carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.”

Provocative, Untrue

That’s provocative, but alas, it isn’t true. Caldeira, like the vast majority of climate scientists, believes cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions is our only real chance to avoid runaway climate change.

“Carbon dioxide is the right villain,” Caldeira wrote on his Web site in reply. He told Joe Romm, the respected climate blogger who broke the story, that he had objected to the “wrong villain” line but Dubner and Levitt didn’t correct it; instead, they added the “incredibly foolish” quote, a half step in the right direction. Caldeira gave the same account to me.

Levitt and Dubner do say that the book “overstates” Caldeira’s position. That’s a weasel word: The book claims the opposite of what Caldeira believes. Caldeira told me the book contains “many errors” in addition to the “major error” of misstating his scientific opinion on carbon dioxide’s role. (Bloomberg)

Actually Ken Caldeira tells the story very differently: "They sent me the draft and I approved it without reading it carefully and I just missed it. … I think everyone operated in good faith, and this was just a mistake that got by my inadequate editing." See Anatomy of a Smear by Roger Pielke Jr for the real story. Pooley appears to be essentially doing the same as Romm. He needs to do some fact checking to see where the misinformation really lies -- he might find a whole new respect for climate skeptics.

 

The Rumors of Our Global-Warming Denial Are Greatly Exaggerated

SuperFreakonomics isn’t even on sale yet, and the attacks on our chapter about global warming are already underway.

A prominent environmental blogger has attacked us. A well-known environmental-advocacy group pressured NPR into reading a statement critical of the book at the end of an interview I had given on Scott Simon’s Weekend Edition show. Even Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong got in on the action before they’d even read the book. (Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics)

 

Global Warming in SuperFreakonomics: The Anatomy of a Smear

Yes, it’s an ancient cliché: a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. But it’s still accurate.

The final chapter in our forthcoming book, SuperFreakonomics, is about global warming: the risks, uncertainties, misperceptions, and proposed solutions. It has already come in for steep criticism by, among others, a prominent environmental blogger and a well-known environmental advocacy group. Their criticism has radiated into the blogosphere, producing many further stories with headlines like “SuperFreakonomics Gets Climate Change Super Freaking Wrong.”

They have given the impression that we are global-warming deniers of the worst sort, and that our analysis of the issue is ideological and unscientific. Most gravely, we stand accused of misrepresenting the views of one of the most respected climate scientists on the scene, whom we interviewed extensively. If everything they said was actually true, it would indeed be a damning indictment. But it’s not. (Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics)

 

Glenn Beck Interviews Lord Monckton - Reveals Inconvenient Truth About Copenhagen Treaty

Take That, Al Baby! Monckton Makes It to the Glenn Beck Radio Program...and Beyond Glenn Beck's third hour of radio this morning delivered a significant blow to the international treaty President Obama is expected to sign in Copenhagen in early December. Mr. Beck spoke for approximately fifteen minutes with Lord Christoper Monckton. A former advisor on science policy to Lady Margaret Thatcher, Monckton has become known around the world as the "Anti Al Gore."

Those who read my previous article, or who have now seen the video of Lord Monckton's October 14th lecture at Bethel University, will already know that his message now extends beyond the global warming lie itself. Rather his Lordship is busily sounding an alarm about where that lie will shortly take us if we do not act quickly to stop it.

Beck and Monckton clearly have an easy conversational rapport. The two have spoken in the past, and both possess an excellent sense of humor. A few humorous moments aside, though, the seriousness of the subject before them was clearly driving the discussion part 1, discussion part 2 . (Kirsten E. Lombard, Right Side News)

 

As Time Runs Short for Global Climate Treaty, Nations May Settle for Interim Steps

WASHINGTON — With the clock running out and deep differences unresolved, it now appears that there is little chance that international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December will produce a comprehensive and binding new treaty on global warming.

The United States and many other major pollutant-emitting countries have concluded that it is more useful to take incremental but important steps toward a global agreement rather than to try to jam through a treaty that is either too weak to address the problem or too onerous to be ratified and enforced.

Instead, representatives at the Copenhagen meeting are likely to announce a number of interim steps and agree to keep talking next year. (NYT)

Will they please give up and put the stupid thing out of our misery? Whatever climate does is out of our control and we can only adapt to it or die and dying is not the most appealing option for most of us.

 

De Boer: No fully fledged treaty in Copenhagen

"We have to focus on what can realistically be done," says UN top climate change official Yvo de Boer. He does not believe in "a fully fledged new international treaty" in Copenhagen. (CoP15)

 

UN climate change chief undaunted

The Copenhagen climate change conference will not produce a new international treaty, the top United Nations climate change official has said, but the meeting will set out the political framework for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"A fully fledged new international treaty under the [UN Framework] Convention [on Climate Change] - I do not think that is going to happen," Yvo de Boer, charged with bringing December's negotiations to a successful conclusion, said in an interview with the Financial Times. "If you look at the limited amount of time remaining to Copenhagen, it's clear."

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in London of 17 of the world's biggest emitters, Mr de Boer predicted governments would agree on the structure of a deal, the technical details of which could be filled in later.

To idealists, including those in some developing country governments and environmental groups, who hoped that this year's conference would produce a replacement to the Kyoto protocol, this might seem like a climbdown.

However, Mr de Boer pointed out: "If you look at the limited amount of time that remains to Copenhagen, we have to focus on what can realistically be done and how that can realistically be framed." (Financial Times)

 

No miracles in London

The two-day meeting in the Major Economies Forum in London ended without news on binding commitments to fight global warming. (CoP15)

 

Luxembourg: EU climate talks collapse

... thank God ...

The debate how to "fight against climate change" has advanced from absurd talk by hosts of dopes to their attempts to actually harm the civilization.

The intellectual little green men no longer discuss whether to screw the world economy but how to do it most optimally. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year are at stake so you may guess that even relatively small disagreements and modifications of previous plans may induce substantial tension.

Moreover, it's obvious that these disgraceful policies are being mixed with egotistic interests of particular nations and individuals and the desire to increase protectionism, wealth redistribution, and other bad things. We are talking about an explosive mixture of junk.

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

 

IPCC Advocate in Chief

The IPCC has a stated mandate to be "policy neutral." In practice its definition of "policy neutrality" is rather loose as it appears to include the lobbying of the U.S. president by the IPCC head, Rajendra Pachauri for policies that he personally favors:
. . . on September 22 President Obama himself spoke at the United Nations when the UN Secretary General had convened an extremely useful meeting on climate change with several world leaders in attendance. . . I had the privilege of addressing the same audience immediately after the speech of the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon and just before President Obama. As I left the podium and President Obama was getting ready to walk in I greeted him briefly and asked for 10 minutes of his time, so that, I thought, I may convince him on the need for US leadership in tackling the challenge of climate change, a requirement that he himself has stressed on several occasions. I hope I will be granted this privilege, hopefully before Copenhagen.

The Nobel Peace Prize, particularly on this occasion, is more about expectations and hope than actual achievement. Mr Obama himself has called the award as a call for action rather than for anything that he has already accomplished.

Having stood before the distinguished audience in Oslo alongside Mr Al Gore in December 2007 on behalf of the IPCC I have experienced the enormous weight of responsibility that this award carries. Not only does the Nobel Prize result in demands from a large number of organisations, institutions and individuals for the time and views of the winners of the award, but it also places a huge burden of expectations that go with its dignity and uniqueness.

President Obama would now be under enormous pressure to perform if not for reasons of deep conviction, which in his case are so evident, but also because the world now expects him in essence to justify through results achieved what the award of the Nobel Peace Prize demands.
Is it appropriate for the IPCC head to be engaged in overt political lobbying? If so, what policies should he be lobbying for, since the IPCC itself doesn't discuss specific policies? Is the IPCC an advisory body or an advocacy organization? (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Gordon Browns His Trousers and Goes Green

When Gordon Brown spoke of ‘catastrophe’ yesterday, he wasn’t talking about his premiership or worrying about the UK under a Tory government.

Brown has always been rather quiet on climate change. His government hasn’t, but he has. We’ve always had the impression that he went along with the greening of New Labour a tad reluctantly. It’s as if he thought there were more pressing matters, even if he wasn’t quite sure what they were.

He suddenly seems to be making up for lost time…

PM warns of climate ‘catastrophe’

The UK faces a “catastrophe” of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister has warned.

Gordon Brown said negotiators had 50 days to save the world from global warming and break the “impasse”.

Fifty days?! Talk about the zeal of the converted.

Radio 4’s The World Tonight summoned climate change secretary Ed Miliband to ask him if Brown was exaggerating:

No, I don’t think he was… The science is very clear about this…

Etc

Which would seem like a good moment to remember the cautionary words of climate scientist Mike Hulme:

The language of catastrophe is not the language of science. It will not be visible in next year’s global assessment from the world authority of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [Note: AR4]. To state that climate change will be “catastrophic” hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science.

Brown’s catastrophism and the catastrophic state of his premiership and government are linked of course. As his authority continues to melt spectacularly, his desperation to connect with the media, the electorate and his party is forced to the surface. A few strong words about catastrophic climate change are about the only straws he has left to cling to. Not that it will cut any ice at the ballot box. Brown is just one more green obstacle for the electorate to navigate around. (Climate Resistance)

 

Treasury in dock 'for failure to force RBS to act ethically'

CAMPAIGN groups will argue in the High Court today that the government is breaking the law by allowing Royal Bank of Scotland to invest in "environmentally damaging and socially irresponsible" projects.

In an unprecedented legal challenge, three groups will argue that the Treasury has failed to stop RBS, which is 70 per cent publicly owned, investing in companies that damage the environment or violate human rights.

The case is being brought by three climate and social justice campaigning groups – Platform, People & Planet and the World Development Movement. They believe taxpayers' funds should be spent only on projects that promote a sustainable and ethical future.

Today's hearing will determine whether their claim can proceed to a full hearing, likely to take place early next year. (The Scotsman)

The result: http://peopleandplanet.org/
A High Court judge today blocked a request for permission to hold a Judicial Review over what People & Planet says is the Treasury’s lack of adequate environmental and human rights consideration of Royal Bank of Scotland’s investments.

This new bandwagon is growing....I just wonder where they get their money from?
http://www.platformlondon.org/funding.asp

Arts Council England - London, Artists Project Earth Ashden Trust, Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, CS Mott Foundation Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Lipman Miliband Foundation, Network for Social Change, Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation, Roddick Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Tedworth Trust
Wallace Global Fund

http://www.lipman-miliband.org.uk/about.htm

The Trust’s first director was socialist intellectual and leading architect of the New Left, Professor Ralph Miliband, who chaired the Trust until his death in 1994. Miliband’s international reputation as an innovatory Marxist scholar, enhanced through his involvement with The Socialist Register, which he co-founded with socialist historian John Saville in 1964, brought the Trust’s open and generous approach to the attention of thousands of potential fund seekers. In June 1995, Miliband’s work for the Trust and his lifelong commitment to socialism were posthumously acknowledged when the Trustees renamed the Trust, the ‘Lipman-Miliband Trust’.

Ralph Miliband is the late father of Ed and David Miliband. The rest of the list looks interesting for another day.

World Development Movement www.wdm.org
We believe that rich countries owe a ‘climate debt’ to the global south. Not only do we need to reduce our emissions drastically, but we also need to provide finance so that poor countries can cope with the climate crisis and develop in a sustainable way. This should not be seen as overseas aid, given out of charity, but reparations for our overuse of the earth’s resources.

Funding
Grants received from the Scottish Executive Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Hadley Trust, the Isvara Foundation, the Ajahma Trust, the R H Southern Trust, the G W Cadbury Charitable Trust, the Body Shop Foundation, Rowans Trust, the Jean Ward Trust, the Leet Hill Charitable Trust, the Awards for All Trust and the Network for Social Change.

Research by Dennis A.

 

Revealed: the UK government strategy for personal carbon rations

Guest post by Dr. Tony Brown

Food_ration_book_UK

From Their Past Your Future - click for website

“Personal carbon rations would have to be mandatory, imposed by Government in the same way that food rationing was introduced in the UK in 1939… Each person would receive an electronic card containing their year’s carbon credits …see the Tyndall Centre’s study on “domestic tradable quotas”… and their recent establishment on the political agenda…the card would have to be presented when purchasing energy or travel services, and the correct amount of carbon deducted. The technologies and systems already in place for direct debit systems and credit cards could be used.”

(Environmental Audit Committee minutes-House Of Commons-London)

Preface. This is a factual account of the highly politicised concept of catastrophic man made climate change. The views quoted above are supported in principle by the UK govt but said to be ahead of their time. However, the means to achieve them are now being quietly introduced into main stream thinking through the systematic use of a political agenda that uses the alarming notion of catastrophic man made climate change as the means to force through a measure of social engineering unequalled in the UK in modern times. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

New hope for climate talks as India takes small step towards deal

India’s climate change policy was in turmoil yesterday as its Environment Minister admitted that he had made a proposal to adjust the country’s position that caps on greenhouse gases should apply only to rich countries.

Jairam Ramesh denied suggesting that India abandon the Kyoto Protocol in a leaked letter to Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, before the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December. He also reaffirmed India’s commitment to the protocol, which imposes binding caps on developed countries’ carbon emissions but does not limit those of the developing world.

However, he admitted sending the letter and suggesting that India should be open to discussing other options in order to shed its reputation as an obstacle to climate change talks. “My note suggested the possibility of some flexibility in India’s stance . . . I have never advocated abandoning the fundamental tenets of the Kyoto Protocol,” he said. (The Times)

 

Is India's climate stance weakening?

With less than two months to go until the big-ticket UN climate change conference in Copenhagen from 7-18 December, are cracks appearing in the tough-as-nails approach that has characterised Indian officialdom?

A leading Indian newspaper reported on Monday that Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suggesting that Delhi should accept a deviation from the 1997 Kyoto protocol on climate change which puts the onus squarely on developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter, if translated into policy, would turn India's negotiating policy on its head.

The government is still to spell out whether or not it has accepted Mr Ramesh's proposal. The leaking of the letter to The Times of India suggests there are differences of opinion within the government on how to approach the negotiations. (BBC)

 

Congress frowns & Ramesh changes climate position

NEW DELHI: Disapproval by Congress and threat of resignation by a key negotiator on Tuesday forced environment minister Jairam Ramesh to take a U-turn on his statement suggesting radical changes in the country’s stated position on climate change.

In a written clarification, the minister reiterated India’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan. He stated that there is no change in India’s position on not accepting monitoring, verification and review of mitigation actions which are domestically driven and its objection to accept an internationally binding emission targets.

In essence, Mr Ramesh’s clarification was silent on the contentious issues raised in his letter to the prime minister. (Economic Times)

 

Andy beat the population drum again: NYT Environment Reporter Suggests: Carbon Credits to One Child Couples?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andrew Revkin, who reports on environmental issues for The New York Times, floated an idea last week for combating global warming: Give carbon credits to couples that limit themselves to having one child.

Revkin later told CNSNews.com that he was not endorsing the idea, just trying to provoke some thinking on the topic.

Revkin participated via Web camera in an Oct. 14 panel discussion on “Covering Climate: What’s Population Got to Do With It” that was held at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. The other participants on the panel were Dennis Dimick, executive editor of National Geographic, and Emily Douglas, web editor for The Nation magazine.

At the event, Revkin said: “Well, some of the people have recently proposed: Well, should there be carbon credits for a family planning program in Africa let's say? Should that be monetized as a part of something that, you know, if you, if you can measurably somehow divert fertility rate, say toward an accelerating decline in a place with a high fertility rate, shouldn't there be a carbon value to that?

“And I have even proposed recently, I can't remember if it's in the blog, but just think about this: Should--probably the single-most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the lights or driving a Prius, it's having fewer kids, having fewer children," said Revkin.

“So should there be, eventually you get, should you get credit--If we're going to become carbon-centric--for having a one-child family when you could have had two or three," said Revkin. "And obviously it's just a thought experiment, but it raises some interesting questions about all this.”

When CNSNews.com later followed up with questions about his comments, Revkin responded in an e-mail.

“I wasn't endorsing any of this, simply laying out the math and noting the reality that if one were serious about the population-climate intersection, it'd be hard to avoid asking hard questions about USA population growth,” wrote Revkin.

“By raising the notion of carbon credits for, say, single-child American families,” he continued, “I was aiming to provoke some thinking about where the brunt of emissions are still coming from on a per-capita basis.”

In a Sept. 19, 2009 blog entry, “Are Condoms the Ultimate Green-Technology?” Revkin cited an August 2009 study by the London School of Economics that highlighted having fewer children as a solution to diminishing our carbon footprint.

The study was sponsored by the British activist group Optimum Population Trust, which advocates reduced population growth.

“More children equal more carbon dioxide emissions,” blogged Revkin. “And recent research has resulted in renewed coverage of the notion that one of the cheapest ways to curb emissions in coming decades would be to provide access to birth control for tens of millions of women around the world who say they desire it. (Edwin Mora, CNSNews.com)

Andy seems to lack the courage of his convictions since he has claimed overpopulation to be the world's greatest threat repeatedly but now says he is not endorsing population reduction or control, merely being willfully provocative. We've crossed keyboards with Andy a few times on this point and our position remains the same: if you are so concerned about too many people Andy, feel free to step off the planet any time, mate.

My opinion of Revkin has changed over time. I used to think he was naïve but harmless. Now I think of him as a closet people-hater.

I find myself impressed -- just not favorably.

 

Dopey blighters... NGOs urge EU to stump up new climate finance

NGOs expressed concern Tuesday that European countries would "cannibalise" aid budgets rather than provide new funding to tackle climate change, after EU ministers failed to agree on the issue.

European finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg failed to agree who will pay what to help developing countries fight global warming after Poland led opposition to plans to boost funding by billions of euros.

Oxfam and other leading non-governmental organisations (NGOs) urged European leaders to put new money on the table, saying it is a "make or break issue" ahead of crunch UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

In a joint statement issued in London, they warned that the failure to promise new funding when EU heads of state meet later this month "could scupper a deal on climate change and set back the fight against poverty". (AFP)

What they don't seem to realize is that the biggest threat to the fight against poverty is gorebull warming hysteria and "climate treaties". To beat poverty requires cheap energy and wealth generation, the two things the AGW fraud is designed to attack.

 

Climate change: Global issue spurs global protest

Could climate change spark the first worldwide grassroots movement?

Even as politicians dial down expectations for the December 7-18 UN climate talks in Copenhagen, analysts and activists detect a groundswell of anger, channelled through the Internet and voiced especially by the young, demanding action on global warming.

Conventional wisdom says environmental issues wax at times of prosperity and wane when belts are tightened.

But these sources believe that adage no longer holds true in the face of the unique threat posed by climate change.

When the talks to craft a post-2012 climate pact get underway, leaders may find themselves facing a coordinated movement cutting across continents, creeds and class, they argue. (AFP)

Big talk from a dying "movement". Poll after poll indicates people are losing interest in gorebull warming and the always-threatened-in-10-years apocalypse.

 

Someone cares? Soccer teams will leave record carbon footprint

Emissions of greenhouse gases from next year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa are expected to be 10 times those of the 2006 tournament in Germany. (CoP15)

 

Climate change is not beyond questioning - A BBC News journalist's willingness to report more than climate orthodoxy should be encouraged not condemned.

A news feature written by a regional BBC reporter has turned out to be a surprising hit on the corporation’s online news site. In ‘What happened to global warming?’ (1), Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for the BBC’s Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, asked why the rise in global temperatures seems to have levelled off since the last record-breaking year of 1998. In doing so, he sent the BBC’s visitor statistics soaring.

Following its publication on 9 October, Hudson’s article was the most popular page on the BBC’s science pages for the next week. Climate-sceptical columnists and bloggers praised the BBC for taking seriously an issue that they have been flagging up for a while. The Telegraph’s Damian Thompson hailed it as ‘a clear departure from the BBC’s fanatical espousal of climate change orthodoxy’ (2). Everyone else, it seems, from the Guardian to Nature, are furious for the same reason: because the BBC is taking seriously an issue that sceptics have been flagging up for a while. Joseph Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, called it an ‘utterly backwards piece of nonsense’ (3). Such was the volume of outrage that Hudson’s senior colleague, Richard Black, has been motivated to write a rare defence of BBC editorial policy (4). (Stuart Blackman, sp!ked)

 

This week’s cartoon: Prying Big Screens From Our Cold, Dead Hands

If you missed our earlier post here, The California Energy Commission is poised within weeks to do a regulatory smackdown on the thriving screen TV industry.  Here’s this week’s cartoon:

(Chilling Effect)

 

Maldives’ president all wet on sea level

On Oct. 17, Mohamed Nasheed, president of the Maldives, an island country off the coast of India, held a meeting of his Cabinet underwater to dramatize the risks he says his country faces from rising sea levels caused by global warming. Yesterday, Swedish scientist Nils-Axel Mörner, a specialist in sea level changes, wrote Mr. Nasheed the following letter: (Financial Post)

 

Baffling Island

There is a bit of press covering a just-published paper that concludes that the current climate and ecological conditions in a remote lake along the north shore of Canada’s Baffin Island are unique within the past 200,000 years—and anthropogenic global warming is the root cause. Which of course, spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Somehow, that temperatures there were several degrees higher than present for a good third of the past 10,000 years and that there has been virtually no temperature trend in the area during past 50 years—the time usually associated with the greatest amount of human-caused “global warming”—was conveniently downplayed or ignored.

Go figure.

The research team led by the University of Colorado’s Yarrow Axford, reconstructed the environmental conditions in and around the Baffin Island lake by tracking the behavior of various environmental proxies that they recovered from a long core sample extracted from the lake bottom.

Here is what they concluded that has managed to capture the attention of the press corps (a release from University of Colorado playing up this finding no doubt helped as well):

Paleoecological and geochemical data indicate that the past three interglacial periods were characterized by similar trajectories in temperature, lake biology, and lakewater pH, all of which tracked orbitally-driven solar insolation. In recent decades, however, the study site has deviated from this recurring natural pattern and has entered an environmental regime that is unique within the past 200 millennia. [emphasis added]

Interesting.

Figure 1 shows the summer (June, July August) average temperature from the weather station located at Clyde, Northwest Territory, which is located on Baffin Island very near the site of the lake. There is no trend here from 1943 to 2008, the period of available data. The most remarkable events are a couple of very cold summers and one very warm summer—all in the 1970s. Summers in the most recent decade are little different than summers in the 1950s—hardly a sign that human-caused “global warming” has made environmental conditions there particularly unique.


Figure 1. Summer (JJA) average temperature from Clyde, N.W.T. from 1953-2008 (data source: NASA GISS)

Well, perhaps the temperatures during the past 50 years or so are themselves unique in the past 200 millennia?

Nope.

Figure 2 is a temperature history of the lake as derived by the authors themselves. We’ve added the horizontal red line which shows the authors’ determination of current lake water temperatures, as well as the two red circles which encompass periods during the past 200,000 years in which the lake’s water temperature was higher than current. The most recent one stretched from about 6,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. The existence of this extended warm period during the early Holocene in this region is supported by other paleo-studies (e.g. Miller et al., 2005), so this result is nothing new.


Figure 2. Summer water temperature in the Baffin Island Lake inferred by the authors based on midge (mosquito-like insects)-assemblages. We’ve added the horizontal red line to indicate modern water temperatures, and the red circles to show periods during which the water temperatures were higher than modern values (adapted from Axford et al., 2009).

Given the history of temperatures in the region, both in the recent past and in the more distant past, is it hard to figure why any of this is particularly interesting.

However, here is what should have made the findings newsworthy:

The 20th century is the only period for which all proxies show trends consistent with warming despite declining orbital forcing, which, under natural conditions, would cause climatic cooling. The timing of this shift coincides with widespread Arctic change, including warming attributed to a combination of anthropogenic forcings that are unprecedented in the Arctic system. Thus, it appears that the human footprint is beginning to overpower long-standing natural processes even at this remote site. [emphasis added]

In other words, apparently, the human warming influence on the climate has managed to overcome the natural cooling trend which is trying to take us down into the next ice age and climate conditions which simply would not support a population of 6.5 billion (and growing) homo sapiens.

So, for those concerned about the human condition (which should seem to include most of us) this should come welcome and celebrated news.

Too bad the press isn’t interested in good news.

References:

Axford, Y., et al., 2009. recent changes in a remote Arctic lake are unique within the past 200,000 years. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, www.pnas.org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0907094106.

Miller G. H., et al., 2005. Holocene glaciation and climate evolution of Baffin Island, Arctic Canada. Quaternary Science Reviews, 24, 1703-1721. (WCR)

 

The Midge Warm Period

No that’s not a typo. Midges have just helped define the MWP, despite the claims of “proof” yesterday.

Another recent contradictory study to involving those pesky Chironomids. In this case, more fish during warming periods seem to account for less larval midge remains.

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/images/midge-lc.jpg

From Climate Research News

Summer Temperatures Reconstruction in the Northern French Alps

The Abstract below is from a recent paper by Millet, L., Arnaud, F., Heiri, O., Magny, M., Verneaux, V. and Desmet, M. 2009, entitled: Late-Holocene summer temperature reconstruction from chironomid assemblages of Lake Anterne, northern French Alps. The Holocene 19: 317-328: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Study: model in good agreement with satellite temperature data – suggest cooling

TREND ANALYSIS OF SATELLITE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE DATA

Craig Loehle
National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc.
Reprint available from NCASI (PDF)

Abstract

Global satellite data is analyzed for temperature trends for the period January 1979 through June 2009.  Beginning and ending segments show a cooling trend, while the middle segment evinces a warming trend.  The past 12 to 13 years show cooling using both satellite  data sets, with lower confidence limits that do not exclude a negative trend until 16 to 22 years.  It is shown that several published studies have predicted cooling in this time frame.  One of these models is extrapolated from its 2000 calibration end date and shows a good match to the satellite data, with a projection of continued cooling for several more decades.

Figure 6.     Linear plus period model from Klyashtorin and Lyubushin (2003) overlaid on satellite data after intercept shift.  Dotted line is model extrapolation post-2000 calibration period end. a) UAH.  b) RSS.

a - UAH data plus model

Figure 6a - UAH data plus model

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 12 Number 42: 21 October 2009

The Scientists Speak:
The Future of CO2 in a Democratic Country: Plants and freedom-loving citizens see things pretty much alike. Featuring Dr. John Christy, University of Alabama, USA.


Click here to watch other short videos on various global warming topics, to embed any of our videos on your own web page, or to watch them on YouTube in a higher resolution.

Editorial:
The Impact of Soil Nitrogen Availability on Global Warming: Is it positive, negative or neutral?

Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 751 individual scientists from 441 separate research institutions in 41 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week comes from the Mixing Zone of the Kuroshio and Oyashio Currents, Off the Coast of Japan. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here.

Subject Index Summary:
Extinction (Real-World Observations - Plants: Migrating): Earth's plants are capable of adapting to significant global warming, especially when the air's CO2 content rises concurrently, as well as opportunistically extending their ranges when temperatures rise.

Plant Growth Data:
This week we add new results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for: Diasotrophic Cyanobacteria (Kranz et al., 2009), Giant Knotweed (Onoda et al., 2009), Plantago Asiatica (Onoda et al., 2009), and Tomato (Jin et al., 2009).

Journal Reviews:
Arctic vs. Global Air Temperature Change: Do climate models have the relationship right?

Climate Change and Australian Bushfire Property Losses: How much would you expect Australian bushfire-related property losses to have increased over the past half-century of supposedly "unprecedented" global warming?

The Response of Coastal Marshes to Global Warming: Is it positive or negative?

Water Fleas and Global Warming: Will they be able to take the heat predicted for the end of the century?

Coral Reefs of Northern Tanzania: How have they fared in the face of increased climatic disturbance and increased fisheries management?

Feel-Good Fantasies of Fighting Global Warming
Al Gore: Master of Truth or Politics?

Click here to watch additional videos on various global warming topics, to embed any of our videos on your own web page, or to watch them on YouTube in a higher resolution. (co2science.org)

 

Roger A. Pielke Sr. Answers To A Survey “Futures Of The Global Energy Game By Year 2030″

A few weeks ago I was asked the questions below by Katrine Haugsdal with respect to a survey study titled ”Futures of the Global Energy Game by year 2030″. The questions and answers may be of interest to readers.

Background of the Survey

This interview is part of a research project on plausible futures of the global energy game by 2030. The research explores how the energy game may develop in this time-horizon, which drivers will be shaping the rules of the game, and what the implications may be for the current and future stakeholder landscape.

1. In your mind, what historic key events have shaped the global energy game to date?  What changes in climate do we see today as a consequence of these events?

The politicalization of the climate issue to the extent that only a narrow viewpoint is widely communicated has led to an overstatement of the risk of climate change due to the emissions from human produced sources of energy.  We do see a consequence of these emissions (i.e. the changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO2), but the effect on other aspects of the climate system, such as weather patterns which cause drought, floods, hurricanes, etc has been seriously exaggerated relative to natural fluctuations in the climate system and from other human climate forcings such as land use change and aerosols.

 This is discussed at http://climatesci.org/2008/03/31/roger-a-pielke-srs-perspective-on-the-role-of-humans-in-climate-change/ and in

 Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/Testimony-written.pdf

2. Which organizations in the energy game (companies, regulators, financers, national governments, etc) set the tone that others play by, to date?  Are there specific organizations with high/low focus on environment that should be noted in this context?

The IPCC and CCSP assessments, as well as the science statements completed by the AGU, AMS and NRC, are completed by a small subset of climate scientists who are often the same individuals. This oligarchy  has prevented science of the climate system to be accurately communicated to policymakers (e.g. see, see and see). 

3. Which entrants that have come into the energy game in the last decade have most changed the game, and how?  Any entrants with a particular (or total lack of) environmental focus that should be noted in this context?

The IPCC reports have resulted in the inaccurate binding together of climate issues with energy issues when in reality they are quite distinct issues. This is, for example,  discussed at http://climatesci.org/2008/04/21/roger-a-pielke-sr-perspective-on-adaptation-and-mitigation/.

4. What do you think are the most important external (macro) factors that will influence how the energy game may unfold up to 2030?  

The question will be whether the inaccurate communication of climate science to the politicians and to policymakers will continue.

5. Is it likely that we will see changes in the overall (cost/technology/ market) structure in the energy game up to 2030 due to changes in the climate?

Climate has always varied on space and time scale due to natural climate forcings and feedback; e.g. see

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. http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-260.pdf

 To assume that the addition of CO2 into the atmosphere is going to significantly change the actual risks we have always faced is naïve and misleading.  A focus on reducing vulnerability is a much more effective approach; e. g.  see Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2004: Discussion Forum: A broader perspective on climate change is needed. IGBP Newsletter, 59, 16-19. http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/NR-139.pdf

 6. Do you see any specific technologies that can come into play in this time horizon that can speed up, slow down or stop the climate change? Are there any breakthroughs on the horizon? 

The term “climate change” itself is redundant. Climate is always changing.  The human intervention into the nonlinear climate system has effects, but we do not have the knowledge to skillfully predict the consequences of such actions as geoengineering;  e.g see http://climatesci.org/2008/08/19/comments-on-the-physics-today-article-will-desperate-climates-call-for
-desperate-geoengineering-measures-by-barbara-goss-levi/
and  http://climatesci.org/2009/04/13/limits-on-the-space-launch-market-related-to-stratospheric-ozone-depletion-by-ross-et-al-2009/.

7. Who among existing players – or potential new entrants/invaders –  do you think will suffer most through 2030 because of changes in the global energy game, and when and why?

Any users of energy will suffer who are prevented from access due to limitations on the types of energy that are produced. For example, if coal could be used to generate electricity and only produce CO2 and H2O, this should be viewed as a major environmental win, not prohibited because CO2 is produced. To limit access to this fuel, when burned cleanly, will result in sectors of the economy and the population suffering.

8. Who among existing players – or potential new entrants/invaders – do you think will prevail most through 2030 because of changes in the global energy game, and when and why?

If the politics of climate science continue to dominate as they are now, the energy community who promotes wind, solar and other alternative energy sources will prevail, although at a significant cost to the economy.

9. What do you think are the most important long-term external risks that players in the global energy game have under-attended to?

The exclusion of energy sources, such as coal before there are adequate replacements, risks serious economic and social upheaval.

10. If you had a crystal ball, and you could ask a question to it about the global energy game to 2030, what would your question be?

What has the climate been over the past 21 years and how well have the IPCC climate models done in predicting regional climate patterns such as drought, hurricane seasons, etc as well as the magnitude (and if it occurred) of global warming. The last 5 years have had no global warming (e. g see  Pielke Sr., R.A., 2008: A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system. Physics Today, 61, Vol. 11, 54-55. http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-334.pdf and  http://climatesci.org/2009/02/09/update-on-a-comparison-of-upper-ocean-heat-content-changes-with-the-giss-model-predictions/

11. What experts worldwide would you like to ask about their opinions on the global energy game or climate issues towards 2030?   

This is a very good question! My recommendation is that climate scientists who do NOT have a vested interest in the 2007 IPCC report and the USA CCSP reports, [including] those who are labeled as “skeptics”,  be commissioned to write a report evaluating the science of those reports (a “red team” exercise). There is one USA NRC report already that did that in 2005

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

and an international group that did that in 2004

Kabat, P., Claussen, M., Dirmeyer, P.A., J.H.C. Gash, L. Bravo de Guenni, M. Meybeck, R.A. Pielke Sr., C.J. Vorosmarty, R.W.A. Hutjes, and S. Lutkemeier, Editors, 2004: Vegetation, water, humans and the climate: A new perspective on an interactive system. Springer, Berlin, Global Change – The IGBP Series, 566 pp.

Both reports were essentially ignored in the completion of the IPCC and CCSP reports.

 We need more such balanced  assessments.

12. Is there anything that we have not talked about and that you consider important for understanding the global energy game by 2030?

I want to emphasize that climate and energy are two distinct issues. There is overlap but they have many aspects that require different policy decisions. To conflate the two together is an inappropriate approach which is doomed to result in ineffective and costly policy decisions. (Climate Science)

 

Inequalities About Coal-Fired Power Plants

The proposed 1,500-megawatt Desert Rock facility near Shiprock, NM has been sent back to the EPA for a new air pollution permit. (1) The EPA originally issued a permit in 2008, but under the new administration appealed to the Environment Appeals Board for permission to rescind the permit and the permission was granted on September 25. Needless to say, opponents of coal-fired power plants around the country were quite pleased.

This appears to be the plan for the future. No new coal plants, no new nuclear plants; rather rely on wind and solar for energy while prices go through the roof.

What did the Navajos think about this latest turn of events? The president of the Navajo Nation joined other Native American leaders in assailing environmentalists who have sought to block or shut down coal-fired power plants that provide vital jobs and revenue to tribes in northern Arizona.

“These are individuals and groups who claim to have put the welfare of fish and insects above the survival of the Navajo people when in fact their only goal is to stop the use of coal in the US and the Navajo Nation,” said Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., who presides over America’s largest Indian reservation, which sprawls over three states and claims a population of about 250,000. (2)

In 2005, environmentalists successfully closed the Mojave Generating station in Laughlin, NV after a pollution lawsuit. That shutdown cost the tribe more than $6.5 million per year, and closure of the Navajo Generating Station would wipe out another $11 million. (2)

At this point in time the Navajos would be much better off if they were located in Europe or Asia. Europe, which has led the way in implementing Kyoto Protocol accords will have 40 new coal-fired power plants by 2015. Germany plans to build 27 coal-fired electrical generating plants by 2020 and Italy plans to double its reliance on coal in just five years. (3)

China is building a new coal-fired power plant every week and India will double its coal-based electricity generation by 2020. (3) The combined carbon emissions from the new coal-fired power plants that China and India are building between now and 2012 are five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords. (4) (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Are Solar Panels Really Black? And What Does That Have to Do With the Climate Debate?

One of the saddest things for me about climate science is how political it has become. Science works by having an open dialog that ultimately converges on the truth, for the common benefit of everyone. Most scientific fields enjoy this free flow of ideas.

There are serious scientific and technological issues in studying our climate, how it responds to human-caused emission of greenhouse gases, and what the most effective solutions will be for global warming. But unfortunately, the policy implications are vast and there is a lot at stake in economic terms.

It seems inevitable that discussions of climate science would degenerate to being deeply politicized and polarized. Depending on which views are adopted, individuals, industries, and countries will gain or lose, which provides ample motive. Once people with a strong political or ideological bent latch onto an issue, it becomes hard to have a reasonable discussion; once you’re in a political mode, the focus in the discussion changes. Everything becomes an attempt to protect territory. Evidence and logic becomes secondary, used when advantageous and discarded when expedient. What should be a rational debate becomes a personal and venal brawl. Rational, scientific debate that could advance the common good gets usurped by personal attacks and counterattacks.

Political movements always have extremists — bitterly partisan true believers who attack anybody they feel threatens their movement. I’m sure you know the type, because his main talent is making himself heard. He doesn’t bother with making thoughtful arguments; instead, his technique is about shrill attacks in all directions, throwing a lot of issues up and hoping that one will stick or that the audience becomes confused by the chaos. These folks can be found at the fringe of every political movement, throughout all of history. Technology has amplified them in recent years. First with talk radio and then with cable TV, the extremists found larger and larger audiences.

The Internet provides the ultimate extremist platform. Every blogger can reach millions, and given the lack of scrutiny or review over content, there is little accountability. Indeed, the more over-the-top the discourse is the better — because it is entertaining. Ancient Romans watched gladiators in much the same way that we read angry bloggers.

That seems to be the case with Joe Romm, a blogger with strong views about global warming and what he calls “climate progress.” In a recent series of blog posts, Romm levels one baseless, bald charge after another. What provoked this? The best summary I’ve seen comes from a comment by DaveyNC to the Freakonomics blog which says:

No, no, no, no — you have committed apostasy; heresy! You are not allowed to speak of warming except in the most emotional, alarmist tones!

You are not allowed to follow an objective, skeptical line of reasoning in this matter. You are not allowed to consider whether or not it is cost-efficient or even possible to cease all carbon emissions; you simply must do it.

That pretty much sums it up, as far as I can tell. SuperFreakonomics dares to comment on climate issues in a manner that Romm sees as contrary to his agenda, so he sets out to smear the book and me as a figure in the book. (Nathan Myhrvold, Freakonomics)

 

Germans Over-power Energy Policy, Study Says

Great new study out of the good folks from the Institute for Energy Research about what American energy prices would look like if we, as lemmings, were to follow the lead of Germany in its support for alternative energy.

According to IER, the key findings:

  • Financial aid to Germany’s solar industry has now reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per worker subsidies as high as $240,000 US.
  • Government support for solar energy between 2000 and 2010 is estimated to have a total net cost of $73.2 billion US, and $28.1 billion US for wind. A similar expenditure in the US would amount to about half a trillion dollars US.
  • In 2008, the price mark-up attributable to the government’s support for “green” electricity was about 2.2 cents US per kWh. For perspective, a 2.2 cent per kWh increase here in the US would amount to an average 19.4% increase in consumer’s electricity bills.
  • Green jobs created by government actions disappear as soon as government support is terminated, a lesson the German government and the green companies it supports are beginning to learn.
  • Government aid for wind power is now three times the cost of conventional electricity.
(Chilling Effect)

 

Prescott attacks windpower 'nimbys'

John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister, will today launch a ferocious attack on the “landowners and nimbys” who he says are holding up the installation of wind farms across Britain and thus hindering the fight against climate change.

In unashamed class-warrior style, Mr Prescott lashes out at opponents of windpower who successfully block planning applications for wind turbines because they may spoil their “chocolate box view”. He will tell the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) at its annual conference in Liverpool: “We cannot let the squires and the gentry stop us meeting our moral obligation to pass this world on in a better state to our children and our children's children.” (The Independent)

 

Landfill sites may be used to dump radioactive waste - Government poised to allow nuclear power generators to put atomic waste in ordinary sites to cut cost of decommissioning old reactors

A yellow and black pattern shows full (black) and additional space (yellow) at the temporary storage of High level radioactive nuclear waste at Sellafield nuclear plant

High-level radioactive nuclear waste at Sellafield. The government is considering allowing the industry to dump low-level waste in ordinary landfill sites

The government is poised to allow nuclear power generators to use ordinary landfill sites for dumping "hundreds of thousands of tons" of waste in an attempt to reduce the £73bn cost of decommissioning old reactors.

The move has triggered a swath of applications around the country from big corporations trying to cash in on this potential new business, but infuriated local councils and campaign groups. (The Guardian)

It never ceases to amaze me how terrified people are of truly trivial radiation exposure and yet these same people happily fly in jet aircraft (dramatically increasing their exposure by abandoning the protection of several miles of atmosphere) and then deliberately lying on beaches & pool sides literally and for the express purpose of soaking up radiation!

 

Swine flu sends mostly under-25s to hospital - CDC

WASHINGTON - Half of those hospitalized with the new H1N1 virus are under 25, a clear illustration that the pandemic is affecting the young disproportionately, U.S. health officials said on Tuesday.

They said reports from 27 U.S. states show 53 percent of people sick enough to be hospitalized with H1N1 flu are under the age of 25, with only 7 percent of hospitalizations among people 65 and older.

"This is really, really different from what we see with seasonal flu," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters. "With seasonal flu, about 60 percent of hospitalizations occur in people 65 and over.

She stressed the report was incomplete but said if anything, it was underestimating the extent of the pandemic.

And an analysis of 292 deaths from 28 states showed that younger people than usual are also dying, she said.

"Almost a quarter of deaths are occurring in young people under the age of 25. Specifically, 23.6 percent of the deaths are in that age group. About 65 percent of the deaths are in people 25 to 64 years of age," Schuchat said.

Just 12 percent of deaths were among people over 65. In a normal year, 90 percent of those who die from flu are over 65.

With cooler weather, other viruses and infections are showing up, making the picture confusing. (Reuters)

 

Why are preemies more likely to develop autism?

NEW YORK - Researchers have long seen signs of autism in children born prematurely, and some studies have suggested that such signs can develop into full-blown autism in childhood. A study out Monday suggests that complications during pregnancy and early life may be responsible for this early risk.

It's unclear just how many children born prematurely will develop autism. The study, in the November issue of Pediatrics, included 1216 children with autistic disorders and 6080 without.

When Dr. Susanne Buchmayer and colleagues from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, took various factors into account, children who were born at 31 weeks of pregnancy or earlier were about 1.5 times as likely to develop autism compared to babies born at full term. Those born from 32 to 36 weeks were about 1.3 times as likely to develop the condition.

However, when they took complications of pregnancy and early life into account, there were no significant differences between babies born at 36 weeks and earlier and those born later, suggesting that the complications themselves, and not the prematurity, were the link. (Reuters Health)

 

Meat, dairy and breast cancer: new findings

NEW YORK - Cutting down on processed meats and red meat cooked at high temperatures as well as high-fat diary products may help reduce a woman's risk of risk of developing breast cancer, hints results of a large study on diet and breast cancer.

Western-style diets have been linked to breast cancer, the study team notes in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, as have meat, eggs and dairy foods, but research on these dietary components and breast cancer risk has yielded inconsistent results.

Nearly all studies on the relationship, they add, have been done in populations where most people follow fairly similar eating patterns. This can mean that only the very strongest diet-disease links are identified.

To address this problem, the researchers looked at 367,993 women from 10 different European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. During follow-up, which averaged about nine years, 7,119 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

While there were no consistent relationships between consumption of meat, eggs or dairy and breast cancer risk, the researchers did find a 10 percent increased risk among women who consumed the most processed meat, while heavy butter consumption boosted risk by 28 percent, but only in premenopausal women.

Risks associated with red meat eating varied country-by-country, with risks being greater in countries where cooking red meat at high temperatures was more popular. (Reuters Health)

 

The Democrats' fickle-and-dime health strategy

"I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future -- period," President Obama told Congress in a health-care address last month.

Well, that depends on what the meaning of "plan" is.

Senate Democrats wanted to protect doctors from scheduled cuts in Medicare payments over the next 10 years, but there was a problem: Doing so would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to the federal deficit, making mincemeat of Obama's promise. So Democrats hatched a novel scheme: They would pass the legislation separately, so the $250 billion cost wouldn't be part of the main reform "plan," thereby allowing the president to claim that that bill wouldn't increase the deficit.

Republicans, who had been losing traction in their effort to fight a health-care overhaul, could hardly believe the gift the majority had given them. (Washington Post)

 

An Overdue Acknowledgement that Stuff Costs Money

The Institute of Medicine issued a report today calling on whole scale changes to the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast programs (although nowhere does it question why we even have national nutrition programs, which surely properly belong to the states and/or school districts. But I digress). The changes all sound sensible enough: setting calorie limits for meals, increasing the amount of whole grains, fruit and vegetables in school meals, and reducing fat and sodium.

But here’s the clincher: the recommendations would cost money!

The panel acknowledged that its recommendations would increase costs and called for a higher federal reimbursement to school districts, capital investments and money to train cafeteria workers to make the changes. Food costs for breakfasts could rise as much as 9%, and for lunches as much as 25%, if all the recommendations were enacted, the committee said. (source: LA Times)

We should be grateful that the authors at least acknowledge the budgetary impacts of their recommendations. So often it is assumed that school nutrition programs can and should be changed regardless of the costs to taxpayers. Last week I taped a television debate show called Two Way Street (the show is scheduled to air in January, so check your local listings!) with a woman called Ann Cooper, the “Renegade Lunch Lady” (here’s Ann’s website). Ann is on a mission to “change the way our children are eating”. Her intentions are good, and I certainly agree with her that our woeful agriculture policies are skewing incentives towards certain food groups and away from fruit and vegetables.

Having said that, Ann’s experience with school cafeterias was, from what I can gather, gained in East Hampton, NY and Berkeley, CA. Hardly representative samples of consumers across America (although she has reportedly worked in Harlem and New York City, also).  So often “success” in these sorts of places is seen as a scalable blueprint for the rest of the country.  Indeed, Ann used her time on the show to encourage viewers to contact their member of Congress and urge increased Federal funding for nutrition programs.

On the contrary, I would argue that people instead encourage their congresscritters to devolve their ill-gotten power over school nutrition programs back to the local school districts, where they can make the best assessment of the costs and benefits of different plans, given local needs and resources. (Sallie James, Cato at liberty)

 

Chinese drywall not just from China anymore

A few more disturbing findings have come out of Florida in this continuing saga.

First, there was the Brincku video, in which domestically-marked National Gypsum product has been shown to cause the typical "Chinese" symptoms.

Now, there is a story out of Clermont, FL implicating a Canadian Georgia-Pacific plant.

Let's see what the Gypsum Association has to say about these developments. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

'Green spaces' tied to better health

NEW YORK - People who live in green environs may be less likely than those surrounded by concrete to suffer a range of health problems, particularly depression and anxiety, according to a new study.

Researchers found that among more than 300,000 Dutch adults and children, those living near more "green spaces" tended to have lower rates of 15 different health conditions.

The link was especially strong when it came to depression and anxiety, suggesting, the researchers say, that respite from stress and the hustle and bustle of urban life may be an important for reason for the benefits of green.

The findings are published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Past studies have found that people who live in greener environments tend to report better subjective health. But this study is the first to use objective data on specific mental and physical health diagnoses, lead researcher Dr. Jolanda Maas, of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, told Reuters Health in an email. (Reuters Health)

 

Polluted air may give you a headache

NEW YORK - Have a headache and don't know why? It could be high levels of air pollution.

A study from the densely populated Santiago Province of Chile -- a region surrounded by the Coastal and Andes mountains and, therefore, geographically prone to air pollution - found increased hospital admissions for migraines and other headaches on days of elevated air pollution readings.

Further investigations are needed to confirm the consistency of these findings in different regions, Dr. Sabit Cakmak, with Health Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, and co-investigators say. (Reuters Health)

 

Chatting on a mobile phone renders brain 'blind'

TALKING on a mobile phone distracts people so much that they do not even notice when a clown on a unicycle passes them in the street.

Those motorists who persist in talking on their phone and driving at the same time might look sheepish when they see the results of a new study on "inattentive blindness" published in the upcoming issue of the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Dr Ira Hyman Jr, of Western Washington University, looked at the differences in attention levels of the four different groups of walkers – those who walked alone, those who walked in pairs, those who tuned in to their iPod or those who chatted on their phone.

Of the groups, the most inattentive were the phone talkers, with only about 25 per cent of them able to notice a clown on a one-wheeled bike.

The study also found that people even had trouble walking when they were talking on their mobiles at the same time.

The study fond phone talkers walked more slowly and were more likely to weave their way down the street.

 

New 90 Calorie Coke Can is Good Business Strategy, If Nothing Else

The Coca-Cola Company is all about health lately, apparently. It’s part of the recently launched Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a food industry-led anti-obesity campaign; it’s working with the American Academy of Family Physicians on a nutritional education campaign; and now it’s releasing Coke in a smaller can to help consumers manage their calorie intake.

Well, that’s the stated motive. It’s hypothetically possible that there are also some less altruistic motives for creating 90-calorie Coke containers — for example, the move makes the company look more friendly and health-conscious, and I’d imagine the profit margins are higher for the smaller cans.

Whether it will actually do anything to curb obesity remains to be seen. As Slate points out, people may just wind up drinking two mini cans of Coke instead of one regular can, which basically means they get more calories while feeling better about themselves for drinking in smaller portions.

Of course, as we know from company CEO Muhtar Kent’s recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, it’s not Coke that makes people fat; it’s lack of exercise. If Coke cans are smaller, maybe people will burn more calories just because they have to get up more often to grab a new one.

Or maybe not. Either way, Coca-Cola makes money. (Katherine Glover, BNET)

 

US FDA examining nutrition claims on food packages

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials are examining claims on the front of food packages to see if they give a misleading picture of a product's nutritional value, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

The FDA is looking for violations of food labeling rules and will take action against any "egregious examples," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.

"Some nutritionists have questioned whether this information is more marketing oriented than health oriented, and judging from some of the labels that we have seen, we think this is a valid concern," Hamburg said.

She said that FDA officials were also developing a regulation that they would propose to define nutritional criteria for claims made on the front of food packages. (Reuters)

 

Nudging Recycling From Less Waste to None

At Yellowstone National Park, the clear soda cups and white utensils are not your typical cafe-counter garbage. Made of plant-based plastics, they dissolve magically when heated for more than a few minutes.

At Ecco, a popular restaurant in Atlanta, waiters no longer scrape food scraps into the trash bin. Uneaten morsels are dumped into five-gallon pails and taken to a compost heap out back.

And at eight of its North American plants, Honda is recycling so diligently that the factories have gotten rid of their trash Dumpsters altogether.

Across the nation, an antigarbage strategy known as “zero waste” is moving from the fringes to the mainstream, taking hold in school cafeterias, national parks, restaurants, stadiums and corporations.

The movement is simple in concept if not always in execution: Produce less waste. Shun polystyrene foam containers or any other packaging that is not biodegradable. Recycle or compost whatever you can.

Though born of idealism, the zero-waste philosophy is now propelled by sobering realities, like the growing difficulty of securing permits for new landfills and an awareness that organic decay in landfills releases methane that helps warm the earth’s atmosphere. (NYT)

Improving efficiency is great -- always providing it really improves efficiency...

 

Recycling: an eco-ritual we should bin - Reprocessing waste might one day be cost-effective, but for now it's a moralistic reminder that humans are greedy.

Maybe there’s a shortage of sceptical thinkers at the moment, but in the past couple of years I seem to have become the UK media’s go-to guy when they want somebody to say that recycling is a waste of time. As it happens, I’m not ‘against’ recycling – it’s pretty hard to have a principled position on a method of waste disposal – but I am against the way that recycling has been placed on a pedestal as not merely a means of dealing with rubbish, but as potentially a saviour of Planet Earth and a basis for the moral renewal of society. (Rob Lyons, sp!ked)

 

GM research is needed urgently to avoid food crisis, says Royal Society - GM techniques will help crops survive harsher climates, as populations grow and global warming worsens, says report

Research to develop genetically modified crops must be stepped up as part of a £2bn "grand challenge" to avoid future food shortages, an influential panel of scientists said yesterday. In its report, the Royal Society said that GM techniques would be needed to boost yields and help crops survive harsher climates, as the global population rises and global warming worsens.

But the report said GM was not the only answer, and that measures to improve crop management, such as improved irrigation, were needed too. (The Guardian)

All improvements are needed but tying them to a farce like gorebull warming is counterproductive.

 

October 20, 2009

 

Chamber of Commerce climate story is a hoax - Pranksters create turmoil at National Press Club

The Washington Post reports that a press conference held at the National Press Club today (Oct 19) purporting to be a statement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reversing its position on climate change is a hoax.

Environmental activists held a hoax press conference Monday morning, pretending to be the business group -- and pretending to announce that the chamber was dropping its opposition to climate-change legislation now in Congress.

The event, complete with fake handouts on chamber letterhead, at least a couple of fake reporters, and a podium adorned with the chamber logo, broke up when a spokesman from the real chamber burst in.

The Post also reported that the prankster was confronted by an official from the real Chamber of Commerce who shouted that the giant business lobby has not changed its mind about global warming.

"This guy is a fake! He's lying! This is a stunt that I've never seen before," said Eric Wohlschlegel, an official at the actual Chamber of Commerce, who said he'd heard about the hoax event from a reporter who'd mistakenly shown up at the chamber's headquarters.

The fake Chamber of Commerce official, who called himself "Hingo Sembra," did not give his real name to reporters, saying only that he represented a coalition of climate activists.

The Guardian UK also reported that the event was a hoax, and it worked way too well.

In today's instant news era, that wasn't quite soon enough. Several green organizations tweeted or blogged on the about-face. Reuters news agency put out a straight news story about the Chamber's apparent U-turn, and the Washington Post and New York Times put the story on their news sites (both later removed the stories from their websites). CNBC actually sought – and got – comment from analysts. It also broke its programming to have a reporter read out the fake press release. (The Energy Collective)

 

US Chamber: Press Event On Climate A Fraud

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it was the victim of fraud Monday after a group claiming to represent the organization said the Chamber had switched its position on climate change.

A Chamber of Commerce spokesman said he broke up a group holding a fake press briefing at the National Press Club stating that the Chamber now supports the science of climate change and stringent legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions. He said the group used a chamber emblem at the briefing.

The spokesman said the Chamber hasn't questioned the science of climate change but rather some of the policies that Democratic leaders are pursuing to cut greenhouse gases. The Chamber is investigating those responsible for the event. An individual who called Dow Jones Newswires and said he represented "the Yes Men" claimed responsibility.

The hoax follows several prominent businesses leaving the Chamber in recent weeks, saying the organization doesn't represent their views on climate legislation. Environmental groups have highlighted the departures in a press campaign as part of an effort to pressure the Chamber to change its opposition to climate legislation under consideration in Congress.

The fraudulent meeting was reported as news by several news organizations, including Reuters, CNBC and Fox Business. The National Press Club, CNBC and Fox Business wouldn't immediately comment. Reuters later issued a correction on the story. Fox Business is a unit of News Corp. (NWS, NWSA), which owns Dow Jones & Company, publisher of this newswire. (Dow Jones)

 

Pranksters? Not the term we'd use: Pranksters stage Chamber of Commerce climate change event

Will the real U.S. Chamber of Commerce please stand up?

Environmental activists held a hoax press conference Monday morning, pretending to be the business group -- and pretending to announce that the chamber was dropping its opposition to climate-change legislation now in Congress.

The event, complete with fake handouts on chamber letterhead, at least a couple of fake reporters, and a podium adorned with the chamber logo, broke up when a spokesman from the real chamber burst in.

...

After the jig was up, a real reporter asked the fake spokesman if he thought this kind of event -- if lying about who he was, particularly -- was really going to help his side win the national climate debate.

"Don't know," he said, apparently speaking as himself. (Washington Post )

 

Graham Joins Kerry On Cap-And-Trade

Move over, John McCain and Olympia Snowe. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is fast becoming the Democrats' favorite Republican as he partners with John Kerry to push cap-and-trade through the Senate.

Earlier this year, eight Republican congressmen made it possible for Waxman-Markey, the 1,400-page job- and economy-killing cap-and-trade legislation, to barely pass the House of Representatives. At the time it seemed dead on arrival in the Senate if it was brought up there this year.

Once again, as with their medical plan, the Democrats seek to better the odds by putting a GOP hood ornament on a Democratic clunker. On cap-and-trade, Olympia Snowe's role will be played by Graham as he partners with Kerry to commit the U.S. to the flawed science and disastrous economics of climate change. (IBD)

 

Lindsey Graham Climate Dance with the Democrats

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has turned his back on the latest science, economics, the Republican Party, and American national security, by announcing his new partnership with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to find “the winning formula” to pass global warming cap-and-trade legislation.

Graham is now touting his view that man-made global warming fears are real and can be “solved” by passing Congressional cap-and-trade legislation. Graham teamed up with Sen. Kerry to write an October 11 New York Times op-ed explaining that the GOP and Democrats should “work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world.”

Graham has latched on to perhaps the silliest of all arguments and the most insulting to voters’ intelligence: that somehow passing a congressional climate bill will lead to fewer wars in the future. (Marc Morano, Human Events)

 

Murkowski on 'cap and trade' - If the final climate change bill promotes the expansion of nuclear power and oil exploration in the U.S., Sen. Lisa Murkowski might support it.

"Count me as one of those who will keep my mind open as we move forward," Murkowski said in a C-SPAN interview Sunday.

Murkowski is the senior Republican on the Senate Energy Committee.

"Murkowski's remarks came after Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) published a column in the New York Times with Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in which they vowed to work together to advance legislation tackling global warming," the Washington Post said.

"We can't just count on renewables," Sen. Murkowski said. "We must aggressively start pursuing nuclear" energy, the paper reported.

In a statement Wednesday, she said she supported addressing climate change in a way that is economically safe and environmentally meaningful.

She said she hopes the Graham/Kerry column marks a turning point in the debate. (Fairfax News-Miner)

No ifs, no buts, not ever. Gorebull warming legislation must never be tolerated in any form under any circumstance.

 

Pain With No Gain

A co-sponsor of cap-and-trade legislation has tried to convince the public that the regime would cost families only "about a postage stamp a day." The real cost might be closer to next-day delivery rates.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, testifying before Congress last week, said the House global warming bill will slow economic growth in the next few decades and cause "significant" job losses in the fossil fuel industry.

During last Wednesday's session of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Elmendorf said the carbon cap-and-trade provisions of the comically named American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 would cut GDP below what it would otherwise have been by 0.25% to 0.75% by 2020. The impact in 2050 would be 1% to 3.5%.

Elmendorf's office issued the same warning in a report last month.

The cap-and-trade legislation, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Henry Waxman of California and passed in the House in June, is intended to cut domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050. This would drive U.S. per capita CO2 emission levels "below those of George Washington's first term as president," economist Garrett Vaughn wrote in IBD in August.

Such low emission levels can't be reached without economic pain, and the cost will surely be more than Markey's "postage stamp a day." Any sharp reduction will require the country to move almost entirely away from fossil fuels — not a cheap transition.

Neither would it be meaningful. The churning shift simply would not make a real difference in global CO2 levels. The Environmental Protection Agency itself said drastic CO2 emission cutbacks made in the U.S. are virtually worthless if developing nations China and India don't cut their greenhouse gas emissions. (IBD)

Actually it's much worse than that. Regardless of whether everyone reduces emissions of carbon dioxide it will cause no measureable change in global mean temperatures. Carbon dioxide is innocent.

 

Cap-And-Trade For Babies?

An environmental writer mainstreams an idea floating around the green fringe — save the earth by population control and give carbon credits to one-child families. Are we threatened by the patter of little carbon footprints?

It's long been a mantra on the left that people are a plague on the earth, ravaging its surface for food and resources, polluting its atmosphere and endangering its species. Now we are endangering its very climate to the point of extinction. Even the result of our breathing — carbon dioxide — has been declared by the EPA to be a dangerous pollutant.

Treaties like Kyoto and the upcoming economic suicide pact to be forged in Copenhagen have focused on the instruments and byproducts of our civilization. Now the focus is shifting increasingly to the people who built it.

New York Times environmental writer Andrew Revkin participated in an Oct. 14 panel discussion on climate change with other media pundits titled "Covering Climate: What's Population Got To Do With It?" People who need people they are not.

Participating via Web cam, Revkin volunteered that in allocating carbon credits as part of any cap-and-trade scheme, "if you can measurably somehow divert fertility rate, say toward accelerating decline in a place with a high fertility rate, shouldn't there be a carbon value to that?"

He went on to say that "probably the single most concrete and substantive thing an American, young American, could do to lower our carbon footprint is not turning off the light or driving a Prius, it's having fewer kids, having fewer children."

"More children equal more carbon dioxide emissions," Rivkin has blogged, wondering "whether this means we'll soon see a market in baby-avoidance carbon credits similar to efforts to sell CO2 credits for avoiding deforestation." Save the trees, not the children. (IBD)

 

Journalistic Ethics and Political Gamesmanship

After Joe Romm was caught out putting words in a scientist's mouth in the form of a quote manufactured to support one of his political vendettas, Romm justifies his behavior by explaining:
It is exceedingly common in regular journalism to ask people for a quote that makes a very specific point — I’ve been asked many times by reporters to do similar things.
Keith Kloor a journalist, former editor at Audubon magazine and adjunct professor at NYU says in response to Romm's admission,
I’ve never done this during my career as a magazine journalist. . . feeding a source a quote is a serous breach of journalistic ethics. At NYU, where I’ve been an adjunct journalism professor, I couldn’t imagine telling a student this was acceptable behavior. In fact, in the five years I’ve taught classes there, I can’t recall when a student has even asked if this was acceptable behavior. I mean, it just feels wrong to do that kind of thing.
Bud Ward, editor of the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media has some strong things to say as well:
I agree that it is/would be an extraordinary breach of journalistic ethics for a reporter to attempt, let alone succeed, to plant a quote, regardless of the medium of distribution — magazine, newspaper, TV, online, radio. For it to be a regular event implies to my mind that the source must routinely deal with the most unscrupulous of writers…I dare not even dignify them by calling them journalists or reporters or editors. If they engage in such practices…they’re not and don’t deserve to be so identified. A sad sign of times in rapidly changing nature of just who is and is not a journalist and what is and is not journalism. But in the end, it’s simple: Planting quotes is NOT journalism.
I wonder which reporters Romm is referring to when he says that he has had reporters do "similar things" to what he has been revealed to have done? Somehow I doubt that we'll have any journalists admitting to such practices. Either Romm is making stuff up (again) to cover an embarrassing disclosure about his own unethical behavior, or, the media is in worse trouble that I have previously thought. I'll go with the first option until Romm supports his assertion with names and quotes. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Fudge, anyone?

Here is a nice example of a genre. It includes little subtleties such as getting a name wrong that you have previously used correctly, but mainly relies on the hoary old technique of attaching a reply to a question different from the one originally posed.

First, here is the correspondence (in reversed order) as it appears in “Outlook”:

I did not mean fudged according to your definition. I meant it according to the definition of the transitive verb form in my copy of Chambers dictionary. I cite, for example, the continuous rewriting of the past as demonstrated in one of the links in the reference I gave you.

John Brignell
jeb@numberwatch.co.uk

www.numberwatch.co.uk

-----Original Message-----

From: David Appell [mailto:appell@nasw.org]
Sent: 19 October 2009 00:03
To: john@numberwatch.co.uk

Subject: Re: "James Hansen, notorious among global warming critics as a ruthless fudger of data"

Mr. Brignell,
If you did not mean that Hansen "fudged" data, why did you write that he "fudged" data?

What exactly did you mean by that? The suggestion that I do a Google search hardly suffices -- I am more than familiar with Hansen's work, and am not about to investigate every Google link out there when it's you that is making the claim.

What did you mean by writing that Hansen "fudged" data?

David

--
David Appell, freelance science journalist
e: appell@nasw.org
p: 503-975-5614
w: http://www.nasw.org/users/appell
b: http://davidappell.blogspot.com
m: St. Helens, OR

jeb wrote:

> No, I did not mean that. It should not be difficult to find links to the
> critiques on the web via Google, but if you want somewhere to start you can
> try:

> http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2008%20June.htm#twenty

> Best wishes
> John Brignell
> jeb@numberwatch.co.uk
> www.numberwatch.co.uk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Appell [mailto:appell@nasw.org]
> Sent: 14 October 2009 23:48
> To: webmaster@numberwatch.co.uk
> Subject: "James Hansen, notorious among global warming critics as a ruthless
> fudger of data"

> Mr. Brignell,

> On your Web page "How we know they know they are lying" at
> http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/lying.htm
> you write:
> "James Hansen, notorious among global warming critics as a ruthless
> fudger of data...."
> I'd be interested in what evidence you have that Hansen "fudged" data --
> which I take to mean not that calculational mistakes might have been
> made -- which all scientists invariably make -- but that he wrote down
and published "6" (say) when he knew full-well the answer was (say) "3".

> Thank you,
> David

And here is the use that was made of it in a web site. (Number Watch)

 

A bedtime story about drowning kittens and puppies... Labour's £6m campaign to highlight the dangers of climate change

It begins with the heartwarming family scene of a father reading a story to his daughter.

But the bedtime tale turns out to be a terrifying account of drowning puppies, rabbits dying of thirst and the end of the world as we know it.

This is the Government's controversial television commercial about the dangers of global warming, which has led to more than 200 complaints being lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority. (Daily Mail)

 

Lack of Understanding Exploited to Perpetuate Climate Science Falsehoods

Author and scientist Michael Crichton identified exploitation of fear by environmental groups in his book “State of Fear”. But in a January 17, 2003 he identified another concern, “Rather than serving as a cleansing force, science has in some instances been seduced by the more ancient lures of politics and publicity. Some of the demons that haunt our world in recent years are invented by scientists. The world has not benefited from permitting these demons to escape free.” Almost daily mainstream media reports appear to confirm Crichton’s position. Media are usually compliant because they don’t understand the science and are biased by their politics. A good example appeared recently through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (Tim Ball, CFP)

 

Climate propagandist Stefan Rahmstorf rails about climate propaganda: The BBC should report climate change facts rather than political spin

Science reporting that downplays sober science in favour of the shrill shriek of climate denialists is nothing but propaganda (The Guardian)

 

The BBC and global warming

Much commentary and debate has arisen surrounding BBC climate correspondent Paul Hudson's October 9 article entitled "What happened to global warming?" in which he stated that the warmest year recorded globally was 1998 and therefore suggested that climate change may not necessarily be caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, which have continued to increase since the late 90s.

Hudson outlined the arguments of climate change sceptics, who believe that natural cycles that humans do not influence are in fact responsible for how warm our planet is, such as solar output and ocean cycles. Some argue that we are now in fact in a period of global cooling, rather than warming.
The article is not entirely one-sided, including quotes from scientists who believe that climate change caused by humans is indeed a threat, but the reader is left with the impression that global warming might not exist and might well not be caused by humans. And this is what has attracted so much attention: it appears, as Telegraph writer and apparent climate change sceptic Damian Thompson wrote in a blog post, an "amazing U-turn on climate change," citing views that are often dismissed as minority.

The piece started off on Hudson's blog on the BBC website, but made it onto the official news site a few hours later. As Guardian writer Leo Hickman pointed out, Hudson's article was, if accessed from the BBC news front page, labelled as 'features, views and analysis," but once you reach the article it looks like a simple news story. (Emma Heald, Editors Weblog)

 

Klaus: Notes on the economic analysis of the global warming issue

Translation from Czech: L.M.

Instead of participating in the addition of further arguments of the philosophical i.e. unquantifiable type - which is what currently dominates the "ideological clash" between the champions of freedom on one side and the environmentalists and advocates of non-freedom on the other side, let us focus on some elementary economic data, hypotheses, theories, and models which underlie these big "confrontations". Maybe, exactly these considerations will convince a reader or two. Otherwise, the discussion resembles a "dialog of the deaf". It's self-evident that only a small wedge of all these problems has been selected for this article.

It is more than obvious that we are objects in a strange game that is being played with all of us. It is more than obvious that among those who are deciding about these issues on behalf of us, i.e. among the politicians, no genuine dialog about global warming or its costs is taking place - especially not about the costs of mitigation (and I know quite a bit about the situation). It is also more than obvious that a majority of the world's (and even our) politicians - without dedicating any time to a serious investigation of these questions - has concluded that the global warming game is an easy, politically correct, and personally highly beneficial card (which moreover guarantees that they're not and they will never be responsible for the costs of this fight because the costs will be covered by future generations).

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

 

Thatcher adviser: Copenhagen goal is 1-world government - 'Global warming' to be used as 'pretext' for 'change'

A former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher says the real purpose of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 7-18 is to use global warming hype as a pretext to lay the foundation for a one-world government.

"At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed," Lord Christopher Monckton told a Minnesota Free Market Institute audience on Thursday at Bethel University in St. Paul.

"Your president will sign it. Most of the Third World countries will sign it, because they think they're going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regimes from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won't sign it," he told the audience of some 700 attendees. (WorldNetDaily)

 

‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ Will Open Eyes to Inconvenient Facts

“Not Evil Just Wrong,” the new documentary debunking much of the global warming movement, is reaching the public at an opportune time. Not only did the film’s director, Phelim McAleer, just publicly embarrass former Vice President Al Gore at a global warming Q&A, but major news outlets are now revealing the earth’s temperature hasn’t gone up for at least a decade.

Yet, “Not Evil Just Wrong” still won’t get the attention of your average Michael Moore polemic. That’s a shame, since it’s far more balanced than Moore’s body of work and offers a message few mainstream documentaries are willing to touch. (Christian Toto, Big Hollywood)

 

Not Evil Just Wrong reviewed - “Watch this film, and use the knowledge that you will gain to lobby your Senator to vote against the Australian emissions trading bill.”

This documentary film is an examination of the human effects of environmental alarmism, with especial reference to the still hypothetical “problem” of human-caused global warming. The film is not so much about the science of climate change as it is about explaining the sociology and politics of what is now perhaps the world’s greatest-ever scare campaign. (Bob Carter, Quadrant)

 

Sheesh! Speech of the Week: The World Cannot Afford Failure In Copenhagen

The Copenhagen conference in December must be the moment when nations reach a historic agreement about the future of the planet’s climate, the Prime Minister has said today. (Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP)

 

Gordon Brown to world leaders: Come to Copenhagen

17 major economies finish their climate discussions at the Major Economies Forum meeting in London today. The British Prime Minister urges world leaders to attend the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. (CoP15)

 

Gordon Brown saves the world from climate change (again)

The Prime Minister is trying to persuade Barack Obama and other world leaders to seize the moment and clinch a deal at the Copenhagen summit on climate change. Geoffrey Lean assesses his chances of success. (Daily Telegraph)

 

Some Hint at Progress on Climate Deal

A two-day meeting of officials from countries responsible for the bulk of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions ended Monday in London with hints that rich and developing nations might be able to bridge at least some of their differences on issues hobbling agreement on a new climate treaty.

The session was the sixth in a string of informal meetings of “major economies” — 16 countries plus the European Union — initiated by the Obama administration last spring.

The meetings, building on an earlier series of sessions started by the Bush administration, focused on the world’s biggest emitters of heat-trapping gases to build momentum toward a new climate treaty when formal negotiations take place in December in Copenhagen.

At a news conference after the meeting, officials from the United States and Britain rejected the idea that a deadline set by the world’s countries to negotiate a new climate agreement by December would slip. (NYT)

 

Climate change pact 'remains in the balance', says Ed Miliband

A global treaty to fight climate change is hanging "in the balance", Ed Miliband, the energy and climate change secretary, said last night, although there were signs that developed countries were preparing to roll back on their demand that developing countries agree to long-term cuts in emissions.

At the end of a two-day meeting in London of those countries responsible for 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, Miliband said: "There is a universal view that we need to get an agreement, but not at any price. It is not a done deal and remains in the balance in my view."

While Miliband felt some progress had been made in London, there was an uncompromising assessment from Barack Obama's climate envoy, Todd Stern, who spoke of "robust" discussion.

He said any agreement would be constructed from commitments made by individual countries, not a global target, and that developing economies, such as China and India, would have to "stand behind" the commitments they made. (The Guardian)

 

Object lesson in the need to dump environment ministers: Jairam for major shift at climate talks

NEW DELHI: India seems to have begun to shuffle its feet in the climate change negotiations. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, in a confidential letter to the PM, has suggested that India junk the Kyoto Protocol, delink itself from G77 -- the 131-member bloc of developing nations -- and take on greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments under a new deal without any counter guarantee of finances and technology.

This proposal comes just after he wrote to the PM suggesting India permit strict external scrutiny -- just as is done under IMF and WTO -- of the mitigation measures it takes at its own cost.

If accepted by the government, the minister's proposal will radically shift India's stand away from its position on climate negotiations that governments of all political hues have backed since 1990 and which was defended robustly as recently as at the UN talks in Bangkok earlier this month.

The minister has justified the proposed shift of gears by repeating his argument that India need not be seen as a deal-breaker and should try to curb emissions in its own interest. He has also pointed to the advantages -- a permanent seat on the Security Council, for instance -- that it can hope to reap with a changed stance. (Times of India)

 

But wait... Ramesh stands by Kyoto Protocol on climate change

New Delhi, Oct 19 With questions raised over his reported views on India's stand on climate change, Union Environment Minister Ramesh today stood by the Kyoto Protocol which seeks deeper emission cuts from developed nations.

"The voluntary actions of developing countries could not be equated with the commitments of developed countries," Ramesh said in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart Sakihito Ozawa who is here to participate in the Climate Change Technology Conference to be held on Wednesday.

Ramesh's views virtually contradicted reports that he had written Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting that India should junk the Kyoto Protocol, delink itself from G-77, permit external scrutiny of measures it takes to check greenhouse gas emissions besides taking binding cuts in carbon emissions. (PTI)

 

No change in Indian stand on climate change, says Jairam Ramesh  - Critics are distorting my letter to PMO: Minister

NEW DELHI: Under criticism for a new proposal that suggests a shift in India’s climate change policy, Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (independent charge), Environment and Forests said his recent communication to the Prime Minister was totally distorted.

“India’s interests alone should drive the negotiations, and legally binding emission cuts and international verification [of India] are non-negotiable. [But] there is no harm in having discussions on other issues,” he told The Hindu on Monday in response to a news report that quoted Mr. Ramesh’s letter to the Prime Minister as suggesting that India walk out of the Kyoto Protocol and the G-77 group of developing countries, with which it has so far been allied. (The Hindu)

 

Or not: Stance on climate change splits govt

Even with the Copenhagen meet on climate change less than 50 days away, the rift over policy within the government is widening (Live Mint)

 

We wish him (Chicago) Olympian success... Barack Obama may attend Copenhagen summit if there is climate change progress

Barack Obama will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen later this year if sufficient progress is made on a deal to stop global warming, US officials said. (Daily Telegraph)

 

Understanding the Copenhagen Climate Deal: The Fix is In

For those reading the tea leaves to understand the actions of various countries preparing for the international climate negotiations later this year in Copenhagen, the broad outlines of the ultimate deal are starting to come into view. The picture being revealed is not a pretty one for anyone actually interested in reducing future emissions to very low levels.

To understand the international climate debate, it is necessary to understand the underlying dynamics that shape the behavior of governments around the world. It is crucial to understand that many elected officials and governments now in power achieved their position, at least in part, through very ambitious promises to take aggressive action to reduce future emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. (Roger Pielke, Jr.)

We wish Roger was correct but the sad fact is some politicians actually believe gorebull warming to be a real problem.

 

Big mistake: CEOs No Longer Refute Climate Change

CARY, North Carolina - U.S. chief executives no longer reject claims of human-caused climate change, putting to rest a dispute that has raged in boardrooms for decades, said the head of PG&E on Thursday.

Members of the Business Council, a group of executives from the top 120 U.S. companies, have altered their beliefs about climate change significantly, said PG&E Chief Executive Officer Peter Darbee in an interview.

Darbee was attending the Business Council's October gathering in Cary, North Carolina.

"No one among the group was arguing the science of climate change," said Darbee. "That debate, at least in that forum, appears to be over. The discussion was really about, 'climate change is happening, it is a challenge of vast proportions and it will require an effort on the part of mankind to respond to this challenge.'"

Darbee also said a tangled web of state and federal laws governing energy use and conservation was delaying action.

"The greatest challenge we face getting our business done is the unintentional gauntlet of government regulation," he said. "What renewable energy developers have to go through -- the hoops and hoops and hoops." (Reuters)

Subscribing to a nonsense merely because it is politically correct is a major error. One that is going to cost any enterprises falling into this trap dearly.

 

Germany warns us not to repeat its green disaster

You’ve no doubt heard the Greens demand we copy Germany and invest in “green” energy to create jobs. Here’s Greens deputy leader Christine Milne, for example:

Also, the energy revolution in Germany and Japan to see that moving out of old electricity generation and moving into solar and renewables creates jobs and huge amounts of investment and attracts innovators to the economy and that’s what we desperately need to do in Australia.

Other green activists - The Age, for instance - have been just as foolish in demanding we copy Germany’s “green jobs” strategy. Tragically, that call is now being heeded by the Rudd Government.

But the “green jobs” strategy has been a complete disaster everywhere - and that includes Germany, according to a new report by the German think tank Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung:

Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred.

Those costs of each green job can be astonishing - mad, even:

In the end, Germany’s PV [solar energy] promotion has become a subsidization regime that, on a per-worker basis, has reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000).

The Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung says government investment in green jobs actually stifles innovation, and it concludes:

Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in providing a harvest for the world” (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.

Of course, Germany’s Die Zeit warned us earlier this year that the “green energy” revolution the Greens recommended would burn us as badly as it had burned Germany:

Although Germany is not situated in the sunny part of the world, no country has more solar panels. The boom, however, is artificial. And it costs consumers an absolute fortune.

The sum can be spelled out quite precisely: the expected installation of new solar panels in 2009 alone will cost German consumers ten billion euros in the next 20 years. This will produce about 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of solar electricity each year, which corresponds to about 0.3 percent of Germany’s current electricity consumption. That’s near to nothing.

But the ten billion euros are just the cost for the new systems. The panels built up to 2008 will burden consumers with an additional cost of 30 billion euros.... If the forecast of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association were to materialize, there will be so many solar panels installed in Germany by 2013 that the cost will grow to more than 77 billion euros - adjusted for inflation.

A study this year by Spain’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos also tried to warn against the ruinous plans of the Greens, given the devastating results of Spain’s own heavy investment in “green power”:

The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 ($1.03 million) to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million ($1.8 million) per wind industry job… The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created....

Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics (solar), 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 high cost of electricity due to the green job policy tends to drive the relatively most energy-intensive companies and industries away, seeking areas where costs are lower.

UPDATE

As for Denmark:

Based on the total subsidies to the Danish wind industry, the average subsidy for the 28,000 workers employed in this sector equals US$9,000 to US$14,000 per year per job. However, this average subsidy does not reflect the actual cost of the additional job creation. In most cases, creating a job in the wind sector has only moved that job from another sector and not resulted in any additional job creation. A very optimistic ball park estimate of real net jobs created is around 10% of the total wind power work force, or 2,800 jobs.  In this case, the actual subsidy for each additional job created is US$90,000 to US$140,000.

(Thanks to readers Tony and Alan RM Jones.) (Andrew Bolt)

 

Hints at More Drilling Fall Short of Wooing Oil Company Support for Climate Bill

The suggestion from two key senators that climate change and energy legislation could allow expanded oil and gas drilling has failed to charm the fossil fuel industry that opposed the House bill.

The biggest oil and gas companies and their trade group said they will have to hear a lot more than what Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote in an Oct. 10 New York Times op-ed, which referenced additional drilling as part of a bipartisan approach.

Oil and gas companies fear Senate climate legislation will look much like the House bill that set up a program forcing businesses to buy allowances for carbon emissions. The early years of the cap-and-trade program would give away 85 percent of the carbon permits, but petroleum refiners would receive the smallest share. More drilling won't suffice, an industry spokesman said.

"In short, it's nowhere near a trade off," said Lou Hayden, policy analyst at American Petroleum Institute, trade group for 400 oil and gas companies, refiners, pipeline companies and fuel transporters.

Costs that would be imposed by the House bill are "so great it would restrict a lot of U.S. refining capacity," Hayden added. "Access to domestic oil and natural gas should not be held hostage to a very costly and very unbalanced climate change bill." (ClimateWire)

 

Rightly: Big oil presses issue of climate bills' cost

AUSTIN — Executives of the nation's top oil companies huddled in Austin Monday with the industry's top lobbying group, and while the meetings were private, it was clear that a central topic was climate change legislation that could cost the industry billions.

“It's just not the time to be passing legislation that kills jobs in the United States,” said Larry Nichols, CEO of Devon Energy and chairman of the American Petroleum Institute, following the trade group's annual meeting at a resort hotel east of the city.

The industry has “a lot of education to do” to highlight its importance to the U.S. economy and the flaws contained in proposed climate change policies, API CEO Jack Gerard said. (Houston Chronicle)

 

Hearing shows conflicts over reaching clean energy goals

Clean energy and the "green jobs" attached to it enjoyed wide support in testimony at a Senate hearing in Pittsburgh today but differences remain about how and how quickly federal policies should push those goals.

Sen Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who hosted the hearing, acknowledged those tensions between "competing interests" in Pennsylvania coal, natural gas and alternative energy industries as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began work on legislation titled "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act," introduced earlier this month.

Michael Peck, North American spokesman for Gamesa USA, a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer with factories and 850 employees in Pennsylvania, urged establishment of a national standard mandating 12 percent renewable energy by 2012.

Stan Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the United Steelworkers international executive board, said the union supports caps on carbon emissions under discussion in Congress but only if the program contains strong protections to prevent job loss to nations that don't enact pollution controls.

Steven Winberg, vice president for research and development for Consol Energy, the state's biggest coal mining company, said the legislation should provide increased funding for development of carbon capture and storage technology. (Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

True: On a cost basis, carbon-capture projects are madness

The small reductions gained by staggering per-tonne costs illustrate what every independent analyst knows: The Harper government's 20-per-cent reduction target will not be met (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)

In fact they are madness on any basis -- there is no safe level of carbon constraint.

 

Not all spine has been lost down-under: Liberal MP rubbishes human link to climate change

Federal Liberal MP Dennis Jensen says the cause of climate change is still in dispute and has attacked environmentalists as "anti-democratic alarmists".

Dr Jensen, who has spoken out previously on the issue, has also called for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be disbanded.

His comments come as the Coalition struggles with internal division on climate change policy.

In a speech to open the Australian Environment Foundation's annual conference in Canberra today, Dr Jensen said the question of whether climate change was caused by human activity was still up for debate.

"It will come as no surprise that I am sceptical on the anthropogenic component of climate change," he said.

"Climate change is real - the liability of humans in questionable."

Dr Jensen criticised the climate change science and accused the environmental movement of wanting to overthrow democracy.

"While the gap between climate observations and model projection outputs continue to diverge, the ardour and shrill character of the alarmists increases," he said.

Dr Jensen's attack comes as the Coalition begins negotiations with the Government over its emissions trading scheme, an issue which has threatened Malcolm Turnbull's leadership in recent weeks.

On Sunday Mr Turnbull won the support of the party room to push for changes to the scheme but Dr Jensen has lashed out at the use of emissions trading schemes.

"Another reason for my concern is that embarking on setting a price on carbon dioxide is effectively putting a tax on everything and will give the control freaks a level of control on all human enterprise within a nation not seen in democratic history," he said.

Dr Jensen is one of several Western Australian MPs who have urged the Coalition to reject an emissions trading scheme.

The Australian Environment Foundation's website has a link to a petition which opposes the Government's scheme. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

 

Climate Change: The Resilience Option

“The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.”

—Albert Schweitzer

The Earth’s climate is prone to sharp changes over fairly short periods of time. Plans that focus simply on stopping climate change are unlikely to succeed; fluctuations in the Earth’s climate predate humanity. Rather than try to make the climate static, policymakers should focus on implementing resilience strategies to enable adaptation to a dynamic, changing climate. Resilience strategies can be successful if we eliminate current risk subsidies and privatize infrastructure. (Kenneth P. Green, Energy Tribune)

 

AGW Evidence In The Lack Of Atlantic Hurricanes

In case you missed it…the fact that the 2009 hurricane season in the Atlantic is running as one of the slowest in living memory, is evidence of…anthropogenic Global Warming!

Of course it is. Why, everybody should know by now that “global warming may spur wind shear, sap hurricanes” and that we should expect “‘fewer hurricanes’ as world warms” because “under warmer, high-CO2 conditions […[ hurricane frequency will be reduced“.

In other news: some time ago we were told that “the frequency of Atlantic storms has been rising in concert with tropical ocean temperature, probably because of global warming“.

In other other news: the only thing that appears to be able to disprove AGW would be a series of Atlantic hurricane season with zero hurricanes. But that would mean ipso facto a change in global climate, thereby once again demonstrating…AGW! (OmniClimate)

 

Cosmic pattern to UK tree growth

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space.

Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century.

As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.

The study is published in the scientific journal New Phytologist.

"We were originally interested in a different topic, the climatological factors influencing forest growth," says Ms Sigrid Dengel a postgraduate researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at the University of Edinburgh. (BBC)

 

“It’s Amazing How A Single New Observation Can Change An Entire Concept That Most Scientists Had Taken As True For Nearly Fifty Years”

No, the quote in the title is not from the remarkable “Cosmic pattern to UK tree growth” from the BBC

We tried to correlate the width of the rings, i.e. the growth rate, to climatological factors like temperature. [...] the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than it was to any of the climatological factors we had looked at. We were quite hesitant at first, as solar cycles have been a controversial topic in climatology

The quote is from SpaceDaily’s “Cassini Data Help Redraw Shape Of Solar System“

Models of the boundary region between the heliosphere and interstellar medium have been based on the assumption that the relative flow of the interstellar medium and its collision with the solar wind dominate the interaction. This would create a foreshortened “nose” in the direction of the solar system’s motion, and an elongated “tail” in the opposite direction.

The Ion and Neutral Camera images suggest that the solar wind’s interaction with the interstellar medium is instead more significantly controlled by particle pressure and magnetic field energy density.

And still…isn’t that the way scientific dogmas evaporate? (OmniClimate)

 

With suspicious timing... Current Arctic heat wave among rarest in 200,000 years, study says - Researchers studied remains of ancient flora and fauna in Baffin Island lake sediment

The Canadian Arctic is experiencing a heat wave that has seldom been matched in the past 200,000 years, says a new scientific paper based on the study of sediments found at the bottom of a remote lake on Baffin Island.

Scientists looking at the remains of microscopic plants and insects preserved in the lake's crusty bottom say a comparison of flora and fauna found in the remote past and in recent decades suggest temperatures are now so elevated they've rarely occurred.

Over the 200,000 years in question, the sediments revealed a natural ebbing and rising of various species that either favoured warmer or colder climate conditions. But recently there have been unprecedented increases of some algae types dependent on warmer conditions that were almost never found during the pre-industrial era. (Martin Mittelstaedt, Globe and Mail)

Time will tell whether this claim is destroyed or retracted (safely after Nohopenhagen). It does seem rather suspect in its conclusions given the results of other studies (e.g., ancient beaches showing wave action from a largely ice-free Arctic). My immediate thoughts were along the lines of warm-loving biota might well be feeding and thriving on the additional nutrients made available by the industrial era -- say aerial fertilization by anthropogenic-sourced carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen precipitating in the Canadian Arctic? Like treemometers, there's a lot of things that can influence the growth and abundance of specific biota. Arctic "heat wave"? Not so sure...

 

Melting Himalayan ice prompts conflict fear

On the outskirts of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, climate researchers twiddle with computers displaying maps of the Himalayas. At the press of a button, rivers and mountain passes change colour and watercourses expand to show villages swept away by simulated flood waters.

Not all the researchers at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development are pondering the devastation that would result from the bursting of high-altitude glacial lakes, though. Some are considering what awaits millions of people when the ice and snow caps of the “water towers of Asia” – so called because of the 10 big rivers originating in the peaks – are depleted by global warming. Few are willing to guess when this will happen, but their charts and photographs of retreating snowlines and glaciers have the whiff of inevitability.

Already mountain hydrologists can pinpoint where water stress will be greatest in the years to come. As the availability of water in Himalayan-fed river systems that support 1.3bn people drops, researchers expect the border between India and Bangladesh to be the first flashpoint of an intensifying battle across south Asia. (Financial Times)

 

Ice Age Terminations: Orbital Cycles, Ocean Circulation and Shifting Monsoons

A new study has confirmed the astronomical theory of the ice ages, but with a new twist: The shutoff of the meridional ocean circulation, or MOC, and an associated southward shift of tropical monsoon rain belts seems to play an integral role in the melting of glacial period ice sheets. These changes cause warming of the Southern Hemisphere and a rise in atmospheric CO2 levels, which in turn provides a positive feedback loop that helps drive glacial termination. This is why, every 100,000 years or so, the great Northern Hemisphere ice sheets collapse and glacial conditions give way to a warm interglacial period, such as the Holocene warming humanity is currently enjoying. This, however, does not support recent claims that global warming is causing the Southeast Asian monsoon to fail.

There were two related articles in the October 9, 2009, issue of Science: “Ice Age Terminations” by Hai Cheng et al. and “Monsoons and Meltdowns” by Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, a perspective on the first article. What both articles report is that “the last four meltdowns began when northern sunshine was intensifying, in accordance with the classical Milankovitch or astronomical theory of the ice ages.” Using monsoon cycles to improve dating precision for other sources of historical climate data, Hai Cheng et al. help explain the climate mechanisms that control glacial terminations and the underlying causes of ice age cycles. According to their study, most of the meltdown and sea-level rise occurs during periods of weak monsoons, when the MOC is shut down and CO2 levels are rising.

The ice age cycle, with its gradual buildup and rapid collapse of ice sheets, has been known to science for more than a half century. As previously reported in this blog, evidence linking Earth's orbital variations seems stronger than ever (see “Confirmed! Orbital Cycles Control Ice Ages”), but the detailed mechanisms at work have remained a mystery. According to Cheng et al.:

Explanations of the rapid collapses, dubbed “terminations,” have long been sought. The ice-age cycles have been linked to changes in Earth’s orbital geometry (the Milankovitch or Astronomical theory) through spectral analysis of marine oxygen-isotope records, which demonstrate power in the ice-age record at the same three spectral periods as orbitally driven changes in insolation. However, explaining the 100 thousand-year (ky)–recurrence period of ice ages has proved to be problematic because although the 100-ky cycle dominates the ice-volume power spectrum, it is small in the insolation spectrum. In order to understand what factors control ice age cycles, we must know the extent to which terminations are systematically linked to insolation and how any such linkage can produce a nonlinear response by the climate system at the end of ice ages.

Correlating data from a wide varity of sources, including Chinese cave deposits and benthic oxygen isotope ratios, Cheng et al. have produced a detailed history of various paleoclimate factors for the last four glacial terminations. In the figure below (Figure 4 from the article) the light green and yellow bars highlight similar events.

(A) Obliquity and (B) 21 July insolation at 65°N (29). Black bars highlight the highest and lowest insolation value bounding each major termination. (C) Rate of change of 21 July insolation at 65°N. Red shading indicates the timing of the WMIs. The yellow dashed line indicates the lowest maximum for the four terminations. (D) δ18O from Hulu (purple), Dongge Caves (dark blue), Sanbao Cave [light green (11), dark green (this study)], and Linzhu Cave [yellow-green (this study)]. (E) Vostok CO2 record. (F) Benthic δ18O values.

As can be seen from the figure, when an interglacial starts CO2 levels do increase from the lower levels of the previous glacial. This increase is part of a feedback loop that amplifies the warming trend. None of this is news, the exciting part of the Cheng paper is the link between melting northern ice sheets and weakened monsoons. The link to Heinrich events, brief periods of sudden warming marked by large amounts of ice rafted debris, suggests that the monsoon responds to the breakup of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. According to cave records spanning the last two glacial terminations (T-I and T-II), the monsoon generally follows summer insolation except in times of weak monsoon activity. These distinct “gouges” correlate broadly to Heinrich stadial I (H-I) and to the Younger Dryas (during T-I) and to H-11 (during T-II). For more background information on Heinrich events see “Modeling Ice Age's End Lessens Climate Change Worries” and for more on the Younger Dryas see our book, The Resilient Earth.

According to the perspective by Jeffrey P. Severinghaus, a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Cheng et al.'s timing data provide support for the hypothesis that a reduced MOC forces CO2 out of the Southern Ocean, warming the globe by its greenhouse effect, which in turn causes more melting of the ice sheets, ensuring that the MOC stays in its “off” position—an environmental positive-feedback loop. “The melting ice sheets inject so much low-density fresh water into the North Atlantic that they weaken or entirely shut down the normal sinking of dense water that fuels the ocean circulation,” says Severinghaus. “The loss of this circulation allows sea ice to cover the North Atlantic in winter, preventing ocean heat from warming the air and leading to extremely cold winters in Europe and Eurasia, which seem to weaken the following summer's monsoon in Asia.”


Annotations by J. Severinghaus, photo credit NASA.

The scenario goes something like this: because fresh water has a lower density than salt water, meltwater runoff into the North Atlantic prevents sinking of water around Greenland. This causes the MOC to weaken and collapse. Without the northward transport of salty tropical water by the MOC the North Atlantic surface waters freshen even more. This fresh surface layer prevents deep convection which enhances winter sea ice formation. Increased sea ice cover causes extremely cold winter air temperatures over the North Atlantic and a southward-shifted atmospheric jet carries the cold air to the Mideast and Indian Ocean regions. Finally, cooling of the North Indian Ocean and the Asian landmass during the winter season weakens and delays the onset of the following summer's monsoon.

What are the possible impacts of these new new hypotheses on global warming driven by human generated CO2? First off, the data presented here show that nature if fully capable of rapidly transitioning from frigid glacial conditions to more temperate interglacial climes, and it has done so repeatedly without human prodding. Second, regardless of what some have said, there is nothing particularly anomalous about the Holocene warming when compared with the glacial terminations in the past. Cheng et al. do present a number of interesting hypothetical links between the end of the glacial and the rise of CO2 levels:

A number of mechanistic ties between this set of events and CO2 rise seem plausible. First, simple southward movement of climatic zones [observed for ITCZ and southern Brazil] could include a southward shift in the westerlies, resulting in enhanced wind-driven upwelling in the ocean around Antarctica, promoting ventilation of respired CO2, atmospheric CO2 rise, and observed productivity peaks. Second, warming from the bipolar seesaw mechanism could melt sea ice in the Southern Ocean, also promoting CO2 ventilation. Third, warming associated with southerly shifts in climate zones could reduce Patagonian glaciation, lowering the flux of dust and iron from Patagonia to the Southern Ocean, reducing the efficiency of the biological pump.

These relationships reinforce the well accepted theory that CO2 is driven by the change in temperature at the end of a glacial period, not the other way around. Indeed, other scientists have recently reported similar observations going back as far as 1.2 million years (see “Change In Ice Ages Not Caused By CO2”). In fact, the association between cyclically melting ice and the ocean “carbon pump” is well established. While others have stated that no single mechanism could explain the full glacial-interglacial range in CO2, this report reaches a different conclusion: “Here, we present a scenario in which CO2 rise could be caused by a set of mechanisms all ultimately linked to the rise in boreal summer insolation. Both rising insolation and rising CO2, generated with multiple positive feedbacks, drove the termination.”

The addition of CO2 to the atmosphere would have the biggest impact when levels are lowest, with subsequent temperature increases trailing off in time as concentrations rise. In this sense greenhouse gas warming is a positive feedback but self limiting, if it wasn't Earth's climate would runaway in an upward spiral of increasing temperatures and GHG release. Scientists are just coming to realize that there are massive reserves of GHG in Arctic tundra and in ocean methane clathrate deposits that could drive atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4. One recent paper in Nature claims that tundra doesn't even need to fully defrost to emit significant volumes of greenhouse gas. Natural mechanisms have triggered sudden increases in GHG levels in the past, particularly releases of methane, which is a considerably more potent GHG than carbon dioxide.


Warming tundra releases greenhouse gases. National Science Foundation.

One of the most spectacular of these events was the PETM some 55 million years ago (see “Could Human CO2 Emissions Cause Another PETM?”). Earth's climate not only recovered from that warming spike, it eventually entered a cooling cycle 30 million years ago that let to the formation of permanent ice caps on Antarctica and Northern Hemisphere land masses. Eventually this cooling trend resulted in the Pleistocene Ice Age, which dominates our planet's climate to this day. If Earth's climate was predisposed to runaway global warming, and the effects of atmospheric GHGs are potent enough to drive warming on their own, temperatures would have continued to climb since the last glacial termination. Clearly that hasn't happened. Instead, the Holocene climate has been quite stable when compared with glacial period environments, though it has exhibited periods of rising and falling temperatures.

One reader of the Resilient Earth blog asked if the rising in CO2 levels during glacial terminations contradicted my statement that there have been ice ages when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was much higher than today. That statement was not a reference to the conditions that have prevailed during the Pleistocene Ice Age, which has been going on for the past 3 million years or so. It was a reference to earlier ice ages, of which there have been many. For details see my article, “The Grand View: 4 Billion Years Of Climate Change.” There have indeed been ice ages when CO2 levels have been several times higher than the “unprecedented” levels so alarming to the climate catastrophists.


Monsoons are affected by glacial terminations.

Cheng et al. have reaffirmed the astronomical theory of the ice ages by using monsoons to improve dating precision across the whole suite of paleodata. The shutoff of the MOC and the resulting southward shift of tropical rain belts holds important lessons for those climate catastrophists who have been pointing to global warming as the cause for the recently diminished monsoon—it is colder weather in the northern hemisphere that stymies the monsoon's arrival. True, the episodes dated by the researchers were each the result of a warming trend, which triggered a cooling backlash to the widespread melting of glacial ice. But those impacts on the monsoon, much more dramatic than the variations seen recently, were triggered by the melting of mile thick glacial ice from North America and Eurasia. As Severinghaus states, “terminations require an existing massive ice sheet, and that Earth's orbit becomes nearly circular every ~100,000 years, eliminating periods of intense sunshine and thereby permitting the gradual accumulation of a massive ice sheet.” The lack of ice sheets covering all of Canada and Northern Europe seems to have escaped the alarmists' notice.

What about all those recent pronouncements that global warming is going to severely impact the normal Southeast Asian monsoon cycle? It must be noted that the changes experienced by Earth's climate during a glacial termination are far more radical than anything projected for global warming, even in the feverish dreams of Al Gore and the IPCC. The volume of freshwater needed to shut down the MOC is more than the output of all the rivers on Earth and the temperature swings involved can be as great as 12°C (22°F). Unfortunately for the sky-is-falling crowd, the recent variations seen in the monsoon are nothing out of the ordinary.


A monsoon sunset.

According to a government report cited by the Times of India, climate model studies have shown no significant impact on change in the mean onset of monsoon in the country. “The long-term mean onset date of monsoon in India is 1st June, with a standard deviation of about 8 days,” stated Environment minister Jairam Ramesh in the article dated July 13, 2009. “However, year to year variations in the onset or the propagation are part of the natural variability and cannot be attributed to climate change,” he concluded. No, today's conditions are not at all like previous glacial terminations with their 100,000 year cycle.

One last observation: an interesting exception cited by Cheng et al. is a termination that does not fit neatly into the 100,000-year paradigm. Anomalously weak sunshine 229,000 years ago apparently allowed the accumulation of a massive ice sheet within a short time, causing an exception to the normal glacial-interglacial rhythm. So we see it is not just the Milankovitch Cycles on their own that drives the ice ages, they require a collaboration of orbital dynamics, solar activity and Earth's own climate engine to effect such changes. Yet the supporters of catastrophic climate change insist that humanity will cause unprecedented and irreversible change through the release of CO2. The climate catastrophists are unable to comprehend the truth—the interaction of our planet and its star is what drives climate change.

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

 

Sea Level Scam

Mohammed Nashed, the new president of that string of low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives, has declared that he is setting up a sovereign wealth fund in order to purchase a new homeland for the inhabitants in the event of sea level rise caused by man-made ‘global warming’. This will come from a tax on the billions of dollars of tourism that the country enjoys – a ‘climate change levy’ that tourists will be glad to pay for, to atone for having contributed to ‘global warming’ by flying to get there. This is keying into the spin and guilt-manipulation that politicians try to engender in us. Other islands, such as Tuvalu, are seeking compensation directly from governments of the developed world for causing ‘global warming’. (Buy The Truth)

 

New Paper Accepted “The Roles Of Atmospheric And Land Surface Data In Dynamic Regional Downscaling” By Ray Et Al 2009

We have a new paper accepted. It is

Ray, D., R.A. Pielke Sr., U.S. Nair, and D. Niyogi, 2009: The roles of atmospheric and land surface data in dynamic regional downscaling, J. Geophys. Res., accepted. (also at the AGU in press site).

The abstract reads

“In studies dealing with the impact of land use changes on atmospheric processes, a key methodological step is the validation of simulated current conditions. However, regions lacking detailed atmospheric and land use data provide limited information with which to accurately generate control simulations. In this situation, the difference between baseline control simulations and different land use change simulations can be quite different due to the quality of the atmospheric and land use datasets. Using multiple simulations at the Monteverde Cloud Forest region of Costa Rica as an example, we show that when a regional climate model (RCM) is used to study the effect of land use change, it can produce distinctly different results at regional scales depending on the amount of data available to run the climate simulations. We show that for the specific case of land use change impact studies, the simulation results are very sensitive to the prescribed atmospheric information (e.g., lateral boundary conditions) compared to the land use (surface boundary) information.”

Our conclusions have the text

“This analysis suggests that studies that deal with regional atmospheric effects of land use changes may have unknown uncertainties due to inaccuracies in their baseline simulations. We show that for the region around the Monteverde cloud forests in Costa Rica, simulations utilizing standard atmospheric datasets suggest increases in precipitation with lowland deforestation. However, with the added spatial resolution that is provided by special radiosondes, the results are just the opposite. The simulated 2 m air temperature and cloud base heights are also substantially different depending on the quality of atmospheric information provided to the model simulations. Thus the conclusions obtained in land cover change studies can be quite different because of the quality of atmospheric information provided to regional models.

Our results are relevant to the four types of dynamic downscaling reported in Castro et al. [2005]. The time period of integration in this study corresponds to a Type I downscaling in which we initialized our RCM with observed data and integrated it forward using data assimilation of observed data and lateral boundary conditions from the NCEP reanalysis. Our result showed that dynamic downscaling can provide misleading results unless RCMs are provided additional information. The results are also applicable to Type II downscaling because the value-added (skill) of Type I must be equal to or greater than Type II since the insertion of initial conditions and continuous data assimilation provides a real-world constraint to the accuracy of the regional model. In fact, nudging is required in order to prevent the regional model from drifting away from
the real world [Rockel et al., 2008]….

Our results show that RCMs are strongly dependent on the lateral boundary conditions (and nudging) from the GCM (or reanalysis) and are similar to those of Kanamitsu et al., [2009] who found that regional scale dynamical downscaling in the East Asian monsoon region without large scale error correction results in a contamination of seasonal means with the error itself being as large as the seasonal mean. When the RCMs are integrated far enough into the future such that their initial values are forgotten, as shown in Castro et al. [2005] and Rockel et al. [2008], the RCMs cannot add value (skill) with respect to atmospheric features that are resolved within the parent GCM (or reanalysis). Also, the regional climate results are so strongly controlled by the larger scale that they cannot correct for errors that occur within the larger-scale global climate prediction [Chase et al., 2003; Castro et al., 2005; Lo et al., 2008]. What we show in this paper is that the accuracy of even Type I downscaling is degraded without sufficient data on the regional atmospheric structure and these have important implications for land use change impact studies. The findings have implications not only for land cover change studies but also for future climate change predictions such as planned in the Fifth IPCC assessments, since Type III and IV downscaling Castro et al., [2005] must have even less value-added (skill) than Type I and II downscaling.”

Our paper illustrates one of the reasons that dynamic downscaling from global multi-decadal climate model predictions, while creating fine scale features, is really only an illusion of skill over and beyond whatever skill, if any, there is in the parent global IPCC climate model forecast. (Climate Science)

 

West Antarctic Ice Sheet May Not Be Losing Ice As Fast As Once Thought

AUSTIN, Texas — New ground measurements made by the West Antarctic GPS Network (WAGN) project, composed of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, The Ohio State University, and The University of Memphis, suggest the rate of ice loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet has been slightly overestimated.

"Our work suggests that while West Antarctica is still losing significant amounts of ice, the loss appears to be slightly slower than some recent estimates," said Ian Dalziel, lead principal investigator for WAGN. "So the take home message is that Antarctica is contributing to rising sea levels. It is the rate that is unclear."

In 2006, another team of researchers used data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to infer a significant loss of ice mass over West Antarctica from 2002 to 2005. The GRACE satellites do not measure changes in ice loss directly but measure changes in gravity, which can be caused both by ice loss and vertical uplift of the bedrock underlying the ice.

Now, for the first time, researchers have directly measured the vertical motion of the bedrock at sites across West Antarctica using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The results should lead to more accurate estimates of ice mass loss.

Antarctica was once buried under a deeper and more extensive layer of ice during a period known as the Last Glacial Maximum. Starting about 20,000 years ago, the ice began slowly thinning and retreating. As the ice mass decreases, the bedrock immediately below the ice rises, an uplift known as postglacial rebound.

Postglacial rebound causes an increase in the gravitational attraction measured by the GRACE satellites and could explain their inferred measurements of recent, rapid ice loss in West Antarctica. The new GPS measurements show West Antarctica is rebounding more slowly than once thought. This means that the correction to the gravity signal from the rock contribution has been overestimated and the rate of ice loss is slower than previously interpreted. (University of Texas)

 

Grudging admission that not everything is downside? Forest study sees upside of climate change

Warmer temperatures may spur tree growth in some regions of the Pacific Northwest, which could mean reduced carbon in the air, researchers say. (LA Times)

 

Shell wins federal approval to drill for oil off Alaska coast

The Interior Department has given Shell approval to drill oil exploration wells in two leaseholds in the Beaufort Sea, which could lead to the first drilling in more than a decade in this area off the north coast of Alaska.

Shell Alaska general manager Pete Slaiby hailed the decision as "another positive step towards the ultimate goal of drilling in 2010."

But environmental groups criticized the move. "There is no safe way to drill in the Beaufort Sea," said Athan Manuel, director of lands protection at the Sierra Club. "Cleaning up an oil spill in the Arctic's broken sea ice is next to impossible, and where there is drilling, there are oil spills." He said a spill could threaten polar bears and bowhead whales.

The two leases were obtained by Shell in 2005 and 2007. The sales are not affected by a recent court decision that sent the current leasing program back to the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service for additional analysis.

Shell plans to drill two exploration wells in the far western area of Camden Bay during the July-to-October open-water drilling season next year, using a drill ship retrofitted for operations in arctic Outer Continental Shelf waters. The leases are about 16 and 23 miles north of Point Thompson, Alaska. The company still needs some permits. (Steven Mufson, Washington Post)

 

Alaska oil’s new ''Gulf of Mexico''

The treacherous, ice-choked waters off Alaska have long lured risk-­taking fortune hunters seeking furs, fish, or other riches.

Merchant marine companies in the 19th century were so intent on pursuing the lucrative whale-oil and baleen trade that they were willing to lose entire ships, and they did. Vessels were occasionally crushed by masses of shifting sea ice.

Today, the prize is petroleum.

Inspired by higher prices, new technology, and the inescapable fact that Alaska's onshore fields are running dry, companies have put up billions of dollars to start the search for oil and gas in the lightly developed, federally managed Alaska outer continental shelf (OCS). In all, the OCS could hold oil in quantities similar to that at Prudhoe Bay – the oil field that has fueled Alaska's economy for four decades.

Yet those forces of nature so brazenly flouted by traders centuries ago, coupled with the new stresses from a rapidly changing Arctic climate, are giving environmentalists and Inupiat Eskimos pause. If boosters consider the OCS to be the next Prudhoe Bay, critics fear it could be the next Exxon Valdez.

Lawsuits have already forced oil companies to pare back or delay drilling plans. But with the Obama administration set to review offshore drilling rights in the region – promising a balance of economic and environmental needs – the issue is now coming to a head. (Yereth Rosen, Christian Science Monitor)

 

Old-Fashioned Energy Play

Forget windmills. Investing in Drax, owner of a 35-year-old British coal-fired power plant, could be a savvier way to profit from Europe's efforts to cut carbon-dioxide emissions.

Sound far-fetched? Not when considering the skewed incentives and lack of certainty in the EU's policy of reducing CO2 emissions 20% by 2020 partly through ensuring renewable energy meets 20% of demand.

The chief uncertainty surrounds the EU's emissions-trading system, which has led to volatile and unexpectedly low prices, below €15 ($22) a ton, less than half last year's peak. There is no visibility on what carbon will cost after 2020. That is a serious issue given the life of a new power plant is measured in decades, and new technology -- such as carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) -- is years from commercialization.

Unless governments address the uncertainty pushing up the cost of capital for new low-CO2 generation, too little capacity may be built to meet future demand and environmental targets. The recession has simply delayed the crunch, because it has also deterred new investment. In the U.K., plans for two new coal-fired power stations were suspended last week and with them opportunities to test CCS technology.

The U.K. may need 22 gigawatts of new capacity by 2020, and not just to replace aging facilities. Extra capacity will have to be built if wind is to provide a fifth of energy supply, because it is an intermittent power source. Should enthusiasm for wind wane, the double-digit earnings multiples windmill-makers like Gamesa, Vestas Wind Systems and Nordex are trading on may prove too high.

Extending the life of existing plants looks the likely way to ensure the lights don't go out in the U.K. and other countries, requiring politicians to rethink policy. Take Germany's tentative re-evaluation of nuclear power and Belgium's recent decision to delay nuclear decommissioning by a decade. (Matthew Curtin, WSJ)

 

“Big Nanny Creates a Gas Bubble.”

The Carbon Sense Coalition today accused both state and federal governments of pushing policies that cause wastage of natural gas and increased electricity charges.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense” Mr Viv Forbes said that five silly government initiatives have created “The Big Nanny Gas Bubble”.

“The first foolish policy forced electricity suppliers to generate a proportion of their electricity from gas. This increased the demand and price for gas. It also increased the cost of generating electricity.

“Naturally, gas producers, pipeline companies and their suppliers applauded, but power consumers were unimpressed.

“The second silly gas policy promoted and subsidised the replacement of electric heating appliances with gas appliances.

“Naturally, gas producers applauded again. So did gas appliance manufacturers and retailers. Home owners were less enthusiastic.

“The third bad idea from Big Nanny was a law mandating that 20% of electricity is generated from “renewable energy”. The perverse consequence of this policy will be to force the construction of a parallel universe of gas fired power stations to prop up the green generators when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. This will create more demand for gas and further increases in gas prices. It will also increase costs and reduce the reliability of power supplies.

“Naturally, gas companies were delighted. So were Green Energy speculators and Chinese manufacturers. Power consumers were apprehensive.

“The fourth gas wasting scheme is the Ration-N-Tax Scheme from Big Nanny in Canberra. This scheme penalises production of one “greenhouse gas”, carbon dioxide, but not the main one, water vapour, which comprises more than 90% of all so-called greenhouse gases. Both are harmless, non-toxic gases that support all life on earth.

“This policy would encourage power companies to switch from coal to gas, even though they are both hydro-carbon fuels which produce the same two harmless gases when burnt. More rises in gas and electricity prices would follow.

“Naturally, gas companies applauded again, but consumers of electricity and gas became seriously alarmed.

“The fifth stupid gas policy proposed recently by the Queensland government attempts to hide the harmful effects of the other four policies by proposing export embargos and price controls for domestic gas.

“Suddenly, gas producers did not applaud. Nor should anyone else.

“Governments should repeal all these destructive market manipulations and allow producers and consumers to discover that combination of fuels, technologies and cost which best satisfy their values and needs.

“Governments are acting like rogue bulls in the energy china shop.

“Big Nanny must be curbed before she bursts the gas bubble”.

Viv Forbes
MS 23, Rosewood Qld 4340 Australia
Phone 0754 640 533
www.carbon-sense.com

Viv Forbes is Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition which opposes waste of resources, opposes pollution, and promotes the rational and sustainable use of carbon energy and carbon food.

 

Coal case

Burning coal underground could be one of the next breakthroughs to increase the world's energy supply, similar to establishment of Canadian oil sands, executives and academics told a conference in London recently.

The world could exploit huge additional coal reserves that are too deep or remote to mine, using a technology that burns the fuel hundreds of meters underground. But the approach is so far untested on a commercial scale, making the initial expense a concern for governments and investors.

"The potential is huge," said Gordon Couch from the International Energy Agency's Clean Coal Centre. "It needs a series of successful demonstrations. Despite 50 years of trials, no commercial use has been demonstrated. Current pilots could result in commercial opportunities within five to seven years."

Higher energy prices and security fears and in particular advances in drilling - the biggest single cost - are focusing new attention on underground coal gasification.

The technology involves injecting air or oxygen into a coal seam, which is burned and heated to produce and then piped to the surface an energy-rich gas that contains hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide. (Reuters)

 

Same old misinformation: Electric Cars Don't Deserve Halo Yet: Study

NEW YORK - Electric cars will not be dramatically cleaner than autos powered by fossil fuels until they rely less on electricity produced from conventional coal-fired power plants, scientists said on Monday.

"For electric vehicles to become a major green alternative, the power fuel mix has to move away from coal, or cleaner coal technologies have to be developed," said Jared Cohon, the chair of a National Research Council report released on Monday called "Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use."

About half of U.S. power is generated by burning coal, which emits many times more of traditional pollutants, such as particulates and smog components, than natural gas, and about twice as much of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. (Reuters)

No, carbon dioxide is not the "main greenhouse gas", that's still water vapor, actually followed by droplets in order of effect. Moreover, carbon dioxide has already delivered just about all the effect it is ever going to, making additional carbon dioxide largely irrelevant as far as greenhouse effect is concerned.

 

Rift between Obama and Chamber of Commerce widening - Health-care reform and economy are points of contention

The White House is moving aggressively to remove the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from its traditional Washington role as the chief representative for big business, the latest sign of a public feud ignited by disagreement over the administration's effort to overhaul the health-care system.

Instead of working through the Chamber, President Obama has reached out to business executives, meeting repeatedly with small groups of CEOs in his private White House dining room. He also has dispatched top aides Valerie Jarrett and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to corporate boardrooms. Since the summer, the three have met with some of the biggest names in the business community, including the heads of IBM, Wal-Mart Stores, Time Warner, Eastman Kodak, Starbucks, Amazon.com and Coca-Cola.

In the process, Obama is attempting to rewrite the rules of the game in Washington, where the Chamber and other business lobbying groups have long held a highly visible, and powerful, place at the intersection of policy and politics.

"The question we have is: Does the Chamber really represent the business community the way they used to?" said Jarrett, the president's chief business liaison. "It seems as though their members are disengaging."

Meanwhile, the Chamber is fighting back with its own public relations agenda, launching multimillion-dollar ad campaigns to resist several of Obama's top priorities. Passage of the president's plan could depend in part on how this battle plays out.

R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's longtime lobbyist, said he has less real access to Obama's chief aides than he had during any previous administration. He said the business events Obama holds at the White House are just for show.

"Going to the Reagan center with 150 people, where the president gives prepared remarks -- I'm sorry, I don't consider that a consultative outreach," Josten said. "That's an event, designed by the White House, for the White House." (Michael D. Shear, Washington Post)

 

Why Does Health Care Need Reform?

Is it because health care is special?  Or is it because we have treated health care as though it were special?

David Goldhill is the CEO of the Game Show Network and author of “How American Health Care Killed My Father,” in the September 2009 issue of The Atlantic.

In this Cato video, Goldhill explains why a consumer-driven health care sector would never produce the often horrific problems we see in American medicine, and why the legislation moving through Congress fails to address those problems.

See Goldhill’s complete remarks here. (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

Should Congress Even Try to Achieve Universal Coverage?

If the goal is to improve health, then the answer is clearly no.

Ironically, even though universal coverage is presumably about helping the sick, the Democrats’ pursuit of universal coverage demonstrates not how much, but how little they care about their neighbors’ health.

Economists Helen Levy and David Meltzer explain, in a book published by the Urban Institute, “There is no evidence at this time that money aimed at improving health would be better spent on expanding insurance coverage than on…other possibilities,” such as clinics, hypertension screening, nutrition campaigns, or even education.  In the Annual Review of Public Health, they explain further:

The central question of how health insurance affects health, for whom it matters, and how much, remains largely unanswered at the level of detail needed to inform policy decisions…Understanding the magnitude of health benefits associated with insurance is not just an academic exercise…it is crucial to ensuring that the benefits of a given amount of public spending on health are maximized.

If Democrats were serious about improving health, they would first gather evidence about which of those strategies produces the most health per dollar spent.  (As I recommend elsewhere, the $1.1 billion Congress allocated for comparative-effectiveness research should just about do the trick.)  Democrats would then fund the most cost-effective strategies, which may or may not include broader insurance coverage.

But the fact that Democrats are pursuing universal coverage without any such evidence necessarily means that they are willing to sacrifice potentially greater health improvements to achieve…whatever else they hope universal coverage will achieve.

Universal coverage is not about improving public health.  It is about subordinating health to some X-factor that supporters value even more.

Which leads to an even more intriguing question: what is that X-factor?

Financial security?  (If so, would universal coverage achieve that?  Or are there better strategies?)  Political power?  Dependence on government?  Industry subsidies?  The appearance of compassion?

I’d like to see that question put to the group.

(Cross-posted at National Journal’s Health Care Experts Blog.) (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

House Democrats Choose Dishonesty

I’m not a fan of the House Democrats’ proposed takeover of the health care sector.  (If there’s one thing that legislation is not, it’s “reform.”)  But at least House Democrats were honest enough to include the cost of the $245 billion bump in Medicare physician payments in their legislation, unlike some committee chairmen I could mention.

Unfortunately, House Democrats have since decided that dishonesty is the better strategy.  They, like Senate Democrats, now plan to strip that additional Medicare spending out of health “reform” and enact it separately.  (Democrats are already trying to exempt that spending from pay-as-you-go rules, making it easier for them to expand our record federal deficits.)  Why enact it separately?  Because excising that spending from the “reform” legislation reduces the cost of health “reform”!

But why stop there?  Heck, enact all the new spending separately, and the cost of “reform” would plummet!  Enact the new Medicaid spending separately, and the cost of “reform” would fall by $438 billion! Do it with the subsidies to private health insurance companies, and the cost of “reform” would plunge by $773 billion!  All that would be left of “reform” would be tax increases and Medicare payment cuts.  Health “reform” would dramatically reduce federal deficits!  Huzzah!

Except it wouldn’t, because at the end of the day Congress would be spending the same amount of money.

The only good news may be this.  If this dishonest budget gimmick succeeds, then Congress will have “fixed” Medicare’s physician payments.  Absent that “must pass” legislation, the Democrats health care takeover would lose momentum, and would have to stand on its own merit.  That would be good for the Republic, though not for the legislation.

(Cross-posted at Politico’s Health Care Arena.) (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

ACORN and Health Care

Last week, editors at Politico posed two questions to an online panel to which I contribute: “ACORN: Underplayed or overblown?” and “Will the Dems ever get their act together on healthcare?”

The two are intimately connected by a simple proposition: “Most people want more housing and health care than they can afford.” Of course, for “housing” or “health care” one could substitute whatever one wishes: food, clothing, cars, education, entertainment, vacations, you name it. Economists call this the problem of scarcity, and it’s the beginning of economics.

In a free society, most individuals, families, and firms will deal with that problem through such homely measures as creating and husbanding wealth, planning for the future, and living within their means. Some, however, will be indifferent to such discipline and will demand more than they can afford. Enter thus ACORN and the Dems — the party of government. ACORN, like our president, is in the “community organizing” business — a euphemism for putting (some) people in a position to better demand things from government. Some of those demands are perfectly legitimate: reduce crime; fix the potholes. But others, the demands ACORN specializes in, are not thus “common.” They can be satisfied, in a world of scarcity, only by taking from some and giving to others.

And that’s what the housing and health care debates today are largely about. And it’s why on both, the Dems are having difficulty getting their act together, because however much they turn a blind eye toward scarcity or pretend that they all agree, the truth is that they represent discrete constituencies, with discrete conflicting interests. That’s what happens when we’re all thrown into the common pot. What once was decided by individuals, reflecting their own particular interests, is now decided by government — and it’s a Hobbesian war of all against all.

The AP report on ACORN last week illustrated that nicely. ACORN has been in the forefront of those browbeating banks, under the Community Reinvestment Act, to provide housing loans to people who couldn’t afford them. Banks were reluctant to make those loans, of course — until the government stepped in to “guarantee” them. Well, we’ve seen where that ended: we’re all paying the price, especially those who couldn’t afford the homes in the first place, and will be for years to come. AEI’s Peter Wallison details some of that fiasco in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, placing a finger on none other than Barney Frank, who parades now as our savior.

But the same something-for-nothing mindset is at work in the health care debate. Here again, many people want more health care than they can afford, which means that someone else will have to pay for it — the government having nothing except what it takes from us. The pretense that it is otherwise — or that they can redistribute more equitably than the market does — is what drives the Dems to their pie-in-the-sky schemes — until some among them realize that it is they and their constituents who are being taken for a ride. At that point, either the recalcitrant are silenced, with some temporary sop, or the bottom falls out of the scheme, which is what many of us are hoping for here. If not, the housing debacle will prove in time to be a pale harbinger of the health care debacle, at least for those who live to see it.

C/P Politico’s Arena (Roger Pilon, Cato at liberty)

 

USDA confirms H1N1 flu in first U.S. hog

WASHINGTON, Oct 19 - The pandemic H1N1 flu virus was confirmed in a sample from a hog exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair, the Agriculture Department said on Monday.

It was the first discovery in U.S. hogs.

The discovery does not suggest infection of commercial herds, grown for slaughter, because show pigs and commercial herds are separate components of the swine industry and usually are not commingled, USDA said in a statement.

Samples were taken from Aug. 26-Sept. 1 as part of a research project. Additional samples are being tested.

USDA said last week there was no direct link with an outbreak of H1N1 flu among teenagers housed in a dormitory at the fair at roughly the same time.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the World Organization for Animal Health says there is no reason to restrict trade in pork or pork products.

"People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products," said Vilsack in a statement. (Reuters)

 

Mercury levels similar in autistic, normal kids

WASHINGTON - Children with autism have mercury levels similar to those of other kids, suggesting the mysterious disorder is caused by a range of factors rather than "a single smoking gun," researchers said on Monday.

The researchers at the University of California, Davis, initially found that children aged 2 to 5 with autism had mercury levels lower than other children because the autistic kids ate less fish, the biggest source of mercury that shows up in the blood.

But when the data were adjusted for lower fish consumption, blood-mercury concentrations among the autistic children were roughly similar to those developing typically. The children with autism had mercury levels in line with national norms.

The findings, published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, come at a time when advocates including parents argue that mercury found in fish, dental fillings, vaccines and industrial emissions are responsible for autism.

The debate became more vehement this month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said autism was more common than previously thought, affecting one in 91 children, including about one in 58 boys.

"It's time to abandon the idea that a single smoking gun will emerge to explain why so many children are developing autism," said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, who led the study.

"Just as autism is complex, with great variation in severity and presentation, it is highly likely that its causes will be found to be equally complex," she said in a statement.

Autism refers to a spectrum of diseases, from severe and profound inability to communicate and mental retardation to relatively mild symptoms. The research area is due for a large infusion of money from President Barack Obama's $5 billion plan to boost U.S. medical and scientific research. (Reuters)

 

Drinking and obesity fuel surge in liver disease among middle-age Britons

Binge drinking and obesity are fuelling a liver disease crisis among middle-aged Britons, ministers will warn today.

The average age of those dying of the disease has fallen to 60 for women and 58 for men - four years lower for both sexes than 25 years ago.

Liver disease is the only major cause of death that is increasing year-on-year, with the rate doubling in the last decade.

It is already the fifth biggest killer, after cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease and stroke - but it is set to overtake the latter two in as little as two years.

It is also a much bigger threat to people in middle age, compared with heart disease where the average age of death is currently 82 and stroke, where it is 84. (Daily Mail)

 

Redefining obesity's health risks - Scientists make the case for new body fat assessment

The body mass index (BMI) has long been the yardstick in deciding who is at risk because of their weight. BMI is essentially a measure of density, identifying 'under-' and 'over-weight' risk groups. Recent studies however point towards a more sophisticated approach to the issue.

In a recent article for F1000 Biology Reports, Manfred J Müller and colleagues at the University of Kiel in Germany explain how 'functional' body composition analysis (BCA) measures more of the variables that determine whether or not obesity is 'benign'.

Recent studies using similar analysis suggest that up to 30% of obese people do not in fact require medical treatment. Widespread adoption of BCA could significantly improve the targeting of limited healthcare resources in the context of one of modern society's global killers.

Thanks to advances in imaging technology, variables - such as the body's fat proportion, location and distribution and the size of fat cells and fat droplets within these cells – can now be factored into the health risk assessment.

Coupled with a better understanding of the interrelation between genes, environment, hormone levels and metabolism, BCA gives clinicians a clearer picture of the specific health risks to an individual.

In light of the growing evidence in favour of functional BCA, the authors conclude that "the definitions of both 'overweight' and 'malnutrition' should be reconsidered" by clinicians and researchers. Evidently, size does still matter but it's what you do with it that really counts. (EurekAlert)

 

Drug War Insanity Goes Up in Smoke

As my colleague David Rittgers notes below, the announcement by the Department of Justice that it will no longer seek to arrest medical marijuana users is a breakthrough for common sense in federal drug policy.

It is bizarre that it takes a major policy announcement to spell out what a waste of police and court time it is to investigate the ill people who use medical marijuana. Historians will surely look back on this period and ponder how our government could have seriously embraced the opposite policy, in the same way we look back at the strange days of alcohol prohibition.

The Obama administration should be taking much bolder steps to stop the criminalization of drug use more generally. More and more people have come to recognize that the drug war has been given a fair chance to work, but it has proved to be a grand failure. (Tim Lynch, Cato at liberty)

 

Hurrumph... Scientists urge EPA to adopt systems thinking

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will celebrate its 40th birthday in 2010, but it may be approaching a mid-life crisis. A group of nationally recognized experts in environmental science, technology, and policy have called for EPA to adopt a more integrated approach to environmental protection that accounts for the complex interrelationships among socioeconomic and environmental systems. In an article to be published in the December issue of Environmental Science and Technology, the authors argue that the 21st century brings a new wave of daunting environmental problems that will require a much greater emphasis on systems thinking. An early release of the article is available online at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es901653f

According to the article, global resilience is being tested by pressures of population and economic growth, which cause increasing greenhouse gas emissions, declining biodiversity, and other threats to such vital natural resources as fresh water, soil, forests, and wetlands. Only by understanding these systemic forces can EPA establish sound policies and decision making processes.

"At its inception in 1970, the EPA inherited a long and daunting list of environmental problems and addressed those with a high degree of success, but the agency is not organized to deal with emerging 21st century challenges," said co-author David Rejeski of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (EurekAlert)

The EPA has been a 40-year disaster. Both people and planet will be better off if we scrap the failed experiment. At best the EPA has provided political cover for appalling misanthropy:

The Worst Thing Nixon Ever Did
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Richard Nixon's policy to ban DDT at all costs continues to kick Africa's hopes for economic progress and to condemn millions to death from mosquito and lice borne diseases.

Most people would consider the June 1972 ban of DDT by the Environmental Protection Agency the beginning of the end for widespread use of the insecticide, the most effective anti-malaria pesticide still in existence. For his role in promulgating the ban in the face of a contrary finding by the EPA hearing, then Administrator William Ruckelshaus has become almost a hate figure amongst the anti-malaria community. Now it appears though that the hate figure should actually be then President Richard Nixon.

In February 10th 1970, President Nixon announced, "we have taken action to phase out the use of DDT and other hard pesticides." In December 1970, the administration created the EPA to implement executive environmental policy. As a 1975 study out of Northern Illinois University notes, "This is important . . . before the EPA hearings were convened and even before the EPA was created, Ruckelshaus' boss, President Nixon, had stated that DDT was being phased out. This leaves the hearings themselves superfluous, satisfying only a court requirement. As long as the head of EPA was responsible for the final order, it was impossible for the result to be other than as occurred." Thus, the exhaustive studies and hearings conducted to "decide" the fate of the chemical in the two years following President Nixon's statement were nothing but a political farce designed to add ex post science to a political decision. The decision had already been made rendering the hearings, studies and litigation pointless.

What a disappointment this revelation must have been to Judge Edmund Sweeny. Thirty-two years ago this week, Judge Sweeney impartially presided over the final stages of EPA hearings on DDT. The hearings were in many ways the first "environmental" trial. Judge Sweeny clove closely to the balance inherent in the structure of a formal legal hearing. His insistence on oral testimony corroborating the written caused the DDT detractors to make significant retractions in their claims about DDT's harm. Based on the evidence before him, Judge Sweeny concluded in his summation that there was no reason for an immediate ban on DDT. DDT was safe for humans. While it might harm the environment in large doses, this was as yet unproven, and DDT should continue to be used for most agricultural and public health needs.

Nonetheless, without even bothering to read them, Administrator Ruckelshaus overruled Judge Sweeney's findings and proceeded with a ban. This decision had tremendous impact on malaria control around the world. Although when used in small quantities on the interior of houses DDT remains the most effective anti malaria pesticide known, Western countries, including the United States, refuse to fund its use and push for its abolition world-wide. (Roger Bate, Tech Central Station)

 

Taxes fund environmental suits - Environmental law firms reap billions in fees to fund lawsuits

The federal government has paid out billions of dollars to environmental groups for attorney fees and costs, according to data assembled by a Cheyenne, Wyo., lawyer.

Karen Budd-Falen of Budd-Falen Law Offices said the government between 2003 and 2007 paid more than $4.7 billion in taxpayer money to environmental law firms -- and that's just in the lawsuits she tracked.

The actual figure, she said, is far greater.

"I think we only found that the iceberg exists," she said. "I don't think we have any idea how much money is being spent. But I think it's huge."

In some cases, Budd-Falen said, intervening ranchers and farmers are paying for the defense of their farm and ranch practices and -- through their taxes -- paying for the opposing lawyers' attorney fees.

"That money is not going into programs to protect people, wildlife, plants and animals," Budd-Falen said, "but to fund more lawsuits."

Budd-Falen, whose firm regularly represents farms and ranches, for years was aware that nonprofit, tax-exempt environmental law firms were generating sizable revenue from attorney fees paid by the federal government. In June, she submitted a formal request asking the Department of Justice for information on just how much was being spent.

"They said they don't track that information," she said.

After the response, Budd-Falen sat down with a paralegal and started what she said was a time-consuming process of uncovering and compiling the data.

"The numbers were just shocking," she said.

"Somewhere this has to stop, and the government has to be held accountable for the money it's spending," she said. (Capital Press)

 

Interesting bed bug research: The wandering females

Pfiester, Margie; Koehler, Philip G.; Pereira, Roberto M. (2009) Effect of Population Structure and Size on Aggregation Behavior of Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Journal of Medical Entomology 46(5):1015-1020. doi: 10.1603/033.046.0506 (free download available)

A couple of interesting things: the sex ratio in small groups of bed bugs may be dynamic even as the sex ratio in the population remains stable, and the authors point out that this is a new observation not considered in the literature to date, where 1:1 sex ratios in bed bug populations have been observed in field conditions.

As population density increases, the authors found that the percentage of adult females grouped with other females also increases. This may be a newly observed mating resistance strategy. (Renee Corea, New York vs Bed Bugs)

 

October 19, 2009

 

Lawrence Solomon on The free luncher: Exelon

Fourteen principled companies abandoned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week in protest over climate change. Let’s investigate their principles.

The New York Times coverage of the event, focusing on Exelon, one of America’s largest energy companies, frames the issues well. “Climate Bill Splits Exelon and U.S. Chamber,” its headline read. It then quoted Exelon’s long-time CEO, John W. Rowe, who explained that Exelon objected to the chamber’s “stridency against carbon legislation.” Environmentalists cheered the corporate defections, which confirmed their view that climate change reforms made good economic as well as good environmental sense.

“The carbon-based free lunch is over,” stated Rowe. “Breakthroughs on climate change and improving our society’s energy efficiency are within reach.”
John Rowe knows a lot about free lunches. He also is no Johnny-come-lately in coming to the table. Long before most environmental groups discovered the global warming issue, Rowe was warning of the dangers of climate change. In early 1992 — before the UN’s Maurice Strong and a U.S. senator named Al Gore launched the global warming issue at the Rio Earth Summit — Rowe was testifying in Congress about the need for carbon taxes to protect the planet.

Needless to say, carbon taxes were also needed to protect the nuclear industry, which he represented. At the time, Rowe was CEO of New England Electric System, part owner in the Yankee Rowe Nuclear plant that had to be prematurely decommissioned because the cost of making it safe was deemed uneconomic. Rowe had come to New England Electric System from a stint as CEO of Central Main Power, famed for a ruinous investment in the cancelled Seabrook nuclear power plant. Now as CEO of Exelon, he oversees the largest fleet of nuclear reactors in the U.S., those at ill-fated Three Mile Island among them. Every single reactor in Exelon’s fleet needed government backing to be built — neither Exelon nor any other company in the private sector has ever been willing to accept the full financial risk of nuclear power.

Exelon plans to build more nuclear plants — but only if taxpayers will overwhelmingly assume the expense. Thanks to subsidies established by the Bush administration in the hopes of kick-starting a nuclear renaissance, the federal government promises to pick up much of the capital costs and much of the operating costs of a future round of nuclear plants. But that isn’t enough to make new nuclear plants competitive. For nuclear to succeed, competing technologies that don’t require subsidies — and especially coal-fired plants, which Exelon lacks — must be brought down by regulation.

This is the forte of Rowe, a lawyer by training. No one has a more stellar record in the realm of regulatory rule-making, no one has more ingeniously struck deals with environmentalists and government regulators alike, no one more keenly appreciates how the law can be used to cripple a competitor, no one has more tirelessly lobbied for climate change legislation, the biggest club ever devised against the fossil fuel industry.

Hence Rowe’s distaste for anything that stands in the way of regulations that eviscerate his competition. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, representing three million businesses, most of which won’t benefit from higher energy costs, is standing in his way. (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)

 

Chamber divided on climate change

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has lost a handful of influential members over its opposition to climate change legislation being considered by Congress.

In recent weeks, Apple and three utilities -- Exelon, PNM Resources and PG&E -- said they will drop their membership in the Chamber, which represents more than 3 million businesses and organizations. Nike, which said it "fundamentally disagrees" with the group on climate change, will remain a member but resign from the Chamber's board.

"Nike believes U.S. businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation," the athletic apparel maker said in a Sept. 30 statement. "We believe that on the issue of climate change, the Chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors."

Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe supported the legislation in a speech to industry leaders and regulators last month, saying "the carbon-based free lunch is over."

"The price signal sent through a cap-and-trade system will drive low-carbon investments in the most inexpensive and efficient way possible," Mr. Rowe said at an American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy conference.

Another major industry group, the National Association of Manufacturers is losing Duke Energy as a member because of NAM's views on the legislation. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

A peek at Al Gore's fortune

NEW YORK - Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore left the White House with less than $2 million US in assets, including a Virginia home and the family farm in Tennessee. Now, he's making enough to put $35 million in hedge funds and other private partnerships. (Vancouver Province)

 

Boehmer-Christiansen: BECC Sponsor List May Show True Face Of AGW Lobby

(a note by Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen inspired by the news of the “Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference: Nov 15-18, Washington, DC“. Published with the consent of the author)

RE: the sponsors:

Co-conveners: The 2009 Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference is being convened by The American Council for [an] Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE),  University of California; and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), Stanford University.

This supports my hypothesis, pushed since the early 1990s, that the most active ’villain’ in the show is the technological research lobby, found in WG III of IPCC.

You have all been discussing WG 1! WG III (the solutions/ responses people) are served by WG 1, and is the place where the governments, NGOs and ‘technologists’ meet and propose the solutions..this is now down to one thing at last, a price for carbon above what? At least $40. It is much less at the moment, but please correct if you can find out.

As a political science student pointed out to me, in politics it is not unusual to have solutions searching for, and finding a problem. (OmniClimate)

 

Bill Carmichael: Weathering a climate of hate

Poor old Paul Hudson. The inoffensive cheeky chappy, who presents the weather on the BBC in Yorkshire, has found himself a hate object among the fringes of the environmental movement.

Hudson's crime? Well, to borrow a phrase, he told "an inconvenient truth" – that global warming has stopped.

In an article headlined "Whatever happened to global warming?" on the BBC website, Hudson noted that the warmest year of recent times wasn't 2007 or 2008, but 1998, and global temperatures have not increased at all in the intervening 11 years, despite increasing carbon emissions.

Ignore the provocative headline, for Hudson's piece was, in fact, scrupulously fair. In measured terms, he explored the theories of what could be behind the present period of global cooling, including the ideas of so-called "sceptics", who believe the sun's energy or the oceans' currents, and not man's activities, are primarily responsible for periods of cooling and warming.

But he also quoted scientists who reckon the dip in temperatures is just a temporary blip and that man-made global warming will return with a vengeance in the near future.

No one really knows. In climatic terms, a 10-year trend proves nothing –it, as many scientists argue, could be a mere variation on the graph showing an inexorable rise in average temperatures.

But interestingly, Hudson pointed out that none of the climate models beloved by meteorologists forecast the present temperature trend. It is sobering to note that environmentalists are demanding that we damage our economy and make the poor poorer on the back of climate models that have been proved, in the short term at least, to be wrong. (Yorkshire Post)

 

Anatomy of a Smear

Wow. This has to be read to be believed. According to Stephen Dubner on his blog at the NYT, in the dust-up over the SupreFreakonomics book (which I have not read) Joe Romm manufactures a smear of the book and its authors by making this request of Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford (emphasis added):
"I want to trash them for this insanity and ignorance. . . my blog is read by everyone in this area, including the media. I’d like a quote like ‘The authors of SuperFreakonomics have utterly misrepresented my work,’ plus whatever else you want to say."
Caldeira did not provide the requested quote, what he did say according to Dubner was:
“The only significant error,” he wrote to Romm, “is the line: ‘carbon dioxide is not the right villain in this fight.’ That is just wrong and I never would have said it. On the other hand, I f&@?ed up. They sent me the draft and I approved it without reading it carefully and I just missed it. … I think everyone operated in good faith, and this was just a mistake that got by my inadequate editing
Is that the story that you get from Romm? Not even close. Romm spins and lies instead. Dubner explains how Romm didn't report the full story from Caldeira, but instead twisted it into a smear by reporting an untruth: "Levitt and Dubner didn’t run this quote by Caldeira . . ." We know from Dubner and confirmed by Caldeira that

. . . Caldeira did see that line, and the rest of the chapter too, not once but twice.

But that didn’t seem to matter. While Romm’s post never actually delivered the Caldeira quotes teased in the headline – that it was “an inaccurate portrayal of me” and “misleading” – the point was clear to any reader: everything SuperFreakonomics says about global warming must be wrong because the main climate scientist they write about has refuted what he said. It’s hard to blame the bloggers who subsequently repeated this story: if you didn’t know it was false, it would have seemed pretty newsworthy. It’s also hard to misinterpret what’s going on here. Now that global warming has transcended science to become a political issue, the rules of politics apply: if you don’t like someone’s position, attack their credibility.
For his part Caldeira expresses some regret at being drawn into the dispute:
“I was drawn in by Romm and Al Gore’s assistant into critiquing other parts of the chapter. Rather than acting deliberately, I panicked and commented on things that I now wish I would have been silent on. It was obviously a mistake to let myself get drawn into this, and I learned a quick and hard lesson in public relations.”
Caldeira also said of the book and it authors:
“I believe all of the ideas attributed to me are based on fact, with the exception of the ‘carbon dioxide is not the right villain’ line,” he wrote. “That said, when I am speaking, I place these facts in a very different context and draw different policy conclusions.” He added that “I believe the authors to have worked in good faith. They draw different conclusions than I draw from the same facts, but as authors of the book, that is their prerogative.”
Dubner accepts Caldeira's critique, and even though Caldeira had two chances to correct the text before publication:
I understand why Caldeira now feels that the “villain” line overstates his position. I certainly wish we had discussed amending it earlier, and it’s probably a good idea to change that line in future editions of the book.
The story here is a climate scientist being played as a fool in the political battle over climate change. Joe Romm often engages in some pretty dirty politics in smearing the credibility of people whose views that he disagrees with, which in the past has included me. That people play dirty politics is not a surprise. That Joe Romm is taken seriously by the mainstream media and the mainstream scientific community says a lot about them as well. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Maldivians sink to new low with an underwater publicity stunt

Cross this place off my tourist list. I don’t care how inviting, it will be now the “island of stupid” in my memory. Watch the video below the “read more” line for today’s dose of silliness. Look for more stunts like this leading to Copenhagen.

Maldives Cabinet Signs Climate Change Document 20 Feet Under Sea

From Fox News:

AP Oct. 17: Maldivian Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Ibrahim Didi signs a document under water.

Excerpts: GIRIFUSHI, Maldives  —

Members of the Maldives’ Cabinet donned scuba gear and used hand signals Saturday at an underwater meeting staged to highlight the threat of global warming to the lowest-lying nation on earth.

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

The climate change war: now propaganda is added to the stunts

The UK public is now the target of 'public information' advertising on climate change. The reason is that a majority of people remain unconcerned or sceptical, leading the government to conclude that they need to be re-educated. In particular, the emphasis is on the future effect on today's young children. The first television adverts, with images of drowning people and a jagged-toothed 'carbon monster' were screened at peak time last week. (Scientific Alliance)

 

Study: Television Has Less Effect on Education about Climate Change than Other Forms of Media

Television Has Less Effect on Education about Climate Change than Other Forms of Media

From a press release at George Mason University

FAIRFAX, Va.–Worried about climate change and want to learn more? You probably aren’t watching television then. A new study by George Mason University Communication Professor Xiaoquan Zhao suggests that watching television has no significant impact on viewers’ knowledge about the issue of climate change. Reading newspapers and using the web, however, seem to contribute to people’s knowledge about this issue.

The study, “Media Use and Global Warming Perceptions: A Snapshot of the Reinforcing Spirals”, looked at the relationship between media use and people’s perceptions of global warming. The study asked participants how often they watch TV, surf the Web, and read newspapers. They were also asked about their concern and knowledge of global warming and specifically its impact on the polar regions.

“Unlike many other social issues with which the public may have first-hand experience, global warming is an issue that many come to learn about through the media,” says Zhao. “The primary source of mediated information about global warming is the news.” Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Med Journals Adopt New Disclosure Rules

“Editors at leading medical journals have agreed to adopt a new standard conflict of interest disclosure form that probes deep into the financial and nonfinancial interests of published authors”. That’s the start of a blog titled “Med journals adopt disclosure rules” signed “Bob Grant” at The Scientist, based on a news item on The Wall Street Journal.

The journals involved are “The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The British Medical Journal”.

Alongside what should be by now standard disclosure fare “information regarding financial relationships — such as board membership, consultancy, expert testimony, honoraria and stock options — and potentially conflicting financial relationships among spouses and children under age 18”, authors are going to be asked about “’relevant nonfinancial associations’, such as political, personal, institutional, or religious affiliations that ‘a reasonable reader would want to know about in relation to the submitted work.’” (those disclosures are between author and editors, not necessarily to be made public in full. And still…).

There are already calls to extend the new rules to peer reviewers and editors.

The disclosure form was “drafted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)” and follows an initiative by the “Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)”, one of whose project is aptly titled “Integrity in Science”.

More details about that initiative are available in another Bob Grant blog, “Unifying journal disclosure rules” dated July 17, 2008.

At the time, the CSPI urged “full disclosure of potentially compromising financial relationships held by authors up to three years prior to submitting a manuscript. Financial conflicts include direct employment or consultancies with private firms, travel grants or speaking fees, paid expert testimony, membership on advisory boards, pending or existing patents, and stock ownership”

On the non-financial side, disclosure should include “membership in NGOs that may have a stake in a particular manuscript’s publication”.

Authors of the CSPI document, “Merrill Goozner (Director of CSPI’s Integrity in Science program), […] University of Pennsylvania bioethicists Arthur Caplan and Jonathan Moreno and the editors of three journals – the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Addiction, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons”.

Other groups involved were the “Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), a consortium of journal editors that seek to address issues of scientific integrity in science publication”. COPE “counts all Elsevier journals as members”.

======

Will journals in other specialty areas follow? What is the opinion by COPE and CSPI about recent and past scandals in Climate Science? (OmniClimate)

 

The Collapse of Credibility at the IPCC

In case you missed it, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently took another major hit, likely to be fatal to its dwindling integrity, authenticity, and credibility. An earlier major hit was the famous Hockeystick chart fiasco, where the last 1000 years of global temperatures as presented by the IPCC were shown to be in error. ( http://tinyurl.com/o3x6zt ).

While the chart indicated a rapid temperature increase since 1900, the chart was created using inappropriate data and inappropriate computer algorithms. Nevertheless it was highly featured in the IPCC documents as well as in Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Recent detective work ( http://tinyurl.com/yzevqqs ) shows that some of the tree-ring data used to construct the “hockeystick” curve was “cherry-picked’ from a larger data set. The cherry-picked data indicated warming while the data that was ignored clearly showed cooling temperatures. Such arbitrary selection of data indicates bad science in several areas including the IPCC, and their inability to provide peer review.

Since its inception the IPCC has been pursuing a harmful political agenda, not an agenda of sound science. From the very beginning of the IPCC in July 1986, its agenda has been to justify the control of the emissions of greenhouse gases, and the energy sources which produce them. (See Climate Change Reconsidered, Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) p. iv, ( http://tinyurl.com/ybfedph ). The NIPCC continues “Consequently its (the IPCC) scientific reports have focused solely on evidence that might point to human-induced climate change”.

In the words of the IPCC, 2007 AR4, the role of the IPCC “is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open, and transparent basis, the latest scientific, technical, and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation”.

A close reading of the above stated role of the IPCC emphasizes the fact that it was not in the pursuit and advancement of science, but one of political advocacy, and the acquisition of political power. To the extent that limiting the IPCC role to the search for “human-induced climate change”, necessarily leads the IPCC to a hugely incomplete understanding of our climate, much of which is driven by natural forces, such as the Sun and the oceans, to name two. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Global Warming on the Rocks

Global-warming alarmists are gearing up for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December with increasingly threatening tales of pending eco-disaster. The latest of these comes in the form of a Reuters article that predicts "the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free during the summer within twenty years."

The claim is based on research that compares current sea ice cover at the North Pole to measurements taken in 2007. According to scientists quoted in the article, more sea ice is melting in the summer than should. They claim it will have a snowball effect on global warming by raising temperatures worldwide since the exposed dark ocean water absorbs sunlight rather than reflecting it as ice does. The article quotes Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband as saying, "This further strengthens the case for an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen."

But what about scientific evidence that weakens the case for Secretary Miliband's "global deal?" It is unlikely the Climate Change Convention will provide a forum for valid scientific research pointing to the possibility that arctic ice levels do not pose a threat to global climate. Christopher Monckton's Would CO2 Emission Cuts Save Arctic Ice and Reduce Sea-Level Rise? published in April of this year by the Science and Public Policy Institute deserves a public hearing. Monckton was a policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, and his findings are based on research by mainstream sources such as NASA, the University of Illinois, and the University of Colorado. (Rebecca Terrell, New American)

 

Quotes on Global Warming Theory

"A short saying oft contains much wisdom." -- Sophocles (496 BC - 406 BC)

Our growing selection of quotes on man-made global warming theory, from both the good guys and the bad guys. (Association of British Drivers)

 

Obama Poised to Cede US Sovereignty in Copenhagen, Claims British Lord Monckton

Reposted from comments on the new Urban Future thread here

Originally from the blog Fightin’ Words

Above: Obama’s last visit to Copenhagen didn’t work out so well for the USA.

The Minnesota Free Market Institute hosted an event at Bethel University in St. Paul on Wednesday evening. Keynote speaker Lord Christopher Monckton, former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, gave a scathing and lengthy presentation, complete with detailed charts, graphs, facts, and figures which culminated in the utter decimation of both the pop culture concept of global warming and the credible threat of any significant anthropomorphic climate change.

A detailed summary of Monckton’s presentation will be available here once compiled. However, a segment of his remarks justify immediate publication. If credible, the concern Monckton speaks to may well prove the single most important issue facing the American nation, bigger than health care, bigger than cap and trade, and worth every citizen’s focused attention.

Here were Monckton’s closing remarks, as dictated from my audio recording:

At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen, this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed. Your president will sign it. Most of the third world countries will sign it, because they think they’re going to get money out of it. Most of the left-wing regime from the European Union will rubber stamp it. Virtually nobody won’t sign it.

I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created. The word “government” actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfication of what is called, coyly, “climate debt” – because we’ve been burning CO2 and they haven’t. We’ve been screwing up the climate and they haven’t. And the third purpose of this new entity, this government, is enforcement.

How many of you think that the word “election” or “democracy” or “vote” or “ballot” occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn’t appear once. So, at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement, who took over Greenpeace so that my friends who funded it left within a year, because [the communists] captured it – Now the apotheosis as at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view. He’s going to sign it. He’ll sign anything. He’s a Nobel Peace Prize [winner]; of course he’ll sign it.

[laughter]

And the trouble is this; if that treaty is signed, if your Constitution says that it takes precedence over your Constitution (sic), and you can’t resign from that treaty unless you get agreement from all the other state parties – And because you’ll be the biggest paying country, they’re not going to let you out of it. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Updated with video and Links: Monckton Speaks to Over 700 at Minnesota Free Market Institute Event

Last night, climate skeptic Lord Christopher Monckton spoke to an audience of over 700 at Bethel University in St. Paul. The event also featured the national premiere of a new documentary from the Cascade Policy Institute titled “Climate Chains.” The event was an enormous success. Thank you for all who came!

Note: For those interested, Monckton’s slide show can be found here. The video above is best viewed while following along with the presentation.

Information on the treaty that Lord Christopher Monckton is referencing can be found here. The actual proposed treaty language can be found here. (Minnesota Free Market Institute)

 

See also this lengthy response to the WUWT piece from Dennis A.:

I have just posted this response to the piece on WUWT today by Christopher Monckton, I hope it gets through. Some of the commentators think they are protected by the US Constitution. Comments welcome.

"Regardless of what you think the guarantees of your Constitution are, these agreements are going on behind closed doors. The public face is the Copenhagen Treaty as with all the others, including Kyoto, but the power brokers and financiers already have it sewn up.

It would be difficult to argue otherwise that one of the most influential documents in the global warming debate is the Stern Review. Stern is a former World Bank Chief Economist and became head of the UK Government Economic Service. The Stern Review was commissioned by Gordon Brown with major input from the Tyndall Centre and Phil Jones' Climate Research Centre.

It came out conveniently at the time of the US mid-term elections and was designed to embarrass Bush. In May last year, Lord Stern published a set of proposals for a global deal on climate change at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/ERD/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2008/globaldeal.aspx

There is a link to the document, called Key Elements of a Global Deal. Read it, as a matter of urgency. It is the basis for the things that Monckton describes.

Stern mentions some of the contributors to his plan: It has several contributors, with participants from HSBC, IdeaCarbon, Judge Business School at Cambridge University, Lehman Brothers and McKinsey and Company and has been inspired by a number of discussions with international policymakers, financiers and academics.

For an interesting aricle on the Lehman Brothers and Global Warming, check here: Did global warming send Lehman Brothers broke?
http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1438/did-global-warming-send-lehman-brothers-broke

"There's much debate about the causes of the global economic crisis. According to the popular media some of the chief suspects include ‘greed', ‘obscene executive salaries', and ‘predatory lenders'. But maybe the origins of the crisis lie somewhere else entirely. Maybe a long lunch with Nicholas Stern is to blame.

For Lehman Brothers, global warming was a means of making money. The firm promoted trading in ‘carbon credits' via an emissions trading scheme. In the wake of his firm's bankruptcy Fuld was summoned to the Congress and asked to explain how it was that he appeared to have collected paychecks of US $480 million over the last decade. What Fuld could have been asked, but wasn't, was how much extra he would have made if the United States Government had followed Lehman Brothers's urgings and established an emissions trading scheme.

And the connection to Nicholas Stern and the long lunch? He's acknowledged in the report as ‘through the course of a long lunch' having provided a ‘brilliant overview of the principal climate change issues as he had come to see them.'"

There is mention of a company called IdeaCarbon. They have a web site, http://www.ideacarbon.com/strategic/index.html .

They are marketing a carbon trading consultancy called CARBONfirst described here:

IDEAcarbon’s premier strategic advice service has been created to give senior decision makers tailored intelligence about key developments in climate change policy and the evolution of the carbon markets.

Here is a list of consultants:
The CARBONfirst network includes:

* Lord Stern, Advisor, IDEAGlobal and author of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change
* Ian Johnson, Chairman of IDEAcarbon, a special advisor to the UNFCCC (parent body of IPCC)
* Christiana Figueres, leading UN climate negotiator and member of the IDEAcarbon Ratings Committee
* Nitin Desai, Advisor IDEAcarbon, former Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs in the United Nations
* Paul Ezikiel, Advisor IDEAcarbon and recently MD At Credit Suisse where he ran the Global Carbon Trading business.

MD of IdeaCarbon for 2007/8 was Dr Samuel Fankhauser. He is a Principal Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics. Lord Stern is Head of the LSE Grantham Centre.

Fankhauser is also the Chief Economist at an outfit called Globe International. I bet you never heard of them before:
http://www.globeinternational.org/content.php?id=1:0:0:0:0

"GLOBE facilitates high level negotiated policy positions from leading legislators from across the G8+5 parliaments and from regional dialogues, which are informed by business leaders and key international experts.

Internationally, GLOBE is focussed on progressive leadership from G8 leaders and the leaders of the major emerging economies as well as formal negotiations within the United Nations. GLOBE has a particular interest in the role that International Financial Institutions can play.

GLOBE shadows the formal G8 negotiations and allows legislators to work together outside the formal international negotiations. Without the burden of formal governmental negotiating positions, legislators have the freedom to push the boundaries of what can be politically achieved.

Importantly, GLOBE’s discussions can be translated into policies and practical solutions through legislation both at the national, regional and international level. Legislators also have a critical role to play in holding their own governments to account for the commitments that are made during international negotiations."

Fankhauser has worked on climate change issues at the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank and served on the 1995, 2001 and 2007 assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Bet you never heard of the Global Environment Facility either did you?
http://www.gefweb.org/interior_right.aspx?id=50

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a global partnership among 178 countries, international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

The GEF is also the designated financial mechanism for a number of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) or conventions; as such the GEF assists countries in meeting their obligations under the conventions that they have signed and ratified.

Dr Fankhauser is also a member of the UK Climate Change Committee, which is empowered to tell the government what carbon reduction targets they should strive for. http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/29/2927.asp

The Chairman of the UK Climate Change Committee is Lord Adair Turner and he introduced Lord Stern's proposals at the LSE, also attended by Rajendra Pachauri, (IPCC Chair), Robert Zoellick, (World Bank President) and Tony Blair, a major promoter of carbon control. Turner, who spent 13 years at McKinsey, is also Chairman of the UK Financial Services Agency, in charge of regulating the Banks.

In 2006 he joined forces with Al Gore: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/2947509/CO2-study-to-be-launched-today.html

CO2 study to be launched today By Tom Stevenson (Filed: 18/09/2006)

The increasing importance of climate change to investors will come under the spotlight today when Lord Adair Turner and former vice-president Al Gore launch the most comprehensive analysis yet of the contribution to global warming of the world's biggest companies.

The Carbon Disclosure Project, which is backed by 225 institutional investors speaking for $31,000bn in funds under management, is the fourth of its kind since 2002 and provides the clearest picture so far of the annual CO2 emissions of companies such as Ford, Google, Exxon Mobil and BP, and their strategies for reducing emissions.

On January 29th this year, Gore addressed the Senate;
http://www.climatechangefraud.com/political-exasperations/3231-gore-lectures-senate-on-global-warming-again

That evening Lord Turner attended a cocktail party hosted by Gore. In February he had breakfast with George Soros. Soros has just announced he he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and create an organization to advise policy makers on environmental issues, according to a Bloomberg report. http://www.mysmartrend.com/nw/14586.

"Soros announced the investment at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate in Copenhagen yesterday. In an e-mailed message George Soros said, "I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments. They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem."

He did not provide any details on the type or scope of investments that he may make and he will also establish the Climate Policy Initiative, which will be based in San Francisco, where he will donate $10 million a year for 10 years. "

Oh, did I mention that the London School of Economics is a partner in the Global Governance grouping at www.glogov.org, along with Potsdam, Tyndall etc.

The Grantham Institute which Lord Stern heads was set up in Feb 2007 by US billionaire Jeremy Grantham: http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/environment_sciences/report-79626.html

Mr. Grantham will sit on the management board of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, along with Imperial's Rector Sir Richard Sykes who will chair the Board; Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund; and Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense.

At the same time, Grantham set up a sister institute at Imperial College, London. A common advisory board will oversee the work of both Institutes.

The Grantham's total investment of over £24 million, made through the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, is one of the largest private donations to climate change research.

Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, CBE, FRS is the Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, London

"Committed to ensuring that climate research is used to advise governments and influence policy, Sir Brian was a member of the Royal Commission that first proposed a 60% target for reduction of UK carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. He also acted as a scientific advisor to the Stern Review, credited with pushing the issue of climate change to the centre of the political agenda in the UK, and was a member of the IPCC assessment team recently awarded the Nobel Prize."

Most of the members of the UK Climate Change Committee are based at or associated with Imperial College and LSE and many of them with the World Bank and IPCC. Their powers of control over UK emissions targets will soon be enshrined in law.

So UK Climate Policy is now directly influenced by WWF International and Environmental Defense and cross-linked to IPCC. This is only the tip of the iceberg if I may use the phrase.

You should take Lord Monckton very seriously."


Additional: Tories want to put Lord Turner in charge of curbs at the Bank: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6870298.ece

Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the City regulator, is expected to be offered a senior role at the Bank of England should the Conservatives win next year’s general election, The Times has learnt.

The peer, who is chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has been deemed “indispensable” by Tory frontbenchers. The Conservatives intend to scrap the FSA and return the role of banking supervision to the Bank of England if they are voted into power.

Under such plans they would create a new position of third deputy governor who would be responsible for regulating the banks. Lord Turner could be offered the job. His spokesman was yesterday unavailable for comment.

One senior MP who is close to Lord Turner said that the peer has serious ambitions to become Governor of the Bank of England, a role that is held by Mervyn King until June 30, 2013. He added: “The problem would be that Adair doesn’t want to be deputy to anyone.”

One gigantic stitch up...... Dennis A.

 

Unlikely ally joins fight against climate change - Supporters say Republican may be the key to passing legislation

WASHINGTON — Proponents of capping greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming may have just found an unexpected ally on Capitol Hill: Republican Lindsey Graham.

The two-term senator from South Carolina drew the ire of conservative activists last week after he joined Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in outlining the framework of a bipartisan plan for combating climate change that would tie greenhouse gas reductions with new nuclear power nationwide and expanded offshore drilling.

Environmentalists labeled the move a “game changer” that could propel controversial climate change legislation through the Senate, past dubious Democrats worried about the impact on home-state industries such as mining and manufacturing, and Republicans who consider it a damaging “energy tax.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who worries about the effects of a rising global temperature on the ice pack and permafrost in her home state, said the Graham-Kerry partnership could “mark a shift in the climate debate.”

“It's hard to overstate the significance of this,” said Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It ensures that the Senate bill will be bipartisan” and “demonstrates that there is a pathway to 60 votes to overcome a filibuster” and win Senate passage. (Hearst Newspapers)

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Me-Too Kyotoism (will he snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?)

Last weekend, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) co-authored an op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation).”

Kerry and Graham want to pass a Senate companion bill to H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), also known as Waxman-Markey, for its chief sponsors, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA). Waxman-Markey narrowly passed in the House by a vote of 219 to 212. Only eight Republicans — under 5% of those voting – supported the bill. (Marlo Lewis, Master Resource)

 

Energy Firms Deeply Split on Bill to Battle Climate Change

WASHINGTON — As the Senate prepares to tackle global warming, the nation’s energy producers, once united, are battling one another over policy decisions worth hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades.

Producers of natural gas are battling their erstwhile allies, the oil companies. Electrical utilities are fighting among themselves over the use of coal versus wind power or other renewable energy. Coal companies are battling natural gas firms over which should be used to produce electricity. And the renewable power industry is elbowing for advantage against all of them.

Some supporters of global warming legislation believe that the division in the once-monolithic oil and gas industry, as well as other splits among energy producers, could improve the prospects for the legislation.

“It’s much harder to pass clean-energy legislation when big oil and other energy interests are united in their opposition,” said Daniel J. Weiss, climate policy director at the liberal Center for American Progress. “The companies that recognize the economic benefits in the bill can help bring along their political supporters.”

The American Petroleum Institute trade group, dominated by major oil companies, opposes the legislation, saying it would discourage domestic exploration and lead to higher oil prices. But some natural gas companies, though longtime members of the institute, have formed a separate lobby and are working actively with the bill’s sponsors to cut a better deal for their product.

The proposal moving through Congress would cap the emissions of greenhouse gases each year and allow companies to buy and sell permits to pollute. That approach, known as cap and trade, is meant to guarantee that emissions will decline, while providing market incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon technologies.

The measure would effectively put a price on carbon, raising the prospect that some energy producers might have to pay more than others. For that reason, billions of dollars could be at stake in some of the most arcane language in the bill. (NYT)

We must never allow climate control legislation to live. It, not carbon, is the enemy.

 

US envoy Todd Stern's climate deal warning

US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern warns that it is "certainly possible that there won't be a deal" at the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.

Progress towards a climate change deal at Copenhagen has been far too slow, and emerging economies like India, China and Brazil need to do more, warned President Obama's climate change envoy Todd Stern.

He and other negotiators from the leading industrial nations are gathering in London tonight for a meeting tomorrow to make progress ahead of December's summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Its purpose is to find new targets and actions to prevent global temperatures rising any more than two degrees Celsius.

The UK and Europen Union have so far agreed to a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.

The United States has also agreed to the 2050 reduction plan, but crucially has no commitment for 2020.

Mr Stern told Channel 4 News: "It's certainly possible that there won't be a deal in Copenhagen. This is a tough negotiation. (Channel 4 News)

 

EU Blames U.S. for Climate Stalemate - As talks stall on a successor to the Kyoto climate change protocol, negotiators point the finger at each other—and Europe says the U.S. could kill a deal

The EU's top climate negotiator, freshly back in Brussels from late-in-the-game talks in Thailand, has warned of a near stalemate in discussions.

"Bangkok is still miles away from Copenhagen," Artur Runger-Metzger, Europe's chief broker at the talks, told reporters in the European capital on Monday.

There was little movement surrounding the key demand of developing countries, that the industrialised north stump up some hefty cash to pay for measures to adapt to the effects of global warming and to mitigate their carbon emissions, he said.

As for the third world, "Advanced developing countries need to make a meaningful commitment" to their own carbon reductions, he added.

This issue of "climate finance"—the quid pro quo of money from the north in return for mitigation for the South—been the main sticking point for much of the last year, but Mr Runger-Metzger said there had still been no movement on the subject in Bangkok. (Business Week)

 

US steel-makers temper climate deal hopes

AMERICA's giant steel-makers could be about to torpedo an international agreement on climate change.

Following lobbying by heavy industries, the US Congress is considering imposing tariffs on imports from China and other developing nations. That could be a deal-breaker for poor nations at December's climate change talks in Copenhagen.

If Congress passes laws imposing a limit on US greenhouse gas emissions, energy-intensive sectors such as steel-making and cement manufacture would almost certainly face increased costs. Competitors in China and other developing nations not subject to similar restrictions - and China has said that it will not set itself an emissions target - might be able to produce steel more cheaply, and take business away from US firms.

That logic has found its way into two climate bills now before Congress. The first, passed by the House of Representatives in June, would effectively impose tariffs on goods from companies in countries that do not have emissions targets. The newly introduced bill in the Senate so far contains only vague language about the need for a "border measure", but senators from states with heavy industry will push for something similar.

That sets the stage for a showdown that could derail progress towards an agreement on climate change. In August, 10 pro-tariff senators, all of them Democrats, told President Barack Obama that it was "essential" that climate change legislation include some form of tariff. Without the support of most or all of these senators, the climate bill appears likely to collapse, and if that happens Obama will have little to offer in Copenhagen. (New Scientist)

 

EU attacks carbon border tax initiative

Europe’s environment chief has expressed reservations about a so-called carbon border tax – tariffs on imports from countries that do not sign up to a global climate change treaty.

Stavros Dimas, the environment commissioner, has poured cold water on an initiative gaining ground in some member states and moving to the centre of negotiations ahead of December’s climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Mr Dimas told the Financial Times a carbon border tax should not be used to force developing countries to sign up to a climate deal.

“I don’t think it should be used as a means of pressure,” Mr Dimas said, arguing that instead poor countries should be offered finance to help them to tackle climate change.

He urged European Union states to endorse his proposal to provide up to €15bn (£14bn, $22.34bn) per year in such financing, saying: “We have to put figures on the table so that others will do the same. Why not do it now?” (Joshua Chaffin and Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

 

Climate deal hopes boosted

Developing countries have dropped long-standing demands for access to rich countries’ technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, removing a big obstacle to an international deal on climate change, European officials said on Thursday.

Countries such as China and India have pushed for rich countries to give them low-carbon technologies ever since the lead-up to the 1997 Kyoto protocol. The demand has been a sticking point in negotiations before this December’s climate change summit in Copenhagen with rich countries, arguing that any such move could force private sector companies to give away their intellectual property.

The softening of the developing countries’ position comes close to resolving one of the five key elements that the UN said was necessary for a deal on climate change at Copenhagen this December.

The other elements are: binding targets for mid-term emissions reductions from developed countries; a long-term global emissions target; actions by developing countries to curb their emissions; and financing for developing countries to adapt to the effects of global warming. (Fiona Harvey, Financial Times)

 

Sometimes I think Gordon et al are the best friends we skeptics have :-) 'We can't compromise with Earth': PM urges action on climate change - Rallying cry from Brown as global negotiations to reduce emissions falter

World leaders must break the impasse over faltering climate-change negotiations as preparations intensify for the UN meeting in Copenhagen this December, Gordon Brown will urge today.

Copenhagen could change the course of history, but negotiations over a new climate-change agreement have stalled with the risk of catastrophic global warming this century, the Prime Minister will say in an address to the Major Economies Forum (MEF) in London. (The Independent)

Do they really think this over the top nonsense is the path to reelection?

 

Uh-huh... Britain's Brown says talks on climate change pact are historic test of global co-operation

LONDON - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will warn representatives of the world's biggest economies Monday that efforts to agree on a new global pact to tackle climate change are a historic test of international co-operation.

Brown planned to address the second day of Major Economies Forum talks in London, and tell delegates that any failure to strike a new deal on reducing the gas emissions causing global warming would be catastrophic.

The British leader plans to personally attend a December meeting in Copenhagen - intended to cap two years of negotiations on a global climate change treaty - and has called on fellow leaders to join him.

"In every era there are only one or two moments when nations come together and reach agreements that make history," Brown planned to say, according to excerpts of his speech released in advance. "Copenhagen must be such a time. There are now fewer than 50 days to set the course of the next 50 years and more." (Associated Press)

Actually Gordon, the world will pass the test of maturity and cooperation only by axing the stupid climate hysteria and efforts to "address" gorebull warming. Wake up man! Everyone else can smell what you are shoveling.

 

Biggest economies try again to strike climate deal

LONDON -- Representatives of the world's 17 biggest and most polluting nations were holding talks Sunday to search for a breakthrough on financing efforts to contain climate change and reduce gas emissions causing global warming.

Pressure has been mounting for the United States to finalize its position before a decisive December conference in Denmark meant to cap two years of negotiations on a global climate change treaty.

"With only 50 more days to go before the final talks at Copenhagen, we have to up our game. Britain is determined to throw everything at this because the stakes are so high," British Environment Minister Ed Miliband said in a statement released Sunday.

Earlier Miliband had said it was "important that the U.S. makes as much progress as possible" at the two-day meeting of the Major Economies Forum.

The Obama administration said it was tied to action by U.S. Congress, where climate bills were making their slow way toward legislation -- an argument which cut little ice with other negotiators. (Associated Press)

 

India Opens Door To Climate Deal, EU Stuck

NEW DELHI/BRUSSELS - India softened climate demands on Friday, helping bridge a rich-poor divide, but said a global deal may miss a December deadline by a few months.

In contrast, European Union states struggled to agree a common stance for financing a U.N. climate pact, meant to be agreed in Copenhagen at a December 7-18 meeting.

India wanted generous aid on advanced carbon-cutting technologies but dropped a core demand that industrialized countries cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2020.

"If we say, let's start with 25 percent, that's a beginning. I'm not theological about this. It's a negotiation. We have given a number of 40 but one has to be realistic," environment minister Jairam Ramesh said in a Reuters interview. (Reuters)

 

Eye-roller: World must slash carbon emission by 2014…or else

THE world must start a complete shift to a low-carbon economy by 2014 – or risk making dangerous climate change almost inevitable, campaigners warned today.

A study for conservation charity WWF showed that waiting until after 2014 to develop fully clean industries needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as renewable energy, would leave it too late to halt temperature rises of more than 2C.

With low-carbon industry only able to grow at a certain rate, a delay in taking action will make it almost impossible for countries to roll out the technology in time to cut emissions by the amounts needed to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the research by analysts Climate Risk said.

It also said countries must take action across a range of industries at once, including renewable energy, technology to capture the carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations, preventing deforestation and improving energy efficiency. (The Scotsman)

Why? There is no evidence increasing carbon dioxide emissions will have any measurable effect on global mean temperature. We do know that limiting these emissions will harm an awful lot of people though...

 

Sigh... Proposal: Carbon funding to protect oceans

Marine organisms take up between three and seven percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Thus, projects to protect this "blue carbon" capacity should rank on a par with forest conservation, UN body suggests. (CoP15)

What's with this target fixation? Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a resource to be valued, not refuse to be disposed of...

 

The bears are doing great so obviously they need government intervention: US seeks tougher protections for polar bear

WASHINGTON — With global warming shrinking Arctic sea ice that polar bears depend upon for survival, the United States is seeking to remove another major threat: international trade in the bears' fur and other parts.

In a proposal filed this week, the Interior Department asked other countries to support a ban on the commercial trade of polar bears and to strictly regulate trophy hunting. The request, if approved, would give the bear the most stringent protection afforded under an international convention to protect endangered species.

It would also upgrade protections for the bear internationally for the first time since 1975, when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, required export permits for the polar bear. (Associated Press)

 

Flimflam man gets tipsy: Opportunity for Canada to act on climate change vanishing quickly, says Flannery - Scientist Tim Flannery says we've passed tipping point and near point of no return.

Canada's a slacker in talks to forge a new deal to fight climate change, has been "singularly unhelpful," and its oil sands are a "political problem" at international climate change negotiations, says Tim Flannery, world-renowned scientist and best-selling author of The Weather Makers who was in Ottawa last week to promote his latest book Now or Never: Why We Need to Act Now to Achieve a Sustainable Future. (Hill Times)

 

AMSRE Global SST down – near zero – trend since 2002 also down

While we have one blog post that shows OHC disappearing due to an adjustment by KNMI, Ocean Heat Content: cooling gone today with new adjustment, global sea surface temperatures are telling another story. That story is that our trend is down since 2002. You wouldn’t know it though to look at this NOAA chart.

Click for a larger image

Dr. Roy Spencer provides an update.

Global Average SST Update to October 14

Since the global average sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (departures from average) hit a peak a couple of months ago, I thought it would be a good time to see how they are progressing. Here’s a plot of running 11-day SST anomalies for the global oceans (60N to 60S latitude):

Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Connecting ENSO, PDV, and the North and South Pacific

A new paper in Geophysical Research Letters was brought to my attention by Dr. Leif  Svalgaard.

Tropical origins of North and South Pacific decadal variability by Jeremy D. Shakun and Jeffrey Shaman makes some very interesting findings suggesting that both the northern and southern Pacific Ocean has evidence of the Pacific Decadal Variation PDV being driven by ENSO variations. They produced a model, which when run correlates reasonably well with observations.

PDV_Model_observered

Fig 4. Observed (red line with circles) and modeled (blue line with slashes) PC1s for the (top) North and (bottom) South Pacific. The model is of an AR-1 process forced by ENSO, see the paper for details - click for a larger image

Abstract:

The origin of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the leading mode of sea surface temperature variability for the North Pacific, is a matter of considerable debate. One paradigm views the PDO as an independent mode centered in the North Pacific, while another regards it as a largely reddened response to El Nin˜o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forcing from the tropics. We calculate the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of the PDO index based on the leading mode of sea surface temperature variability for the South Pacific and find that it adequately explains the spatial structure of the PDO in the North Pacific. A first-order autoregressive model forced by ENSO is used to reproduce the observed PDO indices in the North and South Pacific. These results highlight the strong similarity in Pacific decadal variability on either side of the equator and suggest it may best be viewed as a reddened response to ENSO.

They write about the graph above: Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

The ups and downs of global warming over time

Read from right to leftWhile we're fussing and feuding over temperature rises and falls over the past decade, some people think it's better to look at things over a longer period of time. Bill Illis has written a guest post over at Watt's Up With That, a skeptical website, that charts temperatures, CO2 and sea level rises over a very long period of time. 600 million years. I'm posting it here, but I strongly recommend you pop over to Anthony Watt's weblog and read the accompanying article. I'll wait until you get back. Here's the chart:

You have to read this chart from right (older time periods) to left (now). In case it's too small for you to read, the thin yellow line is CO2, which you can see has quite often been much higher than today--in fact, we're pretty close to historic lows. The blue line is variation from recent averages--how much higher or lower temperatures were compared to now.  Again, for most of the past 600 million years, you can see we're at one of the low cycles, not matched since the Ordovician/Silurian ice ages. The brown fuzzy line is sea levels, which have been 265 meters higher and 120 meters lower than today.

The data is there for you to download and examine, and comes from identified and respected sources--although to be sure, they're not the only sources out there. (Thomas Fuller, Examiner)

 

Searching the PaleoClimate Record for Estimated Correlations: Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level

Guest Post by Bill Illis

This post is the first of what will likely be a series on the PaleoClimate.

In this part, we are just going to go through the various estimates for Temperature, CO2 and Sea Levels in the PaleoClimate.  This post is also about making the data available to everyone so that others can use it.  All of the data presented in this post is available for download at the end in easy to use Excel spreadsheets which also incorporates direct links to the actual data sources used.

PaleoClimate Temperature Estimates Over the Past 570 Million Years

There are various sources we can use for estimates of Temperatures in the PaleoClimate.

http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/8615/allpaleotemp.png

We have the ice core dO18 isotope data going back 800,000 years.  James Zachos has a high resolution database of dO18 isotopes going back 67.0 million years.  Jan Veizer has accumulated an isotope database that goes back 526.5 million years.  Dana Royer and Robert Berner applied a ph-correction factor to Veizer’s database and Christopher Scotese has developed Temperature estimates that extend back into the pre-Cambrian.

For the most part, the Temperature estimates are based on dO18 isotopes and these have proven to be reasonably reliable, or more accurately, to be the most reliable temperature estimation method that is available. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity, 91-0.

Unquestionably, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed to build the scientific case for humanity being the primary cause of global warming. Such a goal is fundamentally unscientific, as it is hostile to alternative hypotheses for the causes of climate change.

The most glaring example of this bias has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system. In Chapter 9 of the latest (4th) IPCC report, entitled “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”, you would think the issue of external versus internal forcing would be thoroughly addressed. But you would be wrong.

The IPCC is totally obsessed with external forcing, that is, energy imbalances imposed upon the climate system that are NOT the result of the natural, internal workings of the system. For instance, a search through Chapter 9 for the phrase “external forcing” yields a total of 91 uses of that term. A search for the phrase “internal forcing” yields…(wait for it)…zero uses. Can we really believe that the IPCC has ruled out natural sources of global warming when such a glaring blind spot exists?

Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.

Thus, small changes in ocean circulation can lead to small changes in the Earth’s albedo (how much sunlight is reflected back to space), which in turn can lead to global warming or cooling. The IPCC’s view (which is never explicitly stated) that such changes in the climate system do not occur is little more than faith on their part.

The IPCC’s pundits like to claim that the published evidence for humanity causing warming greatly outweighs any published evidence against it. This appeal to majority opinion on their part is pretty selective, though. They had no trouble discarding hundreds of research papers supporting evidence for the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age when they so uncritically embraced the infamous “Hockey Stick” reconstructions of past temperature change.

Despite a wide variety of previous temperature proxies gathered from around the world (see figure below) that so clearly showed that centuries with global warming and cooling are the rule, not the exception, the Hockey Stick was mostly based upon some cherry-picked tree rings combined with the assumption that significant warming is a uniquely modern phenomenon.
2000-years-Loehle

As such, they rejected the prevailing “scientific consensus” in favor of a minority view that supported their desired outcome. I suspect that they do not even recognize their own hypocrisy.

As I have discussed before, the IPCC’s neglect of natural variability in the climate system ends up leading to circular reasoning on their part. They ignore the effect of natural cloud variations when trying to diagnose feedback, which then leads to overestimates of climate sensitivity. This, in turn, causes them to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming, and so no natural forcings of climate change need be found.

But all they have done is reasoned themselves in a circle. By ignoring natural variability, they can end up claiming that natural variability does not exist. Admittedly, their position is internally consistent. But then, so is all circular reasoning.

Our re-submitted paper to the Journal of Geophysical Research entitled “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing” will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate.

I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons, like Al Gore and numerous environmental writers in the media who get to over-simplify the climate issue without ever being corrected by the IPCC. Natural climate change continues to be the 800 lb gorilla in the room, and I suspect that some within the IPCC are slowly becoming aware of its existence. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Further Evidence That The IPCC Has Provided An Inaccurate Narrow Perspective Of The Role Of Humans Within The Climate System

There is new support for the rejection of the IPCC focus on CO2 as the primary human climate forcing.

 In my weblog of May 2 2008 titled

Three Climate Change Hypotheses – Only One Of Which Can Be True

“I wrote

The climate issue, with respect to how humans are influencing the climate system, can be segmented into three distinct hypotheses. These are:

  • The human influence is minimal and natural variations dominate climate variations on all time scale;
  • While natural variations are important, the human influence is significant and involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings (including, but not limited to the human input of CO2);
  • The human influence is dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide.

The third hypothesis, of course, is the IPCC perspective.”

 Only one of these hypotheses can be true.

There is a news release by Lauren Morello for the E&E Publishing Service on a paper appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science  [PNAS] that is headlined “Don’t forget the other GHGs, scientists say”.

Extracts from the news article include
“When it comes to climate change, carbon dioxide isn’t the only target……While reducing the world’s carbon dioxide output is important, Molina and his co-authors [of the PNAS study] say other steps are necessary to reduce the risk of tipping points such as the disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice, melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and dieback of the Amazon rainforest. The strategies include using the existing Montreal Protocol — which governs chemicals that deplete the ozone layer — to end use of hydrofluorocarbons. Known as HFCs, the chemical refrigerants harm ozone and trap heat up 100 to 12,000 times more effectively than CO2…… In addition to cutting HFCs, the PNAS analysis suggests slashing emissions of black carbon (sooty particles produced by diesel engines)……..One recent study estimated that black carbon emissions caused half the total warming in the Arctic between 1890 and 2007 …..Other steps the new paper outlines include slowing the rate of deforestation and reducing emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, methane and other volatile organic compounds that react with sunlight to form tropospheric ozone, “a major pollutant and significant GHG.”

The PNAS article is

M. Molina et al., PNAS, Reducing abrupt climate change risk using the Montreal Protocol and other regulatory actions to complement cuts in CO2 emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print October 12, 2009; doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902568106

The abstract reads

“Current emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) have already committed the planet to an increase in average surface temperature by the end of the century that may be above the critical threshold for tipping elements of the climate system into abrupt change with potentially irreversible and unmanageable consequences. This would mean that the climate system is close to entering if not already within the zone of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (DAI). Scientific and policy literature refers to the need for “early,” “urgent,” “rapid,” and “fast-action” mitigation to help avoid DAI and abrupt climate changes. We define “fast-action” to include regulatory measures that can begin within 2–3 years, be substantially implemented in 5–10 years, and produce a climate response within decades. We discuss strategies for short-lived non-CO2 GHGs and particles, where existing agreements can be used to accomplish mitigation objectives. Policy makers can amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with high global warming potential. Other fast-action strategies can reduce emissions of black carbon particles and precursor gases that lead to ozone formation in the lower atmosphere, and increase biosequestration, including through biochar. These and other fast-action strategies may reduce the risk of abrupt climate change in the next few decades by complementing cuts in CO2 emissions.”

While this PNAS article is still perpetuating (incorrectly) the dominance of the human input of CO2 as the primary climate forcing, as well as the flawed climate science concept of a “tipping point”,  the news reported is quite perceptive. Reading the excellent news article,  the message of the PNAS paper is really quite broader than that presented by the IPCC.

 This news story and the associated PNAS article provide further reasons to reject the narrow IPCC viewpoint as represented by the third hypothesis listed above, since a range of other climate forcings are recognized as being first order climate forcings. In terms of positive radiative forcings, I reported on this topic in

Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2006: Regional and Global Climate Forcings. Presented at the Conference on the Earth’s Radiative Energy Budget Related to SORCE, San Juan Islands, Washington, September 20-22, 2006

where I concluded (see slide 10) that instead of the 48% of human caused warming from CO2 as given by the IPCC,  only about 26.5%  (see slide 12) is due to the human addition of CO2.  It is the second hypothesis

“While natural variations are important, the human influence is significant and involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings (including, but not limited to the human input of CO2

which is supported by the science of the climate system. (Climate Science)

 

Um... no: Carbon sequestration still not safe, practical

Before building new coal power plants, we need more research on capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide in underground geologic formations. Carbon sequestration might turn out to be unsafe or impractical, and it is a good bet that alternative energy sources would be better and cheaper.

Coal is the predominant source of electricity available within the United States today, providing more than half of our electricity. As the world seeks ways to mitigate climate change, it is worthwhile to ask how expensive carbon capture and sequestration will be and if it will reduce emissions to acceptable levels.

Current carbon-capture and storage technologies are not cost-effective. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that before any sequestration, separating carbon dioxide from combustion exhaust using available technologies will cost almost $150 per ton of carbon.

The National Mining Association estimates it will cost $1 trillion to implement carbon capture and storage at all coal plants throughout the United States. Furthermore, we will need to burn an extra 30 percent more coal just to provide the energy to do sequestration. Storing a billion tons of carbon dioxide per year underground will require putting back 2.5 times the volume of oil we handle each year domestically. These estimates do not take into account carbon dioxide that would need to be stored again (after possible leaks) or future demands on coal power plants because of an increasing population. (Robert J. McTaggart, Argus Leader)

We don't have any fundamental argument with McTaggart's costings but disagree with the requirement for CCS before building new coal plants (or ever, for that matter).

 

Fighting CCS for all the wrong reasons: In Fighting Coal Plant, a Dilemma

A scheduled local council vote this week will be the first step in a review process that will likely take years, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to get out the rhetorical artillery here in the heart of the Petro Belt off the New Jersey Turnpike.

“This plant is a $5 billion environmental Ponzi scheme that not only won’t work but will lead to environmental disaster,” Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said last week.

“This is a recipe for another Exxon Valdez toxic catastrophe,” said Robert Spiegel, executive director of the Edison Wetlands Association.

“The worst polluters continue to put Linden in their cross hairs, but this time the stakes are even higher,” said David Pringle of the New Jersey Environmental Federation.

The occasion was the announced formation of the Arthur Kill Watershed Alliance, whose goal is to fight a proposed 750-megawatt coal power plant in Linden. And the alliance’s target was a technology intended to capture tons of carbon and keep it out of the atmosphere, a technology viewed by other environmentalists as not just promising but essential for combating climate change. (NYT)

 

Coal-fueled electric plant pits workers against environmentalists

Rowdy union workers yesterday upstaged a campaign kick-off by New Jersey environmental groups opposing a unique, coal-fueled electric plant proposed for the city of Linden that will capture its own carbon dioxide output and pipe it under the Atlantic Ocean.

"We need jobs," chanted two dozen union workers who support the "PurGen" project, as leaders of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, the New Jersey Environmental Federation, the New Jersey Environmental Lobby, Environment New Jersey and the Edison Wetlands Association held a news conference near Linden's city hall to lambaste the $5 billion plant as a "dangerous experiment." (Star-Ledger)

 

Police Arrest 21 People at U.K. Coal Plant Protest

RATCLIFFE-ON-SOAR, England, Oct 17 - Police clashed with environmental activists and arrested 21 people during a day of protests at a coal-fired power station in central England on Saturday.

While hundreds joined a largely peaceful demonstration outside the main gates of German utility E.ON's plant in Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire, scuffles broke out around the perimeter fence when smaller groups tried to break through in an attempt to close the power station.

One policeman was flown to hospital with head injuries after being hurt while trying to keep people from entering the plant. Protest organisers said several demonstrators suffered minor injuries. (Reuters)

This piece goes on to state:

Coal generated nearly a third of Britain's electricity last year. However, it creates more carbon dioxide emissions than any other fuel and is the world's single biggest source of carbon emissions.

Which is, of course, utterly ridiculous. They mean "the world's single largest source of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions" -- a different matter entirely. If they really want it in annual global emission terms then coal combustion accounts for about 1%, which is nowhere near as exciting, is it? In fact it doesn't even compare with the nocturnal exhalations of any half-way decent rainforest (Whoops! Who let that information out?).

 

Green guerrillas are following a noble tradition - Eco-protesters should be saluted. And then banged up

“This is an issue where we sometimes do need to break the law, where we do need acts of civil disobedience.”

If this were a quote from Emmeline Pankhurst, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, almost all of us would nod with approval, admiring the bravery of people who were prepared to go to prison to end the manifest injustices of their time. But these words were spoken by Richard Bernard, of Camp for Climate Action, trying to justify the attempt to shut the coal-fired power station at Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire.

The protesters, of course, revel in the comparison with abolitionists and suffragettes. But are today’s green guerrillas really the heirs of history’s heroes, or are they just a public nuisance at best, criminals at worst?

According to the political philosopher John Rawls, civil disobedience is justified only when three conditions are met: the cause must be a clear and manifest injustice, legal avenues must have been exhausted, and the action must not be more harmful than allowing the injustice to continue.

Whether or not these conditions are met in the case of Ratcliffe-on-Soar is more of a factual question than a moral one, and the facts tell against the protesters. Despite their self-righteous certainty, the most effective thing to do about climate change at the national level is still a matter of debate. Burning fossil fuels is bad for global warming, but it doesn’t follow that unilaterally shutting Britain’s coal-powered power stations is an urgent moral imperative, especially when you think about the other harms such a disruptive measure would cause. It’s also clear that lawful avenues of protest have not been exhausted. (Julian Baggini, The Times)

No, they are a bunch of misguided fools who deserve to be dumped in the deprivation they wish on others, Dafur, Somalia, somewhere like that.

 

Act now if you don’t want the lights to go out - The big energy companies are ready to change. But we’re still waiting for the Government to guide us to a low-carbon future

Throughout the 20th century, an abundant supply of low-cost energy was the driving force behind the spread of global prosperity and development. Today, satisfying ever-growing energy demand in a sustainable way has become the world’s biggest challenge.

According to BP’s projections, we will need about 45 per cent more energy in 2030 than we consume today. That will require industry to invest some $25 to $30 trillion — more than $1 trillion (£600 billion) a year for 20 years.

We need a more diverse energy mix — involving greater use of nuclear power and of renewable sources as well as fossil fuels — to enhance energy security and tackle climate change. But we also have to face a few facts. First, the transition to a lower-carbon economy is a journey that will take decades. (Tony Hayward, The Times)

Actually it could take centuries and there is no reason it shouldn't -- we've got plenty of hydrocarbons and no reason not to use them.

 

Monday manifesto: UK renewable energy target 'naive' says Wulf Bernotat

Wulf Bernotat looks cold — and sceptical. “Are you sure we are making any money out of this?” the chief executive of E.ON, the world’s largest utility company, asks one of his employees. “This is a business, you know.”

Mr Bernotat is in the gritty Swedish city of Malmö, standing in a windswept former dockyard that E.ON has helped to convert into a “zero-carbon city”.

Hands thrust deep into his overcoat pockets and with his collar turned up against the biting air, he is being lectured on the merits of a solar-powered district heating system that pumps hot water to hundreds of local homes. “You tell me later — in private,” he says, one bushy eyebrow raised ever so slightly.

One of Europe’s most powerful energy barons, Mr Bernotat, who presides over a global behemoth with nearly 88,000 employees and revenues of €87 billion (£79 billion) last year, has an equally blunt message for Britain’s politicians.

Through its subsidiary E.ON UK, the Düsseldorf-based group wields huge influence over British energy policy. It was to invest nearly £1 billion a year in wind and nuclear-generated electricity in the UK “for the foreseeable future”, so its decision this month to freeze plans for a new coal-fired power plant at Kingsnorth in Kent for up to three years sent shockwaves through Britain’s energy industry.

Mr Bernotat seems genuinely exasperated by what he regards as fanciful policymaking that bears little relation to the realities of running a business. Above all, he believes that Britain’s target of generating one third of its electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and wave energy, by 2020 is naive and he says that politicians need to do far more to “adjust expectations . . . There is a big mismatch with what is achievable. I think it is even bigger in the UK than in Germany. Politicians need to be more realistic.” (The Times)

No one makes money on subsidy farming -- they only take it. that isn't wealth creation, just redistribution.

 

Deciphering the US Natural Gas Market

In the last six weeks natural gas futures prices have jumped from a modern day low to nearly $5 per thousand cubic foot (Mcf) as commodity traders and investors started to cover their short positions in this fuel as the days moved closer to the beginning of the winter heating season. The jump in the gas price ends what has been an extended price slide that started back in summer of 2008 when prices were in excess of $13 per Mcf and early signs of the developing global recession emerged. (Allen Brooks, Energy Tribune)

 

Shale and Our Water

New York State’s environmental regulators have proposed rules to govern drilling in the Marcellus Shale — a subterranean layer of rock curving northward from West Virginia through Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York’s southern tier. The shale contains enormous deposits of natural gas that could add to the region’s energy supplies and lift New York’s upstate economy. If done carefully — and in carefully selected places — drilling should cause minimal environmental harm.

But regulators must amend the rules to bar drilling in the New York City watershed: a million acres of forests and farmlands whose streams supply the reservoirs that send drinking water to eight million people. Accidental leaks could threaten public health and require a filtration system the city can ill afford.

Natural gas is vital to the nation’s energy needs and can be an important bridge between dirty coal and renewable alternatives. The process of extracting it, however, is not risk-free. Known as hydraulic fracturing, it involves shooting a mix of water, sand and chemicals — many of them highly toxic — into the ground at very high pressure to break down the rock formations and free the gas.

The technique is used in 90 percent of the oil and gas operations in the United States. And while most drilling occurs without incident, “fracking” has been implicated in hundreds of cases of impaired or polluted drinking water supplies in states from Alabama to Wyoming. (NYT)

 

Dead wrong: Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

It's a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required. (WSJ)

We neither need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels not cut greenhouse gas emissions. the entire premise is flawed.

 

Big Oil Looks to Biofuels - As low-carbon fuels get pushed, BP, Shell and others invest in alternatives

The biofuels industry, hit hard by the global credit crunch, is getting a shot in the arm from a new source–the oil majors.

Among the oil companies, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have been the most active investors in the sector. But it's even beginning to attract more-conservative companies like Exxon Mobil Corp., whose chief executive, Rex Tillerson, once famously dismissed corn-based ethanol as "moonshine." Exxon announced in July it was investing $600 million in an algae-to-fuel start-up, Synthetic Genomics Inc.

"It was a major signal to the biofuels industry," says Bruce Jamerson, chief executive of Mascoma Corp., a producer of cellulosic ethanol, which is made from inedible plant materials.

Big Oil and biotech may seem an odd combination. Oil companies' profits are driven by traditional, fossil-based gasoline and diesel. Biofuels are alternatives that have a marginal market presence. So why switch to switchgrass?

The answer is the low-carbon policies now being put in place across the developed world. In the U.S., for example, the Renewable Fuels Standard mandates growth in annual sales of biofuels through 2022. The Department of Energy expects U.S. production of biofuels to increase from less than half a million barrels a day in 2007 to 2.3 million barrels a day in 2030. Inevitably, that will erode the oil majors' conventional business. (WSJ)

Sad that they need to hedge not against climate or supply deficit but stupid politicians...

 

Why Ethanol Doesn’t Reduce Oil Imports

Ed. Note: Over the last few weeks, Robert Rapier, the writer of the R-Squared Energy Blog, has methodically vivisected all of the arguments behind the corn ethanol scam. In this, the final installment of his analysis, Rapier shows that the entire argument for corn ethanol -- that it reduces oil imports -- is nothing more than hyperbole. Here at Energy Tribune, we have opposed the corn ethanol scam for years and for a variety of reasons. And while all of Rapier's points are exactly on point, we'll add one more: Congress has mandated that US industry burn food to make motor fuel at a time when there's a growing global shortage of food and no shortage of motor fuel. The corn ethanol scam is not an energy program. It is a farm subsidy program.

This is the concluding post in a series looking at the impact of increased ethanol production on petroleum imports. Previous posts concluded that there has been little measurable impact on our petroleum imports as a result of increased ethanol production. In this post, I provide a spreadsheet to all the data and graphics used, and delve a bit deeper into the issue. (Energy Tribune)

 

Chemical Solution - With demand for fuel falling, ethanol plants look for other products to sell

Can green chemicals save the ethanol industry?

Ethanol producers, who focused on transforming corn into transportation fuel, got whipsawed by skyrocketing corn prices and collapsing demand as consumers cut back on driving.

Now a group of biotechnology and chemical companies is proposing a different model: using the existing ethanol infrastructure to make higher-margin chemicals.

Worries about global warming and government efforts to make chemicals more environmentally friendly are pushing the industry to find alternatives to the building-block materials they make mostly out of oil and natural gas. Ethanol itself, and other chemicals that can be brewed at ethanol plants, are emerging as viable options.

The trend could give the nascent green-chemicals industry a big boost, and revive business for ailing ethanol producers, some of which are bankrupt and idle. (WSJ)

The bigger question of course is whether we should save the ethanol industry...

 

Safety Improvements in Nuclear Energy

An unrecognized improvement in U.S. nuclear plant safety shows that the lessons of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident still are being taken seriously. Nuclear power wouldn’t be making a comeback in this country unless that was the case.

Industry-wide data compiled by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), a utility organization that monitors nuclear plant safety and operations, shows a dramatic improvement in nuclear plant performance over the past 30 years. Among the changes is a reduction “to nearly zero” of the average number of significant reactor events, especially unplanned reactor shutdowns.

All safety indices show improvement since post-TMI reforms took hold. For example, in 2008 the industrial accident rate dropped to only 0.13 industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours. Efforts to protect workers from radiation exposure and to reduce the amount of low-level nuclear waste produced from plant operations have also been successful.

Not surprisingly, the reliability of nuclear plants has risen along with the industry’s safety and operating record. In 2008, the median capacity factor of the 104 U.S. nuclear plants was 91.1 percent, meaning that plants were operating more than 90 percent of the time. That was the ninth consecutive year that the capacity factor was in the 90-percent range. By contrast, in 1979 the average capacity factor at nuclear plants was 56 percent. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

 

The Global Shale Gas Revolution (Dear Renewables: Meet the New Competition for Power Generation)

Editor’s note: This article is the first of two posts on shale gas production and concerns the U.S. situation. The second will look at the potential impacts of shale gas production in Europe and China. While some have interpreted shale gas in terms of coal displacement in power generation, this new competition has profound (negative) implications for the viability of politically favored renewables in power generation. (Donald Hertzmark, Master Resource)

 

Gas From Shale Deposits: A Worldwide Game-Changer? (Part II)

Editor’s note: This article is the second of two on shale gas production. The first dealt with the U.S. situation; this one looks at the potential impacts of shale gas production in Europe and China. (Donald Hertzmark, Master Resource)

 

Drill Gas Here, Drill Gas Now - Can natural gas save the climate and the economy?

While environmentalists are keen to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions, rank-and-file voters seem more taken by the promise of energy independence. Last year, Republicans energized the conservative base by promising to "drill here, drill now," a rallying cry that promised to exploit domestic energy reserves to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil. Energy experts insisted, however, that because oil is a global commodity, exploiting offshore oil would have a trivial impact on our exposure to geopolitical instability in the biggest oil-producing regions. Chaos in the Persian Gulf and the strife-torn Nigerian delta would continue to impact prices at the pump. In a tightly integrated global economy, energy independence might be impossible to achieve. But by sharply increasing our use of natural gas and nuclear power, we might be able to come close while also reducing the carbon intensity of the American economy.

The last few months have seen a surge in interest in natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel. American engineers and geologists have pioneered new, more effective ways of extracting natural gas from shale formations, and recoverable reserves in the United States have gone up by an extraordinary 40% in just the last four years. (Reihan Salam, Forbes)

 

Solar Companies Defend Accounting Practices

LOS ANGELES - U.S.-based First Solar Inc denied it was using aggressive accounting methods to support its earnings growth, despite concerns from some analysts that its cash flows were beginning lag profit levels.

"We report net income and net cash provided by operating activities in accordance with U.S. GAAP," the company said in an email, referring to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

First Solar and other leading solar companies such as China's Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd and California- based SunPower Corp are expected to report their quarterly earnings in the coming weeks.

Those figures are expected to be their brightest earnings in a year since a global glut of solar panels and lack of financing has hurt the industry. (Reuters)

 

Solar Is Not An Infant Industry (So why is it perpetually hyped and subsidized?)

“In an 1878 letter, [John] Ericsson concluded that ‘the fact is . . . that although the heat is obtained for nothing, so extensive, costly, and complex is the concentration apparatus that solar steam is many times more costly than steam produced by burning coal.’” -- - Wilson Clark, Energy for Survival: The Alternative to Extinction (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974), p. 364.

Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, are packaged as “new” and “the energy future.” But on close inspection, as the quotations below will show, these technologies are very old and have had many decades of application.

And as sure as the sun shines, solar and wind fail the economics and product-quality tests as dilute, non-stored, intermittent energy sources. And why amid a boom in fossil fuel supplies–a stock of energy from the sun’s work over the ages–would one chose a far more costly and unreliable energy source from the sun’s weak flow?

Unlike wind power, however, solar does have a pro-consumer, free-society niche as an off-the-grid power source. Such ‘micro’ electricity provides electricity that would not otherwise exist. (Robert Bradley, Master Resource)

 

Windpower Is Not an Infant Industry!

“The use of wind power is as old as history.” -- Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951), p. 62.

“The Federal Power Commission became interested in the Grandpa’s Knob [windpower] experiment during World War II, and commissioned Percy H. Thomas, a senior engineer of the commission, to investigate the potential of wind power production for the entire country. Thomas’ survey, Electric Power from the Wind, was published in March 1945.” -- Wilson Clark, Energy for Survival: The Alternative to Extinction (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1974), p. 545.

Last week I posted on the long history of solar energy to make the point that this technology is not an infant industry. The fact that solar cannot compete against grid electricity (off grid is another matter) today is proof positive that there is an inherent disadvantage with the dilute, intermittent flow of sunlight in the thriving carbon-based energy era. (Robert Bradley, Master Resource)

 

Fools: Tesco will consider its own windfarm to meet zero-carbon ambition

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, will consider building its own windfarm to meet a new target of becoming a zero-carbon business by 2050. (Daily Telegraph)

 

H1N1 flu worrying due to its unpredictability: WHO

GENEVA - H1N1 pandemic influenza remains a cause for concern because of its unpredictable nature, even though it has killed fewer than 5,000 people so far this year, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

A statement from the United Nations health agency said that more than 4,735 deaths attributable to H1N1, known as swine flu, had been reported, and that influenza activity in the northern hemisphere was much higher than usual.

But WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said it was too soon to draw any conclusions from the death toll as experts needed to monitor a full year of the disease, which the WHO declared a pandemic in June after the strain was first detected in April.

"Although the death rate might not be enormous at the moment we do have to continue to be prepared for developments as we go through the winter in the northern hemisphere," Hartl said.

In particular, health experts need to observe the behaviour of the virus during the traditional January-February peak of the influenza season in the northern hemisphere, he told a briefing.

Most people who catch the H1N1 virus suffer mild symptoms. (Reuters)

 

New flu can kill fast, researchers agree

WASHINGTON - The new H1N1 flu is "strikingly different" from seasonal influenza, killing much younger people than ordinary flu and often killing them very fast, World Health Organization officials said on Friday.

A review of studies done during the seven months the virus has been circulating shows it is usually mild, but can cause unusual and severe symptoms in an unlucky few, according to a WHO-sponsored meeting in Washington this week.

"Participants who have managed such cases agreed that the clinical picture in severe cases is strikingly different from the disease pattern seen during epidemics of seasonal influenza," WHO's Dr. Nikki Shindo told the meeting. (Reuters)

 

The worst of the swine flu panic: Swine Flu Shots Revive a Debate About Vaccines

People who do not believe in vaccinating children have never had much sway over Leslie Wygant Arndt. She has studied the vaccine debate, she said, and came out in favor of having her 10-month-old daughter inoculated against childhood diseases. But there is something different about the vaccine for the H1N1 flu, she said.

“I have looked at the people who are against it, and I find myself taking their side,” said Ms. Wygant Arndt, who lives in Portland, Ore. “But then again I go back and forth on this every day. It’s an emotional topic.”

Anti-vaccinators, as they are often referred to by scientists and doctors, have toiled for years on the margins of medicine. But an assemblage of factors around the swine flu vaccine — including confusion over how it was made, widespread speculation about whether it might be more dangerous than the virus itself, and complaints among some health care workers in New York about a requirement that they be vaccinated — is giving the anti-vaccine movement a fresh airing, according to health experts.

“Nationally right now there is a tremendous amount of attention on this vaccine,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City health commissioner. That focus has given vaccine opponents “an opportunity to speak out publicly and get their message amplified that they didn’t have at other times,” he said. (NYT)

 

H1N1 vaccinations pose U.S. public health challenge

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government's $6.4 billion swine flu vaccination program is likely to put the American public health sector under unprecedented strain and expose serious shortcomings, experts say.

As the first mass U.S. immunization program in a generation ramps up to deliver tens of millions of doses each week, public health experts disagree about how well the country's network of state and local health departments might perform.

But many say the sector never received the money it needed for large-scale immunizations despite years of planning for pandemics after the reemergence of bird flu in Hong Kong and South Korea in 2003.

"The worst-case scenario is that there is vaccine in a particular state or locale but that state or locale hasn't sufficiently planned to distribute it," said Leonard Marcus of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Marcus, who studied the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, said the H1N1 immunization program could encounter similar breakdowns in leadership and coordination wherever local public health systems are underfunded or poorly managed.

"Some bureaucrat is going to say he doesn't have authority or needs a signature and it's going to stop the system from moving. That could very well cause panic," he said in a telephone interview. (Reuters)

 

Paracetamol dampens infant vaccine effect: study

LONDON - Giving paracetamol to babies to prevent fever after routine vaccinations may reduce the effect of the shots themselves, Czech scientists said on Friday.

While the paracetamol, known as acetaminophen in the United States, generally does limit post-vaccination fever, it also reduces the child's response to some of the vaccine antigens, according to a study in The Lancet journal.

Mothers in developed countries whose babies have a series of routine vaccinations at around the age three months are often told by medical staff to give paracetamol to try to cut the risk of fever or febrile convulsions.

But Roman Prymula of the Czech University of Defence said his study showed that giving so-called anti-pyretic medicines like paracetamol after vaccinations should "no longer be routinely recommended without careful weighing of the expected benefits and risks." (Reuters)

 

Predicting heart attacks — the government study the media ignored

Most heart disease occurs in healthy people without traditional risk factors and who aren’t considered to be at risk. That has led healthy people without symptoms to feel vulnerable to this ‘silent killer’ and seek ways to see if they could be at risk. The biggest growth industry of preventive health screenings are tests for an array of “emerging” cardiac risk factors. While these tests are heavily marketed to the public and millions of people are lining up for them, do they have any credibility?

The results of a massive systematic review of the evidence for these nontraditional heart disease risk factors were released last week by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. This major government review — involving 42 years of published studies and 212 citations — as well as its recommendations for clinical practice, has extensive ramifications in preventive care for all Americans, as well as the clinical practice of medical professionals. These results should have been widely reported, offering information to help everyone make more informed decisions about preventive screenings. But, did you hear anything?

This is another example of mainstream media failing to report science that is politically incorrect. Amidst today’s popular “preventive wellness” movement, how many news stories reported this far-reaching government review last week? (Junkfood Science)

 

Pesticide endosulfan considered for global ban

GENEVA - Scientists took a step closer on Friday to banning the pesticide endosulfan, widely used on crops like cocoa and cotton, despite objections from India, which is a major producer and consumer of the toxic chemical.

Endosulfan is under consideration for inclusion on the list of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the 166-member Stockholm Convention -- a treaty to protect human health and the environment from chemicals.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee decided to draw up a risk management evaluation for endosulfan, the penultimate step to putting it on the banned list, the convention secretariat said in a statement.

Once the committee has produced the evaluation it can propose to the next meeting of the convention in May 2011 that endosulfan should be banned.

"Endosulfan is a pesticide that is still widely used on many crops such as soy, cotton, rice, and tea. It is highly toxic to humans and many other animals and has been found in the environment, including the Arctic," the statement said. (Reuters)

 

Capitalism: Still Popular, Despite the Bad PR

Capitalism seems rather out of fashion these days. Whether it’s President Obama’s penchant for taking over private industry, Congress’ uncontrolled spending, or the media’s near-constant attacks on Wall Street, one can safely assume capitalism will be placed in the “out” category on those ubiquitous year-end round-ups of trends that are “in” and “out” of fashion.

Michael Moore’s myth-making on the big screen is the latest the attempt to weaken the American public’s confidence in capitalism. It could prove effective because let’s face it, more Americans go to the movies than read economic theory. Moore’s movie Capitalism: A Love Story is standard Michael Moore buffoonery—light on facts, heavy on juvenile humor. But there’s no doubt, some would also call it convincing—especially to those who don’t know what capitalism actually is--like Michael Moore himself. (Julie Gunlock, Townhall)

 

Czech Support for Klaus at 65%

According to press reports, the most recent opinion poll shows that 65% of Czechs support President Václav Klaus’ refusal to sign the Lisbon Treaty that would take more power from national parliaments and give it to the unelected bureaucracy in Brussels.

Klaus, who has been at the pinnacle of Czech politics for the last 20 years (as minister of finance, prime minister, speaker of the house and now as president), has an unmatched understanding of the Czech people. Clearly, once again, he was able to discern the public mood better than others. That includes his successor as the leader of the center-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Mirek Topolanek, who once opposed the Lisbon Treaty but now supports it. It seems that the ODS is in a state of revolt against him and may unseat him at the ODS Party Congress in November.

Klaus will be much encouraged by the above poll. As a consequence, it is less likely that he will give way under pressure and sign the Lisbon Treaty anytime soon. If he can hold out until the likely British referendum on the Lisbon Treaty midway through 2010, he will likely be remembered as the man who put an end to the most ambitious attempt to create a centralized European super-state in modern history. (Marian L. Tupy, Cato at liberty)

 

Welcome to the Social Engineering

In the wake of the controversial dismissal of Green Jobs Czar Van Jones, another of the President's men has been attracting negative attention.

The President has chosen teacher and GLBT activist Kevin Jennings for advice and guidance on how best to foster a safe and drug-free environment for America's school children. Much has already been written about Jennings's controversial background, his troubling associations, his questionable ethics, and his obvious lack of qualification and suitability for the job of Safe Schools Czar. Given Obama's need to stay in the public's good graces in order to advance the cause of health care reform, it would hardly be surprising to see Kevin Jennings gently shoved off the President's roster of advisors if this criticism continues.

What the American people are beginning to realize—thanks to appointees like Van Jones and Kevin Jennings—is that the President's vision for the country involves far more than making health care accessible to all or reducing our collective carbon footprint. True to his promise to bring about "change," Mr. Obama is aggressively pursuing a comprehensive policy of social engineering designed to do just that.

And he is using America's schools as an instrument to produce that change. (Ken Connor, Townhall)

 

"Traffic calming" tactics seem to have benefits

NEW YORK - Speed bumps, lower speed limits, and other so-called "traffic calming" strategies may help reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths, according to a review of published studies.

But it's still not clear whether such measures will work in the developing world -- where they may be needed the most, Dr. Frances Bunn of the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, UK and colleagues note.

Car crashes are the ninth-leading cause of years of life lost to disability in the world, and are expected to jump to third place by 2020, Bunn and her team note.

They searched the literature for studies on the value of speed bumps, mini-roundabouts, lower speed limits, one-way streets and other traffic calming measures. They found no randomized controlled trials (the gold standard) that compared traffic calming to no intervention, but they did find 22 before-and-after studies. All were done in Europe, Japan or Australia, and none were done in low or middle-income countries.

The pooled results showed that, after implementation of traffic calming, the risk of fatal traffic accidents fell 21 percent; fatal or non-fatal accidents resulting in injury were cut by 15 percent; and the total number of crashes fell by 11 percent. But there was no significant reduction in the number of car accidents involving pedestrians.

These figures likely underestimate the effect of traffic calming efforts, the researchers say, because the studies they reviewed were so different from one another, making it difficult to pool the results together.

Bunn and colleagues report their findings in The Cochrane Library, which publishes systematic reviews of medical research.

"Traffic calming interventions," the researchers conclude, "need to be properly evaluated using well-designed controlled studies, so that we can more accurately estimate their effects. In addition, researchers need to assess the effect of these interventions in middle and lower-income countries." (Reuters Health)

 

The Non-Tragedy of the Commons

The 2009 Nobel Prize for economics is a useful reminder of how easy it is for scientists to go wrong, especially when their mistake jibes with popular beliefs or political agendas.

Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University shared the prize for her research into the management of “commons,” which has been a buzzword among ecologists since Garrett Hardin’s 1968 article Science, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” His fable about a common pasture that is ruined by overgrazing became one of the most-quoted articles ever published by that journal, and it served as a fundamental rationale for the expansion of national and international regulation of the environment. His fable was a useful illustration of a genuine public-policy problem — how do you manage a resource that doesn’t belong to anyone? — but there were a couple of big problems with the essay and its application.

First, Dr. Hardin himself misapplied the fable. Declaring that “overpopulation” was a tragedy of the commons, he warned that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” He and others advocated a “lifeboat ethic” of denying food aid, even during emergencies, to poor countries with rapidly growing populations. But “overpopulation” was not even a theoretical example of the tragedy of the commons. Parents are not like the cattle owners who profit individually by adding cows to the pasture (while collectively destroying it). Parents, unlike the cattle owners, have to pay to feed and house and educate their children, and the high economic costs of children are one reason that birth rates have declined around the world — without any of the coercion discussed by Dr. Hardin and some other ecologists (like Paul Ehrlich).

The second problem arising from Dr. Hardin’s fable was the presumption that a commons needed to be regulated by national and international agencies. Dr. Hardin didn’t explicitly make that generalization in the essay — he noted that the tragedy could be avoided either by regulating the commons or by converting it to private property — but others in the environmental movement essentially drew that conclusion. Although some greens talked about the virtue of “acting locally,” major environmental groups lobbied in Washington for expanded federal authority, and they urged the rest of the world to follow the American and European example by creating national rules governing commons like forests and fisheries.

But too often those commons ended up in worse shape once they were put under the control of distant bureaucrats who lacked the expertise or the incentives to do the job properly. Dr. Hardin and his disciples had failed to appreciate how often the tragedy of the commons had been averted thanks to ingenious local institutions and customs. Dr. Ostrom won the Nobel for her work analyzing those local institutions. In an interview at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Dr. Ostrom discussed the damage that had been done by those who had supplanted the local institutions:

International donors and nongovernmental organizations, as well as national governments and charities, have often acted, under the banner of environmental conservation, in a way that has unwittingly destroyed the very social capital — shared relationship, norms, knowledge and understanding — that has been used by resource users to sustain the productivity of natural capital over the ages. The effort to preserve biodiversity should not lead to the destruction of institutional diversity. . . . These institutions are most in jeopardy when central government officials assume that they do not exist (or are not effective) simply because the government has not put them in place. (John Tierney, NYT)

 

Culls Expand as the Deer Chomp Away

TAIT E. JOHANSSON and James F. Nordgren do not hate animals.

In fact, they help run the Bedford Audubon Society, which protects birds and other wildlife in northeastern Westchester and eastern Putnam Counties. Yet, as they gaze across a meadow to a forest behind their headquarters here, their resolve is strengthened to support a measure that the public does not usually associate with conservation groups — deploying bowhunters to kill white-tailed deer.

What the two glimpse beyond the meadow is a four-foot-high void, called a browseline, under the dense stands of hickory, maple and oak trees. The void has been carved out by deer, which have gobbled up all the low-rise shrubs, wildflowers and saplings as efficiently as a hedge trimmer. With no trees younger than 20 years to speak of in those woods, these conservationists worry that in another 50 years there will be no forest left.

“As old trees die and there are no young trees replacing them, we could be looking at a barren landscape,” said Mr. Nordgren, the society’s executive director. (NYT)

 

Environmental Swine

My friend Mary wrote the other day to tell me of her grandfather’s dilemma. He’s involved in important litigation aimed at saving his farm, his family business, and hundreds of agricultural jobs in North Carolina. His problems have been produced by a series of unfortunate events. Among them is a radical environmental movement that cares more about trees and fish than it does about human beings.

... So the problem is complex. But the solution begins with a call for the White House to take the lead on reversing federally mandated use of corn to produce ethanol fuel. Imagine how many jobs we could save if we turned away from ethanol mandates and towards drilling in ANWR.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for help from this White House. Out in California, water has been diverted from the San Joaquin Valley in order to save the two-inch hypomesus transpacificus fish – also known as the delta smelt. This has caused a severe drought in the area with some farming towns like Mendota seeing unemployment numbers of 40%.

In August, fifty mayors from the San Joaquin Valley asked President Obama to come see the devastation first-hand. He refused. Obama previously denied a request to designate California as a federal disaster area. To do so would have acknowledged the fact that Obama’s radical environmental policies are, quite literally, scorched earth policies. Just go to the San Joachim Valley and you’ll see plenty of scorched earth.

There’s little chance President Obama will take interest in the unforeseen effects his policies are having on the hog farming industry. In his part of the world there’s an endless supply of pork. And there’s no shortage of pigs feeding at the government trough. (Mike Adams, Townhall)

 

October 16, 2009

 

Eliot Spitzer Attack against U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Left-Wing Politics at its Worst

Washington, DC - This statement was issued today by Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the Free Enterprise Project:

Eliot Spitzer's commentary in Slate ("Chamber of Horrors," http://www.slate.com/id/2232441/) calling for state pension funds to pressure corporations to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reminds us of his past efforts to climb the political ladder on the backs of business executives. Instead of worrying about the Chamber, state officials should be investigating pension funds for potential conflicts of interest and for using their shareholder standing to advance the left-wing agenda. (Press Release)

 

Big Business Teams Up With the Left to Sell Cap-and-Trade

Every day we have an opportunity to vote with our wallets by letting companies know there is a price to pay for colluding with those who oppose our values. (Tom Borelli, FOXNews.com)

 

Peter Foster: The weather exploiters - Radical environmentalist Tim Flannery’s new book contains the usual hysterical pseudo-science. Second in an occasional series titled Countdown to Catastrophe: Copenhagen.

Tim Flannery, the radical Australian environmentalist, quoted Adam Smith this week during a CBC Radio interview, thus surely sending the great economist spinning once more in his Edinburgh grave.

Promoting his latest book, Now or Never, on The Current, Mr. Flannery cited the Sage of Kirkcaldy’s warning against attempts by businessmen to influence policy: “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order [merchants or manufacturers], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.”

True indeed, which makes it intriguing that Mr. Flannery should regard Al Gore, who has made, and stands to make, hundreds of millions of dollars from promoting government subsidy and regulation, as one of his heroes.

Even more strange, or perhaps just spectacularly hypocritical, that Mr. Flannery — whose previous book, The Weather Makers, was a bestseller — should head something called the Copenhagen Climate Council, which is a morass of the kind of corporatist influence against which Adam Smith was warning. (Financial Post)

 

Climate change deal must include targets for rich countries says Miliband

Rich countries, including the US, must commit to legally-binding targets to cut carbon emissions as part of any international climate change deal, according to Ed Miliband, the Climate Change Secretary. (Daily Telegraph)

Um... what deal?

 

<chuckle> Ed Miliband calls on Barack Obama to save Copenhagen climate summit

President Obama must intervene personally to rescue a proposed global deal on climate change that is hanging in the balance, the British Energy and Climate Change Secretary has told The Times.

Ed Miliband said that there was a much greater chance of a successful deal being agreed in December if Mr Obama travelled to Copenhagen to lead the US delegation to the UN conference.

Gordon Brown has said that he will attend the conference but Mr Obama and most other world leaders have yet to commit themselves to going. White House officials offered no new assurances yesterday, saying only that the Administration would be represented at the “appropriate level”. (The Times)

But Ed, his puffery brigade won't be too keen on his associating with a bunch of losers... Can't see it happening and anyway, Naomi might say more unkind things:

 

Naomi's unhappy? Things must be better than I thought... Obama isn't helping. At least the world argued with Bush - For all the global love-in, the new president has led rich nations to neglect principled action and row back from climate deals

Of all the explanations for Barack Obama's Nobel peace prize, the one that rang truest came from Nicolas Sarkozy. "It sets the seal on America's return to the heart of all the world's peoples." In other words, this was Europe's way of saying to America, "We love you again", like those weird renewal-of-vows ceremonies couples have after a rough patch.

Now Europe and the US are officially reunited, it seems appropriate to consider whether this is necessarily a good thing. The Nobel committee, which awarded the prize for Obama's embrace of "multilateral diplomacy", is evidently convinced that US engagement on the world stage is a triumph for peace and justice. I'm not so sure. After nine months in office, Obama has a clear track record as a global player. Again and again, US negotiators have chosen not to strengthen international laws and protocols but to weaken them, often leading other rich countries in a race to the bottom.

Let's start where the stakes are highest: climate change. During the Bush years, European politicians distinguished themselves from the US by expressing their unshakable commitment to the Kyoto protocol. So while the US increased its carbon emissions by 20% from 1990 levels, European Union countries reduced theirs by 2%. Not stellar, but clearly a case where the EU's break-up with America carried tangible benefits for the planet.

Flash forward to the high-stakes climate negotiations that have just wrapped up in Bangkok. The talks were supposed to lead to a deal in Copenhagen this December that significantly strengthens Kyoto. Instead, the developed countries formed a bloc calling for Kyoto to be replaced. Where Kyoto set clear and binding targets for emission reductions, the US plan would have each country decide how much to cut, then submit its plans to international monitoring – with nothing but wishful thinking to ensure this all keeps the planet's temperature below catastrophic levels. And where Kyoto put the burden of responsibility squarely on the rich countries that created the climate crisis, the new plan treats all countries the same. (Naomi Klein, The Guardian)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Climate change dominoes fall

Australians are the latest citizenry to turn against climate change catastrophism. For the first time, according to a Lowy poll released this week, a majority of the population turned thumbs down to the proposition that “global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.” This rejection applied to younger segments of the population as well as old, especially disappointing to Australian decision makers, given their efforts to indoctrinate youths through the educational system.

Last year, 60% of the populace bought into global warming fears and in 2006, the figure was 68%. (Financial Post)

 

Waking up to Nohopenhagen: Supporters Say Summit Won't Reach Climate Deal

WASHINGTON - An international meeting in December to create tough new goals for fighting global warming will fail to produce a deal, but more modest objectives can be achieved, supporters said on Wednesday.

"I think it's impossible to really get to a binding international agreement" by mid-December in Copenhagen, said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. (Reuters)

 

U.N. Climate Talks May Need Extra time In 2010

OSLO - World climate talks may need extra time next year to agree cuts in greenhouse emissions for 2020 since U.S. laws are unlikely to be in place before a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen in December, experts say. (Reuters)

It's already had way more time than it's worth.

 

A Silent Revolution

The most remarkable aspect of the evolving U.S. debate over climate legislation is how quickly it is evolving in the direction of Republican policy preferences while Democrats, especially the most left-leaning, are silently accepting this revolution, if not helping it along.

Here is Joe Romm on Republican proposals to expand U.S. oil drilling about one year ago:
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang but a chant of “Drill, baby, Drill.”
Apparently Romm believes that now we can save the world from ending through drilling, he writes this week:
. . . we have always drilled, we are drilling now, Congress has repeatedly opened up more acreage to drilling in the last few years, and it's going to open up even more when the price of oil goes back to record levels . . .
And here is Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and Tom Strickland, an Obama appointee, violently agreeing at a recent Senate hearing on the need to more aggressively pursue conventional energy resources on public lands and offshore:

The climate bill is rapidly moving from a bill that would move money around and do little to reduce emissions, to a bill that will move money around and accommodate a Republican-preferred "all of the above" energy policy that is very carbon intensive. The take over of climate policy by the Republican agenda is the most over-looked aspect of this entire debate. Perhaps those covering the horse race can't see the forest for the trees.

I wonder what will happen if drilling in ANWR were to become an explicit part of the climate bill negotiations? Are left-leaning Democrats willing to give that away in silence as well?

If Republicans want to blow up the bill, they probably just have to press loudly for this provision. However, given how well things are going for them, why would they want to blow it up at all?

Stay tuned. (Roger Pielke Jr)

Actually Roger, lots might be willing to "blow it up" for the simple reason any climate legislation is the worst of all options.

 

Hearings on Senate's climate change bill to begin soon

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 14 -- The US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will begin 3 days of hearings on Oct. 27 on the global climate-change bill that its chairwoman, Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced Sept. 30.

“Members of the committee and their staffs, along with the committee’s staff, have been working day and night since the bill was introduced, and we have made great progress,” she told reporters at a briefing. “Draft provisions of the chairman’s mark have been sent to the Environmental Protection Agency for analysis. We expect that to be completed in time for the hearings.”

Boxer said the hearings will begin with testimony from US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.

Witnesses for the two other hearings will be announced shortly, she said. “We will schedule a full committee markup as soon as possible after the hearings,” she said.

Boxer’s announcement came a day before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s second hearing on potential costs of a carbon cap-and-trade program, a component of both S. 1733, the Boxer-Kerry bill, and HR 2454, the measure cosponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), which the House approved by seven votes on June 26. (OGJ)

 

Don’t water down climate bill

THE HIGHLY anticipated Senate climate-change bill sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer makes noteworthy improvements on the similar bill passed by the House last summer. The Senate bill sets higher goals for reducing carbon emissions. But its two Senate sponsors must now avoid what happened in the House, where contentious negotiations served to water down a bill that started out to be every bit as ambitious as its Senate cousin. (Boston Globe)

Agreed! It should not be watered down. Delete all reference to the stupid thing!

 

Climate Assumptions From Another Planet

As the 821-page Kerry-Boxer climate bill gets fast-tracked in the Senate as a companion to the 1,427-page House bill, it is critical we re-examine the assumptions behind cap-tax-and-trade legislation.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Information Administration and other optimistic analysts claim America can limit and tax hydrocarbon use, and switch to "ecologically friendly" renewable energy, with minimal harm to families, businesses and jobs.

Their lowball cost estimates are based on assumptions that can only have come from another planet: (Roy Innes and Paul Driessen, IBD)

 

A fairer formula for emissions targets

Developed and developing countries argue over their respective climate change duties. There is a way out of the deadlock (Prasad Kasibhatla and Bill Chameides, The Guardian)

Of course there's a way out of it: everyone walk nonchalantly away, pretending they never believed any of this climate nonsense for a moment. The only absolutely fair and equitable "solution" for the "problem".

 

U.S. Climate Plan Must Spread Costs Evenly: Experts

WASHINGTON - A U.S. cap-and-trade market on greenhouse gases should be designed carefully to avoid unfair economic pain in fossil fuel industries and other parts of the economy, experts told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The aim of a cap-and-trade market on greenhouse gases at the center of the climate bill introduced by Senate leaders this month would transform the economy from being based on fossil fuels to more nuclear and renewable power.

"The shifts will be significant," Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing. (Reuters)

We have a better idea, one that involves no pain at all: scrap all ideas of gorebull warming legislation. Problem solved.

 

Poor Nations Fear Empty Climate Deal At Copenhagen

BRUSSELS, Oct 15 - Poor nations are not blocking global climate talks but are simply demanding that rich nations meet existing commitments of financial help, a leading negotiator for the 77 poorest countries said.

Bernarditas Muller said a rift that emerged in climate talks in Bangkok last week showed that rich nations want to dodge responsibility for global warming by their industries and to avoid existing commitments to provide climate funding. (Reuters)

Rightly, since carbon dioxide emissions are a demonstrable benefit but very dubious source of harm...

 

Pacific islands meet over climate change plan

Officials from Pacific island countries expected to be among the earliest victims of climate change will meet next week to devise a negotiating strategy for a crucial Copenhagen conference.

The officials will meet in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, a nation where islands average less than one metre (three feet) above sea level and are among the most vulnerable in the world to rising sea levels caused by global warming.

More than a dozen Pacific Island countries will be plotting their strategy for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Copenhagen, which will attempt to hammer out an international deal to combat warming.

Espen Ronneberg, the climate change advisor to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), said Thursday that Pacific countries would be gathering new information on the impact of global warming in the region to devise a negotiating strategy. (AFP)

Can't blame them, greenies and the EU wannabe social engineers have long been telling them they are both "endangered" and "entitled" because the industrial West has been successful.

 

Adaptation fund remains almost empty - The UN fund set up to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change has received only a fraction of the amounts needed.

While the need for climate change adaptation funding is generally agreed to amount to hundreds of billions of US dollars, the UN fund set up for the purpose in 2008 currently holds just 18 million – not billion – US dollars. (CoP15)

 

More from the Korholas: EU Has to Stop its Climate Gimmickry

Another interesting op-ed from Atte Korhola and Eija-Riitta Korhola, published earlier this week in Helsingin Sanomat in Finnish, and translation provided by Atte Korhola.
EU Has to Stop its Climate Gimmickry

PROFESSOR ATTE KORHOLA .
EIJA-RIITTA KORHOLA MEP.

The EU is not serious in its fight against climate change. If it were, it wouldn't merely shift emissions from one place to another but would instead focus its efforts to stop the emissions from growing globally. It would concentrate its efforts on the most challenging problem of the climate change, coal, and reducing its use especially in the developing countries.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global usage of coal increased by 4.8 per cent between the years 2000-2007. This increase was three times as big as the increase in oil consumption and twice as rapid as the increase of natural gas use.

The IEA estimates, that in the coming decades, 40 per cent of the increasing energy needs of the countries outside of OECD will be met by coal power. This will account for more that 90 per cent of the growth of greenhouse gas emissions to take place in the developing countries.

Within a couple of years, China and India will build 850 coal plants in total. At least 50 coal plants are being built in Europe, mainly in Great Britain and Germany. The import of coal powered energy in Europe has increased by 40 per cent in the last ten years.

If the increase in the amount of the carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere is to be halted at 450 parts per million (ppm), which is considered as the critical level (now 386 ppm), this means that all use of coal should be ceased immediately - or one should develop means to produce energy from coal completely emissions free. The EU climate policy does not support these goals.

The EU is practising the kind of climate policy, which is expensive and flashy, yet bureaucratic and lacking results. The main focus is in the reduction of the Union's own local emissions, not the overall emissions to the atmosphere.

When the criteria for the policy are the emissions resulting from production, instead of consumption, the cause for the problems can be shifted elsewhere. With the carbon leakage resulting from this, it is even possible that as the local emissions decrease, the global will increase.

In order to decrease the use of coal in China and India, it would require a massive technological programme of which the primary target would be to develop the techniques used in carbon capture & storage (CCS) as well as clean energy sources that would truly substitute fossil energy.

The eight CCS technique demonstration plants currently included in the EU climate targets are embarrassingly little, given especially that their financing is still unclear, to say the least.

The EU decision to increase the amount of renewable energy to 20 per cent by 2020 does also not promote abandoning coal but instead seems physiologically to act as a justification for increasing the use of coal.

The Australian example is very illuminating. This island state increased the share of the renewable energy by 10 per cent from 2007 to 2008. At the same time, the usage of coal increased by a couple of per cent, which resulted in the overall emissions of Australia to grow.

With the current energy choices, the year 2020 also comes too soon to be able to reach the renewables goal in an environment conserving way, for instance by avoiding over logging or damaging the scenery.

The renewables target and the EU emissions trading scheme work together like a belt and braces: this means overlapping legislation, which partly disturbs one another. The previous pre-defines the share of a certain technology, while the latter would leave it to the markets to decide what share various mitigation methods may have.
The EU should, instead, abandon its renewable energy target and replace it with a clean energy target. At the moment, for instance, Europe practically cannot increase the share of an emissions free nuclear energy, as nuclear energy is not counted in as a renewable energy source.

USA seems slowly to become frustrated with the European gimmickry policy. As the minister of energy Steven Chu recently has been quoted, in Copenhagen's December climate change conference one should agree on what actually can be delivered, instead of merely throwing around big percentage figures.

Mr. Atte Korhola is Professor on environmental change in the University of Helsinki.
Mrs. Eija-Riitta Korhola a Member of the European Parliament. (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Oh... Bad policy will boil the planet

Lessons from Britain about how to cut carbon, and how not to

 AS THE December Copenhagen conference on climate change approaches, the world’s attention is focused on international negotiations. But they are not, ultimately, what will determine whether the planet boils or not. International agreements are helpful only in so far as they encourage individual countries to control their own emissions. What matters most is the domestic policies which those countries put in place, and their governments’ success in implementing them.

That’s why the report by Britain’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is important. It shows how weak policy has been, and suggests ways of strengthening it (see article). Most of their ideas are good, and one of them is bad.

Careful, it’s sensitive

Britain’s headline figures are fairly impressive. Its greenhouse-gas emissions have fallen by 15% since 1990—comfortably inside its target under the Kyoto protocol—compared with a 2% drop in the EU as a whole and a 14% rise in America. Most of the decline in Britain, however, is the result not of a big policy effort but of the “dash for gas”—the move away from coal-fired power stations that followed the end of coal mining. The decline has now almost stopped. Emissions are falling by less than a percentage point a year, and the government has admitted that it will fail to meet a self-imposed target of a 20% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions on 1990 levels by next year, even though the recession has cut economic activity. Policy, in other words, is not driving emissions reductions. (The Economist)

We still have zero evidence of catastrophic enhanced greenhouse effect and very limited understanding of our planet's climate. We don't have the ability to predict it or to control it. Climate policy can and will harm people but it is not going to make any predictable changes to the planet's climate.

 

Consumers cease to be a problem and become the solution to climate change – it's simply a question of behaviour - There is often no need to wait for new technologies, laws or infrastructure to dramatically reduce emissions

Shoppers explore the new Westfield shopping centre during its opening day in west London. Photograph: Luke MacGregor/Reuters

As living standards rise, we buy more products and services and that inevitably will impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

What we need to grasp is that consumers are hugely linked to the issue of global warming – in the UK alone, they contribute to 75% of all emissions. But though consumers are surely part of the problem, they are also fundamental to the solution.

Anyone who uses a supermarket for their daily needs has a major role to play. Ordinary shoppers are the key to the widespread behavioural shifts we need to edge back from the brink. As well as reducing emissions in their own activities, families can encourage innovation in businesses by demanding low-carbon products and services, and that can encourage politicians to take radical steps towards a lower carbon world. (The Guardian)

See, if you'd just give up the standard of living you work and strive for and live like it was the Dark Ages, Gaia would be happily killing you off already and all would be right in the greenies' misanthropic worldview... Now, if you'd just hurry up and die, you evil human, the natural world (of which you can never be part) will be so much better off, hmm?

 

Not even laughable: No easy way out

Scientists look seriously at the possibility of warming beyond the 2 °C target. Anna Barnett reports.

Concerned by escalating greenhouse gas emissions, scientists are now looking in earnest at the possibility of global temperatures rising by 4 °C or more. Gathering this month at the University of Oxford, they sketched out a world affected by severe climate change, which they now see as increasingly probable.

The conference, which took place 28–30 September, marks a shift in experts' hopes of keeping average global temperatures to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels — widely considered the threshold for 'dangerous climate change'. "Emissions have not gone down globally, as people had hoped they would do," says Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK, who spoke at the conference. "The rate of increase has actually gone up."

Recent greenhouse gas emissions match the trajectory for most extreme scenario used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But this scenario, A1FI, has received little study compared with its more moderate counterparts, says Richard Betts of the UK Met Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter, who presented new research in Oxford. "Now we know that emissions are at the upper end of what the IPCC projected a decade ago, it justifies taking the higher-emissions scenario more seriously," he notes. Diana Liverman, director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford, says that until now, "it was almost like the 2 °C target was driving the science". (Nature Reports Distorts Climate Change )

 

Taking Action Against Anthropogenic Global Warming

Have you ever had so much time on your hands that you needed something to waste it on? Fighting a problem that doesn’t exist is a good way to waste your time. (Bob Ellis, Dakota Voice)

 

Blog Action Day: against climate change hysteria

Google and a couple of other big companies have teamed up and declared October 15th, 2009 to be the annual Blog Action Day.

Bloggers are supposed to register with them and they should receive millions of visitors, i.e. thousands of visits per registered blog. Well, I have certain doubts that these figures are trustworthy so I have tried it.

The video above explains that all the registered bloggers can write about any topic they like. And they can write whatever they think about the topic. And the topic must be climate change and they must write that it is a threat. ;-) Google and others have become employees in this major new post-modern kind of irrational intellectual prostitution and co-culprits of the most intense global brainwashing campaign of the contemporary era.

If you happened to find this blog on the Blog Action Day website, that's great because there are 673 posts about the climate on this blog. Dozens of them include detailed, quantitative, and verifiable explanations why the global warming alarm is a gigantic hoax.

This blog is also read by many readers who have studied the climate science in quite some detail and who can answer your question. Of course, it is conceivable that you - a visitor of the Blog Action Day - hasn't gotten here at all because this website has been censored.

In that case, we don't have to tell you anything because you won't hear it anyway. :-)

Update: After an hour with no hits from them, I think it's safe to say that the non-alarmist blogs are being removed from their server. (The Reference Frame)

 

Yeah, hurray, they managed to stop some poor people farming... Green Groups Clash Over Reliability of Forest-Based Carbon Offsets

The environmental group Greenpeace is attacking the legitimacy of a 13-year effort to produce carbon credits by saving Bolivia's rainforests -- an effort that other advocates defend as a pioneering and vitally necessary model for fighting global warming.

The scene for the dispute is northeast Bolivia's Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. In 1996, the government revoked four logging concessions to double the size of the protected area. The move saved a swath of trees about the size of Connecticut from being cleared by locals to farm or being degraded by timber companies. (ClimateWire)

 

Use of Forests as Carbon Offsets Fails to Impress In First Big Trial - Project in Bolivia Keeps Trees Standing But Has Little Clear Effect on Emissions

More than a decade ago in the northeast corner of Bolivia, a group of polluters and environmentalists joined forces in the first large-scale experiment to curb climate change with a strategy that promised to suit their competing interests: compensating for greenhouse gas emissions by preserving forests.

The coalition of U.S. utility companies, two nonprofit groups and the Bolivian government had the common goal of making a dent in the worldwide deforestation that accounts for about 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions each year. The outcome of that experiment is fueling debate over a key element in international climate strategy.

While the Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project has succeeded in keeping a biologically rich preserve of more than 6,000 square miles free from logging, it has fallen far short of its goal of reducing emissions. The mix of pragmatism and idealism -- providing powerful financial incentives to encourage influential companies and poor countries to work together to slow global warming -- shows the complexity of a much-heralded approach that Democratic lawmakers and international negotiators are trying to write into law. (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

 

They keep on with this nonsense: Carbon Capture: China’s Got Huge Carbon-Storage Potential, Researchers Say

Does clean coal really have a future where it’s needed most—in China?

As much as policymakers keep talking about carbon capture and storage, the obstacles facing wide deployment of the technology are pretty steep. There’s the $5 trillion price tag, for starters, and the sheer difficulty of building thousands of carbon-capture plants, and hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines to store emissions underground.

And in China, in particular, there are plenty of concerns that less-efficient clean coal plants would actually strain, not help, the nation’s energy infrastructure.

But one piece of the puzzle, at least, is falling into place. A new study by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says China is blessed by geology—it has loads of places to stick carbon emissions underground, enough to store a century’s worth of emissions at least. The full study will be released next month; here’s a summary, and here’s more. (WSJ)

It isn't a matter of whether there's somewhere to put carbon dioxide -- it's the cost and difficulty of getting it there! Injection and containment are neither simple nor low effort enterprises but energy intensive and very expensive. And there is absolutely no point in doing it. Sheesh!

 

The Top Ten Reasons why I think Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can’t be trusted

First, I loathe having to write another story about Pen Hadow and his Catlin Arctic Ice expedition, which I consider the scientific joke of 2009. But these opportunistic explorers are once again getting some press over the “science” data, and of course it is being used to make the usual alarmist pronouncements such as this badly written story in the BBC:

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

WUWT followed the entire activist affair disguised as a science expedition from the start. You can see all of the coverage here. It’s not pretty. When I say this expedition was the “scientific joke of 2009″, I mean it.

On to the Top Ten List. Read the rest of this entry » (WUWT)

 

Repost Of “NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Versus GISS Projections” By Bob Tisdale

UPDATE: Bob Tisdale has posted an update based on an error in the data as originally available at the NODC. The new post is NODC’s CORRECTION TO OHC (0-700m) DATA.

Notes From Bob Tisdale on Climate Change and Global Warming

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Versus GISS Projections INTRODUCTION

The first post in this series “ENSO Dominates NODC Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Data” illustrated the upward El Nino-induced step changes in the Ocean Heat Content (OHC) of the Tropical Pacific, Tropical Atlantic, South Pacific, South Indian, and South Atlantic datasets. The second post “North Atlantic Ocean Heat Content (0-700 Meters) Is Governed By Natural Variables” showed the impacts of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and ENSO on North Atlantic OHC. But the post the grabbed the most interest was the third in the series “Update of NODC (Levitus et al 2009) OHC Data Through June 2009”. It showed the drop of Global OHC over the past six months. Refer to Figure 1, which illustrates the monthly NODC Global OHC anomalies (0-700m) from January 1955 through June 2009. (Climate Science)

 

Ocean Heat Content: cooling gone today with new adjustment

WUWT readers may recall last week that we had an excellent guest analysis by Bob Tisdale titled:

Ocean Heat Content: Dropping again

Easy come, easy go. The data has been changed. Read on – Anthony

NODC’s CORRECTION TO OHC (0-700m) DATA

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

I was advised today (Thanks, Fred) that the NODC has revised their Ocean Heat Content data. A quick check of the KNMI Climate Explorer News webpage…
http://climexp.knmi.nl/news.cgi?someone@somewhere
…reveals that it was revised on October 15, 2009 at KNMI.

And a check of the NODC data…
ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/heat_3month/HC_0-700-3month.tar.gz
…shows that it was corrected on 10/15/09.

Dr. Geert Jan van Oldenborgh writes, “There was an error in the last 3-month data point of the NODC ocean heat content dataset, as anyone who made a map of the data could see. The problem has been fixed at NODC (thanks Gavin, Tim).”

Apparently the NODC hadn’t bothered to plot the data prior to posting it on September 14, 2009, or hadn’t thought there was a problem until…

Here’s a gif of the correction
NODC CORRECTION

Thanks, Gavin and Tim. (WUWT)

 

Prehistoric titanic-snake jungles laughed at global warming - Rainforest similar to ours flourished at 3-5° hotter

Fossil boffins say that dense triple-canopy rainforests, home among other things to gigantic one-tonne boa constrictors, flourished millions of years ago in temperatures 3-5°C warmer than those seen today - as hot as some of the more dire global-warming projections.

The new fossil evidence comes from the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, previously the location where the remains of the gigantic 40-foot Titanoboa cerrejonensis were discovered. The snake's discoverers attracted flak from global-warming worriers at the time for saying that the cold-blooded creature would only have been able to survive in jungles a good bit hotter than Colombia's now are.

But now, according to further diggings, there is more evidence to support the idea that a proper rainforest similar to those now seen in the tropics existed at the time of the Titanoboa - despite the much hotter temperatures. This could be seen as conflicting with the idea that a rise of more than two or three degrees would kill off today's jungles with devastating consequences for the global ecosystem of which we are all part. (Lewis Page, The Register)

 

The IPCC Is Never Wrong -2- “Settled Science” Of Chinese Whispers

(for the first part, visit “The IPCC Is Never Wrong -1- Why Kevin Trenberth Is Right“)

Given that the scientifically-valid statements in the IPCC AR4 report are strictly capable to cover and include whatever outcome the Earth’s climate will compute for us, how can we find ourselves surrounded by people clamoring that, on the basis of the very same IPCC report, the “science is settled”?

“Chinese whispers”. That’s how.

The incoming strictly-orthodox and yet very open minded IPCC message is of an ongoing, complex, fascinating scientific analysis full of uncertainties that need to be investigated. Yet, at the other end of the “broken telephone” all channels are clogged by absurdist, simplistic claims of “the debate is over” (a statement that is, in a sense, the true denial).

(ironically, even RealClimate has recognized there might be a communication problem…)

Take a look for example at the magnitude of the solar forcing, again according to the IPCC. The “official value” everybody with even a remote interest keeps hearing about, is 0.12 and can be found in AR4-WG1-Chapter2 (*), page 193.

But then if you go to page 212, Table 2.11, it turns out that the “level of scientific understanding” for Solar Irradiance is “Low”, and for the component linked to cosmic UV rays is “Very low”.

And that’s not even remotely enough. All the known unknowns about the role of the Sun in shaping the Earth’s climate are clearly spelled out in Joanna D. Haigh’s “The Sun and the Earth’s climate” (**). True, that article might have been published after the official IPCC deadline. On the other hand, Dr Haig was well known at the time to the IPCC authors and reviewers, and appears four times among the References for that chapter alone.

What has happened then? Go back to page 193. The text actually reads:

The best estimate is +0.12 W m-2 (90% confidence interval: +0.06 to +0.30 W m-2)

That means that actual value can be half, or 2.5 times as much, and that’s just considering a confidence interval of 90% (”moderately confident” in statistical jargon) rather than the classic 95% (regarding which the spread between minimum and maximum possible value would have obviously been considerably wider).

And so we find the IPCC “moderately confident” about a forcing whose (1) known known components are “little to very little” understood, (2) known unknown components are not even considered despite being present in the Literature and (3) unknown unknown components… (well, “no comment” about those).

Add to that the fact that a “forcing”, like all “forcings“, is not a measurable quantity in the real world, and therefore exists strictly as an estimate. An estimate about which the IPCC is somewhat ’schizophrenic’ to say the least.

======

And yet, all that fun is not found anywhere: instead of “low to very low understanding” about an estimate done with “moderate confidence“, what we read is how small the Solar forcing “IS”: 0.12.

Onwards and upwards, as they used to say…

(*) Forster, P., V. Ramaswamy, P. Artaxo, T. Berntsen, R. Betts, D.W. Fahey, J. Haywood, J. Lean, D.C. Lowe, G. Myhre, J. Nganga, R. Prinn, G. Raga, M. Schulz and R. Van Dorland, 2007: Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

(**) Joanna D. Haigh, “The Sun and the Earth’s Climate”, Living Rev. Solar Phys. 4, (2007), 2. URL (cited on Oct 14, 2009): http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2007-2 (OmniClimate)

 

Great! Obama wants safe ways to tap U.S. oil, gas

NEW ORLEANS - President Barack Obama said on Thursday he is in favor of finding environmentally safe ways to tap U.S. oil and natural gas reserves and would like to see increased use of nuclear-generated electricity.

"What I think we need to do is increase our domestic energy production," Obama said at a public meeting in New Orleans. "I'm in favor of finding environmentally sound ways to tap our oil and our natural gas."

Obama also spoke about the need to rely more heavily on nuclear energy as the United States looks for ways to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. (Reuters)

Since we already have and use such methods let's get straight to it, shall we?

 

Economist says fossil-fuel jobs are on the line

WASHINGTON — Although nationwide employment is likely to remain stable under congressional proposals to combat climate change, the initiatives would deal a heavy blow to those working for petroleum refiners and other industries tied to polluting fossil fuels, a government economist said Wednesday.

Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office, told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change would “shift production, investment and employment away from industries involved in the production of carbon-based energy and energy-intensive goods and services.”

Instead, he said, capital and jobs would go “toward industries involved in the development and production of alternative energy sources,” such as wind and solar power.

“The shifts will be significant,” Elmendorf added. “There will be reductions in employment in industries that produce fossil fuels, that use fossil fuels intensively or that make products” used by households reliant on a lot of fossil fuel. (Houston Chronicle)

 

Oh boy... US headed for massive decline in carbon emissions

The dramatic reduction in carbon emissions in the US is not only because of the recession. Renewables and energy efficiency have played their part too. From Grist, part of the Guardian Environment Network

Actually technological development and efficiency gains (usually driven by the profit motive, by the way) mean that we constantly strive to do more with less and we've been doing very well at it over the last 250 years in particular. We will continue to do so but that has exactly nothing to do with "renewables" and can only be hampered by governments picking winners and crushing innovation.

 

Understanding Decarbonization of the US Economy in 2008

I have been asked by a reporter how to explain how much of the 2008 reduction in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions is due to changes in energy intensity and carbon intensity versus the slowdown in economic growth. The answer can be determined from the graph and figures above.

In 2008 year-over-year improvements (i.e., a smaller number is a larger improvement) in carbon intensity and energy intensity were slightly greater than the 10-year averages, but no where close to record levels. For instance, improvements were both smaller than in 2006, which had much higher economic growth and decreasing emissions. The data show that there is no evidence that there has been any departure from business-as-usual behavior of carbon intensity and energy intensity, and thus the overall decarbonization of the U.S. economy. Couple this with the fact that some of the changes in energy intensity and carbon intensity in 2008 were likely motivated by the state of the economy, there is no evidence of shifts in the U.S. economy that would lead to anything other than increasing emissions at business-as-usual levels (which was an 0.7% annual increase 1999-2007) as the economy recovers.

The calculations above come from the Kaya Identity, which says that:

Carbon Dioxide Emissions = GDP * Energy Intensity (TEC/GDP) * Carbon Intensity (CO2/TEC)

Sources:

GDP
CO2
Total Energy Consumption (TEC) (Roger Pielke Jr)

 

Canada must do more on energy efficiency, agency says

PARIS — Canada, despite being among the top western industrialized countries when it comes to advancing energy efficiency measures, still falls short in several areas and lacks a coherent national plan to reduce energy waste, a global agency said here Thursday.

The International Energy Agency said Canada ranks near the top among its 28 member states in promoting or legislating stricter efficiency measures for highways, cars and trucks, household appliances, industrial plans and buildings.

But the IEA, at a meeting of energy ministers in advance of a key United Nations gathering on climate change in Copenhagen in December, said Canada's performance is stellar only because most of the others have fumbled the ball. (Peter O'Neil, Canwest News Service)

 

It's about freaking time! Light-touch police get heavy-handed on climate change campaigners - Police are getting serious over climate change protests – by using conspiracy laws that carry 10-year jail sentences

An environmental activist planning to take part in the Great Climate Swoop at Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station this weekend has been arrested today on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, a crime which can carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.

The action by police follows the recent charging, which I blogged about this week, of 25 other activists with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass. It also comes after the use of antiterrorist legislation to prevent Chris Kitchen from travelling to Copenhagen, where he had planned to work with activist organisation Climate Justice Action, which is planning demonstrations during UN climate talks in December.

The latest arrest will worry environmental activists, who suspect that police are now casting aside heavy-handed techniques such as the "kettling" used during the Kingsnorth and the G20 protests in favour of a more preventative approach. (Bibi van der Zee, The Guardian)

 

Questioning the invisible hand

Can liberalised energy markets cut carbon emissions? Britain is starting to doubt it

FOR many left-wingers, the credit crunch was proof that markets do not always know best. The near-collapse of the world’s banking system shows once and for all, they argue, that an industry as important as finance cannot be left to the whims of the invisible hand. Yet despite much speechifying from banker-bashing politicians, such views do not seem to have taken hold. Bonuses are back in many City dealing-rooms, and the old argument against regulation—that it would drive firms away from Britain and impoverish the country—is being heard again.

Away from the spotlight, though, another industry is facing its own crisis of confidence in laissez-faire liberalism. Climate change, a looming shortage of electricity and worries about the risks of relying on imported energy are causing many to doubt whether Britain’s vaunted liberalised energy markets are up to the job. (The Economist)

How do they figure so heavily regulated markets are liberalized? Government interference, especially threatened carbon constraint, is killing the energy supply and this is supposed to be a free market problem? Wow...

 

Right to bear arms - Support for banning handguns continues to fall in America

DESPITE electing an unusually liberal president, on at least one measure Americans are more conservative than at any time before. Public support for a ban on handguns has fallen to 28%, the lowest level in nearly 50 years, according to a new poll from Gallup. When Americans were first asked the question in 1959, 60% were in favour of introducing a law to ban handguns, but support has declined steadily. Enthusiasm for stricter laws relating to the sale of firearms is also ebbing, falling from 78% in 1990 to 44% today. Polls suggest that 43% believe laws should not be made tougher.

 (The Economist)

 

Broder: Health Overhaul Likely, Because Hardest Part Lies Ahead

Yes, you read that right.  And I had to do the same sort of double-take when I read David Broder’s op-ed in The Washington Post this morning.

Broder writes, “Obama has steered the enterprise to the point that odds now favor a bill-signing ceremony.  But the hardest choices still lie ahead….”  Whaa??  How can the odds be better than 50-50 if the biggest fights haven’t even happened yet?

Broder’s optimism continues, “Two things will be needed to reach [a majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate]: first, a plausible plan for making affordable and comprehensive health insurance available to millions…. And second, a way of financing the coverage….”  But that’s been the whole challenge all along.  Is Broder actually acknowledging that Democrats aren’t any closer to a signing ceremony than they were six months ago?

Broder says Democrats can meet the second challenge by taxing high-cost health plans — “a step that would require Obama to face down his labor union allies.”  You mean Obama should lean on Democrats to tax a crucial part of their own base?  One that’s already activating to block that tax?

Broder also thinks Obama should lean on his fellow Democrats to roll the doctors and hospitals in their states/districts by including more (some? any?) “delivery system reforms” in the legislation.

Sure.  No problem.  What could go wrong?  This is practically a done deal.

(Cross-posted, sarcasm and all, at Politico’s Health Care Arena.) (Michael F. Cannon, Cato at liberty)

 

More Health Reform Budget Gimmickry

When the Senate Finance Committee released CBO scoring of its health care reform proposal last week, we warned that its claim of reducing future budget deficits was achieved only through dishonestly assuming that Congress will implement a 21% reduction in Medicare payments that is scheduled under current law. We pointed out that Congress has been supposed to make those reductions since 2003, and never has.  Now—surprise, surprise—Democrats have introduced a bill to eliminate the scheduled cut, at a cost of $247 billion.  But Democrats cleverly are putting the new spending in a separate bill, so it won’t change scoring of health care reform.   Have they no shame? (Michael D. Tanner, Cato at liberty)

 

Study explains immunity to H1N1 in older people

CHICAGO - Older people who have been infected with or vaccinated against seasonal flu may have a type of immunity produced by cells that protects them from the swine flu virus, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

They said the pandemic H1N1 virus has parts found in earlier flu strains, and some people past age 60, who may have been exposed to similar viruses in their youth, may have some latent immune cells that protect them.

"These findings indicate that human populations may have some level of existing immunity to the pandemic H1N1 influenza and may explain why the 2009 H1N1-related symptoms have been generally mild," said Carol Cardona of the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Her study appears in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Cardona said cell-based immunity may be serving to weaken the effects of swine flu.

"The meaning clinically is you are going to get sick but it may not be as severe if you had no immunity whatsoever," Cardona said in a telephone interview.

Cardona said much attention is given to antibodies that recognize and destroy foreign invaders.

The body also makes cells, known as cytotoxic T-cells, which secrete antiviral chemicals that kill infected cells and clear the virus from the body. It is these cells that may be offering protection.

"It's part of the primary immune response. It just is not the one that is classically measured," Cardona said. (Reuters)

 

H1N1 flu causes unusual damage to lungs

WASHINGTON - The new pandemic H1N1 flu may cause blood clots and other unusual damage in the lungs and doctors need to be on the lookout, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

Two studies published in the American Journal of Roentgenology show the need to check X-rays and CT scans for unusual features, and also point out swine flu can be tricky to diagnose in some of the sickest patients.

H1N1 flu is causing a pandemic, and while it is not particularly deadly, it is sickening many younger adults and older children who usually escape the worst effects of seasonal flu. (Reuters)

 

Hmm... US report confirms smoking bans cut heart attacks

WASHINGTON - Indoor smoking bans are effective at lowering the risk of heart attack, even among nonsmokers, by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke, a panel of U.S. health experts confirmed in a report on Thursday.

The report, produced for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides the most definitive evidence to date that laws that ban smoking from workplaces, restaurants and bars can reduce cardiovascular-related health problems where they are imposed.

"Secondhand smoke kills. What this report shows is that smoke-free laws reduce heart attacks in nonsmokers," said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

"But still, most of the country lives in areas that don't have comprehensive smoke-free laws covering all workplaces, all restaurants and all bars," he said.

The CDC asked the independent Institute of Medicine to review research on smoking bans and secondhand smoke after some studies suggested that banning smoking might significantly reduce heart attacks.

The panel of experts assembled for the task reviewed research including 11 studies of smoking bans in the United States, Canada and Europe showing "remarkable consistency" in the association between bans and reductions in heart attack rates, which in some studies ranged from 6 percent to 47 percent.

"There is a causal relationship," the panel concluded in its report. "Consistency in the direction of change gave the committee confidence that smoking bans decrease the rate of heart attacks."

The 205-page report, titled "Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Events: Making Sense of the Evidence," warned that exposure to secondhand smoke could increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 25 to 30 percent. (Reuters)

This looks like a case of not finding the mythical 46,000 environmental tobacco smoke mortalities which therefore proves smoking bans reduce mortalities... I've got a dog that barks to keep away ghosts and we never see any ghosts, so obviously he's very effective.

 

Statins creating a social gap in cholesterol levels

NEW YORK - The statin drugs that so effectively