Gluttons for punishment: Vote could change direction of healthcare reform

WASHINGTON - With most Americans ambivalent about President Barack Obama's signature healthcare overhaul or openly hostile to it, next Tuesday's elections could have a big impact on the reforms, experts said on Wednesday.

Major Republican gains could mean years of hold-ups on implementing the legislation - but if Democrats manage to prevail against the odds, they may reward their base with even more extensive reforms, Robert Blendon and John Benson of the Harvard School of Public Health said. (Reuters)

If the GOP can't save you then you might be "rewarded" with even greater disasters... You've been warned.

 

Perkins appeals to higher court

State Senator Bill Perkins has filed an amicus brief in hopes that the Supreme Court will take a look at the legality of eminent domain use in Manhattanville. (Columbia Spectator)

 

BPA, semen quality study is Chinese junk

By Steve Milloy
October 28, 2010, GreenHellBlog.com

A Kaiser Permanente-sponsored study of 514 Chinese workers reports that urinary levels of chemical bisphenol A (BPA) were associated with decreased sperm concentration, total sperm count, sperm vitality and sperm motility. The study was published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility. It may as well have been published in the journal of Futility and Stupidity.

First, the statistical associations are quite dubious. None of the reported associations between urinary BPA levels and semen quality are statistically significant. None of the p-values were reported, so it can be presumed that they all exceed the standard significance requirement of P =< 0.05. The confidence intervals (i.e., margins of error) are all quite wide — i.e., 160-200+% greater than the size of the reported association.

Next, the statistical associations were supposedly adjusted for age, education, history of chronic disease, previous history of exposure to other chemicals and metals, employment history, marital status, age at first intercourse, smoking, drinking and study site. But all these “data” were self-reported by the workers and the researchers made no effort to verify or validate any of it. Assuming for the sake of argument, for example, that smoking, drinking, and “exposure to other chemicals and metals” are true confounding factors for semen quality, no information was collected on the levels of such exposures. No doubt there are many other risk factors for reduced semen quality, but they weren’t considered. The researchers claim that study subjects complied with a 7-day sexual abstinence requirement but how certain can they be?

Also, the study population was not randomly selected. Of the 888 workers eligible to participate, only 514 did. Were these 514 the less healthy ones who opted for a free medical exam?

This effort was not designed or conducted so as to study the relationship of BPA exposure to semen quality. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t.

BPA has been used for more than 50 years with no real-world indication that it has ever harmed anyone. That’s why the anti-chemcial activists are forced to stoop to the depths of such junk science.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

For more on BPA, check out JunkScience.com’s Debunkosaurus. (Green Hell Blog)

 

Vaccine panel expands whooping cough coverage

CHICAGO - An independent U.S. advisory panel is amending its recommendations for booster vaccines to prevent whooping cough and expand protection from the disease that has made a comeback in several U.S. states.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Wednesday to allow adolescents or adults whose vaccine history is not known to get a booster shot of the "Tdap" vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough, as soon as possible.

The committee, whose advice is usually followed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also recommended that adults over 65 be given the vaccine to help prevent transmission to infants under a year old, who are too young to be vaccinated.

Children aged 7 to 9 who have not been adequately vaccinated should be given the Tdap booster, it added.

Tdap vaccines, made by both Sanofi Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline, protect adolescents and adults from three once-common killers - whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.

But they are not approved for children aged 7 to 10 or people aged 65 and older. Two- to 6-year-olds get a different vaccine, called DTaP, for the same three infections.

Tom Clark, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a telephone interview the moves were intended to "close some gaps in our vaccination program."

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Public health officials from California told the panel that, to date, the state has had 10 infants younger than 2 months old die from whooping cough. CDC researchers told the panel 6 to 8 percent of whooping cough cases are transmitted from grandparents to children.

"We've definitely heard from grandparents who are told if they are 65, they can't get a Tdap vaccine to protect their grandbabies. Now they can," Clark said.

Representatives from both GSK and Sanofi told the panel they intend to seek approvals for their vaccines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Until then, doctors can give the vaccine on an off-label basis, Clark said. (Reuters)

 

So, they do employ some rational and scientifically-literate people after all: E-Mails Reveal Dispute Over City’s Ad Against Sodas

In the midst of a legislative fight over taxing sodas last year, the New York City health department put together a media campaign about how drinking a can of soda a day “can make you 10 pounds fatter a year.”

But behind this simple claim was a protracted dispute in the department over the scientific validity of directly linking sugar consumption to weight gain — one in which the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, overruled three subordinates, including his chief nutritionist.

“CAUTION,” the nutritionist, Cathy Nonas, wrote in a memorandum to her colleagues on Aug. 20, 2009. “As we get into this exacting science, the idea of a sugary drink becoming fat is absurd.” The scientists, she said, “will make mincemeat of us.” (NYT)

 

Life expectancy increases in England, especially for men

Boys born in England between 2007 and 2009 can expect to live to 78, and girls to 82, official statistics show (Press Association)

 

So that's what's wrong with 'em... Reading the Guardian? It could be down to your 'liberal genes'

US researchers have identified a gene variant they say can lead to a liberal political outlook – with the help of a few friends (Guardian)

Wonder if we can develop a corrective therapy? Imagine a world where the disease of Socialism was eradicated...

 

IWTWT! Root of the matter: A new map shows life-saving forests' scarcity defies past estimates

Countless people clung to life in the branches of trees hemming the shorelines during the deadly 2004 tsunami that killed more than 230,000 coastal residents in Indonesia, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka. In the aftermath of the disaster, land change scientist Chandra Giri from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) decided to explore to what degree those unique trees – which make up valuable forest ecosystems called mangroves -- safeguard lives, property and beaches during hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.

Encountering challenges while trying to quantify the long-standing hypothesis compelled Giri and an international team of scientists to take a more roundabout and ultimately more viable research path: to first describe the distribution and magnitude of the area mangrove ecosystems cover. With funding from NASA, that path yielded the first high-resolution, satellite-based global map of mangrove forests. Published online this summer in the Journal of Global Ecology and Biogeography, the map revealed worrisome facts about these treasure troves for biodiversity: they make up less of the Earth's surface than previously thought. This new information, Giri says, coupled with other reports that mangrove forests are vanishing faster than scientists' previous estimates, can provide motivation and evidence for stronger conservation efforts. (NASA/GSFC)

 

A Visit to the Ecological Battlefield

Can the international community reach a turning point in nature conservation? A UN conference in Nagoya, Japan this week may determine how our planet's resources are used in the future. Germany could have played an important role, but its environment minister left the meeting after only one day. (Spiegel)

Wasted that much time there eh? Don't bother attending any more of these scam sessions.

 

Pathogen row blocking biodiversity deal

Nagoya talks close to agreement but countries remain split over access to microscopic germs and the sharing of benefits from research and medicines (Guardian)

 

 

 

Robust Economy Needs Affordable Energy

Proposition 23 seeks to put some of California’s more egregious energy regulations on hold—at least until the California economy recovers. Current law will force consumers to switch to energy sources that can be four or more times as expensive as conventional energy, driving energy prices up, employers out, and consumers crazy. The current rules make especially little sense in the current economic environment.

In addition to the standard environmental groups, those financing the opposition to Proposition 23 are mainly financiers who stand to gain from restrictions on conventional energy and billionaires who are far removed from worries over monthly energy bills and losing a job. The problem for the other 37 million Californians is that they do worry about how they can pay higher energy bills and about getting and keeping a job. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Proposition 23: Jobs or Wishful Thinking?

I love this quote from clean-tech exec Eric Dresselhuys to the San Francisco Chronicle's David R. Baker: "If California isn't leading the charge on implementing these technologies, why be here? Do you want to be here for the high taxes, the high cost of living? Right now, you want to be here because California is where the action is."

In a nutshell, that is the argument against Proposition 23 -- which would stall the impending implementation of AB32, California's landmark 2006 global-warming bill, until unemployment dips to 5.5 percent. If voters delay AB32, they will staunch the creation of clean-tech jobs -- because no sane entrepreneur would dream of doing business here without a sweetheart deal from Sacramento.

To keep venture capitalists rolling in it, Californians are supposed to raise the cost of doing business for everyone else. No worries: California's unemployment rate is only 12.4 percent.

The real choice here is between jobs and magical thinking. AB32 promises to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in 10 years. There's no easy way to reach that goal. State regulators will have to raise energy prices on consumers and businesses, raise fees on industries and slap more regulations on already burdened employers.

And for what? Green jobs represent about 1 percent of California jobs -- as opposed to manufacturing, which accounts for 21 percent of jobs. A recent UC Berkeley study predicted that AB32 will create the equivalent of 1,000 to 3,600 permanent jobs each year. Those numbers simply don't stack up against California's 2 million lost jobs, or the jobs that could go away. (Debra J. Saunders, Townhall)

 

Just another Tinsel Town whack job: Arnold Schwarzenegger flexes muscles to defend climate change law

California governor fights hard to protect his green legacy, taking on oil executives who aim to annul law via Proposition 23

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is fighting oil firms that want to cancel his climate change bill through the Proposition 23 referendum. Photograph: Max Whittaker/Getty Images
It was his signature line from his days as an action hero: "I'll be back." Now Arnold Schwarzenegger's fight to protect his climate legacy is fuelling speculation that he is seeking a role as environmental defender on a bigger stage.

With just a week to go until Californians choose his successor as governor, Schwarzenegger has hurled himself into the campaign against the Proposition 23 ballot initiative brought by Texas oil refiners and the billionaire Koch brothers that would effectively kill off his climate change law, which requires 25% cuts in emissions levels by 2020.

He has called oil company executives and eco-entrepreneurs, visited investment bankers and held a fundraising event at his home, helping to build a huge cash advantage for the climate campaigners over the oil firms. He has lobbied Hollywood directors and used a Tweetcast to urge his 1.8 million followers to vote down the measure. (Guardian)

Tell the RINO to take a hike - Yes on 23!

 

Schwarzenegger Is a Climate Cuckoo, Not a Climate Hawk

by William Yeatman
28 October 2010 @ 3:46 pm

Last week, David Roberts at Grist coined the phrase “Climate Hawk,” to describe “people who understand climate change and support clean energy but do not share the rest of the ideological and sociocultural commitments that define environmentalism as historically understood in the U.S.”

Of course, a “hawk” in political jargon has long referred to policymakers who are bullish on the use of military might to advance American interests. The national security overtones are meant to impart a seriousness to global warming alarmists otherwise conflated with hippy-dippy granola environmentalists. According to Andrew Leonard at Salon, Roberts’s term is “a brilliant jiujitsu move of rhetorical framing.”

Roberts’s new meme was adopted quickly by the green journo beat. Today, for example, both Joe Romm (of Climate Progress) and…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

What’s the harm in acting anyway?

Bishop Pachuri of the IPCC and his wind powered staffSaving energy or stopping pollution is a good thing. What’s the danger in acting now?

We can save energy and stop real pollution without setting up a whole financial bureaucratic system based on “thin air”. The wholly unnecessary trading system feeds the sharks of finance with more money and power. We waste blood, sweat and tears and encourage cheats. We reward fraud and foster corruption.

When we trade real things, people who cheat get caught easily. They can’t get away with it for long. But in the quasi world of meaningless permits-for-air, the only limit to cheating is “what they can get away with”.

For example: Carbon credits paid to China to build hydro dams end up helping bankers buy yachts, and feed the mafiosi in China. They evict homeowners, don’t pay them enough compensation, flood their valleys and commit these people to homelessness or more slavery to bankers through mortgages.

Sure, some useful outcomes might occur. But hoping we get lucky is not “planning”. It’s policy-by-accident. If solar energy, say, is a good idea all on its own, we don’t need to invent fake reasons to force people to use more of it.

We could for example tax fuel or gas and subsidize the less efficient energy sources to encourage the switch… oh, that’s right, we already do.

The real price is often invisible. It’s all the things we won’t do that we could have: $3.4 billion dollars spent on carbon sequestration is not just “money”, it’s 46 million people who didn’t get cured of blindness and another 100 million who won’t get clean water — some of whom will die from cholera or dysentery.

If we employ thousands of accountants, lawyers and auditors to monitor a scheme that’s pointless, it means all these honest hardworking people are wasting everyone’s time and resources. They could be finding a cure for cancer, or feeding kids in Haiti. They could be teaching children here to use logic and reason, and help stop the next generation from wasting billions on manufactured scares.

More » (Jo Nova)

 

Oh... Was this paper ever rational? Remember Renewable Energy?

Global warming, energy independence and good 21st-century jobs are three compelling reasons why Washington must do a lot more to promote renewable energy. Congress seemed to get it in 2005 when it directed the Interior Department to approve enough wind, solar and other projects on public land to produce 10,000 megawatts by 2015 — enough to heat, cool and light five million homes. Not much has happened since. (NYT)

Wind power is a many centuries-old technology and can be considered "mature", yet it is still not competitive without enormous subsidy. Sun power is, well, as old as the sun but its energy at Earth's surface is too dispersed to be a viable baseload generator, which is why Sun worshipers too, clamor to be suckled on the public teat. Politicians are ill-suited to picking winning technologies and should not attempt to do so. Get out of the way and let the market deliver the most reliable and affordable energy.

 

Gore leaves car idling for one hour during speech; Opts for Swedish government jet over public transportation

'Local legislation prohibits any car engine running for more than 60 seconds' -- But Gore Not Fined

Reprinted from CFACT.EU

Frankly Sir, You Are an Embarrassment

Posted: 27 Oct 2010 10:35 AM PDT
By Einar Du Rietz

Al Gore -- He did it again.

Recently, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore toured again. Or maybe he does that all the time. This time, he turned up in Gothenburg (Sweden) for the usual alarmist talk. In advance, all distinguished guests were politely advised to – if possible – use any form of public transportation to go to the event, in order to minimize CO2 emissions.

Intriguingly, the Master of World Climate himself arrived in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture. That is to say, about one hour. Incidentally, local legislation prohibits – for very good environmental reasons, i e pollution – any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds. Fines are severe. As far as I know, he was not fined.

It starts to form a pattern. (Marc Morano, Climate Depot)

 

You just can't make this stuff up: Man Bites Dog Pushes Car in ‘Green’ Hyundai Ad

by Marlo Lewis
28 October 2010 @ 12:34 pm

Hyundai has released a “green” (carbon-neutral) commercial to market itself as a “green” company. The production set includes rain collectors, solar panels, a tiny wind turbine, and electric generators hooked up to bicyclists (evidently, the solar panels and wind turbine just don’t provide enough juice).

The ”greenest” feature, though, is that the car shown in the commercial doesn’t use any gasoline at all. Not one drop. A miracle? An all-electric vehicle?

Not even close. The car emits no greenhouse gases because nobody actually drives it on the set. Instead of the car moving people, people move the car. Literally. Three guys give it a shove to get it moving long enough (a few seconds) for the cameras to create the illusion of auto-mobility.

One of the glories of modern civilization is that…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Keeping cool about global warming

Global warming skeptics have gathered to air their views in the UK on what they have dubbed 'Climate Fools Day'.

It is also the second anniversary of the signing of the UK Climate Change Bill, which critics say is simply a waste of tax-payers' money.

The skeptics claim that the global warming issue has become a business scheme to tax industry and consumers, and make money from ‘green’ schemes.

Global warming has simply been made up, insists Piers Corbyn, one of the organizers of the annual Weather Action Climate Fools Day conference.

There’s no evidence for carbon-dioxide driving temperatures or climate whatsoever in the last thousand years,” he told RT.

 

Can they get any more desperate? IPCC vice-chair: Attacks on climate science echo tobacco industry tactics

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele says rows over 'climategate' emails and Himalayan glaciers were organised to undermine Copenhagen summit (Guardian)

 

If it is not True and not False, then What is It?

The Guardian reports that the British Advertising Standards Authority -- an independent body recognized by government that adjudicates claims of truth or falsity in advertising -- has ruled that the advertisement shown above from Oxfam is not false.  Here is the explanation in full:
The ASA understood that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was considered, through its work collating data from peer reviewed climate science papers internationally, to be the world's most authoritative source of information on climate science. Taking into account statements issued by other national and international bodies with expertise in climate science, we considered there was a robust consensus amongst them that there was extremely strong evidence for human induced climate change. We noted that the part of Oxfam's claim that stated "Our politicians have the power to help get a climate deal back on track ... let's sort it here and now" made a link between human action and climate change.

We noted that Oxfam had supplied a WHO fact sheet which had been published in January 2010 and which stated "Globally, the number of reported weather-related natural disasters has more than tripled since the 1960s. Every year, these disasters result in over 60,000 deaths, mainly in developing countries" and confirmation from WHO that that position still, in June 2010, reflected WHO's assessment of the situation. We noted that that statement reflected findings set out in more detail in WHO's publication "The World Health Report 2002 Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life", which stated "Climate change was estimated to be responsible in 2000 for approximately 2.4% of worldwide diarrhoea, 6% of malaria in some middle income countries and 7% of dengue fever in some industrialized countries. In total, the attributable mortality was 154 000 (0.3%) deaths ..." and WHO's 2009 publication "GLOBAL HEALTH RISKS - Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks", which stated "Climate change was estimated to be already responsible for 3% of diarrhoea, 3% of malaria and 3.8% of dengue fever deaths worldwide in 2004. Total attributable mortality was about 0.2% of deaths in 2004; of these, 85% were child deaths". We noted that those statistics were broken down in more detail according to cause and region in WHO's 2004 publication, "Comparative Quantification of Health Risks." We also noted that the IPCC Report's position was that changes in weather trends had led to increased disease.

We noted that Oxfam's claim was reasonably restrained in that it stated deaths were occurring at the present time as a result of climate change but that it did not claim specific numbers of deaths were attributable and it did not speculate about future numbers of deaths. Because of that, and because of the consensus that we considered already existed amongst climate scientists that there was extremely strong evidence for human induced climate change, and because of a similar consensus that climate change was now resulting in people dying, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.
In The Climate Fix, I discuss the WHO claims in some detail, and point out that the WHO itself explains that their findings do not accord with the canons of empirical science (see p. 177).  I argue that the WHO results are a guess on top of speculation.  They are not true.

Well, if the WHO claims are not true, and the ASA says that they are not false, then what is their epistemological state?  They are, I suppose, whatever you want them to be.  Welcome to post-normal science.  From where I sit, seeking to justify action on emissions or even adaptation based on allegations that people are dying of climate change today is both wrong and wrongheaded, for reasons that I describe in some depth in TCF. Was the ASA decision wrong?  No.  But it wasn't right either. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Oct 28th 2010

Hippies turn against hipsters, Virgin greenwash isn’t enough to protect the final frontier from warmists and Britain is revolting. Against the green agenda, to be clear. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Huh? Not putting clocks back 'would reduce emissions'

Not putting the clocks back in winter could reduce energy use and carbon emissions, as well as cutting road accidents and boosting tourism, MPs were told today.

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge, providing an extra hour of light in the peak evening period reduces electricity use.

If the clocks were not changed back to GMT in October, a least half a million tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved, they said. (PA)

Sure like to see how they calculated that. All the data we have seen indicates increased net energy use with "daylight saving". What is true is that people might use less lighting, which certainly saved whale oil and candles back in the days before baseload electricity, plasma screens and motor vehicles. That sure isn't the same thing as using less energy though.

 

Disasters Wanted: The Math of Capitalizing on Florida's Risk

The Tampa Herald-Tribune has another interesting article about the role of reinsurance companies in providing coverage against hurricane risks, or depending upon your view, in fleecing Florida consumers.

After I posted up some comments on the previous article from the Tampa paper, I heard from a number of people in the re/insurance industry explaining that the situation is complex and business are simply responding to the commercial and regulatory environment.  The issues are complex, but the numbers reported by the Herald-Tribune are eye-opening regardless.  Consider this math:

On average, the Herald-Tribune calculated, reinsurers charge five times more than the actuarial risk of loss.

The translation for Florida property owners: For every $1 in hurricane risk to their home, they pay another $4 for the reinsurer's profit. In other words, if a reinsurer determines a home is likely to sustain $2,000 in damage in a year, it will charge $10,000 to cover that home.

In reinsurance, such math is unquestioned. It is not "undue profitability" but "the cost of capital," concluded an industry-funded study by the vaunted Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Insurers need considerable capital to supply this insurance and the cost of that capital is included in the premium," they note.

How does this happen?  The article explains that after Katrina, primary insurers started pulling out of Florida, due to perceptions of risk but also due to the regulatory environment.  The consequence was a greater reliance on Bermuda-based reinsurers:

From 2005 to 2008, 2.2 million Florida homeowner policies were canceled or non-renewed. The state-run Citizens Property Insurance for the first time became the largest provider of hurricane coverage in Florida.

With no viable alternative, state regulators and private insurance companies looked to offshore reinsurers to underwrite the risk posed by storms. With a few million dollars in the bank, newly formed insurers could buy large amounts of reinsurance to instantly write billions of dollars worth of coverage.

The new Florida norm are carriers like ACA Home, a tiny St. Petersburg home insurer started after 2005 with funding in part from a Bermuda reinsurer.

ACA Home has no employees and pays an affiliate, American Strategic, to run its business.

Financial filings show reinsurers take 86 cents of every premium dollar ACA collects -- $9 million of the $10.5 million it collected in 2009.

The cost for turning over almost all of its risk is high. ACA pays as much as 33 cents for $1 of protection against the most likely kind of storms, the equivalent of paying $66,000 a year to insure a house worth $200,000.

Ironically, such reinsurers thrive on disasters, and the following passage from the Herald-Tribune article will be a surprise to many I am sure:

FOR A GUT-WRENCHING 48 hours in September 2008, the National Hurricane Center's skinny black line pointed like an accusation at Miami.

Hurricane Ike was barreling through the Atlantic as a Category 4, on a westerly track that had the potential to deliver the long-dreaded sucker punch that would bring Florida to its knees.

As stomachs churned in Florida, a quarter turn around the globe on the balmy Mediterranean, the reinsurance industry welcomed an American calamity.

The financial giants who underwrite the world's risks were gathered in Monte Carlo for their annual Rendez-Vous de Septembre. Amid champagne parties and sailing races, they kept close watch on the advance of the storm.

Profits at that moment were flat and reinsurance rates falling, even in Florida.

By their analysts' calculations, it would take a $35 billion disaster to turn the market around.

The head of research for a London brokerage sized up the hurricanes circulating in the American Gulf.

"Gustav and Hannah: perhaps unlikely to have a major impact ..." he told financial writers in the plush salon of a Monte Carlo hotel, as they picked over silver trays of tiny lime tarts.

"But Ike ..." he said, turning his attention to the storm worrying Miami, "... depending on which way it goes, it could be a turning point, ladies and gentlemen."

There was nothing in his tone, nor the reaction of those taking note, to reveal they were discussing the decimation of another American city.

There is a perverse tendency for the reinsurance industry to hope for disaster.

The cost of calamity coverage is determined mostly by supply and demand. Big disasters can temporarily dampen quarterly profits and even kill a few unlucky reinsurers, but they drive up demand and draw down capital, shrinking supply.

The result is record profits made on the back of the world's biggest catastrophes -- Hurricane Andrew, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

The macabre sentiment pervading Monte Carlo in 2008 was parodied a few mornings later at the Cafe de Paris, where reinsurance brokers massed 20-deep for preliminary negotiations on the hurricane contracts for which Floridians would pay the next year.

"Industry mourns the passing of Gustav," joked a headline in the Rendez-Vous edition of the normally sedate Insurance Day.

By missing New Orleans, the trade journal quipped, the hurricane had "failed to destroy billions of dollars worth of energy infrastructure and make millions of uninsured poor people homeless.

"An executive from a Bermuda start-up said he had lost everything as a result of the non-storm ...

"'I've got everything riding on a big one.'"

The banks waited too long to get their house in order, I wonder if reinsurance will do the same.  If not, politicians will likely be more than happy to do it for them. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Bottom Falling Out of Global Ocean Surface Temperatures?

Having just returned from another New Orleans meeting – this time, a NASA A-Train satellite constellation symposium — I thought I would check the latest sea surface temperatures from our AMSR-E instrument.

The following image shows data updated through yesterday (October 27). Needless to say, there is no end in sight to the cooling. (Click on image for the full-size version).

Since these SST measurements are mostly unaffected by cloud cover like the traditional infrared measurements are, I consider this to be the most accurate high-time resolution SST record available…albeit only since mid-2002, when the Aqua satellite was launched.

I won’t make any predictions about whether SSTs will go as low as the 2007-08 La Nina event. I’ll leave that to others. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Energy Crisis Over!

Not because of some humongous breakthrough in alternative energies but because of new ways to access two sources widely used today: oil and natural gas. The recent news story about China's national oil company, Cnooc, purchasing a stake in Chesapeake Energy's Texas shale oil and gas fields and agreeing to pony up most of the capital to develop them underscores what an amazing transformation is taking place in the U.S.' energy picture.

The word "revolution" is overused, but it's truly appropriate when applied to these technological breakthroughs: hydraulic fracturing--a.k.a. fracking--and horizontal drilling. With fracking, drillers inject water, sand and chemicals deep underground to crack gas-bearing rocks. The technology, which has been around for a long time, has advanced dramatically. Literally trillions of dollars' worth of shale oil and gas can now be economically extracted.

Horizontal drilling is another impressive breakthrough that allows us to get to oil and gas that was previously unattainable.

The implications are staggering. Within a decade the U.S. will be a major natural gas exporter. In those Texas Chesapeake fields alone production will reach the equivalent of 400,000 to 500,000 barrels of oil a day. Pennsylvania and upstate New York will also become major gas producers.

Oil production, too, in the U.S. will increase far beyond what experts thought possible a few short years ago.

China made that sweetheart deal with Chesapeake Energy precisely because it wants to learn more about these technologies so it can enormously increase its domestic oil and gas production.

Environmentalists worry that fracking might poison our water, even though the drilling takes place thousands of feet below the water table. Fortunately the technology is there to get at these reserves in an extremely safe way.

The Earth is awash in energy. (Steve Forbes, Forbes)

 

Avast! Ye swabs! Stop or we'll slime you! US navy completes successful test on boat powered by algae

American navy sails towards sustainability with biofuel-powered gunboat (Guardian)

 

Wind farm revolts blamed for dramatic fall in planning approvals

Local revolts by British residents against wind farms are to blame for the number of planning approvals hitting record lows, an industry report has warned.

More than 230 campaign groups across the country are putting plans to generate more than a quarter of Britain’s electricity in jeopardy, it was claimed.

New figures show one in three wind farm applications were approved by councils amid heightened opposition from angry residents.

Approvals in England has fallen by 50 per cent half over the past year while the number of new wind farms coming “on-stream”, or becoming active, has dropped by almost a third. (TDT)

 

Oh... Cash incentives for councils that sign up for new wind farms

Local councils are to get extra funding if they give the go-ahead to new wind farms, under plans to stop local communities sabotaging renewable energy projects. (Independent)

How about stopping "renewable energy projects" sabotaging local communities?

 

Peeling Away the Onion of Denmark Wind (Part III – Wind Electricity Used in Denmark)

by Kent Hawkins
October 28, 2010

[Editor's note: Parts I and II set the stage for the development of some conclusions about how much wind electricity Denmark exports, which will be provided in this post. The impact of wind on CO2 emissions  is addressed in Part IV]

To further reduce the total amount of information to a more manageable level, the following is a look at this from the point of view of Denmark’s electricity import/export flows for the most recent “normal” year (2004), dry year, (2006), and a wet year, (2007), these conditions being the main driver of exports. This is shown graphically in Figures 1-3, starting with a normal year. In these charts numbers may not exactly balance due to rounding. Note in particular the net export levels, which are typical for each type of year.

It must be remembered that most of these activities can take place at different times during the year, month or day. For example wind generation is usually strongest at night so Norway and Sweden could be taking Danish wind at night and delivering hydro-generated electricity during the day. Alternatively, Nordic hydro-generated electricity could be being used extensively to balance the remaining large amount of Danish wind for domestic consumption within Denmark or export to Germany.

As Figure 1 shows, in normal years, the flow through Denmark is relatively balanced between imports and exports with its electricity trading partners.

Figure 1 – Danish imports and exports of electricity in 2004, in a normal year, that is when there are not significantly wet or dry conditions in the Nordic region.

Here there is ample opportunity for the export of Danish wind to Norway/Sweden. Bach calculates that about 60% of wind from West Denmark, which has about 80% of total Danish wind capacity, is exported. Wind exports from East Denmark are typically less than that for West Denmark, and Andersen notes that there is more clearly an export of fossil fuel generation from East Denmark. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

German Parliament Extends Nuclear Plant Lifespans

Opponents of nuclear powered suffered a setback in Berlin on Thursday as the federal parliament approved legislation that would effectively repeal Germany's planned withdrawal from atomic power. Now nuclear plants can stay open an average of 12 years longer than originally planned. (Spiegel)

 

 

Eminent Domain Shenanigans

Five years ago, in the landmark property rights case of Kelo v. New London, the Supreme Court upheld the forced transfer of land from various homeowners by finding that “economic development” qualifies as a public purpose for purposes of satisfying the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. In doing so, however, the Court reaffirmed that the government may not “take property under the mere pretext of a public purpose, when its actual purpose was to bestow a private benefit.”

State and federal courts have since applied that pretext standard in widely differing ways while identifying four factors as indicators of pretext: evidence of pretextual intent, benefits that flow predominantly to a private party, haphazard planning, and a readily identifiable beneficiary. Moreover, since Kelo, 43 states have passed eminent domain reform laws that constrain or forbid “economic development” condemnations. (Ilya Shapiro, Cato at liberty)

 

UK study shows H1N1 killed 70 children in 9 months

LONDON - Scientists studying swine flu have found that 70 children died from it in England in a 9 month period during the H1N1 pandemic and death rates were worst among ethnic minority children and those with other health problems.

In a study in the Lancet medical journal, Liam Donaldson, the former Chief Medical Officer for England, said children from the country's Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities had much higher mortality than white British children, as did children with serious pre-existing illnesses - especially chronic neurological diseases such as cerebral palsy.

These high-risk groups should be a priority for H1N1 vaccination, Donaldson and his research team said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which declared the pandemic over in August, some 18,450 people worldwide are confirmed to have died from H1N1, including many pregnant women and young people. But the WHO says it will take at least a year after the pandemic ends to determine the true death toll, which is likely to be much higher. (Reuters)

 

Plastic Water Bottles Won't Hurt You

Canada has announced it will ban the chemical bisphenol A -- known as BPA -- which is used to make plastic water and baby bottles.

The head of the Canadian environmental group Environmental Defence is thrilled:

"Kudos to the federal government. ... We look forward to seeing BPA legally designated as 'toxic' as soon as possible."

But the evidence doesn't actually show that BPA is toxic. Europe's equivalent of the FDA concluded: "(T)he data currently available do not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioral toxicity."

Richard Sharpe of the University of Edinburgh explained:

"Some early animal studies produced results suggesting the possibility of adverse effects relevant to human health, but much larger, carefully designed studies in several laboratories have failed to confirm these initial studies."

The initial studies injected BPA into animals, rather than giving it by mouth, which is how we humans are exposed. Since BPA degrades in the gut when we consume it, very little gets to our cells.

Yet many people are sure BPA causes not only breast and prostate cancer but also obesity, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity, autism, liver disease, ovarian disease, disease of the uterus, low sperm count and heart disease. When a chemical is said to cause so many disorders, that's a sure sign of unscientific hysteria. But a documentary called "Tapped" says it's true. It quotes experts claiming "BPA may be one of the most potent toxic chemicals known to man."

Nonsense. Not only is there no good evidence that BPA locked into plastic can hurt people, it actually saves lives by stopping botulism.

"Since BPA became commonplace in the lining of canned goods, food-borne illness from canned foods -- including botulism -- has virtually disappeared," says the American Council of Science and Health.

You never hear the good news about BPA in the mainstream media. Fear-mongering gets better ratings. (John Stossel, Townhall)

 

Hmm... Super clean homes 'expose kids to harmful chemicals'

PARENTS obsessed with killing germs could be exposing children to potential allergies and a cocktail of chemicals, an expert says.

Australian College of Environmental Studies founder and naturopath Nicole Bijlsma warns clean freaks could actually be doing more harm than good. (Karen Collier, Herald Sun)

While there is some (trivial) support for the hygiene hypothesis and the need to keep kids in a sterile environment is exceptionally rare it does not justify the platform given to naturopaths and similar loons. Clean is good, sterile is unnecessary and chemophobes' manias will cause you immense harm. Not so hard, is it? Relax.

 

Could, if, might, maybe, perhaps... Healthy life could prevent 23 percent of colon cancers

LONDON - Getting people to eat a healthy diet, not smoke, cut down on alcohol and exercise more could prevent almost a quarter of the some 1.2 million cases of colon cancer diagnosed each year, scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers from Denmark found that following recommendations on physical activity, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol intake and diet could reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer by as much as 23 percent. (Reuters)

 

Metal pollution tied to Parkinson's disease

NEW YORK - People living near a steel factory or another source of high manganese emissions are at higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease, suggests a new study.

As many as one million Americans live with the degenerative disease, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Pesticides from farms have long been suspected of upping the chances of developing Parkinson's, but much less is known about the influences of city living.

"Environmental risk factors for Parkinson's disease have been relatively under-studied, especially in urban areas where the overwhelming majority of Parkinson's disease patients reside," Dr. Brad A. Racette of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Earlier research had tied heavy metals to Parkinson-like brain damage, but it wasn't clear if they could also play a role in people who aren't exposed to the metals as part of their job.

So Racette and his colleagues analyzed data on about five million Medicare beneficiaries who hadn't moved between counties from 1995 to 2003. Then they compared Parkinson's rates to industry emissions of copper, lead and manganese obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Reuters Health)

Lack of actual exposure data is its weakness. While this could implicate heavy metal exposure how does it compare with high pesticide exposure cohorts? Does it indicate that Medicare recipients in industrial areas have less healthy lifestyles than those in the 'burbs or rural regions? If there are greater heavy metal emissions does this indicate they are in mineral rich regions? If so, what is the water supply like for the region, is it unusually mineralized? For now we see through a glass, darkly.

 

Obesity is health care's "global warming" - there is absolutely nothing it can't be responsible for or that can not be associated with it, no one who can't be blamed for it or "victimized" by it:

Children with ADHD Symptoms at Higher Risk of Obesity

Hyperactivity, impulsiveness associated with a 63 percent increase, researchers found

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 -- Children with symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for obesity in adulthood, a new study claims.

Having three or more of any of the symptoms of ADHD -- such as inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity -- significantly increases the chances of being obese, according to researchers from Duke University Medical Center, who examined federal data on 15,197 adolescents followed from 1995 to 2009. (HealthDay News)

 

McDonald's Obesity Case Can't Proceed as Group Suit

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, convinced a U.S. judge that consumers’ claims that its food contributed to childhood obesity were too distinct to be gathered in a single group lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs’ claims will necessitate extensive individualized inquiries,” Judge Donald Pogue in Manhattan said today in a 43-page decision in a lawsuit filed in 2002 by teenagers Ashley Pelman and Jazlen Bradley.

They accused McDonald’s of deceptively marketing its Chicken McNuggets, fish sandwiches, hamburgers and French fries from 1985 to 2002, harming their health and violating New York law.

Pogue, a U.S. Court of International Trade judge sitting by special designation in district court, said the consumers hadn’t shown that other people of a similar age suffered the same medical injuries after being exposed to the same marketing and eating the same food. (Bloomberg)

 

Yeah, that'll make a difference... Food Makers Pledge Front-of-the-Package Nutrition Labels to Fight Obesity

Clear nutritional labels aimed at helping consumers combat obesity will appear next year on the products of some of the biggest U.S. food makers, two trade groups said.

Calorie content and health information will go on the front of packages in a “fact-based, simple and easy-to-use format,” the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association said yesterday in a joint statement announcing the voluntary labeling system. The new labels will appear early next year, they said. (Bloomberg)

 

Sleepless children more likely to suffer from heart disease: Study

MONTREAL — Children who don't get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from heart disease, researchers say, while sleep disorders in teenagers are climbing.

As researchers at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal reported on the detrimental effects of lack of sleep on children Tuesday, Brian McCrindle, a pediatric cardiologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, said in an interview that one in five teenagers reports having poor sleep and regularly takes sleep medication.

Insufficient sleep is a significant risk factor for developing childhood obesity, which can lead to premature heart disease, research shows. Obesity contributes to several risk factors for the condition such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (Charlie Fidelman, Postmedia News)

 

NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients, says chief scientist

Sir John Beddington says NHS funding may harm patients' health if they choose homeopathy over conventional medicine

The pharmacy of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine. Homeopathy costs the NHS between £4m and £10m a year. Photograph: Martin Godwin
Patients are at risk of being misled over the benefits of homeopathy by the government's decision to fund the remedies on the NHS, the country's most senior scientist warned today.

Sir John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser, said patients might believe homeopathic treatments could protect them against serious illnesses, or treat existing conditions, because GPs and hospitals are allowed to prescribe them on the NHS.

Tens of thousands of people are given homeopathic pills and other preparations by their GPs or at Britain's four homeopathic hospitals, at an estimated cost to the NHS of between £4m and £10m a year. Most homeopathic remedies are diluted multiple times to the point that only water is left, while others are essentially sugar pills. (Guardian)

There is no excuse for squandering public funds on superstitious nonsense and no evidence homeopathy is anything but quackery. If people insist on Dark Ages treatment then let them do it on their own dime. Better yet, let the son and airhead to the throne, Charlie, Prince of Wails (and prime promoter of this crap), foot the bill through sales of his organic Duchy Originals or other such scams.

 

The 1.8 billion dollar man

That's the title of John Groom's new book. Here's the blurb...

Did you know that, despite a token salary, Barack Obama has the most expensive lifestyle in human history, costing more than any other US president? That taxpayers pay $300,000 for every night he spends at the Camp David retreat? That, even after adjusting for inflation, the entire Versailles palace in France could be completely rebuilt every single year for what it costs to support the current US President? That his limousine costs over $2 million? That he has the most expensive fleet of aircraft in the world?

John Groom and his researchers have just completed the first ever complete investigation into the costs of the White House, and you’ll see how, even in the midst of recession, the US president lives like a king.

The environmental angle here is really quite simple. No organization can be Green, or even claim to support such a notion if it is this big and bloated. Moreover, under these rubrics, there cannot be some sort of exemption for the White House, just because it is the White House.

Either the future of the planet is at stake, or its isn't. Only don't hold your breath waiting for his supporters to call him on this. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Is Green Socialism EPA's Real Goal?

Government: While it destroys jobs with its regulations, the EPA has an opening for an "environmental protection specialist" whose job it is to help the agency meet its "environmental justice goals." Meet its what?

If socialism and environmentalism had a child, it would be called the Environmental Protection Agency. Established under President Nixon to ensure the quality of our air and water, it has become a tool of social engineering to implement President Obama's promised fundamental transformation of America

The EPA is looking for someone with "knowledge of the theories and principles of environmental protection, especially as they relate to issues of environmental justice and the impacts of environmental laws, policies, legislation and regulation on minority and/or low-income groups and communities."

The job, located in New York City, pays up to $84,000. No college degree is required — just a hatred of industry, development and fossil fuels, and a belief that minorities are the deliberate victims of capitalist exploitation. (IBD)

 

Bush burial

Bob Carter
October 28, 2010

Property rights in Australia: the assault on the bush
It is time that the people of Australia stood up and halted this nonsense


Over the last few weeks, country folk in eastern Australia have rightly been focused on the issue of incompetent bureaucratic and government management of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) plan.

Important aspects of the MDB plan bear on the property rights of landholders, which have been under assault from Green political activism in all states of Australia for many years.

Meanwhile, in Western Australia, a first farmer has been jailed (for 90 days) for clearing 40 hectares of his own property for fire breaks. His name is Maxwell Szulc, and he was released from Wooroloo Prison in Perth last Monday (October 25th).

Another frightening bureaucratic assault on individual property rights in WA concerns the case of Matt and Janet Thompson and their four children, who are threatened with the bankruptcy of the modern, state-of-the-art feedlot business into which they have poured their skill, love and life’s savings. The WA Department of Environment and Conservation having revoked a formerly-granted license to operate the feedlot at the required level of economic efficiency of 10,000 head of cattle, the business has become uneconomic, and on September 18th the NAB gave the Thompson’s four days notice to vacate their property.

These two cases are but the tip of a Green-inspired juggernaut that is now threatening farmers and other country businesses throughout Australia. (Quadrant)

 

Right and he's so uniquely qualified to lecture us... Earth is 'at a tipping point', warns Harrison Ford

NAGOYA, Japan — On screen he has battled Nazis, stormtroopers and terrorists to save democracy, freedom or civilisation from clear and present danger. Now Harrison Ford describes his latest role as a real-life fight for the future of this planet.

"What is at stake is the ability of nature to provide services to the human community that we can't afford to do for ourselves," said the actor, 68, in an interview with AFP.

He was speaking in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, where he is urging the 193 member countries of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to use their 10-day meeting to protect vast swathes of the Earth's surface.

"Intact ecosystems provide us with fresh water, clean air, help produce healthy soils, are the source of genetic material from which to derive pharmaceuticals and regenerate our food supply.

"These are all the free services of nature," he said, but they are under threat from environmental degradation and "bold and decisive" action had to be taken now.

"One of our missions is to create a sense of urgency, help people understand that... just because they don't see it in their own lives, the effects are everywhere.

"Where it registers in everyone's life is in the economic impact; higher costs of food, depletion of fish stocks etc.

"The urgency can't be overemphasised... We are at a tipping point." (AFP) | Harrison Ford calls on US to ratify treaty on conservation (Guardian)

Harrison Ford slammed for 'unnecessary' flights
Environmental activists have blasted Harrison Ford for making "unnecessary" trips by air, following revelations he once made a jet journey to buy a cheeseburger.

The "Indiana Jones" star began flying when he was 52. After receiving his license, he went on to purchase several aircraft, which he keeps at Santa Monica Airport in California.

He recently revealed in an interview the extent of his love for piloting, telling Britain's Live magazine, "Learning to fly was a work of art. I'm so passionate about flying I often fly up the coast for a cheeseburger. Flying is like good music; it elevates the spirit and it's an exhilarating freedom."
(Seattle PI)

 

Shocked! Shocked he is: Massive corruption undermines forest protection plan

The UN's forest protection plan hasn't even started yet but already we are seeing massive fraud, bribery and backdoor deals across the world. (John Vidal, Guardian)

 

Small particles show big promise in beating unpleasant odors

Scientists are reporting development of a new approach for dealing with offensive household and other odors — one that doesn't simply mask odors like today's room fresheners, but eliminates them at the source. Their research found that a deodorant made from nanoparticles — hundreds of times smaller than peach fuzz — eliminates odors up to twice as effectively as today's gold standard. A report on these next-generation odor-fighters appears in ACS' Langmuir, a bi-weekly journal. (American Chemical Society)

Anticipate a megascare campaign on nanoparticles.

 

 

Science 101: No scales, balances in science

Thanks go out today to Reason.com science correspondent Ron Bailey for inspiring today’s Science 101 lesson. (Disclaimer: Ron is an acquaintance, fellow libertarian and nice guy. That said, he doesn’t always get his science corresponding correct, at least when it comes to climate.)

In Bailey’s recent column, “Will a Republican Congress Knock Science Back Into the Stone Age?” (Reason.com, Oct. 26), he writes:

The balance of the evidence is that the man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing the average temperature of the globe.

Brimming with excitement upon reading this, I immediately went to Edmund Scientific’s to see if I could purchase such a scale or balance to weigh evidence. Unfortunately, I learned that I could only purchase equipment to weigh things like solids, liquids, powders and animals. The science equipment supply house had nothing for sale that could weigh evidence. No other purveyor of scientific equipment had any new or magical technology for weighing evidence either.

As it turns out, the notion of weighing evidence isn’t a scientific one at all. While courts of law have finders of fact (i.e., judges and juries) who weigh evidence and regulatory agencies employ a weight-of-evidence concept in risk assessment to help make often-politicized regulatory decisions, science is about determining objective facts and proofs, not about making hasty and subjective judgments. From Copernicus and Galileo to Brahe and Keppler to Newton and Einstein and all the other great scientists in between and since, science has always been about the search for truth about the natural world, not the search for a politically correct or viable consensus about the same.

And the way scientists determine truth is by formulating hypotheses, designing and conducting experiments to test the hypotheses, and then publicly reporting their methodologies and results so that others may verify any claimed results and conclusions. This process is then repeated as necessary to arrive at the point of objective knowledge.

That’s the theory anyway, so what about Bailey’s assertion?

We know objectively that human activity has increased the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, perhaps by as much as 65 percent since the mid 19th century. We’re pretty sure that average global temperature has also increased since that time — but no one can be sure by precisely how much since we do not have a sufficient number of temperature readings from enough places covering a long enough period of time. Moreover, we also know that the available temperature data have either been significantly and artificially increased by the urban heat island effect, and/or have been extensively manipulated by collectors.

We also know that while atmospheric greenhouse gas levels have steadily risen, global temperatures have done everything but. Since 1995, for example, GHG gas levels have increased by around 10 percent, but average global temperatures have gone nowhere, perhaps even slightly down. Between 1940 and 1975, global temperatures markedly declined leading to alarm about a pending global cooling.

The question to be answered then is whether the known human GHG emissions are in any way causally related to the sort-of-observed temperature changes.

One valid way to answer the question might be to make some prediction about global temperature based on manmade greenhouse gas emissions and to see if it comes true. A similar process was used by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington to confirm Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity in 1919. Despite the billions and billions of dollars spent worldwide on climate science over the past 20 years, this has yet to be accomplished.

Invalid ways to answer the question include mere observations of changes in Arctic melting, frequency or severity of weather events, ocean pH, coral reefs or polar bear populations. Even if such events were tied to warming global temperatures, it would still need to be proven that human GHG emissions caused the warming in the first place. Also invalid are purported historical temperature reconstructions, like Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick. Past any fraudulent aspects to them, they offer no information about the potential relationship between greenhouse gas levels and temperature.

It is noteworthy that global warming alarmist groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists have latched onto the weight-of-evidence notion in a national advertising campaign “to educate the public about the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence for human-caused global warming.” But an illustrative case of how UCS employs weight-of-the evidence is provided by the web site ActivistCash.com:

In 1986 UCS asked 549 of the American Physical Society’s 37,000 members if Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was “a step in the wrong direction for America’s national security policy.” Despite the biased wording of the push-poll question, only 54 percent disapproved of SDI. Even so, UCS declared that the poll proved “profound and pervasive skepticism toward SDI in the scientific community.”

Fortunately for the rest of us, Reagan’s SDI helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite UCS’s dubious scientific consensus.

To date, Copernicus and Galileo are perhaps the most prominent victims of Bailey’s subjective method for determining objective reality. But watch out, the rest of us could be next. (Steve Milloy, Green Hell Blog)

 

As we have told you repeatedly, insurers' gorebull warbling is all about profiteering: The Almost-Pirates of the Almost-Caribbean

The Tampa Herald-Tribune has an eye-opening article on the Bermuda-based reinsurance industry, explaining how Hurricane Katrina was seen by this segment of the industry more as a business opportunity than as a disaster.  Here is an excerpt that describes what happened in the aftermath of the active and costly 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons:

[I]in 2006, many reinsurers reduced the storm coverage they were willing to give Florida. Some purposefully refused to write policies for months, convinced they could extract an even higher price from insurers that neared collapse.

First-hand accounts, brokerage reports and copies of reinsurance contracts written that year show Florida insurers were still cobbling together hurricane protection in August and September, during the peak of danger, and paying three times the January rate.

The cost was paid by Florida property owners, some of whom suddenly faced premiums as high as their house payments. Real estate agents complained they were losing home sales as buyers no longer qualified for mortgages, and Florida bank leaders trouped to Tallahassee begging relief.

The squeeze was legal, and opportunistic.

“That's what we saw after hurricane Andrew and that's what will happen again, in my opinion, the next time we have a major hurricane,” said Steve Alexander, actuary for the office of the Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate.

The Herald-Tribune reports in some detail how the Bermuda reinsurers sought to capitalize on the post-Katrina opportunity:

THE STREETS OF New Orleans were still flooded in 2005 when reinsurers started raising money to pay for Hurricane Katrina and take advantage of the market boom expected to follow.

By December, Bermuda's reinsurers had raised $17 billion from eager investors, primarily hedge funds, private equity firms and U.S. investment banks such as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.

But the flood of new money was not used to make more hurricane coverage available to Florida.

Reinsurance contracts and comments by executives show that even when they had money in the bank and board approval to use it, Bermuda reinsurers cut the capital they were willing to allot to Florida.

The layoff in part was driven by the belief global warming had increased hurricane risk, a view backed by some scientists hired by the insurance industry.

But it also was driven by a hunger to maximize profit — to, as ACE Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Evan Greenberg told investors in a 2006 earnings call, “ruthlessly take the elevator up at the right times.”

Rather than just ride Katrina-driven price increases, the Herald-Tribune found, reinsurers worked to make them bigger. They sat on business they normally would have signed. They turned away Florida insurers they normally would have backed.

“It's a good tactic to do this,” Aspen Reinsurance CEO Chris O'Kane told stock analysts in early 2006. When he spoke, Aspen had written only half its normal Florida contracts.

“We're confident that we will be able to replace a significant part of this lost exposure by the middle of this year at much better prices.”

O'Kane expected reinsurance prices to double because Aspen was not the only reinsurer refusing to write. Other reinsurers also were holding out.

Axis Capital chairman John Charman started the Florida writing season predicting severe shortages, and ended it by confirming in an earnings call, “We held back capacity.”

Other reinsurers were willing to write policies but seized on the opportunity to boost profits in other ways.

Montpelier Reinsurance, for example, stopped selling a broad form of coverage on which many Florida reinsurers relied and offered a more expensive substitute.

CEO Anthony Taylor urged analysts to be patient as the Bermuda reinsurer turned away early business. He would make it up later, he promised, earning 30 percent more while writing half the risk.

“This is an unprecedented market disruption,” Taylor said in the conference call, “providing opportunities for those who have available capacity.”

By July, Florida's cost to reinsure against the biggest hurricanes had tripled.

Aspen's O'Kane told analysts he still was withholding capacity, confident Florida insurers would return in a few months as “distressed buyers.”

Florida home insurers complained prices rose so fast they were “written in pencil.” Security First president Locke Burt, seeking rate increases of his own, told regulators he would secure a quote only to discover “a month later our price was two times, then three times” the quoted amount.

Florida regulators began a watchlist of insurers without full coverage at the start of hurricane season. Industry sources said five insurers were put under temporary supervision. Records obtained by the Herald-Tribune show at least one, United Property and Casualty, was still short in mid-September and operating under a regulatory consent order, even as it sought a state loan to expand.

The average cost of reinsurance coverage in Florida climbed from $9.90 per $100 in exposure to $20, the highest in the nation.

The average home premium increased 80 percent. Residents near the coast saw increases of 300 percent. More than 300,000 Florida families lost their private coverage, forced to find a new company or join Citizens, the state-run insurer of last resort.

A few industry leaders were troubled. Bill Riker, president at the time of Renaissance Reinsurance, said the Bermuda reinsurers overreached, hurting their own market. “The reinsurers didn't do themselves well at all,” he told the Herald-Tribune. They “lost track of what they're all about.”

Most reinsurers simply rejoiced. Aspen Re ended the year with a $378 million profit, more than double what it lost to Katrina.

The Herald-Tribune article begins to uncover some of the context that surrounds the RMS 5-year forecast that I discussed yesterday, which was produced in the post-Katrina pricing frenzy described above. The RMS forecast was important because it gave a scientific veneer to the justifications for much higher pricing of reinsurance.

There is more to this story, of course, such as the fact that contemporaneously RMS was busy inserting a misleading graph into the IPCC which falsely asserted a linkage between disaster costs and climate change (a graph that RMS later admitted should not have been included).  If the increase in reinsurance pricing were based on solid estimates of risk, that would be one thing.  If the increases were justifiable based on defensible judgments of risk, well, in that case the Bermuda reinsurers might risk getting a reputation akin to those who sell ice at inflated rates after a disaster, just because they can, which seems to be the tone of the Herald-Tribune article.

Another remarkable aspect of this issue -- quite apart from resinsurance but having to do with the IPCC -- is that the IPCC relied on a company with a clear conflict-of-interest for preparing its scientific assessment of the relationship of disasters and climate change.  Even allowing that RMS behaved in line with its true beliefs at the time about the science, the appearance alone is troubling.  And given that the IPCC has been shown to have been grossly wrong on this subject and its review process failed, we should all look with interest at how the IPCC proposes to handle COI in the future. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Little Change in Opinions about Global Warming

Increasing Partisan Divide on Energy Policies

Overview

Views about the existence and causes of global warming have changed little over the past year. A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 59% of adults say there is solid evidence that the earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. In October 2009, 57% said this.

Roughly a third (34%) say that global warming is occurring mostly because of human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, which also is little changed from last year (36%).

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 13-18 among 2,251 adults reached on landlines and cell phones, finds that 32% say global warming is a very serious problem while 31% think it is somewhat serious. A year ago, 35% described global warming as a very serious problem and 30% said it was somewhat serious.

In 2006, far more Americans said there was solid evidence that the average temperature has been rising over the past few decades. In July of that year, 79% believed there was evidence of global warming, and half (50%) said it was mostly caused by human activity. Much of the change in attitudes about global warming occurred between April 2008 and last fall, with the decline coming mostly, though not entirely, among Republicans and independents. (See “Fewer Americans See Solid Evidence of Global Warming,” Oct. 22, 2009).

Two other indicators of opinion on the issue were not included in the October 2009 survey, and both show significant changes from earlier polls. Currently, 46% of the public says global warming is a problem that requires immediate government action. In July 2006, 61% said the issue needed immediate action. This decline is mostly a consequence of the fact that fewer now say global warming is a problem.

The public is divided on the question of whether scientists themselves agree that the earth is warming because of human activity: 44% say scientists agree, and 44% say they do not. In July 2006, when a much higher percentage of the public said there was solid evidence of global warming, 59% said that scientists agree that global warming is caused by humans, while just 29% said scientists do not agree.

The new survey finds continuing support for a range of policies to address the nation’s energy supply, including requiring improved vehicle fuel efficiency and increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen technology. Support for allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling – which declined during the Gulf of Mexico oil leak – has rebounded modestly. Currently, 51% favor allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling, up from 44% in June. (Pew)

 

Why Are Republicans Climate Skeptics?, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE—VA: The New York Times marvels editorially that none of the Republicans running for the Senate accept the “scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.” Maybe that’s because the Republicans come from more rural (Red) states that haven’t had any warming—man-made or otherwise.

My colleague Ed Long, formerly a NASA physicist, has found a severe problem with the “official” U.S. temperature records from the Goddard Space Institute and the National Data Collection Center. Both data sets deal with the inevitable gaps in station-by-station data by averaging the gap station with another nearby station. Supposedly, this works because “stations in the same latitude bands tend to share a more similar climate.”

Too often, however, this has led to averaging rural and urban temperatures together. Inevitably, that means the blended temperatures will be higher. Due to the Urban Heat Island effect, a big city can raise its own temperatures by five degrees C. Even a small city can be 2 degrees C warmer than the surrounding countryside. The rural population of America has stayed roughly the same since 1950, but the urban population doubled from 1950–1960—and has continued to grow twice as fast.

Long says GISS “adjustments” over ten years have progressively lowered temperatures for far-back data and raised the temperatures in the recent past. This “adjustment” increased a 0.35 degree C per century uptrend in 2000 to 0.44 degrees C per century in 2009—a 26 percent increase. NCDC, meanwhile, has shifted the “official” rate of temperature change for 1940–2007 from 0.1 degree per century in the raw data to an “adjusted” 0.6 degrees C per century—a 600 percent “adjustment.” (CGFI)

 

A sideways step from climate panic to Malthus

Recent statements by the Royal Society shows that it has turned from a scientific institution into a nakedly ideological one.

It has been an annus horribilis for the environmental activists and politicians who insist that the world needs to act on climate change. There was ‘Climategate’, the leak from the University of East Anglia of compromising email discussions between climate researchers; questions about the provenance of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); concerns about the competence of IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri; and the failure to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in Copenhagen.

These events have dented confidence in climate science. Claims that ‘the debate is over’ seem to have given way to an acknowledgement that doubt exists. Reflecting these developments, the Royal Society – Britain’s most prestigious scientific body – has issued a new short guide to the science of climate change that is substantially more equivocal than its previous statements. Some have welcomed this change in the character of the climate debate, but there isn’t much to celebrate because the ideas underpinning climate anxiety have not been challenged. (Ben Pile, spiked)

 

Futuristic Climate Schemes To Get U.N. Hearing

Futuristic schemes for slowing climate change such as dimming sunlight are fraught with risks but will get a serious hearing from the U.N. panel of climate scientists, a leader of the panel said on Wednesday.

Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the panel's working group examining climate science, said some so-called geo-engineering solutions could disrupt world rainfall and might backfire by causing abrupt temperature rises if they go wrong. (Reuters)

It's not that that worries us, dopey! It's that you might actually cool the planet. Now that would be a disaster.

 

Heads should roll at the UN over climate panel’s disgrace

“The authority of the United Nations is being undermined by the incompetence exposed within its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], and ultimately the buck has to stop with UN Secretary General,” asserted International Climate Science Coalition Chief Science Adviser Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia. (Tom Harris and Bryan Leyland, CFP)

 

Ya think? Fantasy images of climate migration will fuel existing prejudices

Climate change is not a reason to use sensationalist images and language that would be unacceptable in any other public exhibition (George Marshall, Guardian)

 

Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists

Daniel Greenberg, the widely respected journalist and author who focuses on science policy and politics, was invited by Nature to review my book, The Climate Fix.  Little did he know that review would bring him up close and personal with the activist wing of the climate science community.  After writing a positive review of my book, Greenberg found himself under attack by Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Stefan Rahmstorf on the pages on Nature.

What followed was an email exchange that provides some insight into the mindset of the activist wing of the climate science community.  Greenberg shared this exchange with me with the following message, published here with his permission:

Roger, Re my stirring experience of jousting with Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf: What a scurrilous bunch. My sympathy to you and anyone else who has to deal with them. They're gravediggers of science. Nature will soon publish my riposte and, I think, a disclaimer of any ties to me by the Marshall Institute. Below, my further exchanges with the low-life trio. Best regards, Dan
Here is Greenberg's email to Michael Mann that concludes the exchange, reproduced with his permission:
Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,

Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion. Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not. Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists. Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.

Sincerely, Dan Greenberg
If Michael Mann thinks that he has been treated unfairly by my decision not to publish his side of the exchange, I will be happy to post up his emails with his permission.  Somehow I doubt that he will be as forthcoming as Greenberg.  The repeated character assassination and behind-the-scenes attacks of a small segment of the climate science community gives the entire field a black eye, and it continues unabated.  Greenberg is right, these guys could make apple pie and motherhood come under public suspicion. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

These guys don't seem to realize that climate hysterics have no choice, they must behave as they do because there is no real scientific position to defend. They have to try to shout everyone down and enforce the discipline of the dogma to avoid being exposed as the frauds they are. There is not now, nor has there ever been any evidence of environmental harm from human release of carbon dioxide to atmosphere. None whatsoever.

 

Oh... Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas

Should global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion. With no hope of saving all of these sites, archaeologists Torben Rick from the Smithsonian Institution, Leslie Reeder of Southern Methodist University, and Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon have issued a call to action for scientists to assess the sites most at risk. (Smithsonian)

Since there has been no known change in the long-term rate of sea level rise this shouldn't present too much of a problem.

 

Introducing the 'A-Train'

Mention the "A-Train" and most people probably think of the jazz legend Billy Strayhorn or perhaps New York City subway trains — not climate change. However, it turns out that a convoy of "A-Train" satellites has emerged as one of the most powerful tools scientists have for understanding our planet's changing climate.

The formation of satellites — which currently includes Aqua, CloudSat, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) and Aura satellites — barrels across the equator each day at around 1:30 p.m. local time each afternoon, giving the constellation its name; the "A" stands for "afternoon."

Together, these four satellites contain 15 separate scientific instruments that observe the same path of Earth's atmosphere and surface at a broad swath of wavelengths. At the front of the train, Aqua carries instruments that produce measurements of temperature, water vapor, and rainfall. Next in line, CloudSat, a cooperative effort between NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and CALIPSO, a joint effort of the French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and NASA, have high-tech laser and radar instruments that offer three-dimensional views of clouds and airborne particles called aerosols. And the caboose, Aura, has a suite of instruments that produce high-resolution vertical maps of greenhouse gases, among many other atmospheric constituents.

In coming months, the A-Train will expand with the launch of NASA's aerosol-sensing Glory satellite and the carbon-tracking Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) satellite. In 2010, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to launch the Global Change Observation Mission-Water (GCOM-W1), which will monitor ocean circulation. Meanwhile, a fifth satellite, France's Polarization and Anistropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Science coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL), which studies aerosols, is easing out of an A-Train orbit as its fuel supplies dwindles. (NASA/GSFC)

 

Comments On An NSF Webcast On “Will Clouds – The Wild Card of Climate Change – Speed Or Slow Warming?” By David A. Randall

There is a webcast Thursday October 28 2010 titled “NSF Webcast for  Reporters: Will Clouds–the Wild Card of Climate – Speed Or Slow Warming?” by David Randall of Colorado State University (h/t to Joe D’Aleo). Randall was one of the two convening lead authors of Chapter 8 on Climate Models and their Evaluation in the 2007 IPCC report, and has been selected as one of the two convening lead authors of Chapter 7 on Clouds and Aerosols for the next IPCC assessment.

I raise two issues in this post with respect to this webcast.

1.  Clouds are not the only “wild card” as implied by the title of his talk.  For example, Chapter 8 of the 2007 IPCC report, which Randall was one of the two convening lead authors, was not a balanced  assessment of climate models. As I wrote in

Pielke, R.A. Sr., 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.

Chapter 8 of the IPCC Report is …. poorly written on this subject where while they write

“Evaluation of the land surface component in coupled models is severely limited by the lack of suitable observations. The terrestrial surface plays key climatic roles in influencing the partitioning of available energy between sensible and latent heat fluxes, determining whether water drains or remains available for evaporation, determining the surface albedo and whether snow melts or remains frozen, and influencing surface fluxes of carbon and momentum. Few of these can be evaluated at large spatial or long temporal scales. This section therefore evaluates those quantities for which some observational data exist”

they fail to identify the rich peer-reviewed literature on this subject but only provide a very limited presentation on this subject in the Chapter.

Indeed, while land processes are discussed in the Report, the focus is on its role in the carbon budget and in its effect on the global average radiative forcing.

To document missing papers….. we have cross-referenced Climate Science with the IPCC WG1 Report on just one aspect of the above two topics (regional radiative forcing and nonradiative forcing), namely the role of land use change within the climate system [see the Appendix in the section Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley - Part II in Pielke 2008].

The highlighting by the NSF of the IPCC finding in the Workshop announcement for David Randall’s presentation that

“Clouds are “the largest  source of uncertainty” in projections of climate change, according to  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”

perpetuates the narrow view of the IPCC that

“Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.”

which is refuted in our article

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

The only robust, non-refuted hypothesis, as we show in our article, is that

“Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.”

I agree with David Randall that clouds are a wild card in the assessment of climate variability and long term change. However, there are quite a few “wild cards” including the diverse range of effects of aerosols, of land use-land cover change, and of natural effects, all of which remain incompletely represented in the multi-decadal global climate models. David Randall failed to include this broader perspective when he was convening lead author of Chapter 8 in the 2007 IPCC report, and appears to be persisting in this narrow view.

2. My second issue is that the NSF comes across as an advocate for a particular perspective (i.e. that there is a main”wild card”) without presenting to reporters that there are other scientifically sound viewpoints in the climate science community.

The NSF is already funding research which compromises the scientific method; e.g. see

The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill

I urge reporters and others who participate in this webcast ask questions on other “wild cards” in the understanding and assessment of the predictability of the climate system.

The e-mail announcement for their webcast is reproduced below

From:  Whiteman, Lily M [mailto:lwhitema@nsf.gov]
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:58  AM
To: Whiteman, Lily  M
Subject: NSF Webcast for  Reporters: Will Clouds–the Wild Card of Climate Change- Speed or Slow  Warming?
This  is an automated e-mail. Please do not respond to this  message.
National Science  Foundation
4201  Wilson Blvd., Arlington,  VA 22230
“Where Discoveries  Begin”

For  Immediate Release
10/20/2010
Media  Contact:
Lily Whiteman, NSF, (703)  292-8310,  _lwhitema@nsf.gov_
(mailto:lwhitema@nsf.gov)
_LIVE,  INTERACTIVE WEBCAST FOR REPORTERS: WILL CLOUDS–THE WILD CARD OF CLIMATE  CHANGE–SPEED OR SLOW WARMING?_
(http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117748)
NSF invites media to participate in a webcast  briefing on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m.,  EDT

Cloud behavior will  help determine how warm the planet becomes as climate change  continues.
Credit:  Kristina Rebelo
_Credit  and Larger  Version_
(http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_images.jsp?org=NSF&cntn_id=117748)
Clouds are “the largest  source of uncertainty” in projections of climate change, according to  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This uncertainty  arises because different types of clouds exert different forces on  climate: Some clouds help cool the Earth and some clouds help warm it.  So far, no one knows which effect will win out as the climate continues to change. This uncertainty begs some  of the most critical (and most fascinating) questions about climate  change: Will clouds help speed or slow global warming? Why is cloud  behavior so difficult to predict? And, in the midst of such uncertainty  about clouds, how in the world are scientists learning to project the  behavior of these ephemeral, ever-changing, high-altitude  phenomena? To help give the role  of clouds in climate change its due, the National Science Foundation  (NSF) will host a webcast with a leading authority on clouds and climate  change: David Randall, director of the Center for Multiscale Modeling of  Atmospheric Processes and a professor of atmospheric science at  Colorado  State University. The webcast will be  held on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m.,  EDT.

Following the webcast, NSF  will release a multi-media package about clouds and climate change  titled, “Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change.” This package–which will provide a wealth of information to reporters,  policy makers, scientists, educators, the public and students of all  levels–will be posted on NSF’s website at _http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/_
(http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/) .

Who: Cloud and  climate change expert David Randall, director of the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes and a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.
What: A media  briefing via teleconference and webcast to discuss why clouds are the wild card of climate  change.
When: Thursday, Oct. 28, at 1:00 p.m.,  EDT. How to  Participate: Reporters in the  United  States may participate by teleconference or Internet. To participate by teleconference, call (888) 603-7924. Passwords are needed to access the presentation and to  ask questions during the live event.  To obtain the password to  participate in the teleconference and to obtain the URL and password to  access the webcast, e-mail
Lily Whiteman at _lwhitema@nsf.gov_ (mailto:lwhitema@nsf.gov) . Before and
during  the event, e-mail questions for David Randall at  webcast@nsf.gov.
######
NSF-MA  10-027
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an  independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education  across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its  budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to  nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over  45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding  awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service  contracts yearly.

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Oh boy... Variable southeast summer rainfall linked to climate change

DURHAM, N.C. – A doubling of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States in recent decades has come from an intensification of the summertime North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH), or "Bermuda High."

And that intensification appears to be coming from global warming, according to a new analysis by a Duke University-led team of climate scientists.

The NASH is an area of high pressure that forms each summer near Bermuda, where its powerful surface center helps steer Atlantic hurricanes and plays a major role in shaping weather in the eastern United States, Western Europe and northwestern Africa.

By analyzing six decades of U.S. and European weather and climate data, the team found that the center of the NASH intensified by 0.9 geopotential meters a decade on average from 1948 to 2007. (Geopotential meters are used to measure how high above sea level a pressure system extends; the greater the height, the greater the intensity.)

The team's analysis found that as the NASH intensified, its area grew, bringing the high's weather-making western ridge closer to the continental United States by 1.22 longitudinal degrees a decade.

"This is not a natural variation like El Nino," says lead author Wenhong Li, assistant professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. "We thoroughly investigated possible natural causes, including the Atlantic Multivariate Oscillation (AMO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which may affect highs, but found no links.

"Our analysis strongly suggests that the changes in the NASH are mainly due to anthropogenic warming," she says. (Duke University)

We don't understand what we are seeing, therefore it is gorebull warbling. Or maybe...

 

Paper ” Evidence Of Enhanced Precipitation Due To Irrigation Over The Great Plains Of The United States” By DeAngelis Et Al 2010

I mentioned this paper last week  [h/t to Faisal Hossain] but want to discuss further today. The paper is

DeAngelis, A., F. Dominguez, Y. Fan, A. Robock, M. D. Kustu, and D. Robinson (2010), Evidence of enhanced precipitation due to irrigation over the Great Plains of the United States, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D15115, doi:10.1029/2010JD013892.

“At the end of World War II, there was a rapid increase in irrigation over the Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains of the United States via groundwater withdrawal, and we hypothesize that this disruption of the local hydrological cycle has enhanced the regional precipitation. We examined station and gridded precipitation observations for the warm season months over and downwind of the Ogallala over the 20th century. Increases in precipitation of 15–30% were detected during July from the easternmost part of the aquifer to as far downwind as Indiana. The timing (1940s, July) and spatial pattern of the precipitation increase are consistent with the history of Ogallala irrigation and mechanisms by which increases in evapotranspiration can affect convection. Additionally, we conducted a vapor tracking analysis and found that evapotranspiration over the Ogallala Aquifer contributes to downwind precipitation and that the contribution is greater when the evapotranspiration is higher. This makes it hydrologically possible that the irrigation development was associated with the observed precipitation increases. Finally, there is no clear evidence that atmospheric circulation changes or modes of internal climate variability increased the July precipitation. Further analysis of the influence of Ogallala irrigation on precipitation will include the controlled analysis of climate model simulations that explicitly include irrigation.”

Text from the paper includes

“The effect of this human alteration of the natural water cycle on regional precipitation over this area is the subject of this study. We hypothesize that the increase in irrigation over the 20th century resulted in a detectable enhancement of precipitation over the Great Plains. An analysis of long‐term precipitation observations and simulations is combined with wind observations and vapor transport analysis to search for the link between irrigation and increases in precipitation over the region.

The mechanisms linking increased irrigation and enhancement of precipitation are most likely related to the effects of increased ET on precipitable water and convection over this region. The possibility of convection being influenced by irrigation is supported by the fact that most irrigation over the Ogallala occurs in July and August (Figure 1c) when more than 80% of precipitation originates from thunderstorms [Changnon, 2001]. Convection is associated with the convective available potential energy (CAPE) of the atmosphere, which increases with warmer and moister lower tropospheric conditions. Higher values of CAPE make convection more likely when synoptic conditions are favorable for convection, or can be the difference between convection and no convection if synoptic conditions are borderline favorable [Barnston and Schickedanz, 1984; De Ridder and Gallée, 1998]. It follows that if irrigation influences lower troposphere temperature and moisture, it will impact CAPE and therefore convective precipitation.”

This excellent research contribution illustrates why fossil water irrigation introduces another additional human climate forcing that was not assessed in the 2007 IPCC reports. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Um... NOAA-Funded Tagging of Narwhals Finds Continued Warming of Southern Baffin Bay

Proof-of-Concept Study Published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

In a research paper published online Saturday in the Journal of Geophysical Research Oceans, a publication of the American Geological Union (AGU), scientists reported the southern Baffin Bay off West Greenland has continued warming since wintertime ocean temperatures were last effectively measured there in the early 2000s.

Temperatures in the study were collected by narwhals, medium-sized toothed Arctic whales, during NOAA-sponsored missions in 2006 and 2007. The animals were tagged with sensors that recorded ocean depths and temperatures during feeding dives from the surface pack ice to the seafloor, going as deep as 1,773 meters, or more than a mile.

Scientists have had limited opportunities to measure ocean temperatures in Baffin Bay during winter months because of dense ice and harsh conditions. Cost is also a factor — it requires millions of dollars to mount a conventional expedition using an ice-breaking vessel and other specialized equipment and people. As a result, for the past decade, researchers used climatology data consisting of long-term historical average observations rather than direct ocean temperature measurements for winter temperatures in the area.

The published study reported that highest winter ocean temperature measurements in 2006 and 2007 from both narwhals and additional sensors deployed using helicopters ranged between 4 and 4.6 degrees Celsius (39.2 and 40.3 degrees Fahrenheit). The study also found that temperatures were on average nearly a degree Celsius warmer than climatology data. Whale-collected temperatures also demonstrated the thickness of the winter surface isothermal layer, a layer of constant temperature, to be 50 to 80 meters less than that reported in the climatology data.

“Narwhals proved to be highly efficient and cost-effective ‘biological oceanographers,’ providing wintertime data to fill gaps in our understanding of this important ocean area,” said Kristin Laidre from the Polar Science Center in the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory. “Their natural behavior makes them ideal for obtaining ocean temperatures during repetitive deep vertical dives. This mission was a ‘proof-of-concept’ that narwhal-obtained data can be used to make large-scale hydrographic surveys in Baffin Bay and to extend the coverage of a historical database into the poorly sampled winter season.” (NOAA)

... they don't think that maybe these air-breathing critters actively selected less harsh conditions so they could survive a little more easily? No matter, a couple of snapshots of data isolated in time are mildly interesting but provide no trend data, they just tell us that conditions were not quite identical at the two sampling periods.

 

Greens accuse gas industry of hiding real effect of carbon emissions

The Greens have accused Australia's gas industry of 'cooking the books' to hide a huge carbon emissions problem.

WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says a new analysis of publicly available industry figures, reveals "a massive expansion in Australian greenhouse gas emissions within six years if all proposed new LNG projects go ahead."

The claims have opened up a war of words with the gas industry. It has hit back, accusing the Greens of "in essence declaring their support for coal to continue to dominate electricity generation."

According to Senator Ludlam "the companies behind these gas projects claim that gas is a clean energy, but they don't talk about the massive emissions that are caused when gas from high-CO2 gas fields is processed and that CO2 is stripped out and vented to the atmosphere." (SMH)

Earth to Greens, atmospheric CO2 is a resource in short supply. The more anthropogenic emissions, the greener the planet becomes.

 

Why EROEI is not important

In his efforts to save the world, John Baez has promoted the notion of EROEI, or "energy return on energy invested":

Baez's blog
EROEI is the ratio of usable energy that you get out of an energy source divided by the energy you had to insert. The idea is that this ratio should be high. If it is smaller than 1 (or 1:1), the source is supposed to be unusable.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

Popular revolt may save UK: Power failure: UK's wind farm plans in disarray

Objectors put green energy plans in doubt

Hundreds of local revolts against wind farms have jeopardised the plan to use them to generate more than a quarter of Britain's electricity, figures seen by The Independent reveal.

 

Peeling Away the Onion of Denmark Wind (Part II – Details of Exports and Imports)

by Kent Hawkins
October 27, 2010

[Editor's note: Part I explained the unique character of the Denmark electricity situation as background to a more detailed look at Danish exports/imports of electricity and CO2 emissions. This post and Part III will focus on exports/imports to show the larger role that wind is having in exports. Part IV will then address CO2 emissions, providing the conclusion to this series.]

There is a range of views on the amount of Denmark wind-generated electricity that is exported. Any that rely on annual net exports should be very suspect. Table 1 provides a summary of notable analyses, all of which at least use hourly net exports. All must be read for any comprehensive understanding.

Table 1 – Summary of Notable Analyses of the Amount of Wind-Generated Electricity Exported by Denmark.

Bach and Andersen firmly dispute the CEESA critique of CEPOS, and both show substantial wind exports. Bach makes an interesting comment in his paper:

“Based on these observations it could be said that Germany and Denmark together have solved the integration problems for about 7% wind energy, but only due to the common access to the regulation capabilities of the other Nordic countries, notably hydro power in Norway.”

The case is strong for substantial exports of Denmark wind production as shown by Bach and Andersen, and supported by others such as Sharman. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Wind Power Becalmed

While governments invest heavily in wind power something has been happening to the surface winds of the Northern Hemisphere—the winds have been slowing down. While the cause of this “stilling” remain uncertain, surface winds have declined in China, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the United States and Australia over the past few decades. A new study, published online at Nature Geoscience, analyzes the extent and potential cause of changes in northern surface wind speeds over the past 30 years. In it, researchers have found that surface wind speeds have declined by 5–15% over almost all continental areas in the northern mid-latitudes, and that strong winds have slowed faster than weak winds. They also note that the observed decline of surface wind in many regions of the world is a potential concern for wind power electricity production.

Wind has always been the most capricious of power sources, blowing inconstantly and varying direction unpredictably. Nonetheless, wind represents the most economical of the renewable energy sources that are so en vogue in green circles. Now, in a just published paper, “Northern Hemisphere atmospheric stilling partly attributed to an increase in surface roughness,” Robert Vautard et al. have re-analyzed wind data from 822 surface weather stations tracking wind speeds from 1979 to 2008. There findings could have an impact on the nascent wind energy industry:

The decline of surface wind observed in many regions of the world is a potential concern for wind power electricity production, and has been shown to be the main cause of decreasing pan evaporation. In China, a persistent decrease of monsoon winds was observed in all seasons. Stilling winds were also evidenced over the Netherlands, in the Czech Republic, over the conterminous US and most of Australia. In Mediterranean regions, wind trends were non-monotonic over the past decades.

Using data only from sites that had continuous historical records, the researchers found a common pattern across the middle latitudes of the Norther Hemisphere. It seems that the wind has been declining almost everywhere:

We found that annual mean wind speeds have declined at 73% of surface stations over the past 30 years (Fig. 1a). In Europe, Central Asia, Eastern Asia and in North America (Fig. 1a) the annual mean surface wind speed has decreased on average at a rate of −0.09, −0.16, −0.12 and −0.07 m s−1 decade−1, respectively (−2.9, −5.9, −4.2 and −1.8% per decade), that is, a decrease of about 10% in 30 years and up to almost 20% in Central Asia, where wind speed trends have not been studied so far. These numbers are all statistically significant (p<0.1% for the regression coefficient). Tropical areas are not well covered by the data set. However the wind decline over South Asia is also about −5% per decade, and −0.08 m s−1 per decade.

These data are captured in Figure 1 from the paper, shown below. The data are available from NOAA.


30-year surface (1979–2008) wind speed.

While noting that some time series may still exhibit heterogeneities, the authors' detailed analysis points to a a widespread wind stilling trend that cannot be explained by drifting instruments or other systematic measurement errors. The authors' suggest that changes in surface processes could play a major role in the surface wind stilling: “Surface winds are sensitive to changes in (1) surface roughness and (2) sensible heat fluxes modifying vertical momentum fluxes through boundary layer convection. Wind trends do not exhibit strong diurnal variations, suggesting that roughness changes should dominate over sensible heat flux changes as a cause of stilling.”

The increase in surface roughness could be caused by the growth of forests, changes in trees and forest distribution or changes in agricultural practices. The average increase of about 1.1% per year of forest carbon sink at mid to high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere could be an indicator of increased forestation. The ever expanding urban sprawl surrounding the world's cities may also play a part in diminishing surface winds. One way or the other, humans are sure to be blamed for at least part of the slowdown. The overall trend is shown in the illustration below.


Time evolution of annual average surface wind speed.

The paper's conclusions suggests that 25–60% of the stilling could be due to a roughness increase caused by vegetation. Urbanization may add extra roughness, but recent observations do not directly support this mechanism and even a gross estimate of increased roughness from urbanization could not be found. This indicates that even the majority of the blame cannot be pinned on humanity. But what about the impact on wind power? Here is how the paper concludes:

An important question is whether wind power energy production is likely to be affected by wind stilling in the future. Over the past 30 years surface winds underwent an average 10% decrease, with larger trends at stronger winds. As wind electricity production is much more efficient at stronger winds, a continuation of such trends would lead to a major loss of wind power production. However, wind power is not taken at the surface but between 50 and 100 m, where trends should be weaker according to our three-dimensional analysis. In any case, the strong influence of land-cover change on wind speed trends is good news because land use can much more easily be controlled locally than the large-scale circulation.

That last sentence is a bit of an understatement and the overall conclusion is a definite maybe. It appears that there may be some impact on wind generation—as much as a 10% reduction of output—but there is little chance of finding ourselves living in a world becalmed. Even so, some of those highly optimistic wind energy production numbers might need a bit of revision.

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

 

Cane Ethanol Leader Brazil Considers Using Corn

Sugar cane ethanol pioneer Brazil, which touts the efficiency and environmental qualities of its biofuel, could soon begin making it from less-efficient corn to soak up excess grains in remote areas.

The combined industry and governmental steering committee for corn, which met on Wednesday, said it had commissioned a study by state researcher Embrapa to look at the viability of making ethanol in corn-growing state Mato Grosso.

"It's very embryonic, only an idea. It would make use of corn, which is widely available in Mato Grosso, which is very distant from the south," said Cesar Borges de Sousa, chairman of the joint committee known as the "corn sector chamber".

Ethanol biofuel has supplanted gasoline as the main fuel in Brazil's cars since the advent of flex-fuel engines, which can run solely on ethanol or gasoline or both mixed. But the fuel struggles to compete with gasoline on price in areas far from the cane-growing states in the southeast.

The chamber's idea is to make cheaper ethanol locally to power cars and agricultural machinery and give producers an alternative outlet for their produce which, for export, must otherwise travel hundreds of miles (kilometers) to the ports.

The corn would be processed at the handful of cane ethanol mills in the state to occupy them through some of the months-long shutdown period when they are without cane to crush, de Sousa said. (Reuters)

 

Biofuels; a growing evil

Last week I attended the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s “global financial leadership” conference in Florida – I know, it was a rough old assignment, but someone’s got to do it – in which Ian Goldin, a former vice president of the World Bank and now director of Oxford University’s Martin School, lambasted the subsidies being doled out in America and Europe for the production of biofuels as “economically illiterate, environmentally destructive, politically shortsighted and ideologically unsound”. It was a nice soundbite, but it also happens to be true. (Jeremy Warner, TDT)

 

 

Even CBO Is Skeptical of Obamacare

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf recently spoke at the University of Southern California about the economic impact of Obamacare. He predicts that Obamacare will further depress the nation’s employment picture.

CBO’s analysis of Obamacare predicts that it will reduce the amount of labor being used in the economy by roughly half a percent. Elmendorf states that this impact will be small, but in reality the impact is small only in relative terms. For instance, a half-percent loss in jobs in the American economy today would translate into about 750,000 additional Americans losing work. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Double polio vaccine holds promise for ending virus

LONDON - A new double-strain polio vaccine is more effective than triple and single vaccines and will be a potent weapon in the battle to eradicate the crippling virus, World Health Organization (WHO) scientists said on Tuesday.

In a study in the journal the Lancet, WHO experts said a study on the bivalent oral polio vaccine, known as bOPV, found it induced a "significantly higher immune response" than triple vaccines.

This means that children in high-risk areas can be immunized against two key strains of the crippling virus with a single oral vaccine, said WHO scientist Roland Sutter, and the vaccine could "get us to the finish line of polio eradication." (Reuters)

 

Activists are dangerous, not BPA

By Steve Milloy
October 27, 2010 GreenHellBlog

A new study from Sweden reports that “cash receipts could be a major source of exposure to the long-used but newly controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA).”

Study author Tomas Östberg of the Swedish Jegrelius Institute reported in early October that receipts he analyzed contained an average of around 1.4 percent BPA. Östberg then leapt to the conclusion that, “Because there is a risk that this may be a health hazard, the use of thermal paper that contains bisphenol A should be minimized.” News of the study was picked up by European media, including the Stuttgarter Zeitung (Oct. 16), which advised readers in a headline to “Steer clear of receipts.”

Östberg’s study, however, is a long way from constituting evidence that cash receipts present any sort of risk to workers or consumers.

First, as Östberg obliquely admits, it is not at all certain that BPA presents any sort of health risk at all, even if it is present in receipts, albeit to a very small degree. It is important to keep in mind that BPA has been used commercially for more than 50 years, and despite all that use and exposure, there are no published scientific studies or reports of workers or consumers being actually harmed by BPA.

Though BPA has become the subject of much controversy recently, that has mainly been due to unsubstantiated claims of BPA being a so-called “endocrine disrupter” at low doses. None of these claims have been verified, validated or vindicated and only continue to resound because of constant repetition by anti-chemical activist groups and a sympathetic-to-ignorant news media. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority deem BPA to be perfectly safe at existing exposure levels.

Östberg’s study merely exploits the ongoing BPA controversy by reporting the presence of BPA in receipts — as if the existence of controversy makes BPA’s presence in receipts dangerous.

Östberg fails to mention two recent studies that essentially debunk his own. It’s not important that receipts contain BPA so much as how much of the BPA is typically absorbed from handling them.

A June 2010 study published in the journal Annals of Bioanalysis and Chemistry by Swiss food regulators reported that a person repeatedly touching thermal printer paper for 10 hours/day, such as at a cash register, would absorb 42 times less BPA than permitted by current safety regulations, which already have a very significant margin of safety. No workers or consumers would normally be exposed to even such infinitesimal amounts.

A February 2010 study from the University of Zurich’s Centre for Xenobiotic Risk Research reported that, “Dermal absorption (that is, absorption through the skin), is therefore at most a secondary absorption route for bisphenol A. The primary absorption route is still dietary intake. For this route, daily total amounts of bisphenol A around 10,000 times higher are considered harmless for adults.”

What can we conclude from these scientific studies? It is quite clear that the BPA-in-receipts controversy is just another scare contrived by anti-chemical activists.

But why not simply short-circuit the controversy and replace BPA with another chemical as some have tried with so-called “BPA-free” receipts?

Aside from the fact that BPA-free receipts are more expensive, while providing no discernible health or safety benefits, there is the issue of allowing anti-chemical activists to get away with using junk science and fear to smear a perfectly safe technology. Few chemicals have been as heavily scrutinized as BPA, after all, and still there is no direct evidence indicating it poses any risk to health whatsoever.

BPA is a test case for the activists. If they get away with establishing vanishingly small exposures to BPA as a health hazard, they will use the precedent to systematically eliminate other beneficial chemicals from society on an arbitrary basis. In the US, class action lawsuits involving BPA asking for billions of dollars in compensatory damages have already been filed.

Chemicals have helped give western society the highest and healthiest standard of living it has ever enjoyed. We have regulatory systems that ensure these chemicals are used safely. Those proven safeguards should not be abandoned in favor of wild allegations from irresponsible activists whose agenda is not to educate the public, but to cause maximal alarm and fear, to undermine public confidence in the regulatory process — and to make money for themselves.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

For more debunking of BPA scares, please visit JunkScience.com’s Debunkosaurus. (Green Hell Blog)

 

This, is a study? Scented consumer products shown to emit many unlisted chemicals

The sweet smell of fresh laundry may contain a sour note. Widely used fragranced products -- including those that claim to be "green" -- give off many chemicals that are not listed on the label, including some that are classified as toxic.

A study led by the University of Washington discovered that 25 commonly used scented products emit an average of 17 chemicals each. Of the 133 different chemicals detected, nearly a quarter are classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law. Only one emitted compound was listed on a product label, and only two were publicly disclosed anywhere. The article is published online today in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review.

"We analyzed best-selling products, and about half of them made some claim about being green, organic or natural," said lead author Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. "Surprisingly, the green products' emissions of hazardous chemicals were not significantly different from the other products." (UW)

Uh... so does a field of wild flowers but never mind. If a substance has a detectable fragrance then it is by definition emitting chemicals which trigger a response via your olfactory nerves, otherwise you couldn't smell it. This in no way implies these exposures to fragrant compounds are harmful.

Mike Shaw exhibits far more discipline than I and provides a deconstruction below:

 

More junk science on fragrances

It used to be "publish or perish." But now, anything—and I mean anything—can be published in a so-called scientific journal.

Here's Exhibit A: Fragranced consumer products: Chemicals emitted, ingredients unlisted, touted by lead author Anne C. Steinemann on her faculty website at the University of Washington.

Basically, Steinemann's group looked at 25 common fragranced consumer products—laundry products, personal care products, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners—and found certain volatile organic compounds being emitted from many of them. It is important to understand that this—in and of itself—is absolutely meaningless.

Whatever harm that could conceivably come from these compounds could only be evaluated from EXPOSURE data, rather than content data. Consider, for example, that we are all exposed to gasoline, which is quite toxic (far more than any of the compounds listed in Steinemann's article) as well as combustible. So what? The plain empirical fact is that few if any people have ever died from "gasoline exposure."

And then there's the Article History. It was first received by the publisher (Elsevier) on 12 June 2009, and was then received in revised form on 3 August 2010. It was finally accepted on 17 August 2010.

Inasmuch as the lab work here was far from demanding, and no real conclusions were drawn, despite there being a "Conclusions" section in the article, the publishing delay bespeaks the poor quality of the original work.

It is quite likely that the authors were forced to include the following disclaimers, as a condition of publication:

In the abstract...

Because the analysis focused on compounds emitted and listed, rather than exposures and effects, it makes no claims regarding possible risks from product use.

And in the body of the article...

Finally, this study did not seek to assess, and makes no claims regarding, whether product usage would be associated with any risks.

You can bet, though, that the fear entrepreneurs will make all kinds of claims about risk, based on this pathetic piece of work.

You might ask why anyone would care about products that have been utilized with apparent safety for decades. Good question. Let's call it a perversion of the scientific method. The classic scientific method first requires an observation. Then, and only then, a hypothesis is suggested to explain this observation, and this hypothesis is tested by an experiment. If the hypothesis is verified by this experiment, it must be repeated by others, until its truth is accepted by the scientific community.

Back in the day, carcinogenic chemicals were determined to be such after people had observed an unusually high incidence of a particular cancer in the cohort of interest. Then, animal studies were done to verify the hypothesis.

Now, though, things have changed. Far too many "scientists," who are really little more than technicians, can achieve lifetime job security by picking some chemical—especially one that is in wide commercial use—and give outrageous doses of it to a rodent. If an effect is observed, then "further study is warranted" and the chemical is put on the bad list. It matters not in the least that empirically, in actual human experience, there have been no observable ill effects.

Steinemann isn't even doing this. She is merely cataloging a list of chemicals. Shame on Elsevier for publishing this tripe, and shame on the granting agencies for supporting it. (Shaw's Eco-Logic)

 

Research proves 'gender-bending' chemicals affect reproduction

New research has provided the first evidence that 'gender bending' chemicals which find their way from human products into rivers and oceans can have a significant impact on the ability of fish to breed in UK Rivers.

The findings from the four year study, led by the universities of Exeter and Brunel, has important implications for understanding the impacts of these chemicals on ecosystem health and possibly on humans.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) disrupt the ways that hormones work in the bodies of vertebrates (animals with backbones), including humans.

They can be found in everything from female contraceptive drugs and hormone replacement therapy pills, to washing up liquid, with the most well studied EDCs being those that mimic oestrogen (female hormone).

EDCs have been seeping into rivers through the sewage system for decades and have an observed effect on fish, altering male biology to make them more female – hence the 'gender bending' reputation of these chemicals.

Until now, there has been no solid evidence to show the long-term impact of this effect on fish in the wild - but the new research focusing on wild roach in two UK rivers (Bourne and Arun) has provided new evidence. (University of Exeter)

That a lot of human hormones (medicinal, synthetic and natural) are flushed in effluent is quite true, which is why we are quite hesitant over the greenies' favored water recycling schemes. We should constantly try to improve effluent outfall quality within affordable limits.

 

Humans to Asteroids: Watch Out!

A FEW weeks ago, an asteroid almost 30 feet across and zipping along at 38,000 miles per hour flew 28,000 miles above Singapore. Why, you might reasonably ask, should non-astronomy buffs care about a near miss from such a tiny rock? Well, I can give you one very good reason: asteroids don’t always miss. If even a relatively little object was to strike a city, millions of people could be wiped out.

Thanks to telescopes that can see ever smaller objects at ever greater distances, we can now predict dangerous asteroid impacts decades ahead of time. We can even use current space technology and fairly simple spacecraft to alter an asteroid’s orbit enough to avoid a collision. We simply need to get this detection-and-deflection program up and running. (Russell Schweickart, NYT)

Phthrrbt!

No matter how much is squandered on this boondoggle the next significant impact will still come as a surprise to whatever critters are on this rock at the time. Granted, it is a virtual certainty that this dirty ball of ice and snow will get whacked by a planet killer in the next 100-odd million years but we really do have much more immediate, certain and addressable problems deserving of the time, effort and finance. The only thing ever coming out of the NEO project is a shitload of nonsense scares. Forget the Henny Penny thing, if we get clipped we get clipped and that's the luck of the draw.

 

Food security risk if crop biodiversity lost: report

MILAN - Future global food security may be at risk unless greater efforts are made to conserve and use the genetic diversity of cultivated crops and their wild relatives, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.

The world's cereals output needs to rise by 1 billion tonnes a year by 2050 to feed a population that is expected to grow by about 40 percent by then from 2005, the FAO said in a report published on Tuesday, reaffirming its earlier forecasts.

Crop biodiversity is a strategic resource for sustainable development and eradication of hunger and it provides insurance against environmental calamities, the agency said in the report on the state of the world's plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Fast-growing, high-yield new crop varieties resistant to heat, drought, salinity, pests and diseases -- crucial to ensure food security in the face of climate change -- can be developed using genetic information held in certain plants, the FAO said.

New seed varieties have accounted for 50 percent of the rise in crop yields in recent years with irrigation and fertilisers accounting for the rest of the growth, it said. (Reuters)

Depending on the metric "recent years" a portion of the increase is actually due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Over the last 50 years that productivity gain has been substantial. Panic and climate superstition, however, have had a severely negative effect:

 

Global Food Crisis Forecast; Aggravated by Biofuels and Global Warming Legislation

by Hans Bader
26 October 2010 @ 4:09 pm

A global food crisis is “forecast as prices reach record highs [1].”  “Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years.”  “Global wheat and maize prices recently jumped nearly 30% in a few weeks while meat prices are at 20-year highs.” “Meanwhile, the price of tomatoes in Egypt, garlic in China and bread in Pakistan are at near-record levels.”

Drought is one factor in the price spikes.  Biofuels and ethanol subsidies and mandates are another major factor.  According to the UN, “large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors for biofuels is squeezing land suitable for agriculture [1].”

Ethanol subsidies have resulted in forests being destroyed [2] in the Third…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

GM Salmon: Swimming Against the Regulatory Tide

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether to approve for human consumption a genetically modified (GM) salmon that holds promise for satisfying the growing demand for seafood and to allow wild stocks to revive. The science on “transgenics” is firmly on the side of approval. The more pressing debate—largely a consequence of unwarranted regulation—centers on product labeling. Fortunately, that’s rather simple to remedy.

The AquAdvantage salmon, which grows twice as fast as its farm-raised cousin, was bred with a Chinook salmon gene for a hormone that accelerates growth in the first year. Genetic material from an ocean pout, an eel-like species, was also introduced to keep the growth hormone active throughout the year. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

 

RIP: Carbon trading

In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is ending carbon trading this year — the very purpose for which it was founded. CCX will remain open for business, however, as it transitions into the murky world of dealing in carbon offsets.

Outside of a report in Crain’s Chicago Business and a soft-pedaled article in the certain-that-cap-and-trade-will-happen trade publication Carbon Control News, the media has ignored the demise of the only voluntary U.S. effort at carbon trading.

CCX was sold earlier this year for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-listed IntercontinentalExchange (Symbol: ICE), an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. ICE also acquired the European Climate Exchange as part of the transaction. The ECX remains open to accommodate the Kyoto Protocol-required carbon trading among EU nations. The sale of CCX to ICE allowed climateers like Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Goldman Sachs to cash out of investments in CCX.

At its founding in November 2000, some estimated that the size of CCX’s carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. The CCX was the brainchild of Richard Sandor who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. Sandor received $98.5 million for his 16.5% stake in CCX when it was sold. Not bad for an idea that didn’t pan out.

Incredibly (but not surprisingly), although thousands of news articles have been published about CCX by the lamestream media over the years, a Nexis search revealed no news articles published about the demise of CCX in the five days since the CCX’s announcement.

With the demise of CCX carbon trading, only the still-pending Waxman-Markey bill is keeping cap-and-trade alive (technically, at least) in the U.S. According to JunkScience.com’s Cap-and-Trade Death Clock, however, Waxman-Markey only has about 68 days of life left before it, too, turns into a pumpkin. (Green Hell Blog)

 

AFP Releases Paper Detailing How EPA Could Force Cap-and-Trade

Source: AFP

- Agency move toward trading program expands executive power at the expense of democratic representation -

WASHINGTON, DC—The free market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) today released a working paper engaging the debate over whether the EPA can use the Clean Air Act to enact a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases (GHGs). The paper—entitled: Of Elephants and Mouseholes: How EPA Could Revive Cap-and-Trade—examines the statutory structure of the Clean Air Act and identifies two existing programs that EPA could contort to enact a GHG cap-and-trade program. The paper also includes a discussion of how cap-and-trade allows the EPA’s regulations to reach much further and accomplish more expansive goals than the Clean Air Act was ever designed to cover. The paper is online here. Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)

 

EU plans to clamp down on carbon trading scam

Chinese chemical companies' use of offsets has a 'total lack of environmental integrity', says Connie Hedegaard (Guardian)

Carbon trading is a scam.

 

New EPA rules could impair power grid

Upcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules could have a “significant impact” on electric grid reliability by forcing the closure of many power plants, according to a report Tuesday that EPA immediately attacked as a gloom-and-doom scenario.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) report could provide political ammunition to critics — including top GOP members of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee — who allege EPA is proposing onerous mandates.

“The pace and aggressiveness of these environmental regulations should be adjusted to reflect and consider the overall risk to the bulk power system,” the report concludes. (Ben Geman, E2 Wire)

 

New EPA rules will erode power grid reliability, report finds

Energy reserves available to the power grid for peak use could be cut in half, says an industry report, as power plants are retired for noncompliance with stiffer clean-air and clean-water rules.

Four federal environmental regulations to improve water and air quality could by 2018 chop by nearly half the amount of projected reserve energy available to the US power grid, says a new report. (CSM)

 

Energy claims and realities

Source: SPPI

By James Tonkowich

What will happen to jobs, living standards and families under restrictive energy policies?

Pennsylvania is lucky. Even amid this prolonged recession and depressingly high unemployment (9.5% in PA), families and businesses in the Keystone State are still paying just 9.4 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity.

That’s due in large part to the fact that Pennsylvania gets 53% of its electricity from coal. A lot of people vilify that black rock. But just think how much easier it is to cool our homes and cook our food at this price – or operate a factory, farm, office, store, hospital, school, church … or government agency.

Of course, 9.4 cents per kilowatt hour might seem like a lot to pay, compared to Indiana (where people pay only 7.1 cents), Kentucky (where electricity costs just 6.3 cents), or West Virginia (where it’s a rock-bottom 5.6 cents a kWh).

But just think how much harder all that would be if we lived in California, which generates just 1% of its electricity with coal, and people pay 13 cents per kWh; in Rhode Island, which gets no electricity from coal, and they shell out 16 cents a kWh; or just across the Delaware River in New Jersey, where families and businesses have to cough up 14.9 cents per kWh, largely because the state uses coal to produce just 15% of its job-creating electricity. Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)

 

Climate skeptics wanted for GOP primary

It's going to be hard winning the Republican presidential nomination if you’re not a climate skeptic.

Recent comments from top White House and congressional contenders suggest an awkward mix of outright hostility or, at best, ambivalence toward the widespread scientific consensus that humans are responsible for the warming planet.

Fueled by tea party rage, anti-government sentiment and hostility to anything attached to President Barack Obama, the 2012 GOP primary field is expected to run to the right. If the midterm elections are any guide, any support for climate legislation – no matter how tepid – will be a black mark in the eyes of Republican primary voters.

"I guess the answer to the question is I'm not sure," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told POLITICO when asked his views on climate science. "I think there's a real mix of data on that.

"Obviously, I think the question you have to ask yourself, one, is it occurring?" Thune added. "And even if you say 'yes' to that, two, is human activity contributing to it? And even if you say 'yes' to that, then three is what are we going to do about it and at what cost?"

Candidates who aren't outright climate skeptics might be best served keeping their views a secret by instead challenging the economics associated with a sweeping set of environmental regulations that cover everything from electricity to transportation fuels. (Politico)

Actually it should be completely impossible for any political aspirant to be elected adhering to climate superstition. Whether there is any merit in the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis or not there is absolutely no upside in mitigation, the only possible course is adaptation, as it has always been. "Carbon constraint" is simply whacko code for energy rationing and the correct response is: "No way! Not now. Not ever." Get over it.

 

Emissions from consumption outstrip efficiency savings

Emissions from consumption growth have exceeded carbon savings from efficiency improvements in the global supply chain of products consumed in the UK, according to new research by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York and the University of Durham.

Carbon dioxide emissions from UK consumption grew by 217 Million tonnes(Mt) of carbon dioxide from increased spending between 1992 and 2004 while cuts from more efficient production only led to reductions of 148 Mt leaving a net growth of 69 Mt of carbon dioxide.

In previous research, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and partners found that while territorial CO2 emissions in the UK decreased between 1992 and 2004, consumer CO2 emissions kept growing. Consumer emissions include CO2 released in the UK and the rest of the world for producing the goods and services demanded by UK consumers. (York)

Actually everyone outside the EU knew alleged emission cuts were fantasy all along. Welcome to reality.

 

The More Efficient We Get With Energy, The More We Use

Most folks in developed countries try to be eco-friendly by recycling aluminum and glass containers, turning off lights, unplugging cell phone chargers, driving more fuel-efficient cars, upgrading attic insulation; the list goes on and on. But as Peter Huber and Mark Mills report, “efficiency doesn’t lower demand, it raises it.”

They explain that the pursuit of energy efficiency has been the “one completely consistent and bipartisan cornerstone of national energy policy since the 1970s.” And yet, even though overall energy efficiency has increased dramatically since that time, “demand has risen apace.” (Jack Dini, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Climate Fools Day Today

Today, 27th October 2010, is Climate Fools Day.

For the last 20 years politicians, jet-setting bureaucrats and vested interests have been plotting how to make Climate Fools of the western world, taxing industry and consumers to fund green schemes, carbon speculators and international wealth redistribution.

The fightback by sceptical scientists and public was greatly boosted on the first Climate Fools Day when, in October 2008, British politicians passed with little dissent “The Climate Change Bill” a piece of legislation that future generations will come to accept was “the most absurd Bill that this Parliament has ever had to examine”.

Since then, sceptics all over the world have exposed the lack of evidence, the manipulation of data, the misuse of scientific process, the corruption of vested interests and the powerful influence of natural factors in climate cycles.

Despite the now discredited projections of dangerous global warming, the globe itself has continued its normal weather defining cycles such as El Nino, La Nina, the Pacific Oscillations, the powerful solar cycles and the massive ebb and flow of oceans and atmosphere. On a longer time scale there is no evidence that the globe’s long history of recurrent ice ages and violent episodes of volcanic and earthquake activity have suddenly ceased.

Unfortunately, a whole generation of Climate Fools will have to be rooted out of our parliaments before Climate Sense reigns again. We will then see the massive flood of community resources currently being wasted on windmills, solar toys, alarmist junkets, silly subsidies and climate bureaucracy more sensibly directed towards preparation for coping with the real natural cycles of heat and cold, floods and droughts, cyclones and earthquakes, vulcanism and ice ages. We will then regret the destruction of industry and wastage of real energy opportunities now taking place.

Climate Fools Day will be celebrated today by organised meetings of sceptics in Westminster and Brisbane.

Brisbane: King George Square 12 noon. More info contact Tim Wells: timobrienwells@yahoo.co.uk

PS for more information on Climate Fools Day see:
http://climatefoolsday.com/

And on the activities in Westminster:

Cabal of climate sceptics to descend on UK parliament: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/oct/25/climate-fools-day-sceptics-parliament (Carbon Sense Coalition)

 

The Scandals of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

What much of the public is not aware, and what the US media has not examined and published, is the corrupt nature of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Initial clues that show their corruption lie within the founding documents of the IPCC itself. (Michael R. Fox, Hawaii Reporter)

 

Glaciergate meltdown

by John McLean
October 26, 2010

Flaws in the IPCC report writing process

The IPCC’s assessment reports are widely regarded as the ultimate references on climate matters. Behind this esteem is a belief that teams of scientists impartially evaluated a vast pool of information and together drafted and refined an impeccable document for each report. The gulf between this belief and reality is in fact huge.

The problems were highlighted by “Glaciergate”, the IPCC’s flawed comments about the Himalayan glaciers.

This section of the IPCC report opened with comments about the area of Himalayan glaciers covering 3 million hectares, which is 30,000 sq. km., and said shortly afterwards that the likelihood of them disappearing by 2035 is very high. In the next paragraph the report says that the glaciers are predicted to shrink from 500,000 sq. km. to 100,000 sq. km. by year 2035, which contradicts the earlier statements both in extent and state of retreat.

It appears that most of the IPCC’s text was a verbatim copy of passages from an article in the Indian magazine Down to Earth, not the source given in the IPCC report, with quotes in that article becoming factual statements in the IPCC report. The retreat by the year 2035 was mentioned in the article but trace the source of that information we find it was an incorrect transcription of year 2350 and the shrinkage to 100,000 sq. km. was a comment about the total of all glaciers outside the polar regions.

How could these errors and inconsistencies appear in the IPCC report, supposedly the authority on climate matters?

The answer lies in the IPCC’s procedures and in the tasks assigned to authors, reviewers and review editors of the reports. (Quadrant)

 

Insightful Lecture by Czech President Vaclav Klaus

by William Yeatman
26 October 2010 @ 5:01 pm

Czech President Vaclav Klaus last week gave the inaugural annual lecture at The Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. To watch Klaus’s lecture, titled “The Climate Change Doctrine,” click here. To read a transcript, click here. President Klaus wrote a related oped (”An Anti-Human Ideology“) in the National Post.

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

The 2006-2010 RMS Hurricane Damage Forecast

Periodically on this blog I have discussed the 2006-2010 hurricane damage forecast that was issued by Risk Management Solutions, a leading catastrophe modeling firm.  As we approach the end of the 2010 hurricane season we are close to being able to offer a definitive evaluation of that forecast. You can see where things stand as of today in the graph above.  (All data is from the ICAT Damage Estimator, total damages shown.)

I will have a series of posts on the RMS forecast and its significance closer to the end of November. The forecast and its evaluation provide some very important lessons for catastrophe risk management, for the role of cat modeling firms in financial services and for the science of extreme events.  Meantime, those interested in a bit more background might have a look at this paper:

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2009. United States hurricane landfalls and damages: Can one-to five-year predictions beat climatology?, Environmental Hazards, Vol. 8, pp. 187-200. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

IPCC, dogma, heretics, and Judith Curry

Science journalist Michael Lemonick published an article in Scientific American yesterday:

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues
What a title. Roger Pielke Sr thinks that the article is very informative but it is not too hard to imagine how Judith Curry who is being discussed in this way has to feel.

Curry replied to Lemonick's article on her blog:
Heresy and the creation of monsters
She explains that her description as a heretic to be excommunicated from the IPCC says more about the IPCC than about herself. Well, indeed, dictionaries show that heresy is a change of beliefs that conflicts with a religious or similar dogma. So first of all, there must be a dogma - and then you can have heretics.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

BOM, GISS have record setting bugs affecting a million square miles?

How bad are these datasets? How sloppy are the data records?

Western Australia (WA) covers 2.5 million square kilometers (1 million square miles, about a third as big as the USA). The average of all WA stations over one month last year was adjusted up by as much as a gobsmacking 0.5 degrees due to a database “bug” – which contributed to August 2009 being the hottest August on record?! That’s one heck of a bug!

Could it get worse? Unbelievably, GISS seems to have lost data for key WA locations that an unpaid volunteer found easily in the BoM online records. GISS only has to maintain copies of records for sixteen stations in WA* which have temperatures current to 2010, but in seven of them they are missing data, and it affects the results. Are they random errors? No, shock me, four errors are upwards: in one case making the spring 2009 average temperatures for Kalgoorlie-Boulder 1.1 C degrees warmer!

But with no-one auditing our BoM or NASA’s GISS, and no team jointly receiving raw data or regulating standards in either agency, temperatures recorded in the field could potentially be listed in official records as being quite different, and who would know? It’s left up to volunteers like Chris Gillham, a freelance journalist and web designer in Perth, to run a sharp eye over the data. Chris has been tracking WA data for the last two years and his site, Average Temperature Trends Across Western Australia, has methodically, neatly exposed some major flaws.

Just how much can we trust any of the pronouncements coming out, and how significant are any of the “records”, even if the adjustments are fair, unbiased and justified? The whole database is surely not “high quality” when bugs of that magnitude are running rampant and data goes missing that professionals can’t find, but people who are not “paid to find warming” dig up without much trouble.

–JN

New questions about reliability of GISS and BoM data

Guest Post by Chris Gillham

Fresh doubts have emerged about the reliability of temperatures within the Goddard Institute of Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis database with revelations that missing data errors have appeared for various months in the 2009 records of Australian locations, even though the correct mean temperatures are available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

In turn, the BoM data itself has seen adjustments that might leave researchers wondering about claims that Australia has suffered record high temperatures over the past 12 months.

Western Australia (for scale, it's about 600 km from Perth to Kalgoorlie).
Showing some of the sites.

A BoM database bug: Oops, half a degree?

On September 1 last year, the BoM posted mean min and max temperatures on its website for the month of August 2009 at all its recording stations in Western Australia (2.5 million square kilometres).

However, on November 17 the mean temperatures for all WA recording stations were adjusted upward by as much as .5 C for August 2009.

When questioned about the adjustments, the BoM confirmed it had suffered a database bug and the upward shift was a consequent correction for August 2009, which the bureau says was the hottest August ever recorded in Australia.

GISS is “missing”data

The GISS database shows that in the following month, September 2009, there is missing data (999.9) at three Western Australia recording stations:

Esperance | Kalgoorlie-Boulder | Perth Airport

Despite the missing September data and as is evident in their tables, GISS has calculated the Spring (S-O-N) mean temperatures at those three locations as 17.5 C, 20.5 C and 17.7 C respectively.

Trouble is, the data isn’t “missing”. A quick search of the BoM website reveals the September 2009 mean temperatures were: More » (Jo Nova)

 

Comments On An ECMWF New Report On Surface Wind Trends

There is a recent study by ECMWF [the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasts] on long-term trends in surface winds - h/t to  Paolo Mezzasalma.

The news report on the study is titled

Wind stilling over the continents of the Northern hemisphere in the last 30 years

The article starts with the text [bold face added]

“A study published on 17 October 2010 in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that over the past three decades, surface wind speeds seem to have noticeably decreased in several regions of the world, such as the United States, China, Australia, and in several European countries. Given the often inadequate quality and heterogeneity of wind data measured by anemometers, no long-term study of the evolution of wind speeds on a global scale had been carried out so far.

However, after a detailed and thorough statistical analysis of the inconsistencies of wind measurements taken at 5412 stations resulting in the rejection of 85 % of them, an analysis of the remaining data revealed a major trend: over most land surfaces  of the Northern hemisphere mid latitudes, winds have decreased (see figure below). The study was carried out jointly by the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l\u2019Environnement (LSCE) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). It also shows that over Asia, moderate to strong winds  have decreased most rapidly.”

This study also attempts an explanation of the reasons for this decrease. Using a variety of data (datasets from reanalyses carried out by ECMWF or other smaller scale simulations, satellite and radiosonde observations), the authors show that this decrease in surface wind speed can be largely explained by an increase in vegetation and, to a smaller extent, by changes in the general atmospheric circulation over the past few decades.

Since, wind speed affects the vertical mixing of heat, this study implies there will be an effect on the surface temperature trends at these locations also. Most, or all, of these sites presumably are where  surface temperatures, used as part of the construction of a global annual average surface temperature trend, are obtained.

The study also documents that the surface landscape changes at these sites sufficiently to alter the winds. They write “the authors show that this decrease in surface wind speed can be largely explained by an increase in vegetation and, to a smaller extent, by changes in the general atmospheric circulation over the past few decades.” 

Such an increase in vegetation would also alter the temperatures. We have assessed this issue for locations in Colorado in our paper

Hanamean, J.R. Jr., R.A. Pielke Sr., C.L. Castro, D.S. Ojima, B.C. Reed, and Z. Gao, 2003: Vegetation impacts on maximum and minimum temperatures in northeast Colorado. Meteorological Applications, 10, 203-215.

The abstract of our paper reads [boldfaced added]

“A daily 850–700 mb layer mean temperature, computed from the National Center for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP-NCAR) reanalysis, and satellite-derived greenness values, as defined by NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index), were correlated with surface maximum and minimum temperatures at six sites in northeast Colorado for the years 1989–98. The NDVI values, representing landscape greenness, act as a proxy for latent heat partitioning via transpiration. These sites encompass a wide array of environments, from irrigated-urban to short-grassprairie. The explained variance (r2 value) of surface maximum and minimum temperature by only the 850–700 mb layer mean temperature was subtracted from the corresponding explained variance by the 850–700 mb layer mean temperature and NDVI values. The subtraction shows that by including NDVI values in the analysis, the r2 values, and thus the degree of explanation of the surface temperatures, increase by a mean of 6% for the maxima and 8% for the minima over the period March–October. At most sites, there is a seasonal dependence in the explained variance of the maximum temperatures because of the seasonal cycle of plant growth and senescence. Between individual sites, the highest increase in explained variance occurred at the site with the least amount of anthropogenic influence. This work suggests the vegetation state needs to be included as a factor in surface temperature forecasting, numerical modeling, and climate change assessments.”

This another reason why there is a divergence between surface and lower tropospheric temperatures as we identified in our papers

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., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr., J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2010: Correction to: “An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841″, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D1, doi:10.1029/2009JD013655.

The finding by ECMWF that there is long-term trend in wind speeds that is “largely explained by an increase in vegetation“, supports the conclusion of significant effects on the assessment of the global  annual land average surface temperature trend that are the result of effects other than warming (or cooling) of the remainder of the troposphere. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 43: 27 October 2010

Editorial:
Of Droughts and Megadroughts in North America: How are they related to greenhouse-gas forcing of climate?

Subject Index Summary:
Acclimation (Tree Species: Pine): Earth's pine trees appear to be well adapted to positively respond to increases in the air's CO2 content under all sorts of environmental conditions.

Journal Reviews:
Biofuels: Their Negatives with Respect to Nitrogen: What are they?

Using Magnetism to Study the Medieval Warm Period: Where and how was it recently done?

Unexpected Biological Resilience to Climate Change: How and where has it been discovered?

Flocks of Birds Coping with Climate Change: ... and doing it year after year after year.

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Longevity and Fecundity of an Invasive Weevil Feeding on Aspen, Birch and Maple Foliage: What are they? ... and how significant are they?

Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment is Smooth cauliflower coral [Stylophora pistillata]. To access the entire database, click here.

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Oilseed Rape (Hogy et al., 2010)and Water hyacinth (Liu et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 896 individual scientists from 531 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Bay of Vilaine, Atlantic Coast of France. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)

 

EPA v. Markets, Yet Again

A common promise among politicians is to “run the government more like a business.” The Obama Administration seems to have promised to have “government run more businesses.” The latest in the line of government takeovers and mandates is the proposal to subject heavy-duty trucks to fuel-efficiency regulations.

These efficiency mandates are promoted as saving the vehicle operators money—the fuel costs supposedly go down more than the initial capital costs go up. What this Administration does not seem to be able to understand is that businesses (both truck buyers and sellers) are already seeking out these efficiency improvements.

Indeed, the EPA’s own analysis of the proposed regulations notes that the fuel efficiency for heavy-duty vehicles has improved about 1 percent per year for the past 30 years. This improvement came without any fuel-economy standards—that is, entirely in response to market incentives for efficiency. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Time To Remove The Roadblocks To A National Transmission Grid

On the campaign trail, President Obama is promoting his green jobs agenda as an antidote to high unemployment. And though it's an approach that doesn't always attract bipartisan support, one aspect of it should — and has: the construction of a true national electricity grid.

One especially unusual and attractive aspect: it's a green construction project that can be financed privately. What's more, such investments, as Google makes clear, will not need to be government-financed — just one reason that "grid" improvements have attracted rare, bipartisan support.

Few policies attract support from both Obama and Newt Gingrich. The development of a national inter-connected electricity grid is one of them. The president has promoted what he describes as a "newer, smarter electric grid" that "will make our energy bills lower, make outages less likely and make it easier to use clean energy."

Former Speaker Gingrich has chosen a different emphasis — but reached the same conclusion. "You've got to rebuild the electric grid," he said, "because, as I keep telling all of my left-wing environmental friends, if you want people to drive electric cars, there has to be electricity." (Gilbert E. Metcalf, IBD)

 

Current Energy Policies Adding to Economic Woes

In Brussels earlier this month, members of the European Parliament voted to overturn a new drilling moratorium on European oil reserves offshore. And while the U.S. Interior Department has lifted its offshore drilling moratorium too, getting the Gulf Coast back to business is a long way away.

Even by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s own admission, it will take weeks to issue new permits under tightened regulations. This political gamesmanship in America is in stark contrast to the EU’s decisive vote for its own energy security.

For the past five months, small business owners, workers and consumers throughout the Gulf region have been unnecessarily punished by the U.S. Interior Department’s extreme response to the BP Deepwater Horizon accident. This moratorium, moreover, ignored American energy companies’ solid track record of employing high safety standards and the world’s best technology.

But our neighbors across the Atlantic were keen to recognize what was (and is) at stake. Perhaps Struan Stevenson, a member of the European Parliament, said it best after he and his colleagues overturned the EU’s drilling ban. Stevenson stated, “We risked sending the global oil industry a terrible signal that would have jeopardized millions, if not billions, of pounds-worth of orders for our state-of-the-art technology. Instead we have said that we will learn the lessons of the Gulf of Mexico disaster without sending our valuable oil industry up in smoke”. (Raymond J. Keating, Townhall)

 

Investor Uncertainty Mirrors Political Hostility

Drilling services giant Halliburton released its U.S. quarterly earnings report this week, highlighting record revenue generation due to expanded land-based drilling operations and international activities. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, ET)

 

No China Rare Earth Embargo To U.S. And EU: Molycorp CEO

China will reduce its exports of rare earth metals to the United States and Europe, but will not cut them off entirely, the head of the largest Western producer of the minerals said on Tuesday.

"I don't believe that China is going to completely embargo the United States and the European Union as relates to rare earths," Molycorp Inc Chief Executive Mark Smith told a conference on critical and rare metals in Washington.

"I do believe, however, that we're going to see reductions in the export quotas coming out of China."

China, which controls more than 90 percent of the global rare earths trade, last week denied reports it had halted shipments to Japan.

The reports, however, left other countries wary of similar cutbacks in the metals used in high-tech products -- so much so that the White House said President Barack Obama could raise the issue at next month's G20 summit.

Rare earths comprise 17 minerals with magnetic, luminescent and other properties that go into solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars. Their price has shot up 600 percent to 700 percent in the past few months, Smith said. (Reuters)

 

EU, U.S. Grapple With Crunch In Rare Earth Supplies

The European Union and the United States said on Tuesday they were pressing for solutions to concerns China may be exploiting its stranglehold on rare earth metals, crucial in the making of everything from portable phones to wind turbines.

Officials and industry executives in Berlin and Washington warned of severe repercussions from a scarcity of the minerals with magnetic, luminescent and other properties which go into products such as hybrid cars, solar panels and windmills.

The near monopoly China has in producing 97 percent of the world's supply of rare earths has been well-known among industrial users for years, but came under the international spotlight after reports Beijing halted shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute with Tokyo last month.

A U.S. Department of Energy official said she was not aware of any U.S. renewable energy companies experiencing disruptions in rare earth metal shipments from China, but said firms were worried about shortages developing. (Reuters)

 

Peeling Away the Onion of Denmark Wind (Part I)

by Kent Hawkins
October 26, 2010

[Editor’s note: This series is an extensive technical analysis of wind electricity in Denmark. The intent is to develop: (1) plausible conclusions without resorting to extensive mathematics (except that provided by others) , and (2) a framework within which to evaluate other claims of emissions relating to wind backup from fossil plants.]

According to wind proponents, Denmark is a model of wind energy use for electricity generation to be emulated. It is claimed or suggested that:

  • Denmark gets about 20% of its electricity from wind. [Note: This number is generation, not usage, which is a crucial distinction with negative implications for the wind lobby's argument.]
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions is due in large part to increased wind electricity production.

These conclusions are superficial at best and invalid at worse. The analysis required to show this, however, is extensive and technical because the Denmark power market is very unique and wholly unlike the market in the U.S. or the UK.

A Note on Sources

Recently the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has made claims about Denmark, based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This is at least one step removed from the source for most of the information in this series, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA). Its report 2008 Energy Statistics, and associated Excel worksheet tables, is one of the best sources of comprehensive information on the Denmark electricity situation.

There is another source with very detailed information, Energinet.dk, which is the Danish national transmission system operator for electricity and gas. It has been used for some more extensive mathematical analyses that are referenced here, for example Bach. As will be seen, even these have limitations because of the unique and complex nature of the Denmark electricity system.

As a result, this analysis purposely based more on logic than precise mathematical treatments, but building on the mathematical work of others. The limitations in both cases are the complexities, which will be explained, but both approaches provide insights into the Denmark case. In the final analysis, all available evaluations of the wind-generated electricity (this will frequently be referred to as just “wind”) realities in Denmark are speculative, but some more plausible than others, and readers are left with having to draw their own conclusions.

Claims based on a quick reference to a few selected statistics should be seriously questioned, and this series provides a context within which all claims can be evaluated. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Another lot discover idiotic "green" baubles are unaffordable: NSW govt bungled solar scheme: Opposition

The NSW opposition has accused the state government of bungling its solar bonus scheme, saying over-generous feed-in tariffs will add $100 a year to household power bills. (AAP)

 

 

Governor Bredesen Got the Calculations Right

In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Tennessee Governor Philip Bredesen explained how Obamacare has created a situation where the state government and many of its employees will find it mutually advantageous to the get rid of the employer-sponsored insurance program the state currently offers. As we have noted, Bredesen correctly acknowledges that it will be better for all parties if the state of Tennessee pays the fines involved with not offering an insurance program and subsequently dumps many of its employees onto the federally subsidized insurance exchange.

Here’s how the Governor’s insightful logic works: Beginning in 2014, state exchanges will offer large subsidies to individuals and their families who don’t receive health insurance through their workplace. Former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Cameron Smith have brought attention to generosity of these subsidies, noting that “a family earning about $59,000 a year would receive a premium subsidy of about $7,200” beginning in 2014,” whereas “even a family earning about $95,000 would receive a subsidy of almost $3,000.” As Heritage analysts have suggested, employers and employees alike benefit from an employer dropping employer-sponsored health insurance and simply assisting employees in attaining health insurance (with the help of the subsidies) in the exchanges. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Another Unaffordable Entitlement

ObamaCare: Finding things we don't like in the Democrats' overhaul legislation is becoming an almost daily event. Add to the list the possibility that a provision in the bill could be almost six times more costly than the initial estimate. (IBD)

 

Obamacare Frankenstein Is Scarier Than “Zombie Legislation”

In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Henry J. Aaron, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, writes that rolling back and defunding Obamacare would create “zombie legislation … [i.e.,] a program that lives on but works badly.”

If Aaron is looking for a B horror movie reference to describe the state of American health care under Obamacare, “Frankenstein” would be a much more appropriate choice. Obamacare is a slipshod, pieced-together monster made of bad policy and covered in bolts and scars from the legislative process.

Though proponents of the health care law may still be heard shouting, “It’s alive! It’s alive!,” the truth is that conservatives and liberals alike recognize that, as Aaron puts it, “successful implementation poses remarkable challenges and will require adequate funding, enormous ingenuity, and goodwill from federal and state officials, as well as cooperation from private insurers, businesses, and private citizens.” Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Making HITECH work

Surely you know that HITECH is an acronym for Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, right? Well, you'd be all over this if you were a vendor of any product related to electronic health records.

That's because the Feds are offering something close to $17 billion in incentive payments (out of an overall budget of $22 billion) for so-called "meaningful use" of certified e-health record technology. President Obama's goal is to have us completely switched over to e-health records by 2014.

Naturally, there are all sorts of problems that will have to be addressed, including data security and patient privacy. And, there will be increased costs, with absolutely no guarantee that outcomes would be improved. As decades of information technology have shown, no matter what the system, the people—and their human limitations—are still the same.

My latest HND piece discusses this, and profiles a cool new company in this space—LigoLab.

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

 

Autism rates stabilize in Wisconsin schools: study

NEW YORK - Autism rates could be leveling off at just above one percent of children, Wisconsin researchers suggest.

Between 2002 and 2008, they found the number of kids in the state's special education autism category nearly doubled. But the increase was only seen in those schools that started out with very few autistic kids, hinting that the statewide rates may be stabilizing.

Autism spectrum disorders, which range from mild Asperger's Syndrome to severe mental retardation and social disability, affect about one in 110 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, the number has been rising inexplicably over recent decades, and experts have argued about the reasons.

One possibility is that kids who used to be classified as mentally retarded, or just plain eccentric, are now getting an autism-spectrum diagnosis. Another, more worrisome suggestion, is that some environmental factor could be impacting children's brain development.

The new study hints that at least some of the increase could be due to schools putting more and more kids in the autism category, said Matthew Maenner, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who worked on the new study.

"The prevalence of autism in special education doesn't seem to be the same everywhere, and it doesn't seem to be increasing at the same rate everywhere," he said.

The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, show that the statewide rate of children receiving special education for autism went from five to nine cases per 1,000 over seven years.

Not all of these kids may have a medical diagnosis of autism, but Maenner said data on enrollment in special education programs are often used as a proxy for the prevalence of disabilities. (Reuters Health)

 

Heat, smoke sent Russia deaths soaring in 2010

MOSCOW - A heat wave that fanned wildfires and blanketed Moscow with acrid smoke pushed up the number of deaths in Russia by nearly a fifth in July and August this year, according to a government report issued on Monday.

Nearly 56,000 more people died nationwide this summer than in the same period last year, said a monthly Economic Development Ministry report on Russia's economy.

"In connection with the unusual heat, forest fires and smoke, in July of this year 14,500 and in August 41,300 more people died than during the same period last year," a section of the report on demographics said.

Deaths from digestive and circulatory system diseases as well as from cancer had increased, according to the report. (Reuters)

Since there is no suggestion that brief bouts of hot weather cause cancer, especially cancer lethal within a single season, it is reasonable to assume they mean people in poor health are more likely to expire during adverse conditions. Not quite the same headline though, is it.

 

Heavyweight campaigns failing children

The battle against childhood obesity is proving as difficult for governments as it often proves for people battling weight gain.

The evidence so far shows that many schemes to prevent childhood obesity have failed to make a significant dent in the girths of young Australians, a report by Productivity Commission researchers has found.

The report assesses 27 programs, whose titles rang from Romp and Chomp to Tooty Fruity Vegie Project and whose aims include increasing exercise, improving diet and cutting time sitting in front of screens.

While the programs may have had greater success encouraging healthier diets and exercise, ''some of the interventions are very expensive, making it unlikely that their limited benefits outweigh the costs,'' say the commission researchers, Jacqueline Crowle and Erin Turner. (SMH)

Unless people are eating other people then government really has no business interfering in people's diets, ever.

 

Sigh... EPA Looking to Hire 'Environmental Justice' Coordinator for $53,500-$84,146 a Year; No Degree Needed

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to hire an environmental protection specialist who will help the agency accomplish its “environmental justice goals."

The job, in New York City, pays up to $84,146 a year, and according to the job listing on the government Web site, "You do not need a degree to qualify for this position."

The EPA says the ideal candidate will have at least one year of experience related to the position, which comes with a salary range of $53,500-$84,146 a year. Any U.S. citizen may apply, and a background check is required.

The job description says the EPA is looking for people with "[k]nowledge of the theories and principles of environmental protection, especially as they relate to issues of environmental justice and the impacts of environmental laws, policies, legislation and regulation on minority and/or low-income groups and communities.” (CNSNews.com)

 

German Green Tax Reform To Hit Budget: Spokesperson

Germany's plans to hike an environmental tax by less than originally envisaged will tear a 350 million euro hole in the government's 2011 budget, a finance ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Senior government members agreed to a tax reform plan on Sunday to hike tobacco duty instead of raising the environmental tax, known as Oekosteuer, as much as previously proposed.

That would also mean tax income shortfalls for 2012 to 2014, the spokesman added. (Reuters)

So, they are admitting it's about revenue, not the environment?

 

Animal rights activists jailed for terrorising suppliers to Huntingdon Life Sciences

Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty activists get up to six years
Judge says six conspirators are not 'martyrs for a noble cause'

Five animal rights activists who waged a relentless campaign of "violence and terror" against companies and individuals linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences were jailed today.

The campaign involved posting hoax bombs to homes and offices, making threats of violence, daubing abusive graffiti on property and sending used tampons in the post.

Sarah Whitehead, 53, Nicole Vosper, 22, Thomas Harris, 27, Jason Mullan, 32, and Nicola Tapping, 29, were all members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (Shac). They were given prison sentences of between 15 months and six years at Winchester crown court.

A sixth member of the conspiracy, Alfie Fitzpatrick, at 21 the youngest member of the group, received a 12-month sentence suspended for two years. (Guardian)

I always wonder why we are so tolerant in our treatment of the species-confused. If they are so incurably deranged they subjugate human welfare below something (anything) else then why should society support them? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to drop them on the African veldt or far out to sea where they can be at one with nature rather than bothered with their own species that they obviously value so little.

 

Species extinction: The teflon doomsayers

In The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley offers example after spectacular example of a phenomenon that has baffled me ever since I began covering environmental issues in my first job in journalism thirty years ago: to wit, that while the entire presumable goal, purpose, and raison d’être of applied environmental science is to solve environmental problems, any environmental scientist who dares to suggest that problems are being solved is asking for trouble. As Ridley observes, we have arrived at a state where even the most wildly irrational pessimism is treated with reverence, while the most cautiously sober optimism is ridiculed.

SPPI NOTE: see these books for more on the topics of species endangerment

CO2, Global Warming and Species Extinctions: Prospects for the Future

CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs

Climate Change Reconsidered: The Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)

Some of this is human nature and was ever thus; intellectuals, as The Rational Optimist reminds us, have been decrying modernism ever since modernism began. Actually, I wouldn’t stop there: the belief in a lost golden age is as old as civilization, as is the intellectual vanity of casting oneself as the lone uncorrupted voice in the wilderness. A few thousand years before Dostoevsky, Malthus, George Orwell, and The Rational Optimist, the Hebrew prophets were pouring out gloom and dismay with the best of them, dismissing the superficial comforts of the civilized world and its material rewards as a fool’s paradise. Pessimism is what people with deep minds and deep souls have; optimism is what idiots with vacant grins on their faces have.

Read the rest of this entry » (SPPI)

 

Time To Hold Environmental And Climate Doomsayers To Account

The 1990 Greenpeace Report on Global Warming said, carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere naturally and unnaturally. They define unnatural as anything humans do. It is part of the theme of environmentalism that humans shouldn’t be here or tolerated only if they behave as they are told. The other part of the idea of unnatural is exploited to keep the people enthralled, fearful and therefore controlled. H.L.Mencken’s comment that, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary” applies and is proof of the political nature of events presented, directly or with implication, as unnatural.

The false idea is presented out of context then left uncorrected by lack of follow up. This is especially true if the story is a prediction. We need a media vehicle to analyze the story in context followed by the aftermath. It’s time for a program on which doomsayers who profited financially or politically from false stories and predictions confronted and held to account. Here are some recent stories that proved incorrect. (Tim Ball, CFP)

 

Just say "No" to antidevelopment funds: Norway Says More Aid Needed To Save Indonesian Forest

Indonesia could match Brazil's success in slowing deforestation but needs far more aid from rich nations such as the United States, Japan and the European Union, Norway's environment minister said on Monday.

Norway has signed a $1 billion climate deal with Indonesia, under which Jakarta has agreed to impose a two-year ban on new permits to clear natural forests.

Norway has already released $30 million of the funds, with the bulk to be paid out later after Indonesia proves greenhouse gas emissions have gone down and an independent audit is done.

But more aid is needed to save Indonesia's forests, said Norwegian environment minister Erik Solheim. (Reuters)

 

Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs

Cost of meat, sugar, rice, wheat and maize soars as World Bank predicts five years of price volatility

Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years, with scientists predicting further widespread droughts and floods.

Although food stocks are generally good despite much of this year's harvests being wiped out in Pakistan and Russia, sugar and rice remain at a record price. (Guardian)

One wonders on what basis they make these predictions of drought and flood? The move to biofuels is a problem but that is strictly an idiotic greenie-caused phenomenon that can be undone at the stroke of a pen.

 

Charlie, Prince of Wails, first in line of succession... Industrial farming puts ecosystems at risk of collapse, warns Prince Charles

Farming methods must be low-impact, organic and low-carbon to protect natural resources for the long term (Guardian)

Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. Queen Elizabeth, The Second. Long may She reign. ...

 

 

An AB32 Primer

by Chris Horner
25 October 2010 @ 10:23 am

So, we read that Hollywood, Al Gore’s group, rent-seeking industry and other green groups have been joined by the rest of the usual suspects-Google, Bill Gates-in opposing Proposition 23, a ballot initiative to delay their state’s energy rationing law which will soon take effect. That is, barring voter intervention putting a temporary stay on this economic suicide pact until the state’s economy recovers somewhat.

I should think that’s about all one needs to know about Proposition 23.

Still, all of that money to protect the global warming industry’s gravy train seems to be having an effect among telephone survey respondents. But it remains a close one. And that’s why they suit up and play the game.

The people who will be hurt most…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Megabucks Behind Effort To Stop Prop 23

by Ben Lieberman
25 October 2010 @ 11:45 am

Green activists and allied rent seekers like to portray themselves as the underdogs against big business in their environmental causes.  The battle over Proposition 23 - the California ballot measure to suspend the state’s global warming law until unemployment is under control - is certainly no exception.    But they have David and Goliath backwards here; those spending to defeat the measure and keep California cap and tax in place have outgunned supporters of reform by at least 3 to 1.

Compared to the $9 million or so in favor of Prop 23, including most from oil companies, the $28 million to kill this measure has gotten relatively little attention.   Only a minor percentage of this amount has come in the form of…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Holbrooke’s Amazing Global Warming Claim

For some, global warming is the sinister cause of every problem plaguing the world-even the conflict between India and Pakistan.

This misapprehension has apparently taken hold of Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars, Holbrooke believes there is a "global warming dimension" of the India-Pakistan conflict.

"In one discussion about the tensions between Pakistan and India," Woodward wrote, "Holbrooke introduced a new angle. 'There's a global-warming dimension of this struggle, Mr. President,' he said."

Woodward wrote that Holbrooke's "words baffled many in the room." It's not hard to see why. (Sen. James Inhofe, Human Events)

 

Climate Fool's Day 2010 - October 27th

The 2 nd anniversary of “Climate Fools Day” is almost upon us and it is starting to attract the attention of UK MP's. This year's Climate Fools Day Rally will be held Wednesday, October 27 th 2PM at Parliament and we encourage all climate skeptics who can to attend. Our friends at Climate Realists have posted the following update on the planned festivities:

When Piers Corbyn mentioned to me recently that several MP's were going to attend the second anniversary of the “Climate Fools Day” rally held at the Houses of Parliament on the 27th October, I had to pinch myself. Two years have nearly passed since the signing of the UK “Climate Change Bill” and wow have attitudes to “deniers” changed, all of a sudden we (flatearthers, and anything else the misinformed public want to call us) have become a group of people politicians want to take more seriously.

There has been a lot of talk in the UK about public spending “cuts” recently , and we could now be part of a review that could save billions if not trillions world wide. But first things first, we hope the MP's who attend the "Climate Fools Day" meeting come away with some basic scientific facts about “Man Made” climate change and spread the news through their various constituencies that the sky is not, and never has been, falling!

This will mean that MP's rather then having a strategy of trying to win votes by saving mankind from certain death by co2, can now can go out and win votes about what they can save on “green" tax” outlined below by Christopher Booker, who will ALSO be attending the meeting.

For more information on “Climate Fools Day” see comments from Piers on http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=6514, more to follow very soon and note, there are still some seats available, contact Piers direct for more information.

Click the following link to read Spending review: The 'cuts' that mean public spending soars, by Christopher Booker.

(The Resilient Earth)

 

Global warming dogma the “new communism”, says Czech President Vaclav Klaus

Modern environmentalism and its “global warming dogma” has replaced communism as the costliest, anti-democratic mistake of our time. [Read More] (Peter C. Glover, ET)

 

U.N. Panel Seeks To Streamline JI CO2 Cutting Scheme

A United Nations panel has proposed merging the two tracks of its Joint Implementation (JI) emissions cutting mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, the JI Supervisory Committee (JISC) said.

Under JI, companies can invest in carbon-cutting projects in nations that signed up to emissions targets under Kyoto, and in return receive emissions reduction units (ERUs), which can be used toward their own corporate emissions targets or sold for profit.

Currently, countries can either issue carbon credits for emissions reductions made themselves -- known as Track 1 -- or let the U.N. do an independent assessment, under Track 2.

The proposal would see the establishment of a unified track in place of the two distinct regulatory tracks, the panel said. (Reuters)

Doesn't matter how many "tracks" they have, all lines lead to global taxation - and the answer is "No!".

 

Another grab for global taxation: Global 'Climate Change' Airline Tax Proposed

Airline passengers could be hit with a new global tax on the cost of tickets in a bid to raise more than $100 billion annually to help developing countries adapt to climate change, according to a U.N. report due to be published in November.

The tax, to be imposed on all international flights worldwide, could add up to $8 to the cost of an average airline ticket for an international flight. (NewsCore)

 

Government's £1bn carbon tax grab 'will delay green investment'

The Government's £1bn "green" tax grab has caused further controversy, with claims it will delay investment on environmental measures and cause companies to waste money on unnecessary changes.

Businesses with energy bills of more than £500,000 per year had been expecting to receive money back for making specific energy efficiency improvements

It emerged this week that 5,000 companies will have to pay the Treasury £12 for every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted, after the Government announced changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment Scheme.

Businesses with energy bills of more than £500,000 per year had been expecting to receive money back for making specific energy efficiency improvements. However, they will now receive no rewards and only be penalised for emissions. It is now unclear exactly how the scheme will work and its enforcement has been delayed for a year from 2011 to 2012. (TDT)

 

Don't negotiate, eliminate: Huhne hints at future for Energy Saving Trust and Carbon Trust

BusinessGreen: As the Energy Saving Trust's energy saving week gets underway today, energy secretary Chris Huhne reveals negotiations on the future of the EST and the Carbon Trust are likely to continue for several more months (James Murray for BusinessGreen)

 

Why the Precautionary Principle must be expunged: Climate change sceptics lose battle as onus of proof shifts

JULIA Gillard's climate change committee to explore carbon price options reflects the precautionary principle in the climate change debate.

This principle has revolutionised international and Australian environmental science and environmental law. The precautionary principle has driven the international movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it has been ignored in the public debate. It is also the reason that climate sceptics could never win.

The principle appears in Article 3 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992. It is one of the four principles of ecologically sustainable development.

Those principles have been absorbed into Australian environmental law at commonwealth and state levels since 1991.

In a speech given in December 2009 at a symposium in honour of retired judge Paul Stein, chief judge Brian Preston of the NSW Land and Environment Court described the effect of the precautionary principle which appears in NSW legislation in similar terms to Article 3 of the 1992 Climate Convention:

"In essence, the principle operates to shift the evidentiary burden of proof as to whether there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage," he said.

"Where there is a reasonably certain threat of serious or irreversible damage, the precautionary principle is not needed and is not evoked . . .

"But where the threat is uncertain, past practice had been to defer taking preventative measures because of that uncertainty.

"The precautionary principle operates, when activated, to create an assumption that the threat is not uncertain but rather certain.

"Hence, if there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage and there is the requisite degree of scientific uncertainty, the precautionary principle will be activated. (Josephine Kelly, The Australian)

The greatest triumph of misanthropists has been to enshrine the inversion of rational caution into law and legislation. They have done this to circumvent cost-benefit analysis because there really is nothing "green" that delivers greater benefit than cost, only illusions and warm, fuzzy feelings. If correctly applied precaution dictates that we evaluate the enormous known negative effect on the disadvantaged of increasing the cost of energy, slowing development and reducing trade opportunities for the world's poor nations to finance their development and enhance the living standards of their population. We then weigh this against the necessarily heavily-discounted slight possibility of extreme harm generated by that development and energy availability and try to determine whether the net result will be a plus or minus for the bulk of humanity. For the misanthropist the balance is always against human enterprise and development while the rational always realize the only possible course is one of no regrets. It really is a case of develop or die and misanthropists would prefer you did not develop.

 

Rahmstorf/Schellnhuber Confirm No Anthropogenic Climate Change!

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of i
t.

- Omar Khayyám

Scratch off the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research from the alarmist list. No kidding!

The European Institute For Climate and Energy has a new piece written by Raimund Leistenschneider that takes a look at two interesting papers dug up from 2003. I wonder if Rahmstorf and Schellnhuber are going to feign amnesia on this. Big hat tip to NTZ reader Ike! (NTZ)

 

What Will the Climb-Down Look Like?

Here’s something that you can bring to the bank: With regard to global warming, the major purveyors of news in the industrialized world will be climbing down from their various versions of frenzied alarmism. Here’s something else that you can bring to your banker: the climb-down will be sneaky. On the other hand, when the series of editorial re-positionings is visible to casual members of the public at all, it will be beyond awkward. (Harold Ambler, Talking About Weather)

 

We wish... As Arctic warms, increased shipping likely to accelerate climate change

1:30 p.m., Oct. 25, 2010--As the ice-capped Arctic Ocean warms, ship traffic will increase at the top of the world. And if the sea ice continues to decline, a new route connecting international trading partners may emerge -- but not without significant repercussions to climate, according to a U.S. and Canadian research team that includes a University of Delaware scientist.

Growing Arctic ship traffic will bring with it air pollution that has the potential to accelerate climate change in the world's northern reaches. And it's more than a greenhouse gas problem -- engine exhaust particles could increase warming by some 17-78 percent, the researchers say. (UDaily)

Sadly the contemporary warming phase appears to have petered out and Arctic shipping will remain a wistful dream for the most part. Maybe the next item will help :)

 

Space tourism will accelerate climate change, warn scientists as Sir Richard Branson unveils world's first commercial spaceport

A decade of commercial space flight would have a devastating impact on climate change and global temperatures, according to a new study.

Scientists believe that vast amounts of black soot created by a new generation of spacecraft could lead to temperatures in polar regions rising by as mush (sic) as one degree Celsius.

The study comes as the dream of whisking tourists edged closer to reality with the official opening of the runway at the world's first commercial spaceport by Sir Richard Branson.

The billionaire said he expects flights for space tourists to begin in nine to 18 months, and he will be among the first passengers. (Daily Mail)

 

2010 Hurricane Factoids

Adam Lea, of University College London, shares these interesting hurricane factoids related the the remarkable dearth of US hurricane landfalls in recent years.  His comments are reproduced here with his permission:

As the 2010 hurricane season (with 10 hurricanes) starts to wind down I thought I would share a few statistics on how unusual this season has been historically for its lack of US hurricane landfalls:

1. Since 1900 there is no precedent of an Atlantic hurricane season with 10 or more hurricanes where none has struck the US as a hurricane. The five previous seasons with 10 or more hurricanes each had at least two hurricane strikes on the US.

2. The last precedent for a La Nina year of the magnitude of 2010 which had no US-landfalling hurricane is 1973.

3. Since hurricane Ike (2008) there have been 16 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes. Such a  sequence last happened between Irene (1999) and Lili (2002) with 22 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes, and between Allen (1980) and Alicia (1983) with 17 consecutive non US-landfalling hurricanes.

4. The period 2006-2010 is one of only three 5-year consecutive periods without a US major hurricane landfall (the other two such periods were 1901-1905 and 1936-1940). There has never been a six year period without a US major hurricane landfall.

5. Historically one in four Atlantic hurricanes strike the US as a hurricane. Thus the recent dearth in strikes should be 'corrected' in the next few years.
(Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Sea Level Data Shatters The Hype

Lots of “hottest years ever” during the last five years. GISS says 2010 is the hottest year ever so far, ahead of 2005. NCDC says that 2010 is tied with 2007 so far as the hottest year ever. We are told that glacial and sea ice melt have been at record levels over the last five years. The Met Office tells us that ocean heat content is at the highest level on record.

Lets do the math. The two things which affect global sea level are glacial melt and water temperature. Given that both of these are supposedly at record levels. sea level would have to be rising at a record rate over the last five years. There is no other option.

In fact, it has done just the opposite. Over the last five years, sea level rise rates have significantly declined, from 3.5 mm/year to 2.0 mm/year. Identical to the rise rate for the last century.



http://www.globalwarmingart.com

Sea level doesn’t lie, does it? (Steven Goddard, Real Science)

 

Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century

The drought currently affecting swathes of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years (Guardian)

Gasp! It's like, the driest anyone has bothered reporting in, like, 40 years!

 

In simulated worlds.... Warming of planet will affect storms differently in Northern and Southern hemispheres

MIT study finds that more intense storms will occur in the Southern Hemisphere

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Weather systems in the Southern and Northern hemispheres will respond differently to global warming, according to an MIT atmospheric scientist's analysis that suggests the warming of the planet will affect the availability of energy to fuel extratropical storms, or large-scale weather systems that occur at Earth's middle latitudes. The resulting changes will depend on the hemisphere and season, the study found.

More intense storms will occur in the Southern Hemisphere throughout the year, whereas in the Northern Hemisphere, the change in storminess will depend on the season — with more intense storms occurring in the winter and weaker storms in the summer. The responses are different because even though the atmosphere will get warmer and more humid due to global warming, not all of the increased energy of the atmosphere will be available to power extratropical storms. It turns out that the changes in available energy depend on the hemisphere and season, according to the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

 

Nature hates straight lines

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Yeah, I know Nature doesn’t have human emotions, give me a break. I’m aware it is unscientific and dare I call it atavistic and perhaps even socially unseemly to say Nature “hates” straight lines, but hey, it’s a headline, cut me some poetic slack.

My point is, everyone is aware that nature doesn’t deal in straight lines. Natural things move in fits and starts along complex paths, not straight from point to point. Phenomena have thresholds and edges, not slow linear changes at the perimeter. Tree branches and coastlines are jagged and bent. Things move in arcs and circles, relationships are complex and cyclical. Very little in nature is linear, particularly in complex systems.

Forcing is generally taken to mean downward radiation measured at the TOA (top of atmosphere). The IPCC says that when TOA forcing changes, the surface temperature changes linearly with that TOA forcing change. If there is twice the forcing change (twice the change in solar radiation, for example), the IPCC says we’ll see twice the temperature change. The proportionality constant (not a variable but a constant) that the IPCC says linearly relates temperature and TOA forcing is called the “climate sensitivity”.

Figure 1. Photo of impending change in climate sensitivity.

Today I stumbled across the IPCC justification of this linearity assumption. This is the basis of their claim of the existence of a constant called “climate sensitivity”. I quote it below.

Continue reading (WUWT)

 

UF research gives clues about carbon dioxide patterns at end of Ice Age

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New University of Florida research puts to rest the mystery of where old carbon was stored during the last glacial period. It turns out it ended up in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

The findings have implications for modern-day global warming, said Ellen Martin, a UF geological sciences professor and an author of the paper, which is published in this week’s journal Nature Geoscience.

“It helps us understand how the carbon cycle works, which is important for understanding future global warming scenarios,” she said. “Ultimately, a lot of the carbon dioxide that we’re pumping into the atmosphere is going to end up in the ocean. By understanding where that carbon was stored in the past and the pathways it took, we develop a better understanding of how much atmospheric carbon dioxide the oceans can absorb in the future.” (UF)

It would b really easy to dismiss this as "Wow, they've discovered warm soda effect" but it is more important than that -- they have finally admitted not having much idea about Earth's carbon cycle.

 

Petrobras Confirms Tupi Field Could Hold 8 Billion Barrels

Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said Friday that the drilling of a new exploratory well at the offshore Tupi field confirms potential recoverable reserves of between 5-8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. (MercoPress)

 

Changes in energy R&D needed to combat climate change

Laxenburg, Austria – 26th October 2010 -- A new assessment of future scenarios that limit the extent of global warming cautions that unless current imbalances in R&D portfolios for the development of new, efficient, and clean energy technologies are redressed, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets are unlikely to be met, or met only at considerable costs. (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis)

Despite special-interest pleading there will be no reduction in greenhouse emissions in the foreseeable future and as the prophesied apocalypse fails to materialize, embarrassed silence over "carbon-free" energy and the finance and effort wasted trying to address climate superstitions.

 

Sod off, rent-seekers! Utilities to issue warning on carbon price

Britain’s “big six” energy companies will this week warn Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy, that the government’s proposed “floor price” for carbon emission permits is not enough of an incentive for them to invest in new nuclear power stations.

Executives from the companies, including Centrica, EDF Energy and Scottish Power, now owned by Iberdrola, are due to make their views clear at a dinner with Mr Huhne on Wednesday.

The industry has reached a consensus position with all companies agreeing that some form of additional incentive is required. Options range from a feed-in tariff to guarantee the price for low-carbon electricity to payments to companies as reward for having available generation capacity. (Financial Times)

No carbon price now or ever. Deal with it.

 

It Could Happen Here

by William Yeatman
25 October 2010 @ 11:46 am

In 2007, the Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero passed a law that guaranteed solar power producers a price for power more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price paid to conventional energy suppliers. The generous subsidies sparked a rush to solar, and taxpayer costs mounted. Today, the government owes $172 billion to renewable energy investors, but it doesn’t have the means to meet its obligations in the face of rising budget deficits. As a result, more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster.

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

U.S. Set First Fuel Standards For Big Trucks

The Obama administration on Monday proposed the first ever fuel efficiency and emissions standards for big tractor trailers and other commercial trucks. (Reuters)

 

Natural gas industry buys ads to tell its story

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The media in some parts of the state won't tell any good stories about natural gas so the industry is buying advertisements to tell its side, said Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.

"The problem is, in certain areas, nobody wants to write the story that's coming from us," DeMarco told University of Charleston business students, alumni, and invited guests on Tuesday. "They want to write the sensational, the fictional."

Natural gas drilling in the Appalachian basin has become a high-profile business during the past several years as companies learned how to drill horizontal wells and fracture, or "frack," the Marcellus Shale to release natural gas.

The new drilling know-how is re-shaping the industry. There's talk that the Marcellus Shale gas field may contain 500 trillion cubic feet of gas. Instead of talking about running out of natural gas within 10 years - a prevalent discussion within the industry in the 1970s - the discussion is about having up to 90 years of proven and potential supply. (Charleston Daily Mail)

 

Halliburton to release list of ‘fracking’ chemicals

Amid the ongoing controversy over the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas production, Halliburton Co. is planning to disclose what chemicals it uses in the process on a new website set to go live Nov. 15, according to an industry publication.

Upstreamonline.com reported that Richard Logan, U.S. technology manager at Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) said the Houston-based oil services company would release a list of chemicals used in the process. He made his comments at the World Trade Group’s E&P Technology Summit in Houston Oct. 22.

Logan also said the company was in the process of developing new hydraulic fracturing fluids that were more environmentally friendly.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has come under public scrutiny recently over accusations the process — which involves pumping fluid into the ground to help extract natural gas — harms local groundwater. During the past few years, use of the process has increased as companies move to access difficult to reach natural gas reserves. (Houston Business Journal)

 

'Fracking' Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds

Findings raise new concern: could uranium show up in groundwater?

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas.

But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process -- called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"-- also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.

The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver on Nov. 2. (UB)

Unfortunately not likely to yield any useful (or interesting) amounts of uranium.

 

Centrica set to shelve gas storage plans unless government helps

Centrica has effectively shelved its £1.5bn plan to build two gas storage facilities in the North Sea and Irish Sea unless the Government finds a way to subsidise the proposal. (TDT)

Why should the taxpayer subsidize any such thing? The UK and Europe should get fracking and ensure they are producing plentiful gas supplies as and when required.

 

We wish them a great deal of luck... South Africa unveils plans for 'world's biggest' solar power plant

Giant mirrors and solar panels in Northern Cape would reduce carbon emissions and generate one-tenth of the country's energy needs (Guardian)

... they're going to need it.

 

MIT Report Disputes Uranium Shortage Fallacy

One of the arguments used by critics of nuclear power is that there is not enough uranium to power a nuclear world for an extended time. The energy hungry world would just be trading looming oil shortages for uranium shortages, they claim. As with most anti-nuclear scare-mongering these charges are totally bogus. MIT has just released a major report on the nuclear fuel cycle that finds uranium supplies will not limit the expansion of nuclear power in the US or around the world for the foreseeable future. It suggests that nuclear power, even using today’s reactor technology with the wasteful once-through fuel cycle, can play a significant part in satisfying the world's future energy needs.

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) report focuses on what is known as the “nuclear fuel cycle”—a concept that encompasses both the kind of fuel used to power a reactor and what happens to the fuel after it has been used. Currently, most of the world’s reactors run on newly mined uranium that has been enriched, though a few run on plutonium. After the fuel has been used it is either stored on site or disposed of underground—the “once-through” fuel cycle adopted during the Carter administration. It is possible to reprocess spent fuel, creating new reactor fuel from what would otherwise be waste.

The new study suggests an alternative fuel cycle utilizing an enriched uranium-initiated breeder reactor in which additional natural or depleted uranium is added to the reactor core at the same rate nuclear materials are consumed. This much simpler and more efficient self-sustaining fuel cycle produces no excess nuclear materials. Such reactors can also recover 50 times as much energy per kilogram of mined uranium as a conventional light water reactor. For more on future reactor designs see The Energy Gap.

The report—the latest in a series of broad-based MITEI studies of different aspects of energy—was produced by 10 faculty members, three contributing authors, and eight student research assistants, with guidance from a 13-member expert advisory panel from industry, academia, and nonprofit organizations. A summary report of the study was released on September 16. The full report, including all the appendices, will be released later this year.

Ernest J. Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative and co-chair of the new study, says the report’s conclusion that uranium supplies will not limit growth of the industry runs contrary to the view that had prevailed for decades—one that guided decisions about which technologies were viable. “The failure to understand the extent of the uranium resource was a very big deal” for determining which fuel cycles were developed and the schedule of their development, he says.

“There has been very little research on the fuel cycle for about 30 years,” says Charles Forsberg, MIT research scientist in nuclear engineering and executive director of the study. “People hadn’t gone back and looked at the underlying assumptions.” What the researchers found was that, at any reasonable expected growth of nuclear power over this century, the availability of uranium will not be a constraint.

There’s an additional benefit to the enriched uranium-initiated breeder reactor concept—it would provide a built-in protection against nuclear weapons proliferation. Large amounts of separated plutonium, a nuclear-weapons material, are needed to start the breeder reactors in the traditional fuel cycle. In contrast, the starting uranium fuel could not be used for a weapon.


The fast reactor fuel cycle.

Just as important, since fuel costs account for only 2-4 percent of total nuclear electricity generating costs, even a big increase in uranium costs would have only a minor impact on electricity prices. The MIT researchers estimate that, even if the global nuclear enterprise expanded by a factor of 10 in this century and all the reactors operated for 100 years, uranium prices would increase only by about 50 percent.

In France, well over 1000 metric tons of spent fuel is reprocessed every year without incident at the La Hague chemical complex, on the Normandy coast. La Hague receives all the spent fuel rods from France’s 59 reactors. The sprawling facility is operated by the state-controlled nuclear giant Areva, and has racked up a good environmental record. The French effort clearly shows that reprocessing does not need to be the dangerous mess that other countries, including the United States, have made of it in the past.

France uses an improved version of the 63-year-old Purex process (“plutonium-uranium extraction”), which was developed during the Manhattan Project. Areva says the separation equipment employed is more compact than its predecessors and generates less waste. The major products of the separation are uranium and plutonium. The uranium consists of the isotopes 235U and 238U, making up 95 percent of the spent fuel. The plutonium accounts for a little more than 1 percent.

Even the largest of France’s reactors, which can produce 1300 megawatts, generate just 20 canisters of high-level waste per year. According to Areva, it’s about a factor of 10 reduction in the mass of highly radioactive waste needing to be stored under the most stringent conditions, and a four- or fivefold reduction in volume relative to leaving a plant’s spent fuel unseparated.


The French nuclear fuel reprocessing system.

According to Peter Fairley, reporting in IEEE Spectrum, the US has a new reprocessing scheme called Urex+, developed at Argonne National Laboratory to be more proliferation-resistant than La Hague’s. Urex+ coextracts plutonium together with other transuranic elements present in spent fuel. Such a mixed fuel can be “burned” in a breeder reactor but, because highly radioactive isotopes contaminate the material, making a bomb from it would be dangerous and very difficult.

Burton Richter, a Nobel laureate who leads the DOE’s science panel on nuclear waste separations (and also serves on the board of Areva Enterprises), acknowledges that breeder reactors are DOE’s endgame. ”Everybody is in agreement that the right system ultimately results in multiple recycles in fast [breeder] reactors, so that’s where things are going,” Richter says. Here is how Fairley summed things up in his 2007 article:

With visions of nuclear electricity ”too cheap to meter” long gone, the case for breeder reactors has shifted from creation of new fuels to management of spent fuels. Without breeder reactors, the case for reprocessing is less than compelling. Considered in isolation, the economic arguments for and against reprocessing are a wash. Most of the arguments concerning security and terrorism, too, seem moot.

In the US, nuclear power now represents 70 percent of all zero-carbon electricity production. This poses a dilemma for green wingnuts and eco-alarmists—which is worse, global warming or nuclear power? While no new US plants had been ordered for 30 years, 27 new license applications have been submitted since new regulations were instituted to streamline the process, but that is not nearly enough. Meanwhile, China, India, and other nations have accelerated construction of new plants.

All the alarmist talk from the likes of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Resources Defense Council is just that—emotion based alarmist propaganda. MIT says there is plenty of uranium, even without developing thorium. As a bonus, recycling fuel greatly reduces the nuclear waste storage problem. China's accelerated nuclear building program shows that cutting through government red-tape and eliminating superfluous law suits dramatically reduces construction costs as well. With biofuels proving to be a bust, clean coal a scam, geothermal coming up dry and people having second thoughts about wind power, now is the time for nuclear energy.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

(Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

 

Bleak Prognosis

Health Care: The more we know about ObamaCare, the more we find out it wasn't designed to cut costs but to eventually eliminate private insurance coverage and create a government-run system.

Provisions of the Democrats' health care overhaul started to become law only a month ago, yet the list of companies dropping medical benefits for their employers is piling up.

Mega-firms such as AT&T, Caterpillar, John Deere and Verizon are among those that are either considering ending coverage for their employees or have already chosen to do so.

It's not just the big companies eliminating benefits, either. Smaller employers are doing the same. Larry M. Elkin, president of Palisades Hudson Financial Group, wrote Thursday in the Business Insider: "For 15 years, I have taken pride in paying the full cost of health insurance for every full-time Palisades Hudson employee who wanted it. This month marks the last time I will do that."

Elkin said that every one of his employees has the option of staying on the company plan. But those who choose that route "will have to pay the entire cost — ranging from $574 to $683 per month — themselves, through payroll deductions."

And where will those who don't opt for staying on the company plan go? Maybe they end up leaning on the government along with the 46 million or so other uninsured Americans the Democrats are trying to cover.

Elkin is not acting out of spite because he doesn't like the Democrats. He's acting rationally, as any good businessman should. (IBD)

 

End of One Scourge

It’s almost impossible for a modern American to imagine what an outbreak of rinderpest, a viral cattle disease, would have looked like. But when the disease was at its worst — in Britain in the mid-1860s and South Africa in the 1890s — the spectacle must have been horrifying. Rinderpest spreads rapidly and kills nearly every animals it infects.

It is well worth celebrating the extinction of this disease in the wild. The last known case occurred in Kenya in 2001, and this past week the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared it eradicated globally.

Rinderpest is only the second infectious disease in history to be wiped out, after smallpox, which was declared eradicated in 1980. They share a similar history, since both diseases were among the first to be treated by inoculation in the 18th century. Eradication was also made possible by the fact that neither diseases mutated rapidly, which would have made the task that much harder.

There is, of course, a long list of infectious diseases humanity would like to see eliminated. The next likely virus to be eradicated is polio, a possibility that seems almost incredible to anyone old enough to remember the polio outbreak in the United States in the early 1950s. But part of that memory is the discovery, soon after, of the Salk vaccine and its successor, the Sabin oral vaccine.

In the past decade alone, hundreds of millions of children around the world have been vaccinated. Only a few remaining cases of polio have been found in Nigeria and Tajikistan. With continued effort, this disease may also vanish from the planet in the very near future. (NYT)

 

Nanny's been playing with models again: Diabetes to double or triple in U.S. by 2050

WASHINGTON - Up to a third of U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if Americans continue to gain weight and avoid exercise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected on Friday.

The numbers are certain to go up as the population gets older, but they will accelerate even more unless Americans change their behavior, the CDC said. (Reuters Life!)

 

There’s no such thing as junk food, only junk diets

At least once a week, when I open the newspaper there seems to be some fresh new panic about the tsunami of childhood obesity that is crashing on our golden sandy beaches which a generation or two ago were filled with healthy bronzed young men and women who were either training for the next Olympic Games or about to pull on a pair of battered Dunlop Volley sandshoes, borrow a beaten up old wooden racquet and fly off to win Wimbledon.

Yep, every time a politician opens his or her mouth (usually on the way to a four course five star lunch at a taxpayer funded Parliamentary Dining Room) they sadly shake their heads, wobble their double chins and lament the rise of the TV obsessed Generation XXL. (Duncan Fine, The Punch)

 

Magnesium levels don't predict heart risk

NEW YORK - The hope that a simple blood test could help doctors identify patients likely to develop high blood pressure or heart disease is dashed by the findings of a new study published in the American Heart Association's American Heart Journal.

After analyzing data from more than 3,500 healthy people followed for as long as 20 years, a team of researchers concluded there is no association between blood magnesium levels and the probability of developing high blood pressure or heart disease in the future.

Researchers are always looking for good markers to identify people at risk of disease that might be forestalled with early intervention.

Magnesium is known to be important to the proper functioning of cells, and animal studies have found low blood levels of magnesium seem to raise blood pressure while higher magnesium intake wards off hardening of the arteries. (Reuters Health)

 

Can the Endangered Species Act Compel America to De-Industrialize?

by Marlo Lewis
22 October 2010 @ 4:25 pm

Can the Endangered Species Act (ESA) compel America to de-industrialize?

My colleague William Yeatman alludes to this question at the end of his post on yesterday’s Heritage Foundation symposium, “Saving the Polar Bear or Obama’s CO2 Agenda?”

The short answer is yes and no. Yes, because once the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the polar bear as a “threatened species” on the supposition that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are melting the bear’s Arctic habitat, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) logically requires that people stop engaging in CO2-emitting activities. This is worrisome, because CO2 emissions come from energy use, which in turn derives from economic activity. There is hardly any economic activity in the modern world that does not, directly or indirectly, cause or contribute to CO2 emissions. Hence, almost…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Replacement scam taking root: U.N. Talks On Nature Inch Forward But Rifts Remain

A U.N. meeting to set targets to fight rising animal and plant extinctions inched on Friday toward agreement, but rich and poor countries remained split over details of a new framework on genetic resources. (Reuters)

 

Government plans huge sell-off of Britain's forests

The government is drawing up plans to sell off publicly owned forests in a move that could see private developers allowed to clear ancient trees to make way for holiday resorts, golf courses and adventure playgrounds.

The plan is designed to raise funds to help to pay off the Budget deficit, but has been met by opposition from some of Britain's highest-profile nature lovers.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans to dispose of about half the land looked after by the Forestry Commission, raising fears that the trees will disappear to be replaced by amusement parks and other ventures. The Forestry Commission holds about 1.85 million acres of woodland, about a third of which may be sold off, in one the biggest land sales in British history. (Independent)

 

Land purchases by foreign investors, an “explosive cocktail” for small farmers

Land purchases by foreign investors in poor countries and the growing use of bio-fuels are boosting pressures on agricultural farmland and helping make 500 million small farmers hungry, a U.N. envoy said this week.

Each year, up to 30 million hectares (the equivalent to Italy’s territory) of farmland are lost due to severe degradation, conversion to industrial use and urbanization.

On top of that, more than a third of large-scale land acquisitions -- which last year reached some 45 million hectares -- are intended to produce agro-fuels rather than food, according to the World Bank. (MercoPress)

Sheer insanity....

 

Green Palm Oil Output Must Rise 5-Fold By 2015: AAK

Production of sustainable certified palm oil needs to increase about fivefold in the next five years, to meet buyers' commitments, the British unit of Swedish oils manufacturer AAK said on Friday. (Reuters)

 

 

Nope: GOP Victory May Be Defeat For Climate Change Policy

The more carbon that gets released into the atmosphere, the higher the average temperature rises.

That's a scientific fact.

Human activities, such as driving, flying, building and even turning on the lights, are the biggest contributor to the release of carbon.

That too, is a fact. (NPR)

In fact every year Earth's temperature cools about 3.8 °C from July to January while atmospheric CO2 rises. This makes an immediate lie of their opening premise: "The more carbon that gets released into the atmosphere, the higher the average temperature rises" because exactly the opposite happens for half of every year. Conversely, as the planet warms with the northern hemisphere summer season biospheric activity draws down the available resource with atmospheric CO2 lows occurring around September and peaks around April/May.

NPR's "facts" really need some work.

 

The Guardian has discovered that political donations are made! Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

Midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites DeMint and Inhofe have received over $240,000. (Guardian)

So, I guess everyone must ignore the anti-Proposition 23 campaign because it's been tainted by huge donations -- from politically-connected Democrats! Stupid game...

 

Bull spit! China Greenhouse Gas Growth "Daunting": U.S. Envoy

China's push to reduce growing greenhouse gas pollution is impressive but the "juggernaut" nonetheless faces a daunting rise in emissions, the top U.S. climate change envoy said after what he called helpful talks.

The United States' chief climate change negotiator Todd Stern was in Beijing seeking to narrow rifts over the building blocks of a proposed new pact to fight global warming driven by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activity.

China is the world's biggest total emitter of such greenhouse gases, having surged past the United States, the world's second biggest emitter and long the world's largest.

China's efforts to slow greenhouse gas emission growth by encouraging cleaner energy and more efficient production deserved praise, but its projected rise will be testing, said Stern.

"China's got a juggernaut of an economy, and it's no criticism that the emissions trajectory that China faces is a daunting one," he told a news conference after his talks with Chinese negotiators. (Reuters)

China is helping to feed the biosphere and its people. Good for them!

 

James Cameron labelled climate change 'hypocrite'

The eco-themed science fiction movie Avatar helped cement James Cameron's standing as one of Hollywood's most strident environmentalists.

Now, in a gesture that perfectly captures the fractious spirit of a polarised nation, comes the inevitable backlash: a political attack advert entitled "James Cameron – Hypocrite".

A week ago, it emerged that the Oscar-winning film director had put his money where his mouth is by donating $1m of his personal fortune to opponents of Proposition 23, a ballot measure facing voters in California at the coming mid-term elections which would suspend the state's landmark law combating climate change. Supporters of the proposition weren't going to take that lying down, though. On Thursday, they returned fire by releasing a short film that claims to highlight a Titanic-sized gulf between Mr Cameron's somewhat magisterial proclamations regarding the importance of combating climate change, and his actual lifestyle.

"He's fighting Proposition 23 because he says we should use less fossil fuel," notes the film. "But if Cameron succeeds, it will mean higher prices and job losses." It proceeds to quote a recent newspaper interview in which he discussed global warming, telling a reporter that "we are going to have to live with less". The camera then cuts to aerial footage of the three adjacent homes that Cameron inhabits in the hills of Malibu. Although they each have heated swimming pools, and together boast more than 24,000 sq ft of living space, the properties have not a single energy-saving solar panel or windmill between them. "He also owns a 100-acre ranch in Santa Barbara, a JetRanger helicopter, three Harleys, a Corvette, a Ducati, a Ford GT, a collection of dirt bikes, a yacht, a Humvee fire truck, and a fleet of submarines," continues the narrator. "And yet he demands WE live with less? James Cameron: HYPOCRITE." (Independent)

Oh, The Sindy would like you to note that Cameron buys indulgencies, so it's perfectly alright for him to hog resources you should do without. Not hypocritical at all, you see.

 

Why Can't We Innovate Our Way To A Carbon-Free Energy Future?

By BJORN LOMBORG
Posted 10/22/2010 06:42 PM ET

Global warming may not be the apocalyptic problem that climate Cassandras like Al Gore claim, but it is real and we need to do something about it. The question is what. (IBD)

The bigger question is "what is desirable about a carbon-free energy future?" and the only rational answer is "absolutely nothing."

 

Global Warming’s Corrupt Science

Climate science has painted itself into a corner, seriously damaging the public’s faith in the field — as precious a commodity as there is in civil society. Like lab rats that will do anything to keep the cocaine flowing, climate scientists, universities, and federal laboratories are addicted to the public’s money.

The latest illustration of this sad new reality is the letter of resignation from the American Physical Society (APS) of one of the lions of science, Harold Lewis, emeritus professor at University of California–Santa Barbara.

In his letter, Lewis rightly states that it is the global-warming-research industry, “with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS with it like a rogue wave.” Specifically, Lewis objects to the heavy-handed way in which APS quashed and impeded any attempt to modify its outrageous 2007 “national policy” statement on climate change.

The statement is remarkably misleading, and commits the same rhetorical mayhem as similar statements from the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. APS’s solemn declaration — “The evidence is incontrovertible. Global warming is occurring.” — has recently been part and parcel of all such statements.

But to a scientist, to declare that the planet is warming is like announcing that the sun will rise tomorrow. One fact of the matter is that we are still emerging from an ice age, as evinced by the massive glaciers and ice fields on Greenland. Ice ages are defined by large accretions of ice being displaced abnormally equatorward. Eventually, most of Greenland should look like Scotland, which suffered a similarly lingering glaciation from which it eventually escaped. The other fact is that we are putting carbon dioxide in the air and, everything else being equal (dangerous words in science), there should be some additional warming.

The important word is “some.” The real questions are, “how much, and how fast?” (Patrick J. Michaels, NRO)

 

Mike Hulme on climate models

There is video available here of a lecture given by Professor Mike Hulme entitled "How do Climate Models Gain and Exercise Authority?". Hulme asks whether deference towards climate models is justified and whether we should have confidence in them. I think the answer is "We don't know".

Challenging Models in the Face of Uncertainty - Conference Keynote: Professor Mike Hulme (UEA): How do Climate Models Gain and Exercise Authority?

View Event (via Bishop Hill)

 

Very Important New Paper “A Comparison Of Local And Aggregated Climate Model Outputs With Observed Data” By Anagnostopoulos Et Al 2010

There is a very important new paper which has compared climate model results with observations. It is

Anagnostopoulos, G. G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstratiadis, A. & Mamassis, N. (2010) A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1094–1110.

The abstract reads

We compare the output of various climate models to temperature and precipitation observations at 55 points around the globe.We also spatially aggregate model output and observations over the contiguous USA using data from 70 stations, and we perform comparison at several temporal scales, including a climatic (30-year) scale. Besides confirming the findings of a previous assessment study that model projections at point scale are poor, results show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor.

The paper is examining the claim presented in the introduction of the paper that

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global circulation models (GCM) are able to “reproduce features of the past climates and climate changes” (Randall et al., 2007, p. 601).

What the authors of the Anagnostopoulos et al 2010 paper have found is that [highlight added]

It is claimed that GCMs provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. Examining the local performance of the models at 55 points, we found that local projections do not correlate well with observed measurements. Furthermore, we found that the correlation at a large spatial scale, i.e. the contiguous USA, is worse than at the local scale.

There is discussion of this paper in two accompanying articles.

The first paper is a comment on the Anagnostopoulos et al 2010 paper. It is

 Wilby, R. L. (2010) Evaluating climate model outputs for hydrological applications – Opinion. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1090–1093.

Wilby 2010 should be read also in its entirety, One excerpt, for example, reads

“Even if we could build perfect climate models, uncertainty about future economic and demographic pathways, natural forcings by solar and volcanic activity, and a host of non climatic pressures, mean that regional hydrological projections would still be highly
uncertain. In other words, characterizing uncertainty through concerted scientific action may be a tractable proposition, but there appears to be no immediate prospect of reducing uncertainty in the risk information supplied to decision makers.”

The second article is an editorial from the Editor of the journal

Kundzewicz, Z. W. & Stakhiv, E. Z. (2010) Are climate models “ready for prime time” in water resources managementapplications, or is more research needed? Editorial. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1085–1089

In this article, in which they summarize the perspective of the Anagnostopoulos, et al 2010 and Wilby 2010 papers,  they include the excerpts from the text [highlight added]

Simply put, the current suite of climate models were not developed to provide the level of accuracy required for adaptation-type analysis. They were designed to provide a broad assessment of the response of the global climate system to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcings, and to serve as the basis for devising a set of GHG emissions policies to slow down the rate of growth of GHGs, and, by this, to mitigate global warming impacts. To expect more from these models is simply unrealistic at this time, as they do not even perform well as weather prediction models.

 
However, it should be understood that RCMs (regional climate models) operate under a set of boundary conditions set by whatever GCM is being used. Hence, if the GCM does not do an adequate job of reproducing the climate signal of a particular region, the RCM will simply mimic those inaccuracies and biases, and propagate the uncertainties even further, albeit at a regional scale. It is not clear how the coupling of a RCM to a flawed GCM can provide more refined insights, any more than can statistical downscaling.

An editor’s obligation is to publish papers that advance the state of science and of understanding that science. Hydrologists and water management professionals (hydrological and hydraulic engineers) have entered the scientific debate in force, because the GCMs are being advocated for purposes they were not designed for, i.e. watershed vulnerability assessments and infrastructure design. They are now examining whether these models are suitable, using their own perfectly legitimate and peer reviewed methods, as well as statistical tools developed over the course of a century of practical applications. They are not climate sceptics, but are sceptical of the claims of some climatologists and hydroclimatologists that these models are well suited for water management applications.

Our response to the question posed in the title of this editorial is that, while they are getting better, climate models are not (up to) ready for “prime time” yet, at least for direct application to water management problems.

These papers are open to discussion until April 2011. The Editor of the Hydrological Sciences Journal, Zbigniew Kundzewicz, is commended for his serving as a facilitator of all perspectives on the issues raised in the Anagnostopoulos et al 2010 paper. If the  Anagnostopoulos et al conclusions are robust, it raises the question on the value of spending so much money on providing regional climate predictions decades into the future (e.g. see). (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Mike Mann’s “secret” meeting on the Medieval Warm Period

While not really “secret”, one might describe it that way because unlike the many things Dr. Mann has been doing lately, there wasn’t one peep of press coverage about it. He helped organize this conference, and as we know Dr. Mann doesn’t shy away from reporting to the press on anything that helps his stature. Surprisingly, the usual science writers didn’t mention it, and you’d think they would, given all the major players that converged in Portugal for this event. So, it seems like they may have missed it too. Portuguese blogger “EcoTretas” only got word of this from a tip about a related story in a Portuguese newspaper. His essay is below, and there’s a lot more after that. – Anthony

===========================================================

The ClimateGate Secret Meeting


A usual reader of the blog sent me yesterday an interesting news from a Portuguese newspaper. It deals with the classic Medieval Warm Period problem, in the most green Portuguese newspaper. I immediately recognized one of the worst environmental journalists in Portugal, dealing with one of my favorite issues. Interestingly enough, Ricardo Trigo, a portuguese climatologist, was trying to explain the pseudo-science behind climate change and global warming, confusing things like Greenland’s vikings and Maunder’s Minimum.

But what really interested me in the story was a reference to Phil Jones, the person in the center of the ClimateGate controversy. Continue reading (WUWT)

 

Breaking News! It’s Global Warming! No Wait it’s Cooling! No Wait…(Part 2)

The stories of a warming world continued into the late 1950s as the media inertia plowed forward adding to the warming stories of the 1930s and 40s. The Atlantic Ocean had been warming since the mid 1920s. [Read More] (Art Horn and Michael J. Economides, ET)

 

Misleading Text In A Scientific American Article That Judy Curry Is A “Climate Heretic”

I was very disappointed to read erroneous information, in an otherwise very informative article, in the Scientific American by Michael D. Lemonick titled

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues

which seeks to isolate Judy Curry as being an outlier from her climate science colleagues [the article, of course, is useful in that it does expose the attempt by some to marginalize anyone who differs from the IPCC viewpoint, and Michael Lemonick is commended for doing that].

The text in his article, however, includes the header of one of its sections which implies she is gone

“Over to the Dark Side“.

(Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

What Little Has Been Learned

Almost a year has passed since the release of the East Anglia emails.  And despite all that has happened, there are some repeated indications that the climate science community just doesn't get it.  One example can be found in Michael Lemonick's apologia delivered in response to criticisms from climate scientists aghast that he would give the "crank" Judy Curry a forum in Scientific American.  Curry is a professor at Georgia Tech, and a widely published and well-respected atmospheric scientist (at least in most circles). 

Lemonick includes a section in his blog post titled "Is it Irresponsible to Discuss Curry's Views?" and he writes:

Some people see Curry as a whistleblower; others (including many climate scientists) think she’s a bit of a crank. . .

Simply by giving Judith Curry’s views a respectful airing, I’ve already drawn accusations of being irresponsible — and it’s valid to raise the question of whether giving her any sort of platform is a bad idea.
Lemonick makes clear in his blog post that he doesn't think much of Curry's views and that he sides with her critics.  But at the same time he offers some subtle but good advice to the climate scientists who have been apparently lobbying him behind-the-scenes:
I also argue, as you’ll see in Scientific American, that the vehement reaction of climate scientists, while perfectly understandable, might be akin to the violent reaction of the human immune system to some bacteria and viruses — a reaction that’s sometimes more damaging than the original microbe.
What are these guys so afraid of that they continue to seek to stage manage public debates?  Lemonick doesn't name names and I am not aware of any climate scientists who have gone public calling for the silencing of Judy Curry.  So far that action is all behind-the-scenes.  Have these guys learned nothing?  It seems that way.

Curry blogs here.  You can judge for yourself if her views are irresponsible or should be silenced. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Wikipedia: William Connolley was just replaced by Tony Sidaway and Stephan Schulz

William Connolley, the climate propagandist-in-chief at Wikipedia, has been officially denied the right to edit articles related to the climate for half a year.

I was somewhat skeptical about the results of this gesture but I still tried what it meant. The first action I took was to restore the section about the ClimateGate and the tree reconstructions at the page about Keith Briffa because it's clearly the most important section of that page that actually justifies why Keith Briffa deserves his own Wikipedia entry.

The section was quickly erased by a user called Stephan Schulz. He threatened me with some sanctions if I edited the article again and so did another jerk called Tony Sidaway (a notorious transvestite and scientologist) - on my talk page. This nasty scum never hesitates to spread lies about distinguished scientists - e.g. the NIPCC members - and blackmail everyone who is inconvenient for them.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

Not "Air Heads"? Global warming: 'Climate hawks' win the name game

What to call people who accept man-made climate change? A US magazine has come up with some odd suggestions, reports Geoffrey Lean.

What's in a name-call? In the great global warming slanging match, those accepting man-made climate change probably win on politeness, usually calling their opponents "sceptics", though sometimes "deniers". Sceptics, on the other hand, retort with "warmists", when they're feeling generous, "eco-Nazis" when they're not.

But now Grist, an American green web magazine, has been trying to find its own name for what it calls People who Care about Climate Change and Clean Energy (or PCCCCEs). That's never going to catch on but, believe me, the scores of apparently serious suggestions for alternatives are almost all equally dire. What price "decarboners", "balancers", "planeteers", "terranauts", "transitionists", "anthro-adaptors", or the equally verbose "People for a Prosperous Future for the Next Generation"? Or the self righteous ("stewards", "saviours", "concerned citizens", "the sane bunch", or even just "parents") and the weird ("earth angels", "lightbulb heads", "neo-earthlings" and the Tolkienesque "Frodosapiens")? But I did rather warm to the "warmist" who suggested substituting "hotties".

You'd have thought that they'd be better off without a special name: after all, they are in the majority. But Grist picked "climate hawks", though it did somewhat spoil things by initially running a picture of a vulture. It cited Donald Rumsfeld, of all people – he defined a hawk as someone who "leans forward", whatever that may mean – and decided the term evokes "a visceral sense of both peril and resolve". I suppose it might just resonate in the US, but here, surely, it's for the birds. (Geoffrey Lean, TDT)

 

Climate Fools Day

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on Australians and Americans to join the world in celebrating Climate Fools Day on October 27th.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that Climate Fools Day was named by protestors outside the British House of Commons on 27th October 2008 when the house was debating the Climate Bill.

Forbes explained: “As the first October snow in 70 years blanketed the House (and a big swathe of Europe), MP’s droned on about the need to fight global warming. “For six hours MP’s reassured one another about the desperate need to be the first government in the world to saddle its unfortunate people with a burden estimated at £15 billion a year. As snow continued to blanket Westminster, only two MP’s questioned the huge cost and dubious benefits from the energy taxes and green energy rorts they were imposing.”

Read more: http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/climate-fools-day.pdf [PDF, 136KB] (Carbon Sense Coalition)

 

Climatism: That Climate Change Chameleon

Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth's climate, is a remarkably flexible ideology. Calling it "global warming" for many years, advocates then renamed the crisis "climate change" after the unexpected cooling of global surface temperatures from 2002-2009. Last month, John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, urged everyone to start using the term "global climate disruption." What's next -- "catastrophic climate calamity"? (Steve Goreham, American Thinker)

 

The Key Ingredient Of Climate Legislation

In order to get climate legislation passed, it is essential to exaggerate or fabricate crises. A good example is Australia, which is widely reported by the MSM to be in an historic drought due to global warming.

The Australian BOM shows about 3% of the country in drought over the last three years. Meaning that 97% of the country is not having a drought.

Now let’s look closer at the numbers. Over the last 12 months, Australian rainfall has been 125% of normal, with most of the country above normal.

Over the last 24 months, Australian rainfall has been 118% of normal, with most of the country above normal.

Over the last 36 months, Australian rainfall has been 110% of normal, with most of the country above normal.

How many more years will the press continue to lie about Australia? (Steven Goddard, Real Science)

 

Huge Global Precipitation Deficits Due To Woefully Inaccurate Measurement Techniques!

German Weather Service meteorologist Christoph Hartmann writes what I think is a surprising essay on measuring precipitation, and the errors in doing so. Indeed Hartmann says precipitation may be understated by up to 50%, or much more at some locations. (No Tricks Zone)

 

Eight tenths of a degree? Think of the Grandchildren!

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

James Hansen and others say that we owe it to our Grandchildren to get this climate question right. Hansen says “Grandchildren” with a capital G when he speaks of them so I will continue the practice. I mean, for PR purposes, Grandchildren with a capital letter outrank even Puppies with a capital letter, and I can roll with that.

In any case Hansen got me to thinking about the world of 2050. Many, likely even most people reading this in 2010 will have Grandchildren in 2050. Heck, I might have some myself. So I started to consider the world we will leave our Grandchildren in 2050.

In a recent post here on WUWT, Thomas Fuller floated a proposal that we adopt a couple of degrees as the expected temperature rise over the century. He says in the comments to his thread that Continue reading (WUWT)

 

A Strange Problem with the IPCC Numbers

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

ABSTRACT

The IPCC says that the expected change in temperature arising from a change in forcing is equal to the change in forcing times the climate sensitivity. The IPCC provides values we can use to estimate the total human and natural forcing change since 1850. The IPCC also proves estimates for the climate sensitivity. These can be multiplied to provide the IPCC expected temperature change since 1850. The value derived (best estimate per IPCC numbers = 1.4 °C warming since 1850) is twice the observed warming (HadCRUT best estimate = 0.7°C warming since 1850).

Recently I became puzzled by what seems to be a glaring discrepancy in the official IPCC numbers. The IPCC estimate of climate sensitivity is +3 [+2 to +4.5] °C per doubling.

We also have the IPCC estimate of the change in forcing since 1750, in Watts per square metre (W m-2). The human contribution to that forcing is given by the 2007 IPCC Summary for policymakers as:

The understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the Third Assessment Report (TAR), leading to very high confidence that the globally averaged net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m-2.

This represents the best estimate plus [lower and upper bounds].

Continue reading (WUWT)

 

More Oddities with the IPCC Numbers

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A number of people have said Hey, in your previous post, the missing forcing is going into the ocean, so it’s still “in the pipeline”. I had considered that, but it didn’t make sense. I’ve taken a closer look, and it still doesn’t make sense.

According to the IPCC calculations in that post, about 0.7 W/m2 was missing. Let us assume that it is going into the ocean. Here’s my numbers, please check them. The spreadsheet doing the calculations is here.

Continue reading (WUWT)

 

Arctic Temperatures and Ice - Why it is All About Natural Variability

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

On October 21st the Associated Press hit the wires with a story entitled ”Sea Ice Melting as Arctic Temperatures Rise.”

The temperatures in the arctic have indeed risen in recent years and ice has declined, bottoming out in 2007 but it is not unprecedented nor unexpected. The arctic temperatures and arctic ice extent varies in a very predictable 60-70 year cycle that relates to ocean cycles which are likely driven by solar changes. 

In 2007, NASA scientists reported that after years of research, their team had assembled data showing that normal, decade-long changes in Arctic Ocean currents driven by a circulation known as the Arctic Oscillation was largely responsible for the major Arctic climate shifts observed over the past several years.  These periodic reversals in the ocean currents move warmer and cooler water around to new places, greatly affecting the climate. The AO was at a record low level last winter explaining the record cold and snow in middle latitudes. A strongly negative AO pushes the coldest air well south while temperatures in the polar regions are warmer than normal under blocking high pressure. See post here.

We agree. And indeed both oceans play a role. In the record-setting (since satellite monitoring began in 1979) summer melt season of 2007, NSIDC noted the importance of both oceans in the arctic ice.

“One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.

Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss. Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”

image
Enlarged here.

The Pacific warm mode favors more El Ninos and warmer water in the far northern Pacific including the Bering Straits. The PDO flipped into its warm mode in 1978 and the arctic temperatures began to warm and ice began to melt.

image
Enlarged here.

image
Enlarged here.

Notice how the temperatures in Alaska go through step changes tied to the PDO (Keen).

image
Enlarged here.

The Atlantic also cycles on a 60-70 year period. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO returned to the positive warm mode in 1995.

image
Enlarged here.

Frances et al. (GRL 2007) showed how the warming in the arctic and the melting ice was related to warm water (+3C) in the Barents Sea moving slowly into the Siberian arctic and melting the ice. She also noted the positive feedback of changed “albedo” due to open water then further enhances the warming. 

The International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks showed how arctic temperatures have cycled with intrusions of Atlantic water - cold and warm.

image
Enlarged here.

The correlation was also confirmed by Juraj Vanovcan.

image
Enlarged here.

See how quickly the arctic ice reacts to warming of the Atlantic sea surface temperatures in 1995 (source Cryosphere Today). This marked a second leg down. We have seen large swings after the big dip in 2007 following a peak in Atlantic warmth in 2004-2005.

image
Enlarged here.

Although the PDO and AMO are measured differently, both reflect a tri-pole of ocean temperatures. Both have warm north and tropics and cool relative to normal in between in the positive phase and cold north and tropics and warm in between in the negative phase. By normalizing the two data sets and then adding the two, you get a measure of net warmth or cooling potential for both global and arctic temperatures. See how well the sum tracks with the arctic temperatures. Though we don’t have measurements of ice extent, there are many stories and anecdotal evidence that arctic ice was in a major decline from the 1920s to 1940s.

image
Enlarged here.

At the edge of the arctic Greenland behaves in the same way - with warming and cooling tied to the AMO.

image
Enlarged here.

Dr. Willie Soon has shown how the arctic temperatures match the solar Total Solar Irradiance (Hoyt/Schatten/Willson) well. Correlation is poor with CO2.

image
Enlarged here.

We see here how the annual TSI and annual PDO+AMO track together with arctic temperatures.

image
Enlarged here.

Though the current spike in the Atlantic temperatures and more high latitude blocking may cause another spike of melting in the next few winters as warm water from the AMO pop the last year works its way into the arctic, longer term you can expect arctic temperatures to decline and ice to rebound as the Pacific stays cold and the Atlantic cools and the sun stays in its 213 year Eddy minimum.

That doesn’t preclude some very cold and snowy winters short term. In 2008 glaciologist Bruce Molnia reported a bitterly cold Alaskan summer of 2008 following a La Nina winter with extreme cold and heavy snows resulted in area glaciers to expand, rather than shrink for the FIRST TIME IN RECORDED HISTORY. Summer temperatures, which were some 3 degrees below average, allowed record levels of winter snow to remain much longer, leading to the increase in glacial mass for the first time in at least 250 years.

See PDF here. See Verity Jones recent post on the arctic data here. See more on glaciers and icecaps here. (Icecap)

 

Water to be tested for oil from BP spill

The lingering ecological impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster was highlighted again this weekend when the US Coast Guard said that an area of discoloured water south of New Orleans could be oil from the spill.

Jeff Hall, spokesman for the Unified Area Command, said tests could determine if the suspected oil is from the BP spill, although there also appears to be an algae bloom in the area that may account for some of the discolouration.

The Coast Guard sent two flights over the West Bay area near Venice, Louisiana, on Saturday. Two boats also went out to check the waters. Mr Hall said that tests would be done today on water samples from an area where a marine investigator believes there is an algae bloom near Venice.

The area of discoloured water there was about 2.5 miles long and 300 yards wide. About 10 miles away, Mr Hall said, a crew spotted what appears "some kind of silvery, weathered oil".

Six months after the BP oil spill started, the federal government maintains much of the oil is gone from the Gulf. But independent researchers say they are discovering significant amounts of crude below the sea's surface, including on the ocean floor. They fear the oil that remains could harm species lower down the food chain.

In recent weeks, local fishermen have reported seeing what they said appeared to be miles-long strings of weathered oil on the sea. (Associated Press)

 

Dear Peak Oilers: Please Consider Erich Zimmermann’s ‘Functional Theory’ of Mineral Resources

by Robert Bradley Jr.
October 22, 2010

The peak oil movement, now trying to turn itself into a pro-government-intervention political movement, draws the wrong conclusion by logically progressing from the wrong assumption.

This post revisits this wrong assumption: fixity. From mineral fixity, it is concluded that every act of production and consumption leaves less supply. In this Harold Hotelling world, costs must go up and prices must go up….

But going from the natural science, perfect knowledge, hypothetical world to the real world, just the opposite is true. There is not a fixed supply, known or unknown, from which extractions leave less supply for the future. Costs do not have to go up, and neither do prices.

Try answering this question to see how the peak oilers have it wrong for the business/economic real world. Do we have more or less oil today than when the nation was founded in 1776? Does the world have more or less oil in 2010 than in 1910?

The natural-science answer is that in a physical sense, there is less oil today that then by the amount of extraction. But in a social science sense, we have much more oil today than in 1776 or in 1910 because today’s supply is inventoried and produced from known reservoirs. The same promises to hold true in the future in a consumer-driven, entrepreneur friendly world. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Oil Sands Effort Turns on a Fight Over a Road

KOOSKIA, Idaho — As U.S. Highway 12 hugs the serpentine banks of the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers here, road signs bear the silhouettes of the 19th-century explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with Mr. Lewis pointing off into the distance.

He is not pointing the way for big oil companies, says Lin Laughy, whose gravel driveway abuts the road.

But to Mr. Laughy’s dismay, international oil companies see this meandering, backcountry route as a road to riches. They are angling to use U.S. 12 to ship gargantuan loads of equipment from Vancouver, Wash., to Montana and the tar sands of Alberta in Canada. The companies say the route would save time and money and provide a vital economic boost to Montana and Idaho.

The problem, said Mr. Laughy, is that the proposed loads are so large — and would travel so slowly — that they would literally block the highway as they rolled through. According to plans submitted to state regulators, some of the shipments would weigh more than 600,000 pounds, stand as tall as a three-story building, stretch nearly two-thirds the length of a football field and occupy 24 feet side-to-side — the full width of U.S. 12’s two lanes for much of its course through Idaho.

Mr. Laughy and his wife, Borg Hendrickson, have sued the state to stop the shipments by Imperial Oil and ConocoPhillips, arguing that the loads would threaten the integrity of Idaho’s historic portion of U.S. 12, as well as the safety of communities that depend on it as the main road in and out of the area.

National environmental groups and climate change activists are supporting their efforts, seeing a broader opportunity to stall development of Canada’s oil sands, which they denounce as a dirty source of energy. (NYT)

 

Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy

Rice University think tank will strategize on environmentally sound policies on oil, gas, coal

Rice University has created a Green Carbon Center to bring the benefits offered by oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other energy sources together in a way that will not only help ensure the world's energy future but also provide a means to recycle carbon dioxide into useful products. (Rice University)

 

Nice to see more of the press beginning to tell it like it is: Spending Review: Honesty is the best policy before the bigger fuel bills start to bite

The Coalition is tackling Brown's deficit – it now needs to tackle his energy policies, says Charles Moore. (TDT)

 

Why? Spain To Up Biofuel Mix In Fuels To 6.1 Pct By 2013

Spain's industry ministry said on Friday it planned to increase the minimum proportions of biofuels to be mixed with conventional fuels to 6.1 percent in 2013 from 5.83 percent in 2010.

The increase in requirements to mix biofuels with conventional fuels -- known as minimum blend -- will take place gradually, reaching 5.9 percent in 2011, and 6.0 percent in 2012, the ministry said in a statement.

The European Union wants renewable fuels to account for 10 percent of member states' transport fuel by 2020. (Reuters)

 

Figures show massive slump in UK sales of new electric cars

Campaigners say 90% drop in 2009 could be due to recession and premium prices – but government subsidy could reverse decline (Adam Vaughan, Guardian)

It's alright, there's plenty of common people to pay more taxes to subsidize wealthy people's feel-good toys...

 

Lawrence Solomon: Lady Godiva Rides Again

No sooner did I write a column about the world-wide protest movements against wind projects than a press release landed, describing yet another protest to occur this Tuesday in Fergus, Ontario. The naked ambition of this one will be on stark display, in the form of a re-enactment of Lady Godiva’s legendary ride through Coventry, England, centuries ago. The original Godiva (seen here in John Collier’s famous painting) protested the oppressive taxation levied on her subjects by her husband, the Lord.

Legend has it that the nude ride by the virtuous Lady succeeded – her husband was shamed into lessening the burden on his subjects.

In hopes of repeating the original success, Tuesday’s Godiva promises to wear nothing but her long blond locks, to protest plans by German multinational wpd to erect wind turbines in the area, the first of three proposed farms. Lady Godiva will lead a procession that will meet with wpd Canada Corporation officials.

A sneak peak at Tuesday’s steed can be found here. To see the steed mounted, you are welcome to join the other 1,000 expected at the protest, beginning at 6:00 pm in the parking lot in front of Centre Wellington Sportsplex, 550 Belsyde Ave E, Fergus. Map: http://bit.ly/bucZ9s.

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.

 

Wind: The new nuclear

Both technologies are immature and premature

In the 1980s, citizens in countries throughout the world organized to fight the nuclear plants that were being proposed for their communities. It would become the largest environmental protest movement in history, and a successful one, with nuclear expansion plans all but killed throughout the Western world. Nuclear plants were not only ruinously expensive, the leaders of the campaigns argued, but environmentally risky, unlike conservation and renewable technologies such as wind power. The environmentalists’ success was all the more striking given nuclear power’s popularity before the protests — its public approval exceeded 90%.

In the 2000s, citizens throughout the world are again organizing, this time in possibly greater numbers and against wind power, the very technology that many saw as a desirable alternative to nuclear. Like nuclear in its early days, wind power enjoys great popular support — it is typically the public’s most popular form of electricity generation. Also like nuclear power, that support is likely to quickly collapse, and for many of the same reasons. Read More » (Financial Post)

 

 

New malaria estimate says 205,000 die in India

SINGAPORE - Malaria kills around 205,000 people in India each year, more than 13 times the estimate made by the World Health Organization, researchers said on Thursday.

WHO, the public health arm of the United Nations, estimates that approximately 15,000 people a year die from malaria in India, and 100,000 adults worldwide.

The researchers called for both figures to be urgently revised so they do not hurt funding for prevention, rapid diagnosis and treatment.

"If you do not know the disease in any area, your requirement of drugs and all that (will not) be correct. Your control program will suffer, it's really important to know these figures correctly," Vinod Sharma of India's National Institute of Malaria Research said in a telephone interview.

The new numbers would boost WHO's estimate of around 860,000 malaria deaths a year, most of whom are children under five, to more than a million, but WHO disputed the analysis.

Sharma said WHO based its estimates on figures provided by governments and it would be important for governments to put in place reliable disease surveillance systems. India detects only 1,000 malaria deaths each year, he added.

The study, led by Prabhat Jha of the Center for Global Health Research at the University of Toronto in Canada, was published in The Lancet medical journal.

The team sent field workers to 6,671 areas in India from 2001 to 2003 to interview families of 122,000 people who died.

The data suggested that about 205,000 people died from malaria in India each year - 55,000 young children, 30,000 children aged 5-14 and 120,000 people 15 and older.

"If WHO estimates of malaria deaths in India or among adults worldwide are likely to be serious underestimates, this could substantially change disease control strategies, particularly in the rural parts of states with high malaria burden," the researchers wrote. (Reuters)

 

Notorious malaria mosquito strains evolving

New research finds two malaria mosquito strains could become immune to effects to control them

Two strains of Africa's most notorious malaria mosquito are evolving into new species, research has shown.

The discovery has implications for combating malaria, since it means the insects could become immune to control strategies.

Scientists studying the mosquito anopheles gambiae, which is chiefly responsible for spreading malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, found two strains were rapidly diverging in their genetic make-up, despite appearing physically identical. (Press Association)

 

When EPA Overreaches, Someone Always Gets Hurt

When EPA was founded in December of 1970, there was no shortage of serious environmental issues to tackle. Water pollution was symbolized by taconite tailings being dumped into Lake Superior in Silver Bay, MN, and the travesty of fires on Ohio's Cuyahoga River—the most notable of which occurred on June 22, 1969. Air pollution was widespread, and many people remembered the killer smog that occurred in London in 1952, as well a stateside version in Donora, PA four years earlier.

No doubt, remarkable progress has been made in cleaning up the environment, and EPA deserves the lion's share of the credit.

However, within the very DNA of the agency is a strong dose of chemophobia. Even though the "science" in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring has been thoroughly debunked, her work is still cited with great reverence on EPA's website in "The Birth of EPA." Sadly, the tortured thoughts of Carson, an embittered woman dying of breast cancer, would have been just that, until the agency banned DDT.

Cold comfort to the millions of Africans—who died from malaria as a direct result of this—that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find someone who still thinks the banning was a good idea. (Michael D. Shaw, HND)

I generally concur with Shaw with one notable exception -- the EPA is Johnny-come-lately to environmental improvement and is responsible for far more harm than good. Far from the EPA deserving "the lion's share of the credit" I consider them a complete and irredeemable disaster, a misanthropic stain to be expunged from society.

 

Malpractice Methodology

The health care legislation that Congress enacted earlier this year, contrary to much of today’s overheated rhetoric, does many things right. But it does almost nothing to reform medical malpractice laws. Lawmakers missed an important opportunity to shield from malpractice liability any doctors who followed evidence-based guidelines in treating their patients.

As President Obama noted in his speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009, too many doctors order unnecessary tests and treatments only because they believe it will protect them from a lawsuit. Instead, he said, “We need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, let doctors focus on practicing medicine and encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines.”

Why does this matter? Right now, health care is more evidence-free than you might think. And even where evidence-based clinical guidelines exist, research suggests that doctors follow them only about half of the time. One estimate suggests that it takes 17 years on average to incorporate new research findings into widespread practice. As a result, any clinical guidelines that exist often have limited impact.

How might we encourage doctors to adopt new evidence more quickly? Malpractice reform could help — possibly a lot.

The academic literature tends to play down the role of medical liability laws in driving up health care costs. Doctors themselves, however, almost universally state that malpractice statutes lead to extraneous testing and treatment. (Peter Orszag, NYT)

 

New strain of swine flu emerges: report

WASHINGTON - The H1N1 swine flu virus may be starting to mutate, and a slightly new form has begun to predominate in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, researchers reported on Thursday.

More study is needed to tell whether the new strain is more likely to kill patients and whether the current vaccine can protect against it completely, said Ian Barr of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia and colleagues.

"However, it may represent the start of more dramatic antigenic drift of the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) viruses that may require a vaccine update sooner than might have been expected," they wrote in the online publication Eurosurveillance.

It is possible it is both more deadly and also able to infect people who have been vaccinated, they said. (Reuters)

 

Oregon Public Health office decides it's time to study health effects of wind turbines

Oregon has boosted wind energy projects with a vengeance in recent years, adopting a renewable power standard and tax breaks that have helped spread wind farms across the state's northern reaches and into eastern Oregon.

Now comes the Oregon Public Health office, which announced Thursday that it's embarking on a public health assessment of wind farms, kicking off with three "listening sessions" next month in LaGrande, Pendleton and Arlington to hear residents' health concerns tied to the spinning blades.

The health issues are part of a broader backlash in Oregon and nationwide from critics who complain of negative impacts on scenery, property values, wildlife and tourism.

The growing number of wind farms has led to more complaints about their health effects, said Sujata Joshi, an epidemiologist in the environmental public health office. Health concerns raised to date focus on noise and vibration generated by the huge turbines. (Scott Learn, The Oregonian)

 

Polite way of saying "our previous guesses were really wrong": Plants Play Larger Role Than Thought in Cleaning up Air Pollution

Chemicals known as oxygenated volatile organic compounds (oVOCs) affect environment, human health

October 21, 2010
Vegetation plays an unexpectedly large role in cleansing the atmosphere, a new study finds.

The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., uses observations, gene expression studies, and computer modeling to show that deciduous plants absorb about a third more of a common class of air-polluting chemicals than previously thought.

The new study, results of which are being published this week in Science Express, was conducted with co-authors from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Arizona. It was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), NCAR's sponsor.

"Plants clean our air to a greater extent than we had realized," says NCAR scientist Thomas Karl, the lead author. "They actively consume certain types of air pollution." (NSF)

 

EMA: Hollywood hypocrites are saving the Earth

The Hollywood self-described "elite" are distributing the Ecoterrorist Media Awards (EMA) to each other. If your stomach is really strong, here is 18 minutes of some juicy stuff for you.

Please be careful when watching this video. If it makes you throw up, I apologize in advance. If you don't see any video, go to the individual page of this entry.

Needless to say, the abbreviation EMA was chosen to partially steal the fame of the Emmy: these green nuts are parasiting on the Emmy's achievements. They're parasiting on many other things, too.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

Paganism: The least of God's creatures has value

Global discussions on biodiversity are all very well, but most good conservation is done locally (Economist)

 

Sigh... Pay up or die

IN MOST intergovernmental conferences, the issues are not crucial or the agreements have been hammered out in advance. But the current diplomatic shindig, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), breaks the mould on both counts. At stake is the future of the planet and a deal looks nearly impossible. (Economist)

 

'Biodiversity': the new Big Lie

And so it begins. With all the shamelessness of a Goldman Sachser trading in his middle-aged wife for a hot, pouting twentysomething called Ivanka, the green movement is ditching “Climate Change”. The newer, younger, sexier model’s name? Biodiversity. (James Delingpole)

 

Efforts underway to rescue vulnerable bananas, giant swamp taro, other Pacific Island crops

Saving vulnerable indigenous crop diversity is key to developing crops in the future and promoting healthier diets

SYDNEY (22 October 2010)—Hoping to save the vulnerable varieties of bananas painted by the artist Paul Gauguin, rare coconuts, and 1,000 other unique varieties of staple fruit and vegetable crops across the Pacific, crop specialists from nine islands have launched a major effort to preserve the indigenous diversity of foods that are deemed critical to combating diet-related health problems.

"Through this project we will bring together 1,000 unique samples of Pacific crops for long-term conservation," said Dr. Mary Taylor, Manager of the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). "Crop collections in the Pacific are very vulnerable; all they need is a disease outbreak or a cyclone to destroy the entire collection. These collections are essential if we are going to maintain traditional Pacific crops for future generations."

For example, only a few of the varieties of the orange- and yellow-fleshed Fe'i banana, famously painted by former Pacific island resident Gauguin, are still found in farmers' fields. Studies by Dr. Lois Englberger from the Island Food Community of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia have shown that these bananas are an excellent source of beta-carotene, essential for the production of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency—causing blindness, greatly weakened immune systems and even death in infants—is now common in parts of the Pacific. Good beta-carotene levels in the diet also help protect against non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease that are now at epidemic rates throughout the Pacific Islands. (Burness Communications)

 

 

Pop Went the Climate Bubble

by Steve Milloy
October 21, 2010, Human Events

The New York Times’ editorial writers have apparently spent the last 11 months in a Rip Van Winkle-like state of unconsciousness when it comes to climate change.

Monday‘s lead editorial, “In Climate Denial Again,” railed about the 19 of 20 or so Republican Senate candidates who do not “accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.” The Times contrasted those deniers with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 report, the group’s “most definitive statement on the human contribution to climate change,” and a 2000 promise by George W. Bush to cap carbon dioxide emissions

But nowhere in the editorial did the Times recall Climategate or the other related global warming-related “gates” that the November 2009 scandal touched off—all of which, no doubt, helped make skeptics of 95% of Republican Senate candidates. So here’s a quick recap of what happened over the past year to the legendary scientific “consensus” on global warming.

Last November, a host of private and candid e-mails between climate alarmist-scientists stored at the University of East Anglia (UK) somehow made its way into the public domain and history. Like a shot heard around the world, the e-mails instantaneously validated what the climate skeptics had been saying for more than a decade about the alarmists — that they had cooked the books on global warming science and then conspired to silence and belittle their critics.

Most famously, the e-mails revealed that the alarmist community was aware and, indeed, even proud of the scientific fraud known as the “hockey stick” — a graph purporting to show that global temperatures had been stable over the last millennium and then had spiked upwards during the 20th Century, impliedly due to human activities. All this was expressed in an e-mail that featured the infamous Climategate phrase “Mike’s trick… to hide the decline.”

As it turns out, the reason a “trick” was needed to “hide the decline” was that, in reality, the hockey stick data used to show global temperatures spiking during the 20th Century actually showed a decline in the later part of the 20th Century — the precise opposite phenomena that the alarmists claimed to have occurred. But the inconvenient data was intentionally deleted and replaced with other, more cooperative data.

This fraud is what prompted Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli to launch an investigation into whether Virginia taxpayers were defrauded by hockey stick inventor and former University of Virginia researcher Michael Mann.

Perhaps the real significance of Climategate is that it opened the floodgates of pent-up global skepticism. Climategate was followed in rapid succession by glacier-gate, rainforest-gate, Pachauri-gate and NASA-gate.

Glacier-gate exposed the much-repeated and IPCC-official falsehood that global warming was going to cause the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035. This myth was used by Sen. John Kerry to whip up frenzy about Himalayan melting leading to regional water shortages and, ultimately, war between India and Pakistan.

As it turns out though, there never was any scientific study or evidence that the glaciers were going anywhere soon. The IPCC claim about the glaciers was based on a mere 1998 telephone interview with an obscure Indian scientist that was reported in the New Scientist magazine, which by the way, is not anywhere close to a peer-reviewed science journal.

Amazon-gate involved another IPCC claim that global warming was going to destroy 40% of the Amazon rainforest. Once again the sourcing of the factoid was dubious. It came from a report put together by the World Wildlife Fund, a radical green activist group. The report had not been independently peer-reviewed or validated.

Glacier-gate and Amazon-gate opened up the IPCC and its chief Rajendra Pachauri to a great deal of criticism and made Pachauri vulnerable to inquiries about his various conflicts of interest.

Though he positioned himself as the impartial head of the Nobel Peace prize winning IPCC, in reality Pachauri has had ties to many energy companies, including companies that planned on profiting from carbon trading. Reminiscent of another major UN scandal — oil-for-food — Pachauri-gate helps explain how glacier-gate and Amazon-gate happened.

The still ongoing NASA-gate involves the systematic distortion of global temperature readings by the U.S. government. As revealed by a team of skeptics riding the Climategate wave, NASA researchers were exposed as improperly manipulating temperature data to produce claims such as “2005 was the warmest year on record.”

The researchers showed how NASA had been gradually trimming the number of temperature stations (from about 6,000 in the 1970s to about 1,000 now) and then averaging temperature data in such a way as to produce synthetically warmer temperatures. The 2005-warmest-temperature-claim was, in fact, based on a temperature “data base” that had no original temperature data.

A fascinating aspect the past year’s meltdown in climate alarmism is that most of the facts underlying the developments weren’t newly discovered — at least to climate skeptics.

Glacier-gate, for example, was flagged at my web site JunkScience.com in 1998 when the claim was first made. The hockey stick had been publicly exposed and debunked in 2006, including in congressional hearings and by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council. NASA’s skewing of temperature data was also a familiar topic of concern among skeptics.

Climategate was the straw that broke the alarmists’ back. The rapid-fire succession of glacier-gate, Amazon-gate and Pachauri-gate left global warming alarmism reeling. It now seems that the deniers are those who insist that Climategate and its progeny have not smashed the public confidence in the 50-year-old climate alarmism hypothesis.

But there is one lesson in physical science that the New York Times and its fellow alarmists will learn when they wake up from their stupor of denial — it takes a lot less time to pop a bubble that it does to create one.

Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a new book from Regnery Publishing.

 

Morning Bell: Renewable Electricity Standards Kill Jobs Too

Cap and trade legislation is dead. The left abandoned the policy this summer when it became clear it was a liability. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) told Politico: “You can’t use cap and trade anymore because it is like manure on the trough. It’s defined, and people are opposed to it.” But that doesn’t mean the left has abandoned plans to hike up our nation’s energy costs in a vain attempt to save the world. All they did was pick a new a set of government mandates and repackage it as Renewable Electricity Standards (RES). Don’t be fooled. The goal (reducing emissions) and mechanism (raising energy prices) are still the same. As is the result: millions of lost jobs at a time when unemployment already is hovering around 10%.

According to a Financial Times/Harris survey conducted this month, most Americans favor an expansion of renewable energy. But that support is very weak. When asked if they would be willing to pay as little as 5% more for electricity, only 32% of Americans answered yes. On the other hand, a full 57% of Americans said they would be opposed to paying for more than a 5% increase in electricity prices for renewable energy. And that is where the left’s RES dreams hit cold hard economic reality. Here are the prices that President Barack Obama’s  Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects for various sources of electricity per megawatt hour in 2016 (in 2008 dollars):

• Conventional coal power: $78.10
• Onshore wind power: $149.30
• Offshore wind power: $191.10
• Thermal solar power: $256.60
• Photo-voltaic solar power: $396.10

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Chunk It or Chuck It?

by Marita Noon
21 October 2010 @ 3:26 pm

Following the demise of cap and trade, a key initiative touted during his campaign, President Obama has admitted defeat on his proposed climate change legislation. Two main problems exist. First America’s citizens are fearful of his plans to “fundamentally change America.” Then, the topic has been in the public debate for the two years of attempted passage and people have come to see it as a hidden tax. At a time when the country is in an economic war, people know we can ill-afford additional costs.

After Harry Reid announced that cap and trade is dead, the President has begun talking about doing the same basic legislation in “chunks“-think bits and pieces that will slip through unnoticed by…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Saving the Polar Bear or Obama’s CO2 Agenda?

by William Yeatman
21 October 2010 @ 4:32 pm

This afternoon I attended an informative panel, “Saving the Polar Bear or Obama’s CO2 Agenda?,” on how the Endangered Species Act is easily manipulated by environmentalist lawyers intent on gumming up economic activity. The panel was videotaped, so you can see it for yourself at the Heritage Foundation’s website. If, however, you don’t have an hour, then here are the highlights:

Robert Gordon of the Heritage Foundation cited the Iowa Pleistocene snail. Seemingly, the snail is a smashing success story. It was listed as an endangered species in 1978, and after implementing protections, the snail recovered. Indeed, it far-exceeded the criteria first set out to de-list. Nonetheless, the Obama administration upgraded its peril. Why? Because, the Obama administration says, the snail…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

New film reveals the hypocrisy of celebrity director/environmentalist James Cameron

Written by Ann McElhinney

James Cameron is still hiding and refusing to debate Global warming.

But that doesn't stop him from wanting to tell the rest of what to do.

Last March Cameron said he wanted to call the "deniers" out to a high noon debate and he even invited me to a debate in Aspen. Cameron kept putting barriers in the way, but even when I agreed to all his conditions he bailed out at the last minute.

He may be scared to debate, but he is not scared to spend money so that others can hear about his opinions.  And he is not afraid to spend money to tell the rest of us we have to live with less.

Cameron has just given $1m to help defeat California's Prop23 which will overturn the Global Warming Bill. If Cameron succeeds and Prop 23 is defeated energy bills will go up - prices will increase and yet more jobs will flee the state.

Cameron has already told us that we are "going to have to live with less" but it seems that living for less is just for us and not for him.

Nothing has or will change in James Cameron's lifestyle.

To see just how much of a "Prop 23 hypocrite" James Cameron is watch the video.

(Not Evil Just Wrong)

 

Propaganda not working? Study shows global warming not so hot with America

A study conducted by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies tested a sample of 2,030 Americans from across the country on their knowledge of climate change. The results, which were announced last week, reveal that only 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, with just 57 percent knowing the basics of the greenhouse effect. The results will be used to help various organizations, such as museums or government agencies, plan better global warming outreach efforts, said Anthony Leiserowitz, the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and a research scientist at the School of Forestry. (Yale Daily News)

 

Nature's Muddled Views on Science and the Media

Nature has an editorial that reflects some muddled thinking about public debates that invoke science. Here is an excerpt:
There is more to communication of uncertainty than tone and content — the audience must also be considered, which brings us to the BBC. Like the IPCC, the BBC is an easy target for critics, who leap on claimed examples of bias and errors of judgement. And, like the IPCC, the BBC has launched a review of its procedures, in its case, the impartiality and accuracy of its science coverage. All radio, television and online content is under scrutiny, but it seems likely that the review will address news coverage in particular, and, within that, climate change. (BBC insiders think that complaints from climate sceptics prompted the review.)

The terms of reference for the review define science as “statements, research findings or other claims made by scientists”. In reality, perhaps the most common complaint from scientists about the corporation's coverage of global warming is the exposure handed to sceptical non-scientists, such as former UK chancellor Nigel Lawson. This is the source of the long-standing 'false balance' problem. The BBC Trust, which is running the review, should take a stricter line here. If BBC staff want to use non-experts to criticize widely accepted science, they must explain this lack of expertise to the audience, and why the BBC has invited them to participate. Too many of those responsible for news and current affairs at the BBC, and across other media, consider themselves primarily in the entertainment business. It is generally not a lack of scientific understanding by reporters that produces poor science content, as often alleged, but that straight news coverage of science is often thought to make for poor entertainment.
Nature misses a central point that the BBC appears to understand, specifically, that scientific debates are not ultimately about science, but embedded in a broader political debate.  The BBC's terms of reference for the review states:
It will assess news and factual output that refers to scientific findings, particularly where the science is itself controversial and where it relates to public policy and political controversy. "Science" in this context will be defined to include not just the natural sciences but also aspects of technology, medicine and the environment that entail statements, research findings or other claims made by scientists.
By this definition, any claim made by a politician such as Lord Lawson is not "science."  Rather it is politics, and politicians of all persuasions invoke science to justify their political views.  To expect that the BBC would add a disclaimer to any utterance by a non-scientist who invokes science in political debate that calls attention to their qualifications to issue such an utterance is nonsensicle.

Now, when the BBC engages competing experts to address factual disputes, should the BBC be in the business of assessing their expertise?  This too is problematic.

Here is an example:  Last February I appeared on BBC Newsnight with Chris Field to discuss the IPCC's misrepresentation of the science of disasters and climate change.  Should the BBC have pointed out to its audience that Prof. Field, while widely respected in his own field, has absolutely no expertise in disasters and climate change and that his appearance on the show was simply a function of his role as an official in the IPCC?  In other words, he was there to mount a public relations defense, as he was not scientifically qualified to actually engage the substance as an expert.  Following Nature's logic the BBC should have warned its audience that there was only one person in that debate who had published in the area being debated.  Silly, huh?

The scientific community too often takes the public to be fools and characterizes the media as incompetent.  The result of this orientation is to demand that the public be protected from hearing certain views, with the gatekeepers the scientists themselves.  As such debates are ultimately about politics, such a role would place scientists in the authoritarian position of determining who gets to speak (or at least how those allowed to speak are portrayed) on important public issues.  

When politicians make political claims justified by appeals to science of any sort, a responsible media will evaluate those claims by calling upon relevant experts.  The role of the media is not to evaluate the legitimacy of politicians to participate in public debate based on the quality of their judgments (if so, public debate might suddenly become very quiet;-). Arguably the media has erred on the side of not challenging certain claims made in political debate, hence the current BBC review. Nature has little to complain about.

The scientific community, particularly as related to climate change, continues to struggle with an authoritarian impulse, characterized by continued efforts to serve as gatekeepers to public debate and efforts to delegitimize views that they disagree with.  The reality is that public opinion on climate change is plenty strong enough for action (the UK has the strongest national legislation for emissions reduction of any nation), and over the long term, the media has done a good job covering climate change.  In fact, if the media has made mistakes in the past, it has been in being too deferential to those in the scientific community who seek to limit debate and discussion.  Nature's current views represent steps back rather than forward. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Over 90 nations recorded all time high temp this year: Al Gore

Expressing concern over implication of climate change, former US vice-president Al Gore today said more than 90 countries had recorded all time high temperature this summer.

"We are seeing many consequences due to climate change... as a result more than 90 countries recorded all time high temperature this summer", he said.

He was delivering the key thematic oration titled 'Thinking Green' during the inauguration of 20th World Congress of the World Society of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons. (ANI)

Um... Huh?

 

<GUFFAW!> Warmer Arctic Probably Permanent, Scientists Say

The signs of climate change were all over the Arctic this year -- warmer air, less sea ice, melting glaciers -- which probably means this weather-making region will not return to its former, colder state, scientists reported on Thursday.

In an international assessment of the Arctic, scientists from the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark and other countries said, "Return to previous Arctic conditions is unlikely." (Reuters)

 

Related to this, maybe? Barack Obama to review polar bears

A federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to review whether polar bears are endangered under US law.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wants the Interior Department to clarify a decision by the administration of the former President George W. Bush that polar bears were merely threatened rather than in imminent danger of extinction.

Dirk Kempthorne, the former Interior Secretary, said in May 2008 that the bears were on the way to extinction because global warming was causing the rapid disappearance of the Arctic Sea ice upon which they depend. But he stopped short of declaring them endangered, which had it been declared would have increased protections for the bear and make oil and gas exploration more difficult.

Along with the listing, Mr Kempthorne created a "special rule" stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean. (TDT)

 

R i g h t . . . Could barbecues help fight climate change?

Durwood Zaelke's emergency plan for tackling climate change ranges from the Montreal protocol to carbon-negative barbecues

Barbecues that remove CO2 from the air could play a role in the fight against climate change according to Durwood Zaelke, a leading expert on rapid responses to global warming.

This year's outdoor cooking season might be over, but Zaelke suggested at last week's 10:10 talk that from next summer consumers should start demanding barbecues that do their bit for the planet by generating rather than consuming charcoal – or biochar.

Zaelke's idea is based on a stove designed for use in the developing world by Rob Flanagan. The stove creates heat by turning wood or other biomass into charcoal, a process that releases combustible gases.

Once the cooking is over, most of the carbon from the fuel remains in the stove in the form of charcoal. This can then be mixed in with soil, a process that sequesters the carbon for thousands of years and boosts crop productivity. (Guardian)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Oct. 21st 2010

Al Gore is nervous about a vote in California, aliens will save us from global warming and the awful truth about the cost of renewable energy hits home in Spain, Germany and Australia. (Daily Bayonet)

 

La Nina To Build, Dictate U.S. Winter Weather: NOAA

A strengthening La Nina weather phenomenon will grip the United States this winter, bringing warmer, drier weather across the South and cooler, moist conditions in the far northern and western parts of the country, government forecasters said on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a "moderate to strong" La Nina looks to become one of the strongest on record throughout the winter -- making it the most dominant factor influencing weather across the country.

"I do believe that really the story of this winter is likely to be the dry conditions across the South," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

"It's something we've seen very consistently with many of these La Ninas in the past," he told reporters, adding the dry weather could set the stage for drought or near drought-like conditions early next year. (Reuters)

Hmm... ocean cycles phases are not in the same configuration as they have been while we have been observing the El Niño Southern Oscillation. We really don't know what to expect but Australia has certainly been experiencing wetter than expected conditions. Will the American South be dry this winter? Maybe... but predictions are really hard to make, especially about the future ;-)

 

To a Geologist, "The Past is Key to the Future."

Written by Steve Goddard

In order to understand recent behavior of polar ice and have some visibility into the future, we need to look at it from an historical perspective. A good place to start the investigation is Greenland, which is often described by official sources as experiencing a meltdown. The BBC has famously warned us "If the ice cap were to completely disappear, global sea levels would rise by 6.5m (21 feet)."

Read more... (SPPI)

 

The National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Decadal Climate Predictions Without An Ability To Verify Their Skill

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research [UCAR] has released a press statement titled

Climate change: Drought may threaten much of globe within decades [h/t to Marcel Crok]

The press release starts with the text [highlight added]

The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai. The detailed analysis concludes that warming temperatures associated with climate change will likely create increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe in the next 30 years, possibly reaching a scale in some regions by the end of the century that has rarely, if ever, been observed in modern times.

Using an ensemble of 22 computer climate models and a comprehensive index of drought conditions, as well as analyses of previously published studies, the paper finds most of the Western Hemisphere, along with large parts of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia, may be at threat of extreme drought this century.

In contrast, higher-latitude regions from Alaska to Scandinavia are likely to become more moist.

Dai cautioned that the findings are based on the best current projections of greenhouse gas emissions. What actually happens in coming decades will depend on many factors, including actual future emissions of greenhouse gases as well as natural climate cycles such as El Niño.

The new findings appear this week as part of a longer review article in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor.

The press release is based on the paper

Aiguo Dai, 2010: Drought under global warming: a review. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/wcc.81

with the abstract [highlight added]

“This article reviews recent literature on drought of the last millennium, followed by an update on global aridity changes from 1950 to 2008. Projected future aridity is presented based on recent studies and our analysis of model simulations. Dry periods lasting for years to decades have occurred many times during the last millennium over, for example, North America, West Africa, and East Asia. These droughts were likely triggered by anomalous tropical sea surface temperatures (SSTs), with La Niña-like SST anomalies leading to drought in North America, and El-Niño-like SSTs causing drought in East China. Over Africa, the southward shift of the warmest SSTs in the Atlantic and warming in the Indian Ocean are responsible for the recent Sahel droughts. Local feedbacks may enhance and prolong drought. Global aridity has increased substantially since the 1970s due to recent drying over Africa, southern Europe, East and South Asia, and eastern Australia. Although El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), tropical Atlantic SSTs, and Asian monsoons have played a large role in the recent drying, recent warming has increased atmospheric moisture demand and likely altered atmospheric circulation patterns, both contributing to the drying. Climate models project increased aridity in the 21st century over most of Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East, most of the Americas, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Regions like the United States have avoided prolonged droughts during the last 50 years due to natural climate variations, but might see persistent droughts in the next 20–50 years. Future efforts to predict drought will depend on models’ ability to predict tropical SSTs.”

This UCAR press release and the article itself are not scientifically robust. Buried within this material are the significant cavaets:

1.  “Dai cautioned that the findings are based on the best current projections of greenhouse gas emissions. What actually happens in coming decades will depend on many factors, including actual future emissions of greenhouse gases as well as natural climate cycles such as El Niño.”

2. “Future efforts to predict drought will depend on models’ ability to predict tropical SSTs.”

In other words, there is NO way to assess the skill of these models are predicting drought as they have not yet shown any skill in SST predictions on time scales longer than a season, nor natural climate cycles such as El Niño [or the PDO, the NAO, ect].

Funding of multi-decadal regional climate predictions by the National Science Foundation which cannot be verified in terms of accuracy is not only a poor use of tax payer funds, but is misleading policymakers and others on the actual skill that exists in predicting changes in the frequency of drought in the future. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Evidence is weak for tropical rainforest 65 million years ago in Africa's low-latitudes

Paleobotanical data for Africa are generally meager and uneven for the Cenozoic

The landscape of Central Africa 65 million years ago was a low-elevation tropical belt, but the jury is still out on whether the region's mammals browsed and hunted beneath the canopy of a lush rainforest.

The scientific evidence for a tropical rainforest at that time is weak and far from convincing, says paleobotanist Bonnie F. Jacobs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Fossil pollen from Central and West Africa provide no definitive evidence for communities of rainforest trees at the beginning of the Cenozoic, says Jacobs, an expert in the paleobotany of Africa soon after dinosaurs had gone extinct. It was the start of the age of mammals, and Africa was largely an island continent. (Southern Methodist University)

 

French Strikes and US Gas Prices

My reaction to the ongoing refinery strikes and fuel depot blockades in France was probably best described as bewilderment, until it occurred to me that they could have a significant effect on what consumers elsewhere pay for gasoline and diesel, including here in the US. [Read More] (Geoffrey Styles, ET)

 

Free Market Coalition Urges Congress to Let Ethanol Tax Breaks and Trade Protection Expire

by Marlo Lewis
21 October 2010 @ 1:50 pm

Yesterday on this site I explained why a “Do Nothing Congress on Ethanol Would Do a Lot of Good.” I also mentioned that today, a coalition of free market groups would be publishing an open letter advising Congress to let the clock run out on tax favoritism and trade protection for corn ethanol.

The groups issuing the joint letter are the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Freedom Action, the American Conservative Union, Freedom Works, National Center for Public Policy Research, and National Taxpayers Union.

CEI’s press release appears below. It includes commentary by yours truly on Obama Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement of new biofuel initiatives at a press conference this morning, a link to the coalition letter, and a link to video excerpts of a speech in 2006…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Argh! U.S. offers $1.5 Billion Aid For Biofuel Production

The government is offering more than $1.5 billion in assistance, from field to filling station, to bring next-generation biofuels to market, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Thursday.

Vilsack said the aid would assure renewable fuel consumption reaches 36 billion gallons by 2022, with the bulk of it coming from non-food sources such as grass, algae or woody plants. (Reuters)

 

In Honor of Ethanol, I Will Recyle . . . a Blog Post

by Marlo Lewis
21 October 2010 @ 4:09 pm

At today’s press conference announcing new Obama administration biofuel initiatives (see here, here, and here), Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned that USDA has a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration to develop bio-based alternatives to jet fuel. Vilsack’s press release describes the MOU as follows:

The Secretary also announced jointly with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a five year agreement to develop aviation fuel from forest and crop residues and other “green” feedstocks in order to decrease dependence on foreign oil and stabilize aviation fuel costs. Under the partnership, the agencies will bring together their experience in research, policy analysis and air transportation sector dynamics to assess the availability of different kinds of feedstocks that could be processed by…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Klaus: Billions 'being wasted on green technologies'

London, Oct 20 (CTK) - Britain wastes billions of pounds on wind parks and solar panels because politicians do not dare to challenge scientists' exaggerated claims about global warming, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said in an interview for yesterday's issue of British daily The Times.

Klaus said British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron makes a mistake when he says he will be heading the "greenest" government in history.

Klaus said Britain's planned investment of 100 billion pounds into seaside wind plants is exorbitantly high and will raise energy prices.

Klaus, whom The Times labels the highest-placed global warming sceptic in the world, said this is wasting Britain's as well as his money. (Prague Daily Monitor)

 

Hmm... Value-added sulfur scrubbing

Converting acid rain chemicals into useful products

Power plants that burn fossil fuels remain the main source of electricity generation across the globe. Modern power plants have scrubbers to remove sulfur compounds from their flue gases, which has helped reduce the problem of acid rain. Now, researchers in India have devised a way to convert the waste material produced by the scrubbing process into value-added products. They describe details in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution. (Inderscience Publishers)

Given that "acid rain" is another problem that wasn't then recovering some value is at least a step in the right direction.

 

Peter Foster: The solar robber barons

Spain’s move to subsidize solar proved utterly unsustainable

Some foreign — and even domestic — solar equipment manufacturers are complaining that Ontario’s buy-local policies will cost investment and jobs. It takes some gall to criticize dumb and damaging initiatives when your existence depends on them.

A group of photovoltaic producers — led by Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. — is complaining that to receive Ontario’s super-premium rates for solar energy, projects must have a 60% local content. This, bleat the solar robber barons, is bad for the economy!

Read More » (Financial Post)

 

Free-Market Solar: The Real Opportunity (this solar executive tells the feds and Arizona to cool the subsidies)

by David Bergeron
October 21, 2010

[Editor note: David Bergeron is president of SunDanzer Development, Inc., a solar energy company located in Tucson. His first post at MasterResource was titled Economic/Environmental Assessment of Grid-Tiered Photovoltaics: Arizona Lessons for the U.S.  More information on Mr. Bergeron and SunDanzer is provided at the end of this post.]

It’s Saturday. I’m testing a new solar powered vaccine refrigerator that uses ice packs rather than batteries to store energy and maintain cold temperatures. This is a key component of the distribution chain for vaccines and part of a global effort to eradicate polio and other preventable diseases.

Solar energy is my passion, field of study, and occupation. It started when I was 13 years old, a time of the Arab oil embargo and gasoline lines at the pump. Only later did I realize that the long lines were caused by misguided government price controls, not a tiring mineral-resource base.

Today, our government is again engaged in misguided energy activism, policies that mandate inappropriate solutions to real and imagined problems.

Such is the case with grid-tied solar panels, an energy alternative which fails to effectively address either energy security or environmental concerns. Although unintended by state and federal lawmakers, preferences and mandates for political correct energies will ultimately stifle creativity and generate false solutions to our energy dilemma.

Sunny Arizona–Cost-Prohibitive Solar

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) electric panels are far too expensive to provide a sustainable energy alternative to homes and businesses already connected to the electric utility grid.  The on-grid solar industry and associated jobs are artificial and only exist because of special government favor.

The solar industry today is a bubble ready to burst. It is similar in many ways to the housing market bubble created by easy mortgages enabled by government favor.  When the subsidies end, the solar bubble will burst, and much of the industry and jobs therein will vanish overnight. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

 

MRSA superbug much more common in US than UK

NEW YORK - The antibiotic-mocking MRSA bacteria seem to be thriving better in the US than in the UK, according to new government data.

They show Americans are more than six times as likely as Britons to contract the superbug in the community, although rates of hospital infections are about the same.

"This is the first time we compared rates of MRSA bloodstream infections between US and England," said Dr. Fernanda Lessa, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "So, the findings are new to us."

That's despite the fact that MRSA -- or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- was first discovered in the UK and didn't make it across the Atlantic until several years later.

It is estimated that, in 2005, it caused severe infections in nearly 95,000 Americans, killing more than 18,500 of them.

According to the new government statistics, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, about 29 per 100,000 people in the US contract a MRSA bloodstream infection every year, compared to 11 Britons.

And when looking only at infections presumed to be acquired outside of hospitals, the difference was even bigger: 22 cases per 100,000 in the US and 3.5 in the UK.

"It underlines once again that MRSA is a problem that we need to take more seriously," said journalist Maryn McKenna, who published a book, SUPERBUG, about the bug earlier this year.

The question is, why the big difference?

The study tapped into data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the UK Health Protection Agency, and differences between the two surveillance systems could be involved. (Reuters Health)

 

"Vice" and "virtue" products? Oh dear... Could Ditching The Debit Card Help Dieters?

People who are struggling to lose weight should start paying for their supermarket shopping in cash, a new study suggests.

The diet tip stems from a study that found shoppers who used a credit or debit card to pay had more junk food in their trolleys than cash shoppers.

According to the report's authors, the pain of paying in cash can curb impulsive urges to buy treats.

"Credit card payments, in contrast, are relatively painless and weaken impulse control," they said.

The study, from the academics at America's Cornell and New York State universities, looked at the behaviour of 1,000 individuals shopping at the same store over a period of six months.

Around half of the shopping trips involved cash payments, while the other half, which were larger, average spends, were paid for by card.

When paying for their groceries by card, shoppers spent significantly more on impulsive items classified as "vice products" than when they paid by cash.

Meanwhile, the proportion of so-called "virtue products", or the essentials they set out for, remained the same. (Hazel Baker, Sky News Online)

 

Mounting research shows increased health risks from volcanic air pollution

Nevada and Hawaii researchers complete study of Kilauea health clinic records

RENO, Nev. – Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii’s big island has been erupting on its east rift since 1983. But, in March 2008, an additional eruption vent opened at the volcano’s summit, resulting in about triple the amount of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) emissions drifting to the local community of Ka’u, raising health concerns over the risks associated with exposure to “vog,” as the islanders refer to this volcanic air pollution. (UNR)

 

New Method Yields More Rice With Less Water: Oxfam

Rice farmers could boost their yields by 50 percent with a new method that uses less water Oxfam America said on Wednesday as climate change and drought threaten the staple crop.

Growing rice -- considered the major calorie source for about half the world's population -- is water-intensive, accounting for as much as one-third of the planet's annual freshwater use, said Oxfam, a development group.

Rice farmers normally rely on flooding their fields to keep seeds covered in water throughout the growing season.

But the new method, known as the System of Rice Intensification, or SRI, involves planting seedlings farther apart, keeping fields moist instead of flooding them, transplanting seedlings to fields earlier and weeding manually, Oxfam said in a report.

Farmers using SRI in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and India have been able to produce as much as 50 percent more rice with less water, and often with less labor, said the report, written with U.S.-based nonprofit Africare and the Worldwide Fund for Nature. (Reuters)

 

 

California's Prop 23: The Anti-Job Killer

If approved by the California electorate in two weeks, Proposition 23 would suspend the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 ("AB32") until the state unemployment rate declines to 5.5% or less for four consecutive quarters.

AB32 mandates a reduction in California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, or about 25% to 30%. That goal can be achieved only by reducing aggregate energy consumption in the state, and to a small extent by substituting "green" power in place of fossil fuels.

All government regulation creates economic effects, whether the regulations are beneficial on net or not. One central impact of AB32 will be on employment. If that impact is small, then the argument in favor of Proposition 23 would be weakened. If the employment effect is large, then the opposite would be true.

A new statistical analysis published by the Pacific Research Institute casts considerable light on this question. In brief: Implementation of AB32 would reduce annual employment growth by 1 percentage point between 2010 and 2020, and the employment loss in 2020 would equal about 5% of the working-age population. (Benjamin Zycher, IBD)

 

California Vote Has Canadian Green Partners On Edge

Canadian provinces moving to cut their greenhouse gas emissions are facing a setback if California, a key partner, decides the battle against global warming should wait for better economic times.

British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario plan to launch a carbon cap-and-trade market with California and New Mexico in 2012 -- a market scheduled to be joined later by Manitoba and at least four additional U.S. states.

But Californians will vote in November on a ballot proposition to put the state's climate agenda on hold for years, and the Republican candidate in the gubernatorial race promises a pause as well.

California is the political force behind the Western Climate Initiative, a group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces that plan to set up a carbon trading market, and is by far the group's largest economy. So a step back by California would have both an economic and psychological impact.

"Losing California would be a major blow to the WCI and possibly to carbon trading systems elsewhere in North America ... and quite possibly to the developing international carbon market," Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller's office warned in a report this week. (Reuters)

Good chance to kill or at least seriously weaken all this misanthropic crap. YES on Proposition 23!

 

Carbon Tax in U.K. Will Cost Tesco Plc, Cambridge University $5.5 Billion

Tesco Plc and Cambridge University will be among 5,000 U.K. organizations forced to pay 3.5 billion pounds ($5.5 billion) in fees for emitting carbon as part of plans to balance the U.K. government budget.

The Treasury said today the money, generated from sales of Carbon Reduction Commitment permits sold to organizations ranging from supermarkets to hospitals and universities, will go to the government instead of being redistributed back to the participants of the program.

“The big shock to U.K. industry will be the change in policy on the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme," Roman Webber, head of the U.K. energy practice at the accountancy firm Deloitte LLP, said in a statement. This ‘‘may turn a previously revenue neutral scheme into a carbon tax." (Bloomberg)

As if anyone seriously thought politicians could resist the revenue stream from so ubiquitous a tax as one on energy... How naive could people be?

 

IPCC signs up for reform

Panel agrees new guidelines and management restructure, with Pachauri still at the helm.

It has been a hellish year for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its beleaguered chairman, economist Rajendra Pachauri.

In late 2009, as the world pored over e-mails taken from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit in Norwich, UK, the IPCC was rocked by revelations about mistakes in its most recent climate assessment report. A storm of criticism over Pachauri's handling of the affair followed, along with allegations of conflicts of interest that put him under intense pressure to quit.

At the end of the IPCC's plenary meeting last week in Busan, South Korea, however, Pachauri was still firmly in charge. No attempt was made to force him to step down, says Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and co-chair of the IPCC's working group on climate-change mitigation. But he is on notice, Edenhofer adds. "Governments made it very clear that they expect him to make changes," says Edenhofer — both to improve the IPCC's climate assessments and to foster greater public and political confidence in its work. (Nature News)

 

Vaclav Klaus: An anti-human ideology

earthhands_FT

Global warming may just be statistical fluctuations

By Václav Klaus

The global warming dispute starts with a doctrine which claims that the rough coexistence of climate changes, of growing temperatures and of man-made increments of CO2 in the atmosphere — and what is more, only in a relatively short period of time — is a proof of a causal relationship between these phenomena. To the best of my knowledge there is no such relationship between them. It is, nevertheless, this claim that forms the basis for the doctrine of environmentalism.

It is not a new doctrine. It has existed under various headings and in various forms and manifestations for centuries, always based on the idea that the starting point of our thinking should be the Earth, the planet or nature, not man or mankind. It has always been accompanied by the plan that we have to come back to the original state of the Earth, unspoiled by us, humans. The adherents of this doctrine have always considered us, the people, a foreign element. They forget that it doesn’t make sense to speak about the world without people because there would be no one to speak. If we take the reasoning of the environmentalists seriously, we find that theirs is an anti-human ideology.

Read More » (Financial Post)

 

Czech president: Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture

This blog entry is just a collection of links related to Václav Klaus's talk in the U.K. where he was invited by Nigel Lawson's and Benny Peiser's foundation.

See:

The Climate Change Doctrine is Part of Environmentalism, Not of Science (full transcript)
President Václav Klaus at the GWPF Inaugural Annual Lecture: quasi-live blogging (Omniclimate, Maurizio)

Klaus: Billions wasted for new technologies (The Times)

Klaus denounces global warming dogma (Prague Daily Monitor)

Climate change is no threat (Reuters)
(The Reference Frame)

 

Climategate and the American Physical Society

Professor Hal Lewis's resignation from the American Physical Society challenges the scientific — as opposed to the merely politically expedient — basis of the "consensus" on global warming. (Charlie Martin, PJM)

 

Pity... Environment: Major projects to tackle climate change escape the knife

Major programmes and projects to tackle climate change under the remit of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) were left largely untouched. (Independent)

 

Oh... New findings could sway thought on climate change

A newly published paper written by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher and his team could influence the way scientists think about global warming and its effects.

Researchers found that a major pulse of ancient global warming may have been more complex than scientists previously believed. This pulse of warming may have been preceded or even caused by an earlier pulse of warming, said Ross Secord, assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Nebraska State Museum.

"That has implications for climate models designed to predict the consequences of future global warming," he said. (PhysOrg.com)

Models aren't and can't be designed to predict the consequences of future global warming for the simple reason we can not and probably never will be able to predict future climate. Sheesh!

 

HARRIS: Time to get real about climate change

10/10/10 and 350.org based on urban legend, not science

"We are very energized and enthusiastic about millions of people coming together and making this the biggest day of climate action ever," said a young German activist wearing a 350.org T-shirt at Berlin's 10/10/10 demonstrations on Sunday. Campaigners around her, and indeed, "people at 7,347 events in 188 countries," according to organizers, danced, sang, planted trees and picked up garbage as part of the massive worldwide 10/10/10 Global Work Party.

What's that all about? And what is so special about 350?

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, explained: "It's the boundary condition for a habitable planet. We're already past it. We're at 390 parts per million [of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere]. That's why the Arctic is melting. That's why Australia is burning up ... . If we put very much more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll pass the kind of tipping points ... that mean we'll never be able to get back there, even if we stopped driving every car and powering every factory. ...We're fighting to keep real collapse at bay."

Mr. McKibben asserts that only misguided "climate change deniers" disagree with the urgent need to reduce humanity's CO2 emissions to avoid climate catastrophe.

But he is wrong.

First, no rational scientist denies that climate changes. As professor Tim Patterson of the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa testified before a parliamentary committee, "Based on the paleoclimatic data I and others have collected, it's obvious that climate is and always has been variable. In fact, the only constant about climate is change; it changes continually."

Scientists such as Mr. Patterson obviously would deny that they deny climate change - they are denial deniers.

If anyone could rationally be labeled a climate-change denier, it would be one of those who hold the absurd view that our climate was tranquil until we started to emit significant amounts of CO2. (Tom Harris, The Washington Times)

 

Ever more ridiculous.... Climate change could cost US Gulf Coast billions: study

WASHINGTON — The US Gulf Coast, battered by hurricanes and a devastating oil spill, faces cumulative losses of 350 billion dollars if it fails to address the effects of climate change, a new study said Wednesday.

The joint research by insurance firm Swiss Re and energy company Energy Corporation warns that Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama face annual losses of two to three percent of GDP by 2030 if they fail to act. (AFP)

 

Ah, climate change... is there anything it can't do? Bear attacks surge in Japan, climate change blamed

Bear attacks have shot up in Japan this year and sightings of the animals have spiked, a trend blamed on climatic changes and shifting land use patterns, officials and media reports said on Wednesday. (AFP)

 

Will this nonsense never end? US judge orders Obama administration to clarify polar bears' Bush-era 'endangered' status

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ordered the Obama administration on Wednesday to review whether polar bears, at risk because of global warming, are endangered under U.S. law.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wants the Interior Department to clarify a decision by the administration of former President George W. Bush that polar bears were merely threatened rather than in imminent danger of extinction.

Sullivan's request, made at a hearing Wednesday in federal court, keeps in place the 2008 declaration by the Bush administration.

Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said in May 2008 that the bears were on the way to extinction because of the rapid disappearance of the Arctic Sea ice upon which they depend. But he stopped short of declaring them endangered, which had it been declared would have increased protections for the bear and make oil and gas exploration more difficult.

Scientists predict sea ice will continue to melt because of global warming.

Along with the listing, Kempthorne created a "special rule" stating that the Endangered Species Act would not be used to set climate policy or limit greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming and melting ice in the Arctic Ocean.

The Obama administration upheld the Bush-era policy, declaring that the endangered species law cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by sources outside of the polar bears' habitat. If the bears are found to be endangered, however, that could open the door to using the Endangered Species Act to regulate greenhouse gases. (CP)

 

Besmirched

Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Sefan Rahmstorf have a silly letter in Nature in which they criticize Daniel Greenberg and Nature over his positive review of The Climate Fix.  This is the second try by activist climate scientists to get some sort of mileage out of the Greenberg review.  They write:

In our view, Daniel Greenberg's book review of 'The Climate Fix' by Roger Pielke Jr (Nature 467, 526527; 2010) does a disservice to your readership by besmirching the integrity of the climate-research community.

Nature should have pointed out to its readers that Greenberg has served as a round-table speaker and written a report (see http://go.nature.com/otwvz2) for the Marshall Institute (see http://go.nature.com/4u9ttd).
The relevance of Greenberg's minor interactions with the Marshall Institute to his review of my book is left for the reader to discern, but presumably it disqualifies him from something. If Mann et al. want to actually comment on my book, there are far more direct ways of doing so. I suspect that a critique of a review of my book is the closest that these activist scientists will get to actually engaging it.

In the letter, they also take issue with Greenberg's use of a quote from Steve Schneider.  They fail to mention that my book presents the full quote as well as Schneider's response.  For some odd reason Nature did not point out to its readers all of the organizations that Mann, Ehrlich and Rahmstorf have contributed to as speakers or report writers.  That would just be silly, wouldn't it? (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Climate could be even tipsier! Climate change may create tipping points for populations, not just species

Researchers measure survival, reproduction of thousands of arctic and alpine plants over 6 years

As Earth's climate warms, species are expected to shift their geographical ranges away from the equator or to higher elevations.

While scientists have documented such shifts for many plants and animals, the ranges of others seem stable. (NSF)

 

Measuring sea-level rise in the Falklands

Sea levels around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic have risen since the mid nineteenth century and the rate of sea-level rise has accelerated over recent decades, according to newly published research. The findings are as expected under global warming and consistent with observations elsewhere around the globe. (NERC)

They do eventually get around to mentioning: "Longer-term data from the Falklands, and from many other locations, are needed to establish whether the apparent acceleration in sea-level rise is due to increased global warming, or the result of some kind of decadal fluctuation."

 

In the virtual realm: Traveling by car increases global temperatures more than by plane, but only in long term

Driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air according to a new study. However, in the short run travelling by air has a larger adverse climate impact because airplanes strongly affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes. The study appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-weekly journal. (ACS)

 

Again in the virtual realm: Bangladesh, India Most At Risk From Climate Change

Bangladesh and India are the countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to an index on Wednesday that rates the Nordic region least at risk.

British consultancy Maplecroft said its rankings showed that several "big economies of the future" in Asia were among those facing the biggest risks from global warming in the next 30 years as were large parts of Africa. (Reuters)

It is true that significant cooling will harm low-income, population-dense countries far more than the relatively affluent developed countries but that isn't what they are talking about here.

 

New Paper “More Than CO2: A Broader Picture For Managing Climate Change And Variability To Avoid Ecosystem Collapse” By McAlpine Et Al 2010

We have a new paper, prepared under the leadership of Clive McAlpine of the University of Queensland, that has been accepted. It is

McAlpine, C.A., W.F. Laurance, J.G. Ryan, L. Seabrook, J.I. Syktus, A.E. Etter, P.M. Fearnside, P. Dargusch, and R.A. Pielke Sr. 2010: More than CO2: A broader picture for managing climate change and variability to avoid ecosystem collapse. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, in press.

The abstract reads

“Climate change policies currently focus on reducing the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but pay limited attention to feedbacks between the land surface and the climate system. Forests and woodlands play an important role in the climate system by buffering climate extremes, maintaining the hydrological cycle and sequestering carbon. To reduce the potential impact of climate variability and change on society and the environment, therefore, requires a broader focus of environmental sustainability and resilience that is underpinned by the restoration of feedbacks between vegetation and climate. We urge a stronger integration of land use and climate change policies, a virtual halt to all deforestation, and an acceleration of investment in strategic reforestation, especially in tropical and sub-tropical regions, supported by a comprehensive global forest monitoring program. Without these actions, the degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems will continue exacerbated by, and exacerbating, variability and changes in temperature, precipitation and extreme weather events.”

The conclusion reads

“The role of terrestrial ecosystems, especially forests and woodlands, in the climate debate has predominantly focused on their potential for carbon sequestration. We argue it is critical to adopt a broader perspective of the role of forests and other ecosystems in the climate debate, policies and actions. This requires global and regional climate policies which recognise the climate regulation function that forests and woodlands play through moderating regional climate variability, resisting abrupt change to existing climate regimes, as well as underpinning the hydrological cycle. This is especially important in the tropics and subtropics. Failure to acknowledge and adopt this broader perspective on dealing with the problem of climate change will result in sub-optimal solutions at the global scale and possible severe and irreversible damage at the regional scale.”

This is yet another paper that documents why we need a broader focus on the role of humans in the climate system than just the effects due to the radiative effect of added CO2. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Groups Sue BP For Harm To Endangered Gulf Wildlife

U.S. environmental groups filed a suit on Wednesday against British-based oil giant BP Plc saying the world's worst offshore spill inflicted "ongoing unlawful" harm on endangered wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

The suit is one of thousands of damages cases to stem from the spill from BP's blown-out undersea Macondo well, which between April and July dumped millions of gallons (liters) of oil into the sea, fouling coastlines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The well was capped in mid-July.

But while the bulk of the cases have been brought by affected individuals, like fishermen, hoteliers and companies, this one brought by conservation groups focuses on endangered sea turtles, whales, birds and Florida manatees.

The case was filed in federal court in Louisiana six months after the DeepWater Horizon rig explosion that triggered the spill. It says that these species were harmed by the leaked oil but also that oil in the ocean continues to do them harm. (Reuters)

 

Microbes may consume far more oil-spill waste than earlier thought

Study near Gulf of Mexico spill site finds surprisingly high methane uptake by microbes

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 20, 2010 -- Microbes living at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico may consume far more of the gaseous waste from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill than previously thought, according to research carried out within 100 miles of the spill site.

A paper on that research, conducted before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded six months ago today, will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Deep-Sea Research II. It describes the anaerobic oxidation of methane, a key component of the Gulf oil spill, by microbes living in seafloor brine pools.

"Because of the ample oil and gas reserves under the Gulf of Mexico, slow seepage is a natural part of the ecosystem," says Peter R. Girguis, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University. "Entire communities have arisen on the seafloor that depend on these seeps. Our analysis shows that within these communities, some microbes consume methane 10 to 100 times faster than we've previously realized." (Harvard)

 

About time... Clinton seems poised to approve TransCanada pipeline

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears poised to approve a controversial TransCanada pipeline carrying tar-sands-based crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Texas despite pushback from House Democrats and environmental groups. (E2 Wire)

 

E.ON shelves plans to build Kingsnorth coal plant

The energy firm has withdrawn from competition for the first CCS plant, saying the station would have been uneconomic to build (Guardian)

And so it would if strangled with CCS (which is the general idea in the first place).

 

Measuring changes in rock

Research presented in Albuquerque looks at effect of captured and stored carbon dioxide on minerals

WASHINGTON, D.C., (Oct. 20, 2010) -- The capture and storage of carbon dioxide in deep geologic formations, a strategy for minimizing the impacts of greenhouse gases on global warming, may currently be technologically feasible. But one key question that must be answered is the ability of subsurface materials to maintain their integrity in the presence of supercritical carbon dioxide -- a fluid state in which the gas is condensed at high temperature and pressure into a liquid. (AIP)

 

China Entering “Demand Super Cycle” for Coal

by William Yeatman
20 October 2010 @ 11:24 am

In a story today about the surging profits of Peabody Energy (a major American coal producer), Climatewire (subscription required) quoted Peabody Chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce as saying that coal is entering a “demand super cycle” due to exploding Chinese growth. According to Mr. Boyce, “China now forecasts that 290 gigawatts of coal-fueled generation will come online from 2011 to 2015.” He calls the demographic trends in China “overwhelming.”

Two quick snap responses:

There’s a silly meme being bandied about by the mainstream media that China is winning some sort of green energy great game with America. In fact, China is building two coal fired power plants every three weeks, while in the U.S., environmentalist lawyers recently celebrated the scuttling of 100…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

A “Do Nothing Congress” on Ethanol Would Do a Lot of Good

by Marlo Lewis
20 October 2010 @ 4:00 pm

Congress has a rare opportunity to shave $25-30 billion from the national debt, ease consumers’ pain at the pump, and scale back political manipulation of energy markets by literally doing nothing.

At the stroke of midnight on December 31 of this year, statutory authority for the 45¢ per gallon Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the 54¢ per gallon tariff on imported ethanol will expire.

For economic, humanitarian, and environmental reasons, Congress should sit back and let the grim policy reaper sweep these special-interest giveaways into history’s dustbin, as I explain this week on National Journal’s Energy Blog.

Tomorrow, at the National Press Club, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will discuss the Obama Administration’s “strategy” to grow the biofuel industry.

I’ve seen no inside…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Rent Seeking Begets More Rent Seeking

Rent Seeking Begets More Rent Seeking

by Brian McGraw
20 October 2010 @ 4:41 pm

The EPA recently approved a 50% increase in ethanol blends for cars manufactured after 2006, moving from E10 to E15. This means that gas stations are now free to offer E15 as well as E10 as options at the pump. It isn’t likely that many gas stations will be taking…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Well, gosh! Solar take-up to drive up power bills

DRAMATIC growth in households installing rooftop solar panels is driving energy retailers to demand higher electricity prices.

Consumers have rushed to install photovoltaic panels to take advantage of the government's incentives - worth about $6200 for a typical household - and state government subsidies.

The nation's biggest energy retailer, AGL Energy, this week applied to South Australia's pricing regulator to increase power bills by $7.58 per megawatt hour next year - translating to an average of 3 per cent per bill - just to pass on the costs associated with the government's scheme to encourage household-level renewables. The development will put further pressure on the Gillard government over its handling of climate change policy, with warnings that power prices are surging because of the extension of "very expensive" renewables and state-based schemes in the absence of a carbon price. (Annabel Hepworth, The Australian)

 

Solar Cheaper than Grid Nuclear? Think Again!

by Daren Bakst and Carlo Stagnaro
October 20, 2010

Several months ago, a study by the anti-nuclear group North Carolina Waste Awareness Network (NC WARN) gained worldwide exposure by concluding that solar power is cheaper today than  nuclear power.

The New York Times ran an article highlighting the findings, but the article was so criticized that the newspaper’s editors responded with what amounted to an apology.

NC WARN’s startling, untenable conclusion is the subject of this post, which is based on a longer paper.

The group’s central graph (Figure 1), which took the media hook, line, and sinker, shows a steep decreasing cost curve for solar over time coupled with a pronounced increasing cost curve for nuclear.

clip_image002

Figure 1. Generation costs from solar and nuclear power according to Blackburn and Cunningham (2010).

But nuclear power is less, not more, expensive than solar power. It is also reliable, or in industry terms, dispatchable, which adds value that is not reflected in simple cost comparisons.

Flawed Methodology

NC WARN estimates the cost of nuclear power by increasing the estimates from one single piece of literature (Cooper 2009). (We will discuss this later.) With regard to the costs of solar power, they employ the following formula: [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Wind Energy: The Truth Blows

Wind energy is the environmentalists’ great energy hope but two inconvenient truths seem to come between fantasy and reality. [Read More] (Tony Rose and Michael J. Economides, ET)

 

Wind power mirages

We Americans are often told we must end our “addiction” to oil and coal, because they harm the environment and Earth’s climate. “Ecologically friendly” wind energy, some say, will generate 20% of America’s energy in another decade, greatly reducing carbon dioxide emissions and land use impacts from mining and drilling.

These claims are a driving force behind the cap-tax-and-trade and renewable energy bills that Congress may try to ram through during a “lame duck” session – as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s economy-threatening regulations under its ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers human health and welfare.”

It is true that we are commanded to be good stewards of the Earth and resources God gave us. We should conserve energy, use it wisely, and minimize harmful impacts on lands and wildlife. But we also need to safeguard our health and that of our neighbors, preserve jobs, and help poor families build wealth and improve their standard of living. I want all children, not just mine, to have a better future. (Pastor Jay Dennis, CFP)

 

 

First decision on healthcare reform lawsuit before Jan: Judge

RICHMOND - The first important decision in U.S. state lawsuits over federal healthcare reform will be announced in the next few months, a federal judge told a hearing on Monday.

The case involves arguments over government power, taxes, and if President Barack Obama misled the American public.

Judge Henry Hudson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Richmond said he would reach a decision "by the end of the year" in the lawsuit Virginia filed over part of the health system overhaul that requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a federal fine.

Virginia is suing because it passed its own law before the reform plan was approved prohibiting the U.S. government from compelling a citizen to buy insurance. Both the state and the U.S. government plan to appeal if Hudson's decision is not in their favor.

"This court is just one brief stop on the way to the Supreme Court," Hudson said. (Reuters)

 

Obstacles on the road to health care nirvana

That's the title of my HND piece from 11 October. We're playing a bit of catch-up here.

The article starts off as a follow-up to the previous week's effort on obesity, and then takes a look at what happens when health care goes big time. For one thing, it has become disease care, not health care, since there's no money in prevention, except for a few over-hyped diagnostics. Even then, it's a bit of a stretch to call that stuff "preventive."

Adding to the confusion is the apparent attitude that the best health care program is one that's free. Talk about cognitive dissonance. Is there anything else in people's lives that is supposed to be so terribly important, yet no one wants to pay for it?

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

 

Dubious claim du jour: I had a tuna meltdown

'Mercury poison' suit

It's a wonder he didn't get sick of the taste first.

A Westchester man who says he ate 10 cans of tuna a week for nearly two years is suing Bumble Bee Foods for allegedly giving him mercury poisoning.

Lee Porrazzo of White Plains told The Post he and his roommate and workout partner, Roland Muccini, would make regular runs to the local Stop & Shop to load up on cans of tuna fish thinking they were eating healthy.

"There was tuna in my diet every day, just about," Porrazzo said. "I thought it was the cleanest source of protein."

But the 48-year-old BMW salesman said he was soon plagued by a mystery malady that gave him chest pains and sent him to the hospital "believing he was having a heart attack," according to his White Plains federal court suit.

He's blaming it on the canned tuna and wants unspecified damages for breach of warranty and negligence from the fish cannery. But he's also suing the supermarket chain -- for putting the tuna on sale. (New York Post)

The numbers in the linked piece are immediately suspect:
  • mercury is filtered by your kidneys and excreted in urine and the normal test for mercury levels involves testing urine levels, not blood;
  • the population normal urine mercury content, including industrial workers and dentists exposed to higher mercury vapor levels, is below 10 micrograms/liter (µg/l);
  • urinary output is concentrated about 10 times greater than blood levels which would make the cited "23 micrograms per liter, more than twice the normal amount" about right for urinary content but mean levels are 1.1 µg/L in blood and 0.43 µg/L in serum, suggesting it is extremely likely someone has confused the two results;
  • urinary output of 23 µg/l would not be considered unusual following elevated exposure or chelation with DMPS or DMSA ("provoked testing" following administration of a mercury scavenger), nor would it indicate any form of health hazard.

This guy may not be feeling too well due to his bizarre and restricted diet but there is nothing at all here to wave any warning flags about mercury or tuna fish. I respectfully suggest that rather than litigation Mr Porrazzo should try a balanced diet and a life.

 

Uh, no: Disease in rural China linked to polluted coal

WASHINGTON, D.C., (Oct. 19, 2010) -- In remote, rural areas of southwestern China, villagers cook and dry their clothes by burning pieces of coal they pick up off the ground. This fuel releases a toxin that may be poisoning millions of people, according to an ongoing investigation by chemists at the University at Buffalo in New York. The researchers are presenting their work today at the AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition, which takes place this week at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.

The toxin in question is fluoride, which binds to calcium in the human body and causes the disease fluorosis. This condition, which affects millions in China's Guizhou province, can cause dental problems, such as discolored and pitted teeth, as well as joint pain, muscular degeneration, and deformities in joints and the spine.

Worldwide, the most common source of excess fluoride is polluted water. But according to Joseph Gardella, a chemist at UB who has collaborated on a research project with Professor Handong Liang of the China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing (CUMTB), polluted coal may also be to blame. (American Institute of Physics)

You need to read the whole thing to find:

Yatzor's imaging showed that -- like purer coals burned by power plants -- the carbon in the coal itself contained little fluorine. However, the inorganic clay used as an additive for coal-burning and as a binder in briquette-making by local residents showed very high levels of fluorine.

The scientists are still investigating exactly how this fluorine enters the human body. It might be inhaled in the particles produced when coal is burned in the villagers' closed, ventless huts. It could also be ingested; preliminary analyses of food samples such as chilies and corn have shown high levels of the toxin.

Not actually the coal at all then but the high fluorine clay soils of the region.

 

Air pollution exposure increases risk of severe COPD

Long term exposure to low-level air pollution may increase the risk of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to researcher s in Denmark. While acute exposure of several days to high level air pollution was known to be a risk factor for exacerbation in pre-existing COPD, until now there had been no studies linking long-term air pollution exposure to the development or progression of the disease. (American Thoracic Society)

Hmm... not sure they've got far with this one either. Guesstimated exposures and strongest association with preexisting conditions. Not exactly a barn-burner.

 

It's twice as bad as somebody thought! Obesity costs U.S. $168 billion, study finds

ATLANTA — Nearly 17% of U.S. medical costs can be blamed on obesity, according to new research that suggests the nation's weight problem may be having close to twice the impact on medical spending as previously estimated. (AP)

 

More imaginary bodies: Cutting meat to 3 meals a week 'will save 45,000 lives'

Eating no more than three pieces of meat a week could prevent around 45,000 early deaths and save the NHS £1.2 billion each year, according to new research. (TDT)

Was this research brought to us by Peta, perchance, or maybe some other animal libber nutcases?

 

Uh-huh... Chris Packham says control the population to save wildlife

Chris Packham, the wildlife presenter, has called on world leaders to limit population growth in order to stop the mass extinction of species including tigers and pandas. (TDT)

I'll only support population reduction if it begins (and ends) with the misanthropists.

 

From Crude Awakening to Climate Camp, direct action needs a new story

The climate protest movement can regain momentum by showing it's worth getting out on the streets for the environment (Paul Morozzo, Guardian)

Really? How about it getting out of the way of society and development instead?

 

EU Exec Proposes Ban On Animal Cloning For Food

The European Union announced plans on Tuesday to temporarily ban the use of animal cloning for food production, while allowing imports of food derived from the offspring of clones from the United States and elsewhere.

The report from the European Commission followed a call by EU lawmakers in July for a total ban on food derived from cloned animals and their traditionally bred offspring, citing ethical concerns over the industrial production of cloned meat. (Reuters)

 

City Farming—Pigs In The Sky?, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA—Green visionary, Dixon Despommier, of Columbia University has proposed growing our food in city high-rises, to cut food transport energy use. The bad news is that city farming would be impossibly expensive—as it always has been. The good news: the high-rise farms will never be built.

Another project, the Sky-farm Project was proposed in 2007, as a 58-floor skyscraper that would produce as much food as an 800-acre farm! But the U.S. farms more than 400 million acres of land—equal to 500,000 skyscraper farms! Those sky-towers would cost billions.

Cropland in Iowa costs an average of $6,000 per acre or about $5 million for an 800 acre farm. An acre or so of usable land In Manhattan might cost about the same $5 million, but construction costs would be enormous.

Each floor of each high-rise would have to support either water-soaked soil or the water for hydroponic production. Ten thousand cubic feet of water per floor would weigh 620,000 pounds. Two hundred people plus their office furniture might weigh only 40,000 pounds.

Replacing sunlight with “grow lights” would take an enormous amount of electricity. Bruce Bugbee, a crop physiologist at Utah State says “We’re talking gigawatts of power, just huge amounts of power [to grow crops indoors] compared to free sunlight outside.” With glass walls, the winter heating would be costly too.

What about city taxes. What about higher labor costs—or would the city folks volunteer to work free?

The proposed Sky-Farm was to produce fruit, vegetables, pigs and chickens. However, you couldn’t grow enough feed in greenhouse conditions to support more than a few pigs or chickens, so you’d have to import most of their feed. Think about four pounds of grain for each pound of pork you harvest. Would it really be less expensive to ship millions of tons of grain into downtown New York than to truck in some pork chops?

I wonder how New Yorkers would feel about having mid-town slaughterhouses. Would there be the irony of trucking in grain to raise chickens and hogs in mid-town, trucking the creatures out of town to be slaughtered and processed, then trucking the meat back into town—all to save fuel?

The real irony is that transportation takes only about 3 percent of the energy used in providing our food. Diesel trains and ships are marvelously energy-efficient. Even a well-laden diesel truck doesn’t use much more fuel than four autos. (CGFI)

 

 

Raese Calls Global Warming A Myth, Manchin Runs From Obama In West Virginia Debate

It has been 25 years since West Virginia had an open Senate seat, so Monday night’s debate was a bit of a novelty for Mountain State voters. But the four Senate hopefuls wasted little time in the hourlong debate to make the case that they should win the special election to fill remaining two years of the the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s unexpired term in the Senate.

The match-up pitted West Virginia’s two-term governor, Joe Manchin, against businessman John Raese, a former head of the state Republican party making his fourth attempt at statewide office in West Virginia. The two heavy-hitters were also joined by Jesse Johnson, the candidate from the Mountain Party who brought an intellectual flair to the meet, and Jeff Beck, the Constitution Party candidate who called several times for the repeal of the 17th amendment, the amendment that allows the general public to elect senators.

In the state that John McCain won by 13 points in 2008, Raese called repeatedly for a small federal government with few federal solutions. “What I want to do in the United States Senate is to bring back the spirit of America, it’s called capitalism and free enterprise,” Raese said.

Manchin, on the other hand, spent much of the debate as he has spent much of the election so far — distancing himself from President Barack Obama and Democrats in Washington.

“I will be independent, I have always been independent,” Manchin said. “When you see what’s happening in this country, I’m as mad as you are. When [elected officials] put their parties first and they put their own ambitions before they put this country, that’s got to change.”

Manchin repeatedly rapped the president for his energy reform legislation, known as cap and trade, that would charge carbon emmitors (sic), especially coal-fired power plants, for the carbon they release into the atmosphere. “It would be the ruin not only of this state but of the entire economy,” Manchin said. “We need to mine every lump of coal we can. … That’s how we’re going to have a secure and a free nation.”

Raese agreed with Manchin on the potential dangers of the legislation for the state, but took his argument one step further by calling global warming “a myth,” and adding that the idea that man causes global warming is also a myth. “I don’t believe in that myth,” Raese said. (US Political News)

 

In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy

SALINA, Kan. — Residents of this deeply conservative city do not put much stock in scientific predictions of climate change.

“Don’t mention global warming,” warned Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, a small nonprofit group that aims to get people to rein in the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change. “And don’t mention Al Gore. People out here just hate him.”

Saving energy, though, is another matter.

Last Halloween, schoolchildren here searched for “vampire” electric loads, or appliances that sap energy even when they seem to be off. Energy-efficient LED lights twinkled on the town’s Christmas tree. On Valentine’s Day, local restaurants left their dining room lights off and served meals by candlelight. (NYT)

Sad news for you, guys, candlelight ain't "cleaner energy". Efficiency is generally good but for the most part the "saving energy" mantra is simply rationing in disguise.

 

Gangster Government: California officials retaliate against Prop. 23 supporters

California Treasure Bill Lockyer is retaliating against two Texas-based refiners that are supporting Proposition 23, the California ballot initiative to rollback the state’s global warming law until unemployment (now at 12.4 percent) recedes to 5.5 percent.

According to Climatewire:

… state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a former attorney general, urged the state’s largest public employee investment funds to divest themselves of Valero and Tesoro stock.

Lockyer sent a letter to the public pension funds, known as CalPERS and CalSTRS, asking them to rid themselves of any stock connected to the refiners Valero and Tesoro. Lockyer charged the companies with attempting to constrain gasoline supplies in California to ensure profits for years to come — and opposing the state’s climate change law as a means to ensure that constraint.

“CalPERS and CalSTRS should not be investing in Texas oil companies that hurt the California economy, no more than they should invest in companies that spend millions of shareholder dollars to undermine California’s environmental laws and the state’s green energy industries and green tech jobs,” Lockyer wrote.

Lockyer, a board member at CalPERS, is expected to ask the board tomorrow to divest Valero and Tesoro holdings during a meeting.”

It was also reported to this blog that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who views the global warming law as his signature accomplishment, kept Chevron out of the Proposition 23 battle by threatening the company with adverse tax measures.

 

California’s Green Economy Failure

A proposition is on the ballot to suspend California's green job initiatives until unemployment goes way down.

In order to satisfy the admonition that “California has to be a leader” — a rationale shallow even by the standards of political sloganeering — the Golden State enacted in 2006 the Global Warming Solutions Act (“AB32”), mandating a reduction in purported greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. This obviously was a large prospective tax on conventional energy use. But even in the land of Hollywood fantasies and San Francisco nuttiness, people have to work to live, suggesting strongly that the employment effects of this law would not prove salutary. Not to worry, said the proponents, prominent among them Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: California will be transformed as if by magic into a green economy, with green jobs replacing those lost with the decline in conventional energy use.

Suffice it to say that this green jobs gambit is a con job. “Clean” energy is massively expensive and unreliable even apart from its own considerable environmental problems. In short, it has to be subsidized heavily, a policy that is unsustainable beyond the near term, particularly for a state with budget deficits so huge that the governor and other public officials now engage in an annual panhandling exercise in Washington. (Benjamin Zycher, PJM)

 

Hollywood's James Cameron Chips In to Kill California Jobs

Millions of people around the globe have flocked to movie theatres to see director James Cameron’s hit films such as “Titanic” and “Avatar.” But in order to have the money to pay for those movie tickets, viewers had to have a job. Such is the irony in Cameron’s latest political activity, which will effectively kill jobs in California—the very state where Cameron resides, and home of the movie industry.

Over the weekend it was announced that Cameron is donating $1 million to California’s No on Proposition 23 campaign. Proposition 23 will suspend AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act” passed in 2006, until unemployment returns to 5.5% for one full year. In a state where unemployment tops 12.4 percent, Proposition 23 makes perfect sense.

It’s estimated that suspending AB 32 will kill over 1.1 million jobs when it’s fully implemented. It will cost the average California family almost $4,000 in increases costs on food, utilities and transportation. Small businesses could face almost $50,000 in increased costs and fees—that’s at least one or more employees’ salary that will be lost.

Suspending AB 32’s draconian, cumbersome environmental regulations until businesses can recover and start creating jobs again is the right thing to do for California’s economy and its jobless citizens.

Unfortunately, Cameron and his hypocritical ilk don’t see it that way. (Meredith Turney, Townhall)

 

Prop. 23 backers launch new TV ad in L. A.

The ad warns that electricity costs will rise and jobs will be lost if the November ballot measure, which would suspend the state's global warming regulations, loses.

Backers of Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend California's global warming regulations, launched a television campaign in Los Angeles on Tuesday with a spot warning of higher electricity costs and job losses if the measure doesn't pass.

The Yes on 23 campaign, funded mainly by oil refiners, had been advertising in other parts of the state but has been off the air for a week.

"We are reloading," said Assemblyman Dan Logue (R- Marysville), a sponsor of the initiative, in confirming the TV buy.

Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669.

But the purchase of $2 million worth of TV spots in Los Angeles leaves the Yes campaign critically short of funds less than two weeks before the election. It has spent most of the money in its campaign chest, while opponents are airing spots across the state attacking the measure.

Bill Day, a spokesman for Texas-based Valero Energy Corp., which donated $4 million of the $9 million raised by the Yes campaign, said he was unaware of any new contributions planned.

"We don't have all that much money," he said. "Four million was a big commitment."

Any new donations to either side must be reported publicly to the California Secretary of State office within 24 hours of receipt.

Meanwhile, a total of $26.7 million has poured in from wealthy conservationists, national environmental groups and Silicon Valley technology executives to fight the initiative, which is the most closely watched environmental issue on the November ballot in the nation. (Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times)

 

Editorial: California’s Cap-and-Trade War (why Proposition 23 makes economic sense)

The Wall Street Journal, 18 October 2010

What happens when environmental fashion collides with a state’s desperate need for jobs and economic growth? That question will be put to the test when Californians vote November 2 on a ballot measure that would suspend the Golden State’s cap-and-trade law until its unemployment rate falls below 5.5%. Today the rate is 12.4%.

Proposition 23 is the number one national target of the green movement this election year. With the failure of cap and tax in Congress, the greens are trying to hold onto this remnant of their anticarbon crusade. Both sides are spending heavily, and the polls show a close vote.

California’s climate change law (known as AB 32) mandates a 30% cut in carbon emissions from cars, trucks, utilities, agriculture and other businesses by 2020, with a web of new taxes and regulations that take effect in 2012. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sees AB 32 as his crowning achievement and is assailing supporters of Proposition 23 as “black oil hearts [who are] spending millions and millions of dollars” to promote their own “self-serving greed.”

In reality, dozens of industries support the initiative, and Arnold never mentions that much of the money to defeat Proposition 23 also comes from energy companies. Alternative energy investors realize that without new taxes on carbon energy and mandates for “renewables” like wind and solar, so-called clean energy sources can’t compete.

When AB 32 was signed in 2006, the California economy was flying high, the state unemployment rate was under 5%, and cap and trade seemed a fashionable luxury the state could afford. Not anymore. Today there are 2.5 million unemployed Californians and the state’s finances are a wreck. AB 32 would make all of this worse.

A 2009 study commissioned by the California Small Business Roundtable found that when fully implemented AB 32 would cost the state more than one million jobs and “result in a higher cost to California households of $3,857 per year.” That’s more than the typical California family pays each year in federal income tax. A new study by the Pacific Research Institute predicts job losses of 150,000 by 2012 and 1.3 million by 2020.

Environmentalists counter that “green jobs” will save the day, as if a million Californians will make windmills and solar panels. California already leads the nation in regulations and subsidies to boost alternative energy, and it still has the third highest jobless rate in the nation.

Voters are also told the law would reduce the state’s carbon footprint and save the planet from global warming. Except it can’t and it won’t. No single state -even one the size of California - can reduce global emissions by unilaterally taxing and regulating.a

Even the California Air Resources Board, which supports AB 32, acknowledged this when it said in March that “California acting alone cannot reduce emissions sufficiently to change the course of climate change worldwide.” The real objective, they said, is to set an example to move federal and international climate change legislation. But given that so many Democrats are now campaigning against cap and tax around the country, it’s highly unlikely that Congress or many states will follow California.

The state’s own fiscal auditors admitted earlier this year that there will be economic “leakage” to other states and nations from AB 32, and that California’s economy “will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere.”

Most of this economic pain will be borne, not by wealthy liberals in Santa Barbara and San Francisco, but by middle class and poor Californians who work in industries whose costs will rise. No wonder a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that Hispanics are the group most opposed to AB 32. They seem to understand they will be first in line to get laid off when the law starts to bite.

With so much at stake, Prop. 23 ought to be a major issue in this year’s election campaign. Democratic candidates Jerry Brown (Governor) and Senator Barbara Boxer both oppose Prop. 23, but GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is a fence-sitter. She calls cap and tax a job killer but favors only a one-year suspension. GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is a full-throated supporter of the initiative. With her usual charm, Ms. Boxer accuses her of being “in the pocket of big oil” and “dirty coal.”

Proposition 23 faces an uphill fight against green moneyed interests, but its passage would give California a regulatory reprieve and save tens of thousands of jobs. If it fails, Nevadans and Chinese will rejoice. Read more here.

 

Malarial mosquitoes helped defeat British in battle that ended Revolutionary War

Was it warmer in Virginia in 1781 than it is today, or has our capacity to cope been enhanced? In fact, climate does not determine our well-being.  Unfortunately, climate change policies might, and for the worse.

H/T and comment above: Indur Goklany

From: The Washington Post

By J.R. McNeill
Monday, October 18, 2010; 3:57 PM

Major combat operations in the American Revolution ended 229 years ago on Oct. 19, at Yorktown. For that we can thank the fortitude of American forces under George Washington, the siegecraft of French troops of Gen. Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, the count of Rochambeau – and the relentless bloodthirstiness of female Anopheles quadrimaculatus mosquitoes.

Continue reading (WUWT)

 

Why? Mexico Stretches Funds To Cut Greenhouse Emissions

Hopes are dim for a global agreement to help developing nations cut carbon emissions, so Mexico is relying on an imperfect blend of grants, loans and ingenuity to meet self-imposed limits on greenhouse gases. (Reuters)

 

Stupid blighters: No Regrets With CO2 "Moon Landing" Plan: Norway PM

Norway's Prime Minister reaffirmed commitment on Tuesday to plans to capture and bury greenhouse gases despite delays and rising costs, saying he had no regrets about once likening Oslo's ambitions to a "Moon landing."

Jens Stoltenberg said Norway was investing heavily in technology to capture carbon dioxide emitted by power plants burning fossil fuels as part of a plan to combat climate change.

"I don't regret it," he says in a book launched on Tuesday, "Climate Paradox," when asked about a 2007 New Year speech in which he said carbon capture and storage would be Norway's equivalent of a "Moon landing" to curb global warming.

Since then, key elements of the plan have been delayed and costs have risen both in Norway and abroad, dampening hopes for quick technological breakthroughs. (Reuters)

Wasting so magnificent a resource as atmospheric carbon dioxide is criminally insane. Leave the biosphere asset where it is and let life on Earth thrive.

 

From the Beeb? Doubts over scientists' climate change debate claims

19 October 2010 Last updated at 12:48 GMT
Press coverage has cast further doubt on climate scientists' claims that man-made global warming is real and adversely affecting the planet.

Polls show that the public are becoming increasingly confused about the issue. Adam Fleming reports.

 

Climate change is no threat-Czech president

LONDON, Oct 19 - Climate change is not a threat and the consequences of global warming will not be catastrophic, the President of the Czech Republic said on Tuesday.

Vaclav Klaus is a vocal sceptic on the topic of global warming. He published a book in 2007 in which he said global warming had turned into a new religion, an ideology that threatens to undermine freedom and the world's economic and social order.

"Global warming in the last 150 years was modest and future warming and its consequences will not be dangerous or catastrophic. It doesn't look like a threat we should respond to," he told a lecture in London on Tuesday.

"I don't see empirical evidence of human-caused global warming. I see so many mistakes in the methodology of science and modelling," he added. (Reuters)

 

Climate change 'fraud' letter: a Martin Luther moment in science history

Esteemed physicist Harold Lewis is calling global warming the 'most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen.' His resignation letter could mark the unraveling of one of the great scientific mistakes in history and the beginning of a needed reformation of the scientific community. (Anthony Watts, CSM)

 

Political Science

Written by Christopher Monckton

In late September 2010, five “scientists” wrote a turgid and prolix response to four straightforward pages of written scientific and economic testimony that I had submitted in May 2010 to the Congress of the United States, and had presented at an oral hearing, at the request of the ranking minority member of the House Global warming Committee.

The purely political character of what was superficially dressed up as a “scientific” response to my testimony may be gauged from the fact that the five spent many months assembling their tedious and scientifically-regrettable document without having contacted either me or the great majority of the scientific authorities I had cited before they circulated their tract to friendly news media and blog sites. This calculated furtiveness does not betoken honesty.

Read more... (SPPI)

 

Stay sane by fighting climate change!

One of Britain’s top psychiatrists says being eco-friendly is good for our mental health. Is he bonkers?

Big news from 10:10: four of Britain’s top medical organisations have signed up for its campaign to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2010. And if you thought that the people at 10:10 had a few emissions loose in the upper atmosphere, then you should hear what these top medical people are saying about climate change. (Rob Lyons, spiked)

 

What Happened to All the Hurricanes, Al?

Worldwide hurricane activity hasn't just slowed since Katrina, it's dropped off a cliff. (Art Horn, PJM)

 

Sheesh! California ordered to consider protection for American pika

A judge's decision marks the third time the state has been told to examine possibly declaring the tiny mountain-dwelling mammal an endangered species. It is the first animal in the lower 48 states to be considered for such listing solely because of climate change.

A judge in San Francisco on Tuesday ordered the state to reconsider — for the third time — whether to extend endangered species protection to the tiny American pika, a mountain-dwelling mammal whose population may be declining because of climate change.

Superior Court Judge Peter Busch ordered the California Fish and Game Commission to review scientific data and determine whether the pika qualifies for listing under the state endangered species law. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the species earlier this year.

The pika is the first animal in the lower 48 states to be considered for endangered listing solely because of climate change.

Jon K. Fischer, the commission's acting executive director, said the agency was still considering the legal implications of the ruling. (Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times)

 

Why GISS Temperatures Are Too High

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2010july/figure2.pdf

GISS is the only temperature index which shows significant warming since the year 2000. The animation below highlights the primary thing they are doing wrong.

The blink comparator flashes between their 250 km (measured) and 1200 km (extrapolated) 2000-2009 trend maps. The region at the center of the green circle is showing 1-2 C of warming, even though the closest actual measurement near Herschel Island shows no warming.

Their algorithm creates an imaginary hot spot at the North Pole (2-4 C based on no actual data within 800 km) and then weights it as heavily as a closer measured temperature reading, in the next step.

They appear to be using at least two steps of extrapolation/interpolation – which compounds error. In other words, their entire 21st century warming story is based on a defective interpretation of the Arctic. (Steven Goddard, Real Science)

 

This week's farcical PlayStation®-generated fright feature: Climate change: Drought may threaten much of globe within decades

BOULDER—The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai. The detailed analysis concludes that warming temperatures associated with climate change will likely create increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe in the next 30 years, possibly reaching a scale in some regions by the end of the century that has rarely, if ever, been observed in modern times.

Using an ensemble of 22 computer climate models and a comprehensive index of drought conditions, as well as analyses of previously published studies, the paper finds most of the Western Hemisphere, along with large parts of Eurasia, Africa, and Australia, may be at threat of extreme drought this century. (NCAR/UCAR)

 

The global slowing of winds: the cause



A paper in Nature claims that the wind speeds dropped by 5%-15% since 1979,

Northern Hemisphere atmospheric stilling partly attributed to an increase in surface roughness (abstract).
The authors, Robert Vautard, Julien Cattiaux, Pascal Yiou, Jean-Noël Thépaut & Philippe Ciais, have investigated winds in 5 most important countries in the world - namely in the U.S., China, the Czech Republic, Australia, and the Netherlands. ;-)

And the speeds went down by 10% in 30 years, with a lot of messy disclaimers.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

Lessons of the Loch Sunart Monster

Have you ever met a cryptozoologist? Cryptozoologists study and search for animals which are considered to be legendary or otherwise nonexistent by mainstream biologists. Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness Monster are all favorite subjects of these “scientists.”

Cryptozoologists believe that the Loch Ness Monster may live in lochs (fiords or fjords) inland in the western half of Scotland. Loch Ness is one of many lochs in western Scotland, so the famed monster may be found in a variety of different locations. In the eyes of some global warming alarmists, there is a potential monster in Loch Sunart taking the form of a sediment core from the bottom that is capable of reconstructing the temperature history of the area over a long time period, and characterized by a head that it much higher than its middle or tail. It seems that The Loch Sunart Monster may have a very interesting story to tell. (WCR)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 42: 20 October 2010

Editorial:
They've Left Life Out of the Equations ...: and that's a very bad thing to do.

Subject Index Summary:
Acclimation (Tree Species: Oak): Studies of oak trees have revealed a propensity for them to exhibit sustained CO2 -induced growth increases over their entire lives.

Journal Reviews:
Warming Reduces Permafrost Thaw Rates???: How and where it can happen.

Buried Peat Layers in a Japanese Subalpine Snowpatch Grassland: What's so important about them?

Dark Septate Root Endophytic Fungi, CO2 and Trees: How are the three related?

Effects of Elevated CO2 on Nitrogen Fixation in Soybeans: How many are there? ... and what do they portend?

Submergence Tolerance of the Wetland Plant Hordeum marinum: How is it affected by atmospheric CO2 enrichment?

Ocean Acidification Database:
The latest addition of peer-reviewed data archived to our database of marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment is Blue Mussel [Mytilus edulis]. To access the entire database, click here.

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Soybean (Ziska, 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project:
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 889 individual scientists from 529 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Lake Toporowy Staw Nizni, Tatra Mountains, Southern Poland. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)

 

Volt Fraud At Government Motors

Green Technology: Government Motors' all-electric car isn't all-electric and doesn't get near the touted hundreds of miles per gallon. Like "shovel-ready" jobs, maybe there's no such thing as "plug-ready" cars either.

The Chevy Volt, hailed by the Obama administration as the electric savior of the auto industry and the planet, makes its debut in showrooms next month, but it's already being rolled out for test drives by journalists. It appears we're all being taken for a ride.

When President Obama visited a GM plant in Hamtramck near Detroit a few months ago to drive a Chevy Volt 10 feet off an assembly line, we called the car an "electric Edsel." Now that it's about to hit the road, nothing revealed has changed our mind. (IBD)

 

The All-Electric Car: Think 132-Year Payback (DOE’s Sandalow shows us what not to do)

by Patrick Barron
October 19, 2010

“When David Sandalow writes about energy and the environment, we should all pay close attention.”

- Al Gore endorsement, 2007

The term energy encompasses a plethora of technologies, and each attracts the gimlet eye of Big Brother.

In recent years environmental groups have been very successful in insinuating themselves into the halls of government so that today there is a revolving door between government and the environmental movement. And it’s just like the revolving door between the government and other key industries, such as banking and the military-industrial complex.

Government would have us believe that a new regulation is the result of some great, objective, and careful investigation. But mostly these regulations and spending programs are foisted upon us by the people who only yesterday were nothing more than lobbyists for some fervently held cause. There has been no new data, but yesterday’s lobbyists are today carrying the mantle of great authority and prestige because they have become high-level government bureaucrats.

Rent-Seeking

We economists call such lobbying “rent seeking” and those who engage in it are “rent seekers.” Rather than seeking the cooperation of other men in the free market, a rent seeker lobbies government to impose some special privilege. The cost of the rent seeker’s efforts is greatly reduced because he need convince only a few elected officials or government bureaucrats rather than the entire market. His job is made all the easier by the knowledge that the elected official or government bureaucrat can grant the privilege with no cost to himself.

When a rent-seeker gets a job in government itself, well, the fox is in the henhouse. Officials move billions of dollars and coerce millions of people with no responsibility whatsoever. If a program fails to achieve its grand design, no government official suffers the consequences. Furthermore, failed regulations are seldom repealed, because, despite the net burden to the economy, a few new constituents do benefit and lobby mightily to keep them in place.

A Revolving-Door Lobbyist for the All-Electric Car

Such is the case, as recently reported by AP, of a lobbyist for an all-electric car.

Leading the Charge” glorifies Mr. David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energ, and former EVP at the World Wildlife Fund, and an avid advocate for the all-electric car. Hybrid cars usually recharge their batteries only while operating on their gasoline-powered engines, but Mr. Sandalow has converted his Toyota Prius hybrid into a plug-in hybrid at the cost of $9,000. Now he can recharge his car’s battery from his home electrical outlet. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

EDITORIAL: Administration caves to Big Corn

EPA burns your money with ethanol

The Obama administration wants to boost the amount of corn shoved into the gas tank of newer cars by 50 percent. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made this happen on Wednesday by giving partial approval to E15, an automotive fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol. This dirty deal will enrich the major ethanol producers represented by Growth Energy while impoverishing taxpayers and anyone else who cares about clean air.

Technically, the agency only approved a waiver allowing the sale of E15 for vehicles from model year 2007 and later, but don't be fooled by this incremental approach. The EPA is expected by November to adjust down the allowance to cars built after 2000. The current "allowance" for a 10-percent-ethanol fuel blend, or E10, is no different from a mandate. Ninety percent of gasoline sold in the United States is E10, and in most areas of the country, real gasoline is simply not available. It's not clear how multiple fuel pumps for older and newer cars would work in practice under this rule, but ethanol policy has never made sense.

Congress and the George W. Bush administration enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which, in addition to banning incandescent light bulbs, mandates the sale of 36 billion gallons of ethanol in 2022. That established a profitable market for producers by government fiat. The scheme also will drive up grain and corn prices, benefiting farm states at the expense of consumers. (Washington Times)

 

Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder

German Vilimelis heard about Spain’s solar gold rush from his brother-in-law in 2007.

Across the plains around Lerida, the northeastern Spanish town where they spent weekends, farmers were turning over their fields to photovoltaic panels to capitalize on government solar- energy subsidies. Vilimelis persuaded his father, Jaume, who made a living growing pears on 5 acres (2 hectares) of land in Lerida, to turn over a portion of his farm for the project, Bloomberg Markets reported in its November issue.

Vilimelis, 35, a procurement manager for a consumer goods company, pooled his family savings and mortgaged his apartment to obtain a loan of more than 400,000 euros ($558,500) to cover the investment. Within nine months, the family’s 80-kilowatt generation unit -- 500 solar panels on seven racks angled toward the sun -- was feeding power into the national grid.

Solar investors such as Vilimelis were lured by a 2007 law passed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero that guaranteed producers a so-called solar tariff of as much as 44 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity for 25 years -- more than 10 times the 2007 average wholesale price of about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour paid to mainstream energy suppliers.

Thanks to the incentives, the family met the monthly cost of the loan and even earned a small profit. Once the debt was paid off in 2018, Vilimelis looked forward to making even more money during the 15 additional years of subsidies guaranteed under Spanish law.

Now Vilimelis and more than 50,000 other Spanish solar entrepreneurs face financial disaster as the policy makers contemplate cutting the price guarantees that attracted their investment in the first place. (Bloomberg)

 

Perth and Australia: A Bright Future in the World of Energy

Perth, Australia’s “city of light” got its nickname when it turned all its lights on in 1962 when John Glen orbited above. The city has become a newly illuminated place of a different kind. [Read More] (Michael J. Economides, ET)

 

Local Opposition Kills C$5 Billion Canadian Dam Plan

TransCanada Corp and Atco Ltd have abandoned plans to build a C$5 billion ($4.85 billion) dam on the Slave River in northern Alberta after a local native group refused to back the project.

The planned dam was a run-of-river project that would have generated 1,200 to 1,300 megawatts of electricity from the Slave, an undeveloped river that carries more that two-thirds of Alberta's waterflow north to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories.

The project, first proposed two years ago, was still being studied, but the partners could not win the support of regional aboriginal groups. (Reuters)

 

Argh! Former EPA chief Whitman wants place for nuclear

WASHINGTON -- Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman said Tuesday that Congress should include nuclear power in any requirement for utilities to tap more clean energy sources.

Lawmakers are weighing a renewable electricity standard, which would require utilities to get a minimum percentage of their power from sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.

Whitman said in a telephone interview that she'd like to see it broadened to a "green" standard that includes nuclear power. She argued that renewable sources alone won't be able to meet the country's growing energy needs. (Associated Press)

Forget "renewable energy" standards. And nukes should live or die on their merits rather than governments picking winning technologies.

 

Public to pay for new nuclear era

Taxpayers face paying billions of pounds to help clean up nuclear power plants to encourage private firms to build the next generation of power stations. (TDT)

 

 

Next UN exercise in misanthropy and redistribution (of your 'wealth'): 'We Are Destroying Life on Earth,' UN Conference Claims


UNEP
A recent U.N. biodiversity study said global environmental damage caused by human activity in 2008 totaled $6.6 trillion.

A U.N. biodiversity conference aims to address a simple problem: "We are destroying life on Earth," said the head of the U.N. Environment Program.

The world cannot afford to allow nature's riches to disappear, the United Nations said on Monday at the start of a major meeting to combat losses in animal and plant species that underpin livelihoods and economies. The U.N. cited the worst extinction rate since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, saying it's a crisis that needs to be addressed by governments, businesses and communities.

A U.N.-backed study this month said global environmental damage caused by human activity in 2008 totaled $6.6 trillion, equivalent to 11 percent of global gross domestic product. (FoxNews.com)

I don't know about everyone else but I am heartily sick of all this bullshit. There is no ideal state for the planet, no optimum number or variety of species. There is what there is exploiting whatever happens to be available at any given moment. Get over it.

 

How formulaic, yet another 10 year countdown from the catastrophists: 'Ten years' to solve nature crisis, UN meeting hears

The UN biodiversity convention meeting has opened with warnings that the ongoing loss of nature is hurting human societies as well as the natural world.

The two-week gathering aims to set new targets for conserving life on Earth. (BBC News)

 

They don't want a solution, just to punish humans: Blotting Out Sun May Soon Be Banned

Blotting out the sun has been the dream of many arch-villains, including The Simpson's Mr. Burns. Their schemes may soon be foiled by the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity.

Super villains aren't the only ones who want to shade the Earth from the sun. Blocking some of the sun's rays could slow climate change by reducing the amount of sunlight warming the Earth, say some researchers, such as Roger Angel of the University of Arizona.

The Convention may consider banning or limiting research into space sunshades. Some question their wisdom. A space sunshade would have a rapid effect on global warming and provide time to develop more permanent measures, they say. The technique has already received serious attention from NASA and other organizations.

But others, such as the ETC group, an environmental and social advocacy group, fear simply blocking the sun is a bandage, meant to cover up the problem, and allow humans to continue using fossils fuels. Another fear is that geoengineering, as techniques like this are called, could have unforeseen consequences on the weather, ecosystem and agriculture. (Discovery News)

To a limited extent I agree with them -- I really don't want any fool trying to cool the Earth.

 

Copenhagen Repeat? Failure Looms for Global Biodiversity Conference

The world is gathered in Japan this week in an effort to put an end to the extinction of plant and animal species across the globe. But while everyone agrees that biodiversity is important, the conference may fail anyway -- partially because the Americans don't seem interested. (Spiegel)

 

What the heck are science journalists for?

From The Skeptics Handbook II

Last week a science journalist at The Guardian wrote the best summary I have ever seen of the state of the profession known as “science communication”. Only, he thought it was a spoof. Well, it is — and it’s satirically funny at the same time as being an unwittingly cutting commentary. (We laugh at the formulaic approach because we know it’s so true, and then we bang our heads on the wall…).

Science journalists who churn out mindless ritual productions are effectively being PR and marketing writers. Dangerously, though, they are dressed as “investigative” journalists. The public assumes they are checking that their stories don’t break laws of logic and reason, that they are supported by evidence, and that they are providing the whole story. Their PR is the most powerful advertising there is, it’s not just free, it’s a third party endorsement.

Ironically, the same journalists probably don’t realize how important they are. They think they’re there for a fluffy feelgood reasons: to help promote science, raise public awareness, and attract school leavers into careers in science. They don’t realize that their most important role is to protect science itself and be guardians of logic and reason in a world that isn’t so far from the stone age. Science Communicators ought to have been acting as back up auditors on science itself — as a check and balance to notify the world of systemic failures: corruption and bias in funding, manipulation in peer review, lost or withheld evidence. Journalists could have been the last official backstop against science being exploited, but instead of exposing the corruption, they covered for it.

When the news-mag journos wonder why blogs are taking over, it’s because they left a vacuum. The bloggers came to fill it.

Science journalists could have saved the world billions of dollars of money that were wasted following a dead end. That’s money that could have been put towards finding a cure for multiply resistant superbugs, creating better long range flood and storm forecasts, or just saving the hairy nosed wombat.

Rubber-stamping-PR-writers become unwitting tools of tyrants

Imagine if parts of the government wanted to use the good name of science to justify demands for money or power. The government, having buckets of money, could pay for lots of scientists to do lots of fairly irrelevant, minor, repetitive or speculative research (modeling comes to mind). Then a steady stream of press releases would spring forth, leading to a similarly steady stream of  cut n’ paste PR, dressed as “reporting”.

Some smart sharks in the government twigged that through this round-about-method with obedient “journalists” they could buy a conduit to get their favorite message repeated ad hoc, ad nauseum and ad infinitum. If the government wants a “scientific” message to back up their scare campaign and ask for more public money, the starting point is to set up an institute to “report on a problem”. Obviously, no institute thus created would ever actually declare “there’s no problem” (and “we should all go home”). It becomes a self fulfilling cycle with journos being the o-so-helpful tools to keep it running. More » (Jo Nova)

 

HGWA, the never-ending assault on useful chemicals: Special report: The problem with phthalates

BRUSSELS - Imagine a child sitting in his classroom, gazing through the window at the rain. He picks up his pencil and chews distractedly on the eraser at its top. Chemicals, classed in Europe as "toxic to reproduction," dissolve in his saliva and enter his body.

It's a scenario that may not be unusual. A report published last week by a consortium of 140 environment groups shows that potentially risky chemicals are present in dozens of everyday plastic items for sale by European retailers - from shoes to erasers, from pencil cases to sex toys.

The study focused on a group of chemicals known as phthalates, six of which have been virtually banned in toys in the European Union since 1999 over fears they can damage the sexual development of children. But as the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) found in its study, phthalates are present in items routinely used by children and on sale in big supermarkets such as Carrefour and Tesco.

The study, based on a chemical analysis by PiCA, an independent chemical laboratory in Berlin, found one pink pencil case with levels three times those which the EU says should be the maximum in toys and "childcare articles." A phthalate that scientists suspect may be particularly harmful to humans was found in an eraser at a level close to that which would be banned in a toy.

Concerns about phthalates are not new, and retailers selling products containing them are not breaking the law, because the regulations do not cover objects such as pencil cases and erasers.

But the EEB study also found that retailers appear to be ignoring a legal obligation to provide information about the presence of phthalates to shoppers. Less than a quarter of retailers in its survey provided satisfactory answers to requests for information about chemicals in their products. (Reuters)

 

By Reporting Bad Science As Fact, Biased Media Help Create Panics

The media have a history of offering more heat than light on many issues. Recall publisher William Randolph Hearst's telegram to a photographer on assignment to document the supposed conflict in Cuba in 1897: "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

In the heated debate over the use and effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in food packaging and hard plastic containers, Americans are being exposed to a largely phony war.

BPA is a ubiquitous industrial chemical that for more than 50 years has been an important raw material in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics used in consumer products including beverage containers, infant feeding bottles, plastic dinnerware and plastic storage containers.

BPA is also used in the lining of cans of food to prevent spoilage that can lead to bacterial contamination and the risk of botulism.

Numerous regulatory agencies in the U.S. and abroad have concluded repeatedly that BPA is safe as used and has not been shown to cause health problems in adults, children, or unborn babies.

They regard the very few studies suggesting possible health concerns over BPA to be inconclusive and any such concerns to be overshadowed by the risk of replacing BPA with unproven, untested — or even more dangerous — alternatives.

This is "comparative risk assessment" in the real world. (Henry I. Miller, IBD)

 

EPA Ozone Standard Would Destroy 7.3 Million Jobs, Study Estimates

by Marlo Lewis
18 October 2010 @ 11:30 am

A recent study by the Manufacturer’s Alliance/MAPI finds that EPA’s proposed revision of the “primary” (health-based) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone would have devastating economic impacts, such as:

  • Impose $1 trillion in annual compliance burdens on the economy between 2020 and 2030.
  • Reduce GDP by $687 billion in 2020 (3.5% below the baseline projection).
  • Reduce employment by 7.3 million jobs in 2020 (a figure equal to 4.3% of the projected labor force in 2020).

In a companion report, the Senate Republican Policy Committee estimates the job losses and  ”energy tax” burden (compliance cost + GDP reduction) each State will incur if EPA picks the most stringent ozone standard it is considering.

The costs of tightening ozone standards are likely to overwhelm the benefits, if any, as Joel…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Parental fear breeds cotton-wool kids: study


Modern parents are becoming increasingly protective of their kids, but where will it end? Photo: Stephen Baccon

Even though there is no evidence that it is more dangerous for children to go to the park or walk to school without adults, parents are increasingly wrapping their offspring in cotton wool, a Perth study has found.

Children's mental development and health were also being threatened by their parents' fear of strangers, which was often cited as the reason parents did not let children leave the home without supervision.

The research, exploring the role parental fear for their child's security plays in limiting their physical activity and independence, was undertaken by University of Western Australia Assistant Professor Lisa Wood, in conjunction with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research's Professor Stephen Zubrick.

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It found that even though abduction, robbery, assault and homicide statistics had not risen substantially over the past 50 years, parents were more anxious not only about what could happen to their children but also about how other parents perceived them. (SMH)

 

New guidelines drop the 'P' from CPR

NEW YORK - After 50 years of loyal service, traditional CPR is being replaced by a new, bare-bones version of the life-saving emergency procedure.

Forget about yucky mouth-to-mouth contact -- the P in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) -- and get right down to pumping hard and fast on the chest, the American Heart Association said on Monday,

That will keep oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain until trained rescuers can take over.

"Chest compressions are the most important part of CPR," said Dr. Michael Sayre, a spokesman for the American Heart Association. "The major change is switching to starting CPR with chest compressions rather than opening an airway and doing rescue breathing."

Only if a rescuer has been specifically trained in conventional CPR should they give rescue breathing as well, added Sayre, also of Ohio State University in Columbus.

Recent studies have shown that CPR without rescue breathing works as well as or better than the full version in most people who suffer cardiac arrest. (Reuters Health)

 

Dozens killed by incorrectly placed acupuncture needles

Professor of complementary medicine calls for adequate training for all acupuncture practitioners after survey reveals punctured hearts and lungs among causes of death over past 45 years (Guardian)

 

The truth behind bad airline food

THE background noise travellers are exposed to during flights can impact how food is tasted, a new study has revealed. (news.com.au)

Could be, as every decent restaurant knows, ambience affects perception.

 

 

AB 32’s “Political Symbolism with Consequences” (Will California vote for recovery?)

by Daniel Simmons
October 18, 2010

Many Californians are concerned about the continuing economic viability of the Golden State, especially with the impending implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB (Assembly Bill) 32. The goal of the act is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, through a program administered and enforced by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Almost all economic modeling of GHG emissions regulations find that the costs of such programs outweigh their benefits. The estimates have come from a wide spectrum of organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Brookings Institution, consulting-firm Charles River Associates, and others.

Contrary to the economic consensus, CARB has gone the other direction and argues that command-and-control and cap-and-trade will so increase the efficiency of energy use that Californians will benefit substantially by 2020. But CARB’s self-interested study is flawed as a new study by economist Robert Michaels explains.

CARB’s Suspect Economic Modeling

Recently, the San Francisco Chronicle exposed CARB’s overestimate of pollution from diesel trucks of 340 percent, an error that has caused independent truckers to leave the business rather than bear the costs by CARB. And now Professor Michaels of California State University, Fullerton (website here) explains the many ways in which CARB’s economic modeling of AB 32 is fatally flawed and how CARB threatens California’s economic welfare:

  • There are no world climate benefits from AB 32. California’s greenhouse gas emissions are only 2 percent of global emissions, and its share is falling as those from China and the developing world rapidly rise.
  • CARB’s results come from a computer model that is by its own admission unreal. In the model, it is mathematically impossible to have unemployment as high as prevails today, and the model does not allow climate policy to change the rate at which unprofitable businesses close or leave the state.
  • To create benefits from costly command-and-control regulations, CARB assumes that Californians do not know best what works for their own lives, but that CARB’s choices are economically superior—a heroic and unsupportable assumption.
  • CARB assumes its new automobile fuel economy regulation will help California drivers by artificially limiting automobile choices. This assumes that people do not already consider fuel economy when buying a new car—again, another heroic and unsupportable assumption.
  • CARB assumes that its fuel economy regulations will cost “only” $1050 per vehicle in 2016 and $2,000 in 2020. Estimates by others are much higher.
  • According to CARB, the benefits of a low carbon fuel standard that reduces GHG emissions equal its costs. CARB, however, conveniently excludes over $6 billion per year in federal ethanol and biofuel subsidies from the costs.
  • Hidden in the “fine print” of CARB’s scoping plan is an admission that to meet the 2020 goals it will need to cut the number of passenger vehicles by 20 percent (while population grows by 12 percent), but the Board does not specify exactly how this will be done.
  • CARB misses obvious ways to reduce the world’s GHG emissions more cheaply than its own programs can do the job. Its recently-ordered renewable electricity requirement increases will reduce GHG emissions, but at 7 times the cost per ton of simply buying European greenhouse gas permits and not using them.
  • CARB’s program will intrude on both big and small decisions. It will become active in land-use planning with a goal of increasing density and reducing driving, and it has already issued detailed regulations requiring garages to offer all customers free tire pressure checks.
  • A Governor’s Executive Order (not yet law) wants to extend the program beyond 2020, so that emissions in 2050 are 20 percent of their 1990 values, and CARB is already formulating plans that include a 40 percent reduction in private vehicles by 2030.

Conclusion

AB 32 started as “feel good” legislation that would set an example for other states and nations, few of which have actively followed it. But since its passage, California’s unemployment has risen to 12 percent, and CARB’s claim that its policies will improve the lives of Californians becomes less credible by the day.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and the actions of one state will not deter the rest of the United States and the world from chosing recovery and development over its opposite. Professor Michaels’s analysis is a breath of fresh air in a very politicized debate, one that has been misinformed by CARB’s computer model that cannot even give an accurate picture of today’s economy. (MasterResource)

 

Gabriel Calzada: California could feel Spain's pain

Barring voter intervention, Californians will soon suffer under full-blown European-style energy policies. These include mandated greenhouse gas emission reductions of a sort achieved to date only through economic collapse, and fantastic mandates for renewable energy that so far have caused economic hardship elsewhere.

Oddly, despite these policies having been tried throughout Western Europe at great cost and for no discernible environmental benefit, Californians are told their laws are the "world's first".

It is not because policies similar to those in Assembly Bill 32 have yet to be tried that you hear no shining examples of their success. The "world's first" pretense is likely employed to avoid discussing the harm the policies have already caused elsewhere.

A similarly odd phrase, "California must be a leader," is now invoked against Proposition 23, the Nov. 2 ballot measure to delay these policies until the state's economy significantly recovers.

Yet while promoting similar steps at the national level, President Barack Obama had serially directed Americans to examine several European experiments in orchestrating the "green economy." Chief among his examples was Spain. Whether or not related to what I and two other researchers found after taking this advice, Mr. Obama no longer directs Americans to gaze at our economic wonder.

In Spain we found that the economy, in fact, lost a net 2.2 jobs for every "green job" the state claimed credit for, just in an opportunity cost. That is, the private sector creates jobs much more efficiently than the state – less expensively and dedicated to produce goods and services that people really demand. We found the private section would have created that many more "real" jobs had the money not been removed and put toward politically divined ends. Think "stimulus jobs."

A Power Point presentation leaked from the Spain's socialist Zapatero government earlier this year actually suggests that the loss in terms of jobs is currently even higher.

In Spain we also found that green jobs mostly (9 out of 10) were temporary. That is, they are principally installation jobs. In Italy, researchers found that 4.8 jobs were lost for each green job created.

In Germany – another example frequently cited by Mr. Obama – researchers with the state-funded think tank RWI-Essen concluded that "Germany's promotion of renewable energies is ... a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits." (Orange County Register)

 

Senescent Crone in la-la land: In Climate Denial, Again

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has to be smiling. With one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate — including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning — accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming.

The candidates are not simply rejecting solutions, like putting a price on carbon, though these, too, are demonized. They are re-running the strategy of denial perfected by Mr. Cheney a decade ago, repudiating years of peer-reviewed findings about global warming and creating an alternative reality in which climate change is a hoax or conspiracy.

Some candidates are emphatic in their denial, like the Nevada Republican Sharron Angle, who flatly rejects “the man-caused climate change mantra of the left.” Others are merely wiggly, like California’s Carly Fiorina, who says, “I’m not sure.” Yet, over all (the exception being Mark Kirk in Illinois), the Republicans are huddled around an amazingly dismissive view of climate change.

A few may genuinely believe global warming is a left-wing plot. Others may be singing the tune of corporate benefactors. And many Republicans have seized on the cap-and-trade climate bill as another way to paint Democrats as out-of-control taxers. (NYT)

Sad to witness the decay of a once great publication. What an ignominious end, degenerating to the propaganda organ of watermelon misanthropists...

 

Congress Down but Not Out on Climate Debate Next Session

Congress will not sit out the climate change debate next year -- even as regulatory battles play out at federal agencies, in the courts and at the state level.

With Congress almost certain not to enact climate legislation this year, environmentalists and industry have shifted their attention to the courts and U.S. EPA as it prepares to implement a rule next year to limit greenhouse gas emissions on stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.

But lawmakers will hardly be silent on the matter.

Opponents of EPA climate regulation will look to pre-empt any action by the courts or the agency through the legislative process, especially if the Republicans take the majority in the House after the November election. Annual spending bills will be prime targets for lawmakers looking to slash at EPA's authority.

"Regardless of which party is the majority in the House or Senate, attacks on EPA authority to limit global warming will continue and intensify," said Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and the director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. (Greenwire)

 

<chuckle> China rips US complaint on clean energy aid

BEIJING — A dispute between China and the United States over Beijing’s subsidies to clean-energy industries escalated yesterday when a senior Chinese economic official warned that Washington “cannot win this trade fight.’’

In an abruptly scheduled news briefing here, the official, Zhang Guobao, sharply rebuked the Obama administration for opening an inquiry on Friday into the subsidies.

Zhang accused American trade officials of repeatedly delaying talks over the same issues the White House now wants to investigate and suggested the administration is playing election-season politics.

“I have been thinking: What do the Americans want?’’ said Zhang, vice chairman of the government’s National Development and Reform Commission. “Do they want fair trade? Or an earnest dialogue? Or transparent information? I don’t think they want any of this. I think more likely the Americans just want votes.’’ (NYT)

 

In the land of Aus: VIPs' global swarming for climate change meetings

THE fight against global warming has globe-trotting bureaucrats attending more than one international climate conference every week.

Department of Climate Change staff flew first class to 64 global climate change meetings in just 12 months at a cost of more than $4 million.

A Senate committee heard that 93 staff went to destinations including Greenland, the Maldives, Japan, the US and Bolivia. (Ben Packham, Herald Sun)

 

The Non-Stop IPCC Spin Machine

Author worked on IPCC reports a decade prior to earning her PhD

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) press release issued last week talks about transparency and openness. But don’t be fooled. Preparation of the 5th assessment report – known internally as AR5 – isn’t even fully underway, yet the organization is up to its old tricks.

Take a look at the Notes to Editors on the second page of the press release. This is supposed to be the non-controversial stuff, the basic nuts and bolts. Instead, it’s spin, spin, spin. Here’s a sentence for you:

Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the IPCC reports.

Back in June, the IPCC released the list of people who’ve been selected to work on AR5. It said that list contained 831 names  – not thousands. But the situation is really worse than that, since only those individuals assigned to Working Group 1 deal with hard science. (Working Group 2 speculates on how climate change might effect our world. Working Group 3 discusses what might be done in response.) (No Consensus)

 

Outsourcing Your Emissions

by Brian McGraw
18 October 2010 @ 11:31 am

The Guardian reported this weekend on the confusing statistics being employed in Europe’s effort to reduce GHG emissions, “Europe on track for Kyoto targets while emissions from imported goods rise“.

The European Environment Agency reported that Europe is on track to meet agreed-upon emissions reductions of 20% by 2020, having already reduced their emissions by 17% from 1990 levels. A European Think-Tank, Policy Exchange, took a different perspective, noting that during this time emissions from imported goods and services have increased by 40%.

The stringent emissions reductions policy in Europe has caused domestic emissions to be replaced by emissions from foreign imports. If your goal is a global emissions reductions, then by this measure their policy has failed — while raising the price…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

A Positive Path for Meeting The Global Climate Challenge

Climate policies that require public sacrifice and limiting economic growth are doomed to failure. To succeed, policies to reduce emissions must promise real benefits and must help make clean energy cheaper. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

But the real issue is that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (under any of its aliases) is a completely fabricated problem. There is absolutely no known advantage or reason to constrain carbon dioxide levels while there are obvious benefits in the use of carbon dense fuels.

 

Searching for a New (Green) Holy Grail

Cap-and-trade's political death leaves room for new proposals on Capitol Hill.

In the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore told audience after audience that our climate was changing at a dangerous pace. At stake was our "ability to live on planet Earth, to have a future as a civilization." And it was hard not to believe the man in a film labeled "the most terrifying film you will ever see." But four years after the documentary's release, little has changed in the one place where change is supposed to happen: Capitol Hill.

Why? Well, back in 2004, political strategists Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus provided an answer. Their much-debated essay, "The Death of Environmentalism," argued that environmentalists are too often tone-deaf to political realities. Take cap-and-trade. It was long the holy grail of climate change for activists yearning to rework the math on American energy bills by making coal, oil, and other earth-warming fuels more expensive. "Who cares . . . if a cap-and-trade system is the most simple and elegant policy mechanism to increase demand for clean energy sources if it's a political loser?" they wrote. (Newsweek)

These clowns don't get it still. Carbon constraint is a "solution" without a problem. It is all pain for absolutely no gain and must never be done. How hard can it be for them to understand?

 

HadCRUT3: September 2010 not in top ten

Was September 2010 the warmest September on the modern instrumental record? As Steve Milloy's table quickly reveals, it depends whom you ask: different teams offer strikingly divergent answers to this simple question.

While our skeptical soulmates, John Christy and Roy Spencer, at UAH AMSU answer "Yes, September 2010 was our warmest September", and their satellite colleagues at RSS AMSU say the same thing, the crusaders responsible for the global surface records say something entirely different.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

The Flaw Of Averages

There seems to be a lot of reverse logic about at the moment. It appeared in the recent paper by Haigh et al concerning new observations made of the solar spectrum. When plugged into atmospheric models the researchers found that using spectrum observations made between 2003 and 2007 (the declining phase of the recent solar cycle) they noticed that whilst the Ultra-Violet from the sun had decreased the visible radiation had increased, causing a warming on Earth. Then the authors speculated that the reverse might be true, that is that if the visible radiation decreases at solar maximum then the earth might cool.

In another recent paper by Andrew Lacis et al the same approach is used. The paper claims to have proven that it is the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere that is the prime regulator for the Earth’s global temperature. They reached this conclusion by using a computer climate model in which they removed all Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere and noticed it had a large effect. Basically the world froze. They then concluded that adding a similar amount to the atmosphere must therefore also have a considerable effect but in the other direction, i.e. warming.

Whilst one ponders the implications of that logic there was another aspect to the Lacis paper that made me wonder. (David Whitehouse, GWPF)

 

Sigh... Adapt to climate change or face infrastructure crisis, experts warn

Global warming will wreak havoc on Canada’s infrastructure unless governments and individuals start adapting now, a panel of experts has told a Toronto gathering.

“We have a real crisis,” said Paul Kovacs, executive director of the London, Ont.-based Institute for Catastrophic Loss told a meeting on the environment held by the Royal Canadian Geological Society and the National Round Table on the Economy and the Environment.

“Some 60 per cent of our infrastructure is more than 40 years old. It wasn’t built for today’s weather or for tomorrow’s weather. Climate change is adding to the challenge.” (Globe and Mail)

 

More PlayStation® "climatology": UK Crops To Face Water Supply Crunch, May Relocate

Agricultural crops in Britain may need to be moved to new areas as the threat of both drought and flooding rises in the coming decades, a report commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England said on Monday.

The report said climate change was expected to produce higher temperatures, drier summers and wetter winters across much of England. (Reuters)

 

The Role Of Fossil Water On Climate – An Important Climate Forcing Whose Influence Has Not Yet Been Properly Assessed

There was an article in the October 9 2010 issue of The Economist titled

Deep waters, slowly drying up

which prompted me to consider the importance of non-replenished ground water on the atmospheric water vapor content when this deep water is transfered to the surface and evaporates. Non-replenished water is called “fossil water“.

This is an important climate issue which seems to have been overlooked. The Economist article includes the text

“….. aquifers are still poorly understood. Until a UNESCO inventory in 2008, nobody knew even how many transboundary aquifers existed. Experts are still refining the count: the American-Mexico border may include 8, 10, 18 or 20 aquifers, depending on how you measure them. Defining sustainability vexes hydrologists too, particularly with ancient fossil aquifers that will inevitably run dry eventually. Estimates for the life of the Nubian sandstone aquifer range from a century to a millennium.”

Fossil water as written in Wikipedia is

Fossil water or paleowater is groundwater that has remained sealed in an aquifer for a long period of time. Water can rest underground in “fossil aquifers” for thousands or even millions of years. When changes in the surrounding geology seal the aquifer off from further replenishing from precipitation, the water becomes trapped within, and is known as fossil water.

The Ogallala Aquifer and Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System are among the most notable of fossil water reserves. Fossil aquifers also exist in the Sahara, the Kalahari, and the Great Artesian Basin. A further potential store of ancient water is Lake Vostok, a subglacial lake in Antarctica.

Fossil water is a non-renewable resource.[1] Whereas most aquifers are naturally replenished by infiltration of water from precipitation, fossil aquifers get very little recharge.[2] The extraction of water from such non-replenishing groundwater reserves (known as low safe-yield reserves) is known in hydrology as “water mining”.[3] If water is pumped from a well at a withdrawal rate that exceeds the natural recharge rate (which is very low or zero for a fossil aquifer), the water table drops, forming a depression in the water levels around the well.[2] Water mining has been blamed for contributing to rising sea levels.

An important climate question is the contribution of this fossil water, through irrigation,  to local, regional and global transpiration and evaporation from soils and other surfaces. This is a flux of water vapor into the atmosphere that would otherwise not occur.

Fossil water reservoirs can be quite large. For example, in the paper

Issar, A, 1985: Fossil Water under the Sinai-Negev Peninsula. Scientific American Vol. 253, No. 1, p 104-110, July, 1985

the abstract reads

“A study of water issuing from springs and wells scattered across the Sinai (Egypt) and the Negev (Israel) deserts has identified a great aquifer formed during the last glacial age. Satellite photographs of the region reveal surface characteristics consistent with subterranean geology that could support an aquifer. Carbon-14 dating puts the age of the water from springs and wells at 20,000 to 30,000 yr. The ages determined from C-14 dating agree with results of hydrological flow models. Water samples from the ‘ Ayun Musa, from the abandoned oil-exploration well dug into the Nubian sandstone layer in Nakhel and from the artesian wells in the Nubian sandstone layer near the Dead Sea all have the same relative amounts of deuterium and oxygen-18. The chemical and isotopic studies in conjunction with archaeological evidence suggest that the aquifer holds rainwater that was trapped during the most recent ice age. It has been calculated that the Nubian sandstone aquifer under the Sinai and the Negev holds 200 billion cu m of water, 70 billion cu m of which is under the Negev. Agricultural settlements in the Negev demonstrate that the water is low enough in salt content to be suitable for irrigation.”

Recently, there was a report of the Libyan government’s program to ultilize fossil water for irrigation;

Libya’s Qaddafi taps ‘fossil water’ to irrigate desert farms

It is reported in the above news article

The Libyan government says the 26-year project has cost $19.58 billion. Nearing completion, the Great Man-Made River is the largest irrigation project in the world and the government says it intends to use it to develop 160,000 hectares (395,000 acres) of farmland. It is also the cheapest available option to irrigate fields in the water-scarce country, which has an average annual rainfall of about one inch.

I have asked my colleague, Faisal Hossain at Tennessee Tech University ,who is an internationally well-respected hydrologist about this issue, and he replied that, based on the paper

Freydank, K.  and Siebert, S. Towards mapping the extent of irrigation in the last century: a time series of irrigated area per country. Frankfurt Hydrology Paper 08, Institute of Physical Geography, University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, (2008).

that globally about 60% of irrigation water is from ground water, but the fraction that is from fossil water does not appear to have yet been assessed.  Professor Hoassin reminded me that the paper

[UPDATED PM Oct 18 2010 to correct citation and with edits in the associated  text]

DeAngelis, A., F. Dominguez, Y. Fan, A. Robock, M. D. Kustu, and D. Robinson (2010), Evidence of enhanced precipitation due to irrigation over the Great Plains of the United States, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D15115, doi:10.1029/2010JD013892.

claims that groundwater in the Midwest from the Ogallala  Aquifer (much of which is fossil water) doubled its contribution in terms of evaporation in the 20th century.

There is another paper on the role of irrigation in the global climate. It is

Puma, M. J., and B. I. Cook (2010), Effects of irrigation on global climate during the 20th century, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D16120, doi:10.1029/2010JD014122

I posted on this paper in

New Paper “Effects Of Irrigation On Global Climate During The 20th Century” By Puma and Cook (2010).

Among the recommendations in the Puma et al (2010) paper is

“Future efforts to understand irrigation in a climate model setting should not only carefully document the amount of irrigation water applied to the land, but also keep track of the relative amounts of surface water and groundwater used for irrigation.”

Faisal also referred me to the paper

Scanlon, B. R., I. Jolly, M. Sophocleous, and L. Zhang (2007), Global impacts of conversions from natural to agricultural ecosystems on water resources: Quantity versus quality, Water Resour. Res., 43, W03437, doi:10.1029/2006WR005486

which includes the excerpts from the abstract

“Past land use changes have greatly impacted global water resources…… Since the 1950s, irrigated agriculture has expanded globally by 174%, accounting for ~90% of global freshwater consumption. ….. Long time lags (decades to centuries) between land use changes and system response (e.g., recharge, streamflow, and water quality), particularly in semiarid regions, mean that the full impact of land use changes has not been realized in many areas and remediation to reverse impacts will also take a long time…….”

We recommend an extension to these studies. Particularly, that ground water be further broken into replenishable ground water and fossil water, and an assessment of the local, regional and global contribution of fossil water used for irrigation to the transfer of water vapor into the atmosphere.

Fossil water, as with fossil fuels, involves the insertion of a climate forcing into the atmosphere due to human activities of a gas (in this case additional water vapor) which would otherwise not be there. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

With seven-tenths of the planet water covered I'm not very excited about fossil water's contribution to atmospheric water load but it certainly has some bearing on net sea level rise.

 

More waste: Chris Huhne wins £1bn funding for carbon capture technology

Funding is half the sum originally requested but allays fears the coalition would drop costly commitment altogether

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, has won a battle to secure £1bn from the Treasury to pay for the development of demonstration technology to capture and bury carbon emissions from power plants.

Although only half the sum requested by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), it allays environmentalists' fears that the coalition would drop the costly commitment altogether. (Guardian)

They should drop it altogether because it is all cost, both environmental and financial, with no benefit whatsoever.

 

Australia lags trading nations on carbon price

CHINESE power generators face what is in effect a carbon price eight times higher than Australian producers, and British companies pay 17 times more, according to a world-first study that challenges the argument a carbon price would penalise Australian industry while international competitors continue to pollute without penalty.

The analysis, which calculated the total cost of taxes, regulations and subsidies to reduce CO2 emissions in six countries, found Australia was lagging rather than ''leading the world'' on a carbon price. On an international comparison, Australian electricity producers face extremely low charges. (SMH)

And yet Australian energy prices are far too high compared to actual generation costs and additional carbon pricing is taxation totally devoid of benefit or purpose. Come on Australia, lead the world to sanity and get rid of energy taxation altogether.

 

Paper Accepted: Emissions Reduction Targets in Australia

Regular readers will be aware of my analysis of the decarbonization implications of various emissions reduction targets in Australia.  That paper has now been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Environmental Science & Policy.  You can download a copy of the updated, pre-pub version which has been accepted for publication here.  As always, comments welcomed. 

The Australia paper is the third such analysis, following studies of the United Kingdom and Japan.  These cases, as well as several others, are a focus of Chapter 4 in The Climate Fix, which also looks at other countries and offers a global perspective. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

At least he knows it's pure fantasy...

 

D'oh! We'll go green... until it starts costing too much

HOUSEHOLDS are dumping expensive green power deals as electricity costs go through the roof.

Almost 140,000 homes nationwide abandoned the contracts in the past year.

The backlash comes as new research suggests some retailers are overcharging for green power arrangements.

A study by energy comparison site switchwise.com.au reveals an average home can pay up to $245 more for a full green power plan, depending on the chosen green supplier.

"Some customers are definitely paying too much and are being exploited," Switchwise founder Shaun Johnson said.

Under the deals, consumers typically agree to pay $150 to $400 a year more for electricity in exchange for companies buying back the same amount of consumption from renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

The renewable energy is then fed into the national grid in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Customers on GreenPower are still mostly supplied with coal-fired electricity.

Data from the National GreenPower Accreditation Program reveals the number of households subscribed to the scheme shrunk 15 per cent to 802,619 in the past year.

Victoria has the nation's biggest number of GreenPower customers at almost 280,000, or 12 per cent of households, despite a loss of 71,000 in the past year.

Mr Johnson said many opted out of the plans after the collapse of retailer Jackgreen last November.

"Consumers appear to be less willing to pay a premium after seeing their power bills rise by over 20 per cent in the last two years," he said.

"As green as you want to be, people also want to save money." (Herald Sun)

 

UK Government Supports New Nuclear Reactor Designs

The British government said on Monday nuclear power reactor designs from developer Westinghouse and French EDF and Areva were necessary for building new plants in Britain.

Minister for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne also reiterated the government's promise not to support construction of new nuclear power stations through public funding.

"This means that there will be no levy, direct payment or market support for electricity supplied or capacity provided by a private sector new nuclear operator," Huhne said, announcing the National Policy Statement in the British Parliament. (Reuters)

 

 

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5

In the face of so many daunting near-term challenges, U.S. government and industry are letting the crucial strategic issues of U.S. competitiveness slip below the surface. Five years ago, the National Academies prepared Rising Above the Gathering Storm, a book that cautioned: "Without a renewed effort to bolster the foundations of our competitiveness, we can expect to lose our privileged position." Since that time we find ourselves in a country where much has changed--and a great deal has not changed.

So where does America stand relative to its position of five years ago when the Gathering Storm book was prepared? The unanimous view of the authors is that our nation's outlook has worsened. The present volume, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited, explores the tipping point America now faces. Addressing America's competitiveness challenge will require many years if not decades; however, the requisite federal funding of much of that effort is about to terminate.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited provides a snapshot of the work of the government and the private sector in the past five years, analyzing how the original recommendations have or have not been acted upon, what consequences this may have on future competitiveness, and priorities going forward. In addition, readers will find a series of thought- and discussion-provoking factoids--many of them alarming--about the state of science and innovation in America.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited is a wake-up call. To reverse the foreboding outlook will require a sustained commitment by both individual citizens and government officials--at all levels. This book, together with the original Gathering Storm volume, provides the roadmap to meet that goal. While this book is essential for policy makers, anyone concerned with the future of innovation, competitiveness, and the standard of living in the United States will find this book an ideal tool for engaging their government representatives, peers, and community about this momentous issue. (NAP)

 

Don't Give Trial Lawyers This Booster Shot

Anyone who thinks the vaccine case now before the Supreme Court is merely a matter of giving injured plaintiffs their day in court has misconceived the stakes for those who reap the benefits of vaccines.

The U.S. Supreme Court has just heard oral arguments in the case of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, in which the parents of a severely disabled child wish to sue the manufacturer of a childhood vaccine for causing their child’s disability. At this stage, the dispute is over a purely legal issue: the scope of federal preemption. The 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act largely removed childhood vaccines from the tort liability system, channeling injury claims through a specialized court that focuses on science and provides no-fault compensation for injuries actually caused (or probably caused) by vaccines. The question before the court is whether this law barring ordinary injury suits applies to “design defects,” such as when the manufacturer allegedly could have offered an alternative vaccine with the same benefits and lower risk—even though the law does not explicitly mention design defects. (John E. Calfee, The American)

 

Britain strikes back at "compensation culture"

LONDON - The British government has pledged to strike a blow at the so-called compensation culture which has left some individuals and groups so afraid of being sued that even traditional activities like school trips and throwing snowballs are under threat.

It will ease safety rules for office workers and clamp down on advertising for "no win, no fee" injury lawyers.

More than 800,000 claims for compensation were made in Britain last year, fueled by aggressive advertising promising no-risk litigation for injury victims.

The result was that employers, schools and voluntary bodies had become overzealous in curbing risks, tying themselves down in red tape and unnecessarily abandoning many activities, said veteran politician David Young in a review of health and safety laws.

"Today, accident victims are given the impression that they may be entitled to handsome rewards just for making a claim regardless of any personal responsibility," he said

"It is hardly surprising that many organizations seek to mitigate their liabilities with excessively risk-averse policies." (Reuters Life!)

 

Chinese Drywall Maker Held Accountable without Congressional Meddling

Posted by Daniel Griswold

This summer, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would require foreign companies that import goods to the United States to appoint a legal representative in the United States who could be sued if their products caused injury. Exhibit A in the push for the bill was the case of contaminated drywall from China.

Advocates of the bill, titled the “Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act,” say it is necessary to ensure compensation for American consumers injured by faulty foreign-made products. Without a designated domestic agent, foreign companies could escape liability by dodging efforts to serve them with papers in a lawsuit. Hearings earlier this year highlighted the case of the drywall, in which damaged homeowners were finding it difficult to sue the Chinese producer.

The trouble with this approach, as my colleague Sallie James and I pointed out in a recent Cato Free Trade Bulletin, is that it would impose an additional burden on importers without adding significantly to the ability of consumers to gain compensation. We argued that sufficient remedies exist without adding a new law that looks suspiciously like a non-tariff trade barrier designed to protect U.S. manufacturers from foreign competitors. (Cato at liberty)

 

Eye-roller: Cancer Is a Man-Made Disease, Controversial Study Claim

Is the common nature of cancer worldwide purely a man-made phenomenon? That is what some researchers now suggest.

Still, other specialists in cancer and in human fossils have strong doubts about this notion.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for roughly one in eight of all deaths in 2004, according to the World Health Organization. However, scientists have only found one case of the disease in investigations of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, researcher Rosalie David at the University of Manchester in England said in a statement. (The researchers did not reply to repeated queries made via phone and e-mail.) (Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience)

 

Science may have found silver bullet for common cold

Richard Gray
October 18, 2010

Scientists are hailing a breakthrough that could lead to one of medicine's holy grails - a cure for the common cold.

Researchers have found they can attach tiny studs of silver to harmless bacteria, giving them the ability to destroy viruses. They tested the silver-impregnated bacteria against norovirus, which causes winter vomiting outbreaks, and found they leave the virus unable to cause infections.

The researchers believe the same technique could help to combat other viruses, including influenza and those responsible for causing the common cold.

Professor Willy Verstraete, a microbiologist at the University of Ghent in Belgium, who unveiled the findings at a meeting of the Society for Applied Microbiology in London last week, said the bacteria could be incorporated into a nasal spray, water filters and hand washes to prevent the spread of viruses. (TDT)

 

When Drugs Cause Problems They Are Supposed to Prevent

In the past month, the Food and Drug Administration has concluded that in some cases two types of drugs that were supposed to be preventing serious medical problems were, in fact, causing them.

One is bisphosphonates, which is widely used to prevent the fractures, especially of the hip and spine, that are common in people with osteoporosis. Those drugs, like Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva, will now have to carry labels saying they can lead to rare fractures of the thigh bone, a surprising new discovery that came after another surprise — that they can cause a rare degeneration of the jawbone.

The other is Avandia, which is widely prescribed for diabetics, whose disease puts them at risk for heart attacks and heart failure. Two-thirds of diabetics die of heart problems, and a main reason for taking drugs like Avandia is to protect them from that.

But now the F.D.A. and drug regulators in Europe are restricting Avandia’s use because it appears to increase heart risks.

In the case of bisphosphonates, the benefits for people with osteoporosis still outweigh the risk, bone experts say. And no one has restricted their use.

But the fact remains that with decades of using drugs to treat chronic diseases, the unexpected can occur.

Something new is happening, said Daniel Carpenter, a government professor at Harvard who is an expert on the drug agency. The population is aging, many have chronic diseases. And companies are going after giant markets, huge parts of the population, heavily advertising drugs that are to be taken for a lifetime.

And the way drugs are evaluated, with the emphasis on shorter-term studies before marketing, is not helping, Dr. Carpenter said.

“Here is a wide-scale institutional failure,” he said. “We have placed far more resources and requirements upon premarket assessment of drugs than on postmarket.”

Dr. Jason Karlawish, a University of Pennsylvania ethicist who studies the ways new treatments are developed and disseminated, expressed a similar concern.

“The point is not that the drugs are bad, but that drugs for these chronic diseases present a novel set of challenges about how to assess their safety,” he said. (Gina Kolata, NYT)

 

Harvard: our elixir of youth for stem cells was bogus

There have been various examples of (alleged) scientific misconduct - e.g. "Copygate" affecting Mr Wegman. I find this one interesting.

In January 2010, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) announced a nice discovery: the aging of the stem cells could be reversed by signals from insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1):

Blood tells old cells to act young: HSCI scientists uncover clues toward treating age-related conditions via the blood

Systemic signals regulate ageing and rejuvenation of blood stem cell niches (full paper, PDF, Nature).
Well, it turns out that the discovery was almost certainly bogus:
3 Harvard Researchers Retract a Claim on the Aging of Stem Cells (NY Times)

Stem cell papers under suspicion (Nature News)

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

HWGA: Study: Obesity care costs twice previous estimates

ATLANTA -- Nearly 17 percent of U.S. medical costs can be blamed on obesity, according to new research that suggests the nation's weight problem may be having close to twice the impact on medical spending as previously estimated.

One expert acknowledged that past estimates likely low-balled the costs and said the new study - which places obesity-related medical costs at around $168 billion - probably is closer to the truth. (Associated Press)

 

Push for junk food tax gains weight

MORE public health experts have joined the call for a tax on junk food, saying the existing focus on "individual behaviour change" will do little to curb surging rates of obesity.

Ms Holly Bond, PhD candidate at the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights, said more than 60 per cent of Australian adults and one in four children were now either overweight or obese.

Obesity had overtaken smoking as the leading cause of premature death and illness, and yet government had so far resisted calls to adopt the same approach it championed for tobacco and alcohol. (AAP)

Seems to be more a case of the "push" gaining a few more noisy advocates than any community desire for Twinkie taxes.

 

Controversy in New Zealand: what is cheaper: bottled water [or] cask wine?

Alcohol, mainly wine has become cheaper than bottled water in New Zealand, a study showed Friday, with researchers warning there could be major implications for public health. However an independent television news investigation questioned the report. (MercoPress)

 

Jaguar Listing and Habitat Designation Based on Junk Science

A Freedom of Information Act inquiry has revealed that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) decision to declare portions of Arizona and New Mexico as “Critical Habitat” for the jaguar has no basis in fact. USFWS based its decision on unsubstantiated anecdotal stories that did not meet the Endangered Species Act definition of minimum scientific standards. The inquiry also found possible collusion between an employee of the Arizona Fish and Game Department and the Center for Biological Diversity. The report of the inquiry was written by Biologist/Attorney Dennis Parker. Here is the press release: (Jonathan DuHamel, Tucson Citizen)

 

The World Bank’s Palm Oil Mistake

Lagos, Nigeria

WHEN the World Bank held its annual meeting last weekend, there was much discussion of trade imbalances and currency wars, but nothing about Nigerian palm oil. That’s a shame, because the bank’s loans for plantation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions — some $132 million of which have gone to palm oil cultivation — have been humanitarian and economic triumphs. Yet now, under misguided pressure from environmental groups, the bank is turning its back on the program.

Palm oil, which is extracted from the pulp of the oil palm, is an essential food in sub-Saharan Africa and other poor regions. Accounting for almost 40 percent of the world’s vegetable oils, it is an indispensable source of vitamins and calories. The developing world is heavily reliant on palm as a source of nutrition because the plant thrives in tropical climates and yields significantly more fats and calories than other options. It gives the developing world — where hundreds of millions of men and women still live on a few dollars a day — the most caloric bang for the buck.

Nigeria’s palm oil industry, which once led the world, was moribund by the end of the last century. But thanks to the World Bank program, it is now one of the world’s largest producers, after Indonesia and Malaysia. In addition to providing food, the palm oil sector offers jobs, employing tens of thousands of Nigerians who earn wages similar to those of college graduates. In a country where most people have limited education, this sector has been essential to helping the broader Nigerian economy grow.

The industry is also diverse, as both small-scale landholders and a growing number of industrial farms have used the World Bank loans to invest in more efficient harvesting and production techniques. The revival of the palm oil industry gives Nigeria hope that its economy will not be forever hostage to petroleum production — and the pollution and graft that inevitably accompany it.

But the bank’s legacy of success is now in serious jeopardy. Under the leadership of Robert Zoellick, a former United States trade representative, the bank has wavered from its poverty-reduction mission and is increasingly focusing on achieving fashionable political and social goals. As Mr. Zoellick put it, “We are all committed to ensuring that positive developmental outcomes — including environmental and social sustainability — are at the core of all our activities.”

This is a huge, and disturbing, change in direction. The World Bank was conceived out of the wreckage of World War II, and its mission has always been simple: extend low-interest loans from rich nations to support development projects in poor nations. Of necessity, many of these loans support agriculture-related projects. These projects do two crucial things. First, they help poor nations feed their populations. Second, they generate goods that can be traded in global markets, thus linking the developing world economically with the wealthy world.

The results have been extraordinary. According to the bank itself, since its inception, life expectancy in developing countries has risen by more than 20 years. Adult illiteracy in poor nations has been cut in half since 1980. And over the past two decades, the number of people living on less than $1 a day, while unacceptably high, has dropped for the first time.

But in many cases this progress has now run afoul of environmental groups that often put ideology ahead of the needs of the poor. And, unfortunately, these groups have persuaded Mr. Zoellick to suspend all loans for palm-related plantation agriculture indefinitely as the bank undertakes a review of its policies. (Thompson Ayodele, NYT)

 

Food Miles: The Local Food Activists’ Dilemma (a global warming inconvenient truth)

by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu
October 15, 2010

October 16th is World Food Day, an annual event that was inaugurated in 1979 by the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to mark its founding date in 1945. This year’s theme, “United against Hunger,” harks back to the FAO’s original mission. So what exactly are the central food planners and the anti-industrial Left thinking about food-for-all these days?

Demonizing Capitalism’s Food Bonanza 

With the advent of the “foodie” fad and the rise of celebrity chefs, discussions about the most effective ways to address hunger in poor countries have increasingly fallen out of fashion among advanced economies’ food activists. Indeed, in a world where no good deed goes unpunished, the individuals most responsible for producing ever-growing amounts of food at ever more affordable prices – from large scale farmers, professional plant breeders, synthetic pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers to agricultural equipment manufacturers, commodity traders, logistics industry workers and packaging manufacturers – have increasingly been demonized as poor stewards of the Earth, if not outright public health threats.

What really motivates food activists these days are rather SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical) food initiatives whose aim is to “liberate” consumers and communities from the grips of Agri-businesses. And here the critics have it just about all wrong. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Altered Images Depict Horrors Of Pollution

A Hungarian economist turned artist is using digitally manipulated photographs that create almost apocalyptic imagery from real life to promote environmental awareness.

Suzanne Nagy's series of photographs entitled "Polluters" features altered images that are embedded in an epoxy solution to create a three-dimensional effect. (Reuters)

She can't find any real problems so she has to fabricate them?

 

 

What Next for the Royal Society?

In May this year, the UK’s science Academy, the Royal Society, announced that it was going to publish a “new guide to the science of climate change to help the public gain a better understanding of the issue.”

This announcement appeared to follow in the wake of a series of episodes that challenged the scientific basis of the arguments for political action on climate change. Email hacking, questions about the provenance of IPCC claims and the virtues of its chair seemed to make climate scepticism more respectable than it had been. This was in many respects grotesque. As I argued here, climate orthodoxy had not actually been challenged by an open public, technical debate about the conclusions of climate science, and neither had it been challenged by a debate about the premises of political environmentalism. Instead, it was the media’s desire for stories about sleaze and scandal which drove this issue into the limelight. Nonetheless, events at least allowed for climate orthodoxy to be challenged. Even the president of the Royal Society, Martin Rees, now seemed to acknowledge that climate change anxiety had been over-egged.

Climate change is a hugely important issue but the public debate has all too often been clouded by exaggeration and misleading information.  We aim to provide the public with a clear indication of what is known about the climate system, what we think we know about it and, just as importantly, the aspects we still do not understand very well.

If the Royal Society aimed to clarify the issue for the public, by pointing out that the debate was ‘clouded by exaggeration and misleading information’, it had already failed. You can’t clarify a complex situation merely by pointing at the mess, and issuing ‘the facts’ about what it pertains to, especially since it had been the Royal Society under the stewardship of Martin Rees’s predecessor, Bob May, who had done much to add heat – rather than light – to the public debate. (Climate Resistance)

 

Andrew Revkin shocked that science is evolving

Andrew Revkin wrote about his exchanges with Hal Lewis:

A physicist’s climate complaints (Dot Earth)
The first observation that Revkin finds utterly shocking is that 20 years ago, Hal Lewis didn't quite understand that and why the opinions that the changing climate justifies expensive interventions was unsupported by science. I knew very little about the changing climate 20 years ago, too.

However, for Andrew Revkin, the fact that someone can learn something new in 20 years is a shocking news. I will discuss this point later.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

Climate Change Now Questioned At German Universities – Professors Speaking Up

P Gosselin 15. Oktober 2010

The AGW religion in Germany is in deep trouble. Consensus is crumbling. the science is coming under attack.

It’s taken a awhile, but slowly and surely, Germany, once the premier power in science, is beginning to ask questions again. When lectures and seminars questioning climate science take place within academic circles and at German universities, then you know something is afoot. (No Tricks Zone)

 

Consensus science...

 

Opinion: Global warming not worth the fight

The United States would gain little in trying to forestall climate change

Global warming is real. It is predominantly anthropogenic. Left unchecked, it will likely warm the earth by 3-7 C by the end of the century. What should the United States do about it?

Very little, if anything at all.

As economists, we are inclined to take the vantage point of the benevolent dictator, that omnific individual with his hands upon all of the policy levers available to the state. When placed in such a position, the question of how to respond to global warming is answered by performing a simple comparison: does x, the cost of optimally mitigating carbon emissions, exceed y, the benefit of that carbon mitigation? Where the answer is yes, the global carbon mitigation effort remains rightfully nascent, where the answer is no, it springs up and becomes law with a just and sudden force.

H.L. Mencken once wrote, “Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” Such is the economist’s explanation of climate change. (Keith Yost, The Tech)

 

Lawrence Solomon: Yale flunks global warming

If you aren’t confident that humans are responsible for warming the planet, you may be judged a dunce, according to a new Yale University survey entitled “Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change.”

Think that scientists “can’t possibly predict the climate of the future,” or that “scientists’ computer models are too unreliable to predict the climate of the future?” If you answer “Probably true,” to these two survey questions, Yale’s researchers mark you as ignorant.

Perhaps you think it probable that “Global warming is happening, but will be more beneficial than harmful.” Or that “The Earth is actually cooling, not warming.”  Dumb, dumb, decides Yale, which concluded “only 8% of Americans have knowledge equivalent to an A or B, 40% would receive a C or D, and 52% would get an F.”

In truth, if you did make these “mistakes,” you’d be in good company. Yale’s researchers would also have flunked Princeton’s Freeman Dyson, America’s best known scientist, Claude Allegre, France’s best known scientist , and World Federation of Scientists President Antonino Zichichi, Italy’s best known scientist, among thousands of others.

The researchers – a group at the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication — are wrong-headed in making assertions that no one can prove or disprove: All computer models to date have failed to predict the climate, as one example. The researchers are also too-often embarrassingly wrong. They believe that melting Antarctic ice has been raising global sea levels when satellite data from the European Space Agency – an authority in the field – shows the opposite to be true. They highlight ignoramuses who think that aerosol cans might have something to do with global warming, not realizing that credible peer-reviewed research at University of Waterloo shows otherwise: CFCs, the agent in aerosol cans, was indeed responsible for global warming, says Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics and astronomy. They treat as myth the notion that the Sun could explain the global warming seen in recent decades.

The headline from Yale University’s press release: “Most Americans Lack Basic Knowledge of Climate Issues, Study Finds.”

My headline: “Yale University scientists lack basic knowledge of climate issues.”

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers. The Yale survey can be found here.

 

Michael Mann and Donald Kennedy

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

With Dr. Michael Mann out on the hustings selling his innocence, as I discussed a few days ago, I was pleased when I came across this clear explanation of some major issues in the so-called inquiry by Penn State into the Mann’s actions. I urge everyone to read it, and follow up on the citations therein. There are numerous other problems with the inquiry, but that hit the high points.

Figure 1. The effect of Michael Mann, as seen by Chris Bok. But I digress.

Here was the mind-boggling part to me. To my astonishment, other than Michael Mann, the people running the investigation of Michael Mann reported interviewing exactly TWO PEOPLE besides Mann himself. I was, as the lovely English expression has it, “Gob-smacked”.

Remember that Dr. Mann recently said:

My employer, Penn State University, exonerated me after a thorough investigation of my e-mails in the East Anglia archive.

I knew it was bad, but interviewing two people now constitutes a “thorough investigation” of alleged serious scientific malfeasance? The investigators didn’t even understand that the famous “Mike’s Nature trick“was a clever way of hiding adverse data, a big scientific no-no. They didn’t interview anyone who actually understood the issues.

Two interviews and close the books? That is a pathetic joke. Penn State was my father’s alma mater, Class of ’26, I’m glad he didn’t live to see how far they have fallen. Penn State should demand that its name be taken off the document.

However, because this is a story involving Dr. Mann, you know there’s gotta be more to it than that they just interviewed two people, there’s bound to be a further twist to the story.

Continue reading (WUWT)

 

Why climate change isn't much of a campaign issue

When an economy is in the tank, it’s a lot tougher to sell what may be expensive environmental solutions whose benefits aren't seen for decades to people worried about their job today.

Coming into this year, conventional wisdom had it that if Democrats failed to get an energy and climate bill passed by this summer, a new attempt would have to wait until at least 2011.

Think longer-term than that. Maybe a lot longer. (CSM)

 

US Elections Could Kill Climate Legislation

Though most of the debate among US politicians preparing for the midterm elections on November 2 nd is about the economy, supporters of the warmist agenda are awakening to the fact that a sea change in the American Congress could leave climate change legislation high and dry. A list compiled by the left-leaning Wonk Room website suggests that 31 out of 37 Republican Senate candidates have recently disputed the science. This includes nine out of ten sitting senators and five of the remaining six actively oppose existing climate bills. If there was ever any doubt as to which end of the political spectrum belief in anthropogenic global warming lies on, this should make it clear that climate change is a political lever for the socialist left. There is scant support from conservatives for radical environmentalist notions. Indeed, skepticism about climate science has become a litmus tests for candidates backed by the resurgent right. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

Climate change apocalypse NOW

Analysis The long-running saga of drowning dogs and weeping rabbits finally drew to a close this week, with the pronouncement by Ofcom that last year’s "Act on CO2" advertising campaign was "not political".

Critics fear that this ruling now gives the green light to government "information" campaigns that otherwise look, sound and feel like state-sponsored politicking. (The Register)

 

EU holds off on decision to move to 30 per cent emissions target

Debate continues on whether to support Kyoto and upgrade emissions goals

EU environment ministers once again failed to reach agreement on whether to upgrade the EU's emissions reduction target for 2020 from 20 per cent to 30 per cent at a meeting in Brussels yesterday, although they agreed to revisit the issue early next year.

In a statement released at the close of the meeting, the European Council of member states said it welcomed the on-going debate on whether to upgrade the emissions target, but provided no update on the current state of the negotiations. (James Murray, BusinessGreen)

 

From the rubber room: Time is Running Out

"What we need more than anything else is a mass movement of young people," Peter Goldmark, director of EDF's Climate and Air Program, who recently announced his retirement at the end of the year. "In American culture, it is youth that sets the agenda. It's always been this way. Think who was driving change in the anti-Vietnam war movement, in the civil rights era. They have to mobilize, now, and demand action against global warming."

We are sitting in Goldmark's small, spare office at EDF's Manhattan headquarters. He has had a distinguished and varied career, which included stints as Director the Port Authority of New York, President of the Rockefeller Foundation and publisher of the International Herald Tribune. I've come to talk to Goldmark, as he prepares to leave EDF, about what he has learned during his tenure. He speaks angrily of the "shameful paralysis" of the U.S. Senate, and says his focus is now is almost entirely on the next generation.

"My generation has failed," he says flatly. "We are handing over the problem to our children. They—and their children—will live with the worst consequences of climate change. Make no mistake, global warming is happening right now. It is only going to get worse." (EDF)

 

Another eye-roller from the Nude Socialist: A warming world could leave cities flattened

EARTH is starting to crumble under the strain of climate change.

Over the last decade, rock avalanches and landslides have become more common in high mountain ranges, apparently coinciding with the increase in exceptionally warm periods (see "Early signs"). The collapses are triggered by melting glaciers and permafrost, which remove the glue that holds steep mountain slopes together.

Worse may be to come. Thinning glaciers on volcanoes could destabilise vast chunks of their summit cones, triggering mega-landslides capable of flattening cities such as Seattle and devastating local infrastructure.

For Earth this phenomenon is nothing new, but the last time it happened, few humans were around to witness it. Several studies have shown that around 10,000 years ago, as the planet came out of the last ice age, vast portions of volcanic summit cones collapsed, leading to enormous landslides. (New Scientist)

 

Some climate insanity for the weekend

While most people with at least traces of rational thinking or common sense have largely seen through the nonsense of "climate disruption", the AGW crusaders reacted in a simple way: they began to write bigger insanities than ever before, hoping that the low-to-nonexistent quality of their arguments can be compensated by their "intensity".

A couple of fresh examples:



Global warming flattens skyscrapers

New Scientist has figured out some new science: "Earth is starting to crumble under the strain of climate change." (This is a quote.)

Cities such as Seattle are going to be completely flattened soon. How does the Earth achieve this modest goal? It's simple. Climate change is, first of all, detonating the volcanoes above such cities, Kate Ravilious professionally explains. Once the volcanoes explode because of the 0.013 °C warming per year or so, they destroy all the skylines, too. No kidding. ;-)


» Don't Stop Reading »
(TRF)

 

Sun & Volcanoes Control Climate

It is accepted that volcanic eruptions can have a major impact on short term climate. A new study in Nature Geoscience uses instrument records, proxy data and climate modeling to show that multidecadal variability is a dominant feature of North Atlantic sea-surface temperature (SST), which, in turn, impacts regional climate. It turns out that the timing of multidecadal SST fluctuations in the North Atlantic over the past 600 years has, to a large degree, been governed by changes in external solar and volcanic forcings. Solar influence is not surprising but that fact that volcanoes cause climate change lasting decades has some significant implications for those trying to model climate over the next century. (Doug L. Hoffman, The Resilient Earth)

 

Oh dear... Climate change may alter natural climate cycles of Pacific

While it's still hotly debated among scientists whether climate change causes a shift from the traditional form of El Nino to one known as El Nino Modoki, online in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists now say that El Nino Modoki affects long-term changes in currents in the North Pacific Ocean.

El Nino is a periodic warming in the eastern tropical Pacific that occurs along the coast of South America. Recently, scientists have noticed that El Nino warming is stronger in the Central Pacific rather than the Eastern Pacific, a phenomenon known as El Nino Modoki (Modoki is a Japanese term for "similar, but different").

Last year, the journal Nature published a paper that found climate change is behind this shift from El Nino to El Nino Modoki. While the findings of that paper are still being debated, this latest paper in Nature Geoscience presents evidence that El Nino Modoki drives a climate pattern known as the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO).

"We've found that El Nino Modoki is responsible for changes in the NPGO,"said Emanuele Di Lorenzo, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "The reason this is important is because the NPGO has significant effects on fish stocks and ocean nutrient distributions in the Pacific, especially along the west coast of the United States."

The NPGO, first named two years ago by Di Lorenzo and colleagues in a paper in Geophysical Research Letters, explained for the first time long-term changes in ocean circulation of the North Pacific, which scientists now link to an increasing number of dramatic transitions in coastal marine ecosystems.

"The ecosystems of the Pacific may very well become more sensitive to the NPGO in the future," said Di Lorenzo. "Our data show that this NPGO is definitively linked to El Nino Modoki, so as Modoki becomes more frequent in the central tropical Pacific, the NPGO will also intensify." (Georgia Institute of Technology)

In truth we do not know much about the El Niño Southern Oscillation, how its phases drift and change or at what part of longer term cycles we may be viewing it. We have no way of telling whether we are witnessing anything even slightly unusual or if enhanced greenhouse effect exists at all. We probably won't have sufficient observations to untangle the data for many decades and probably several centuries. Gorebull warbling is perhaps humanity's most absurd collective distraction. Silly game...

 

Does CO2 Drive the Earth’s Climate System? Comments on the Latest NASA GISS Paper

(edited for clarity at 2:45 p.m.)

There was a very clever paper published in Science this past week by Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy that uses the GISS climate model (ModelE) in an attempt to prove that carbon dioxide is the main driver of the climate system.

This paper admits that its goal is to counter the oft-quoted claim that water vapor is the main greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. (They provide a 1991 Lindzen reference as an example of that claim).

Through a series of computations and arguments, the authors claim that is actually the CO2, not water vapor, that sustains the warmth of our climate system.

I suspect this paper will result in as many opinions in the skeptic community as there are skeptics giving opinions. But unless one is very careful in reading this paper and knows exactly what the authors are talking about, it is easy to get distracted by superfluous details and miss the main point.

For instance, their table comparing the atmospheres of the Earth, Venus, and Mars does nothing to refute the importance of water vapor to the Earth’s average temperature. While they show that the atmosphere of Mars is very thin, they fail to point out the Martian atmosphere actually has more CO2 than our atmosphere does.

I do not have a problem with the authors’ calculations or their climate model experiment per se. There is not much new here, and their model run produces about what I would expect. It is an interesting exercise that has value by itself.

It is instead their line of reasoning I object to — what they claim their model results mean in terms of causation– in their obvious attempt to relegate the role of water vapor in the atmosphere to that of a passive component that merely responds to the warming effect of CO2…the real driver (they claim) of the climate system.

OUR ASSUMPTIONS DETERMINE OUR CONCLUSIONS

From what I can tell reading the paper, their claim is that, since our primary greenhouse gas water vapor (and clouds, which constitute a portion of the greenhouse effect) respond quickly to temperature change, vapor and clouds should only be considered “feedbacks” upon temperature change — not “forcings” that cause the average surface temperature of the atmosphere to be what it is in the first place.

Though not obvious, this claim is central to the tenet of the paper, and is an example of the cause-versus-effect issue I repeatedly refer to in the past when discussing some of the most fundamental errors made in the scientific ‘consensus’ on climate change.

It is a subtle attempt to remove water vapor from the discussion of “control” over the climate system — by definition. Only those of us who know enough of the details of forcing-feedback theory within the context of climate change theory will likely realize this, through.

Just because water vapor responds quickly to temperature change does not mean that there are no long-term water vapor changes (or cloud changes) — not due to temperature — that cause climate change. Asserting so is a non sequitur, and just leads to circular reasoning.

I am not claiming the authors are being deceptive. I think I understand why so many scientists go down this path of reasoning. They view the climate system as a self-contained, self-controlled complex of physically intertwined processes that would forever remain unchanged until some “external” influence (forcing) enters the picture and alters the rules by which the climate system operates.

Of course, increasing CO2 is the currently fashionable forcing in this climatological worldview.

But I cannot overemphasize the central important of this paradigm (or construct) of climate change theory to the eventual conclusions the climate researcher will inevitably make.

If one assumes from the outset that the climate system can only vary through changes imposed external to the normal operation of the climate system, one then removes natural, internal climate cycles from the list of potential causes of global warming. And natural changes in water vapor (or more likely, clouds) are one potential source of internally-driven change. There are influences on cloud and water vapor other than temperature which in turn help to determine the average temperature state of the climate system.

After assuming clouds and water vapor are no more than feedbacks upon temperature, the Lacis et al. paper then uses a climate model experiment to ‘prove’ their paradigm that CO2 drives climate — by forcing the model with a CO2 change, resulting in a large temperature response!

Well, DUH. If they had forced the model with a water vapor change, it would have done the same thing. Or a cloud change. But they had already assumed water vapor and clouds cannot be climate drivers.

Specifically, they ran a climate model experiment in which they instantaneously removed all of the atmospheric greenhouse gases except water vapor, and they got rapid cooling “plunging the climate into an icebound Earth state”. The result after 7 years of model integration time is shown in the next image.

Such a result is not unexpected for the GISS model. But while this is indeed an interesting theoretical exercise, we must be very careful about what we deduce from it about the central question we are ultimately interested in: “How much will the climate system warm from humanity adding carbon dioxide to it?” We can’t lose sight of why we are discussing all of this in the first place.

As I have already pointed out, the authors have predetermined what they would find. They assert water vapor (as well as cloud cover) is a passive follower of a climate system driven by CO2. They run a model experiment that then “proves” what they already assumed at the outset.

But we also need to recognize that their experiment is misleading in other ways, too.

First, the instantaneous removal of 100% of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere except for water vapor causes about 8 times the radiative forcing (over 30 Watts per sq. meter) as does a 100% increase in CO2 (2XCO2, causing less than 4 Watts per sq. meter), something that will not occur until late this century — if ever.

This is the so-called ‘logarithmic effect’…adding more and more CO2 has a progressively weaker radiative forcing response.

Currently, we are about 40% of the way to that doubling. Thus, their experiment involves 20 times (!) the radiative forcing we are now experiencing (theoretically, at least) from over a century of carbon dioxide emissions.

So are we to assume that this dramatic theoretical example should influence our views of the causes and future path of global warming, when their no-CO2 experiment involves ~20 times the radiative forcing of what has occurred to date from adding more CO2 to the atmosphere?

Furthermore, the cloud feedbacks in their climate model are positive, which further amplifies the model’s temperature response to forcing. As readers here are aware, our research suggests that cloud feedbacks in the real climate system might be so strongly negative that they could more than negate any positive water vapor feedback.

In fact, this is where the authors have made a logical stumble. Everyone agrees that the net effect of clouds is to cool the climate system on average. But the climate models suggest that the cloud feedback response to the addition of CO2 to our current climate system will be just the opposite, with cloud changes acting to amplify the warming.

What the authors didn’t realize is that when they decided to relegate the role of clouds in the average state of the climate system to one of “feedback”, their model’s positive cloud feedback actually contradicts the known negative “feedback” effect of clouds on the climate’s normal state.

Oops.

(In retrospect, I suppose they could claim that cloud feedbacks switched from negative at the low temperatures of an icebound Earth, to being positive at the higher temperatures of the real climate system. But that might mess up Jim Hansen’s claim of strongly positive feedbacks during the Ice Ages).

CONCLUSION
Taken together, the series of computations and claims made by Lacis et al. might lead the casual reader to think, “Wow, carbon dioxide really does have a strong effect on the Earth’s climate system!” And, in my view, it does. But the paper really tells us nothing new about (1) how much warming we can expect from adding more CO2 to the atmosphere, or (2) how much of recent warming was caused by CO2.

The paper implies that it presents new understanding, but all it does is get more explicit about the conceptual hoops one must jump through in order to claim that CO2 is the main driver of the climate system. From that standpoint alone, I find the paper quite revealing.

Unfortunately, what I present here is just a blog posting. It would take another peer-reviewed paper that follows an alternative path, to effectively counter the Lacis paper, and show that it merely concludes what it assumes at the outset. I am only outlining here what I see as the main issues.

Of course, the chance of editors at Science allowing such a response paper to get published is virtually zero. The editors at Science choose which scientists will be asked to provide peer review, and they already know who they can count on to reject a skeptic’s paper.

Many of us have already been there, done that. (Roy W. Spencer)

 

Drilling for Black Gold in Eastern Germany

Could there be enough oil in the eastern German state of Brandenburg to start a small boom in black gold? A Canadian company believes there might and is about to commence test drilling. But will they have any more luck than the former communist government? (Spiegel)

 

Extreme Makeover, Natural Gas Edition

One of the paramount questions facing mankind, I am told by many in politics and the media, is “What’s the ‘fuel of the future?’” [Read More] (Mac Johnson, ET)

 

More Fuel Ethanol - And More Trouble - On The Way

by Ben Lieberman
15 October 2010 @ 3:27 pm

Adding ethanol to the gasoline supply raises the cost of driving, boosts food prices, gobbles up subsidies, and has failed to live up to its environmental promise. But there’s good news – the Environmental Protection Agency may let us use more of it.
EPA recently announced that E15 – gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol blended in - has been approved for use in cars and trucks built since 2007. Until this decision, no more than 10 percent ethanol was allowed. The federal government is still conducting testing to determine whether older vehicles can use E15 without problems, and until that decision is made gas stations will be reluctant to carry it. Beyond cars and trucks, a coalition of producers…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Laughably, US upset by green subsidies: U.S. to launch inquiry into China's subsidies for clean-energy firms

The Obama administration is launching a broad investigation into whether the Chinese government improperly supports its alternative energy companies, one of the sharpest challenges yet to Beijing's alleged efforts to seize world leadership in particular industries. (Washington Post)

 

Renewables will add £880 a year to bills

Trying to meet our EU renewable energy target would cost more than we currently spend on our entire electricity production, says Christopher Booker.

Is there any subject on which more nonsense is talked and written than the mindblowing proposals being bandied about by the Government for meeting our EU target of generating, within 10 years, 30 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources? (That is roughly six times the current total, meaning that we have by far the most challenging target of any country in Europe.)

For instance, the industry regulator, Ofgem, recently announced that by 2020 we will need to have spent £40 billion on connecting up our new renewable energy sources to the national grid – £4 billion a year. Alistair Buchanan, the head of Ofgem, blithely claimed, on the BBC Today programme and elsewhere, that this would only add £6 a year to the average electricity bill of Britain’s 25 million households. Yet ten seconds with a calculator shows that the cost per household of that £4 billion a year works out to £160.

On top of this, the Government wants us to have, by 2020, offshore wind farms with a capacity of 33 gigawatts (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts). At the current capital cost of £3 million per megawatt of capacity, this would cost another £100 billion (£10 billion a year, or £400 a year for each household), to be paid for through our electricity bills. However, even if they could all be built, they would produce on average only around a quarter of that amount of electricity.

Add in £8 billion a year (or £320 per household) which, the Government forecasts, we will be paying by then through its ludicrously generous feed-in tariff for solar power and, for these measures alone, our total annual bill for the dream of meeting our EU renewables target would be at least £22 billion. That’s considerably more than the entire wholesale cost of Britain’s electricity generated from all sources last year, at £18.6 billion.

In other words, these measures alone would much more than double our electricity bills, for producing on average – and very unreliably – barely as much energy as we get from a handful of conventional power stations.

In reality, there isn’t the faintest chance that any of the Government’s targets will be met. But the massive diversion of resources that it is doing its best to encourage will not help when it comes to filling the looming 40 per cent gap in our electricity supplies, as 17 of the older nuclear and coal-fired power stations are forced to close. There is virtually nothing, then, in these plans to ensure that we can keep Britain’s lights on. (TDT)

 

Quangos working on renewable energy no longer a 'priority'

Renewables Advisory Board and Office for Renewable Energy Deployment among bodies axed

Two renewable energy quangos have been axed, with a leaked letter describing the function delivered by one of them as no longer a "priority". The government, which the prime minister pledged would be the "greenest ever", also radically reformed its key environmental bodies, the Environment Agency and Natural England, leaving campaigners asking how it would receive the independent advice needed to make effective policy. (Guardian)

 

One of the few projects that might have yielded useful power: Huhne drops Severn barrage to invest in wind power

Wildlife activists welcome decision to halt £30bn energy scheme in favour of exportable technologies, as new nuclear plants also get the green light.

Ambitious plans to harness the power of the Severn estuary to light up one in 20 of the UK's homes are to be abandoned as a result of the Government's attempt to address the nation's deficit.

Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy, will tomorrow jettison the world's largest tidal energy project, rather than make the taxpayer foot an estimated bill of £10bn to £30bn for the untested technology. (Independent)

 

Wind-Park Proponents Advocate Suspending Democracy

P Gosselin 17. Oktober 2010

Over at Sweden’s sceptic The Climate Scam, Jonny Fagerström writes how pro-wind-park organisation Swedish Wind Energy is lobbying to abolish the municipal veto in order to bypass public refusal of windparks. The public, whose landscape would be ruined, should not be allowed to have a say on whether or not a wind-park is to be installed in their area, read here: Wind Power Industry Threatens Democracy

Wind-park builders and operators find it a nuisance that pesky, stubborn residents refuse to have their local landscape industrialised and property values ruined. For the wind industry, permitting is proceeding much too slowly, and populations should just accept having the windmills forced down their throats, without any further ado. (No Tricks Zone)

 

Chris Huhne to announce eight sites for new generation nuclear plants

A new generation of nuclear power stations will go ahead on eight sites in Britain, Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, is expected to announce this week (TDT)

 

 

Not Much To Like

Health Care: Many promises were made about reform. Defenders swore it would improve the system. Critics guaranteed it would make things worse. So far, the critics are proving to be the best forecasters. (IBD)

 

Classic chemical stupidity: Canada declares BPA Toxic, Sets Stage For More Bans

Canada has declared bisphenol A a toxic chemical, prompting calls for far-reaching curbs on the industrial chemical that is used in everything from the linings of aluminum cans to coatings on electronic till receipts.

Canada added the compound, known as BPA, to a list of substances deemed potentially harmful to health or the environment in a notice published in the Canada Gazette on Wednesday.

That makes it easier for Ottawa to regulate the use of the chemical, perhaps by limiting how much BPA can be released into air or water or perhaps with outright bans on its use in specific food containers.

"The risk assessment of BPA put together by our federal government is very strong in terms of its conclusions, so I think it's a foregone conclusion that it will drive further action rather quickly," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defense, which campaigned to ban BPA. (Reuters)

 

Pesticide Activism: Fifty Years of Panic and Propaganda

For the past half century, society has been repeatedly misled by activist-orchestrated campaigns on the supposed environmental impact of chemicals in general and pesticides in particular. Starting with erroneous accusations against DDT leveled by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book Silent Spring and continuing today with claims that the herbicide atrazine harms frogs or that minute traces of chemicals pose significant health risks, the news media have demonstrated an astonishing resistance to facts and science in favor of the grand simplistic narratives advanced by groups whose primary goal is the banning of chemicals.

The lamentable result of this toxic journalism can be counted in the millions of needless malaria dead, billions of preventable illnesses, and untold increases in consumer costs that society has incurred over the past half century. (CGFI)

 

Traffic pollution tied to increased emphysema risk

NEW YORK - People who spend years living near high-traffic roadways may be more likely to develop emphysema and related lung problems than those who live in less-traveled areas, a new study suggests.

Research has shown that air pollution can exacerbate symptoms in people with lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of serious lung conditions that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

But whether long-term exposure to pollution affects the odds of developing COPD in the first place has been unclear.

In the new study, researchers found that among nearly 53,000 Danish adults followed for up to 35 years, those estimated to have the greatest cumulative exposure to traffic pollution were more likely to develop COPD than those with the least exposure. (Reuters Health)

 

Churches may be more polluted than roads

Incense and candles may create a tranquil environment, but the fumes that they produce are not so good for your lungs. New research shows that the smoke produced by burning incense and candles can be worse than the pollution found next to a busy road.

Rea Loupa and colleagues, from Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, monitored the air quality in two mediaeval churches in Cyprus, where both incense and candles were burned. Particulate matter and black carbon were measured over six consecutive days, both inside and outside the church of St Paraskevi, near Yeroskipou, and St John's cathedral in Nicosia.

At St Paraskevi candle burning was not allowed, but incense was burned during mass. Meanwhile, St John's allowed candle burning at any time. Loupa and her colleagues found that peak particulate concentrations inside St John's coincided with peaks in candle burnings, and that at these times the concentration of particles in the small size range (0.5 to 1.0μm) were more than 10 times greater than those found outside, despite the fact that there was a busy road next to the cathedral in Nicosia. Meanwhile, black-carbon levels were nearly 12 times higher than outdoors after mass, coinciding with the burning of incense and candles.

Exposure to pollution at these levels is almost certainly not good for human health. "Incense and candles can emit ultrafine, lung-damaging particulate matter that's capable of penetrating deep into the lungs," Loupa told environmentalresearchweb. "From our personal communication with more than a hundred priests they have health problems that possibly are work related, such as asthma aggravation, allergy-like symptoms, irritation of the respiratory tract and lung cancer." (environmentalresearchweb)

 

Does light make you fat?

When—not just what—mice eat affects how much weight they put on

Oct 14th 2010

THE blame for rising obesity rates has been pinned on many things, including a more calorific diet, the spread of processed food, a lack of exercise and modern man’s generally more stressful lot. Something else may soon be included in the list: brighter nights.

Light regulates the body’s biological clock—priming an individual’s metabolism for predictable events such as meals and slumber. Previous research has shown that, in mice at least, the genes responsible for this can be manipulated so as to make the animals plumper and more susceptible to problems associated with obesity, including diabetes and heart disease. It was not known, though, whether simply altering ambient light intensity might have similar effects. (The Economist)

 

The Hispanic Mortality Paradox: Why Do Latinos Outlive Other Americans?

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has collected national life expectancy data for the Hispanic population, and backed up the surprising findings of past studies: the average life expectancy of a Hispanic baby born in 2006 was 80.6 years. That's 2.5 years longer than the life expectancy for whites, 7.7 years longer than for blacks and nearly three years higher than the national average.

The results are interesting because the Hispanic population, which makes up 15% of the American public, has several characteristics that are traditionally associated with shorter life: more obesity, less education and more poverty; 18.9% of Latinos are poor, compared with 6.1% of whites. (One exception to the paradox: Hispanics' median income is higher than blacks', and fewer Hispanics than blacks are poor, making it unsurprising that average Hispanic life expectancy is higher.) (Time)

 

Tropical diseases plague poor but treatment cheap: WHO

GENEVA - Tropical diseases that affect mainly poor people cost billions of dollars in lost productivity annually and companies must be encouraged to make medicines to treat them, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The United Nations agency, in its first report on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), urged governments and donors to invest more in tackling 17 diverse infections often shunned by researchers, which can cause blindness, heart damage and death.

It said the diseases often cost only pennies to treat. They include Chagas disease, which affects about 10 million people in Latin America, and dengue fever, another virus transmitted by infected mosquitoes which the WHO said was rapidly spreading worldwide and now poses a risk to developed countries.

"Neglected tropical diseases blight the lives of a billion people worldwide and threaten the health of millions more," WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in the report, "Working to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases." (Reuters)

 

Charcoal biofilter cleans up fertilizer waste gases

Removing the toxic and odorous emissions of ammonia from the industrial production of fertilizer is a costly and energy-intensive process. Now, researchers in Bangladesh have turned to microbes and inexpensive wood charcoal to create a biofilter that can extract the noxious gas from vented gases and so reduce pollution levels from factories in the developing world.

Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, Jahir Bin Alam, A. Hasan and A.H. Pathan of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, in Sylhet, explain that biofiltration using soil or compost has been used to treate waste gases for the last two decades. There are simple filters for reducing odors and more sophisticated units for removing specific chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide, from industrial sources.

Among the many advantages are the fact that biofiltration is environment friendly technology, resulting in the complete degradation by oxidation of toxic pollutants to water and carbon dioxide without generating a residual waste stream. It also uses very little energy. Biofilters are widely used in the developed world but their use in the developing world which is rapidly being industrialized but not necessarily considering pollution control.

The Shahjalal team has now built a prototype biofilter for ammonia extraction based on wood charcoal in which the nitrogen-fixing microbe Nitrosomonas europaea has been grown. This microbe derives all its energy for metabolism, growth, and reproduction from ammonia, which it absorbs and oxidizes to nitrite. The microbe is commonly found in soil, sewage, freshwater, and on buildings and monuments in polluted cities.

The team found that their prototype biofilter could function at an ammonia concentration of 100 to 500 milligrams per liter of gas and remove the ammonia from this gas stream almost completely. Approximately 93% removal of ammonia gas was seen within seven days. (Inderscience Publishers)

 

Yale scientist helps pinpoint threats to life in world's rivers

The food chain - the number of organisms that feed on each other — in the world's streams and rivers depends more upon the size of the stream and whether the waterways flood or run dry than the amount of available food resources, Yale University and Arizona State University (ASU) researchers report online in the Oct. 14 issue of the journal Science Express.

The findings suggest that large predators in river systems will be threatened by increased variability in water flow induced by climate change. The research also helps settle an old debate among ecologists about what determines the length of nature's food chains, which sustain all life on earth.

"The food web is a regulatory network of ecosystems, and for nearly 100 years ecologists have debated the causes of variation in the length of the food chains, said David Post, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale and co-author of the study.

Researchers from Yale, ASU, the University of Minnesota, and the U.S. Geological Survey studied 36 North American streams and rivers. The researchers found that food chains – or the number of mouths that food passes through on the way to top predators – got longer as the size of the body of water increased. The findings are similar to another study conducted by Post a decade ago that found the key factor in food chain length was lake size, not the amount of food resources in a system, as many ecologists had believed. (Yale University)

 

A river ran through it

New research shows that nature and humans are leaving an indelible mark on rivers and streams, which are affecting the intricate food webs they support (Arizona State University)

 

Column - Five reasons not to trust this jihad against our farmers

ENOUGH. It’s one thing that this green madness is driving your power and water bills through the roof.

But now it threatens to destroy not just your household budget, but entire towns in our richest farming land.

Mildura, Robinvale, Coleambally, Leeton, Deniliquin and Moree - all now face devastation.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has been warned in a survey it commissioned of big lenders to rural business that these specific towns and more will struggle to survive the cut in irrigation water the authority now demands to “save” the Murray and the rivers that feed it.

Yet the MDBA is pushing on, proposing a cut in farmers’ water entitlements of between 27 and 37 per cent - on top of the deep cuts it’s already made for “the environment”.

In some areas, farmers will lose as much as half their irrigation water and will have to close their gates.

Wait and see what that does to the price of your fruit, vegetables and rice. Heavens, even the green faithful will scream at the price of tofu, made of soy beans grown in the same irrigated fields now being robbed of water. (Andrew Bolt Blog)

 

BOM loses rainfall

by Tom Quirk
October 14, 2010

Shock Murray-Darling Basin discovery 

Analysts at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have some explaining to do. 

In the last two years some 900 mm of rainfall have been removed from the rainfall record of the Murray-Darling Basin. This startling discovery was made by comparing the annual Murray-Darling Basin rainfall reported on the Bureau of Meteorology website in August 2008 and the same report found yesterday. 

The annual rainfall figures are shown as reported in October 2010:
 
Yearly rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin from 1900 to 2009 as reported in October 2010 with a mean value of 467 mm (solid line).  

There is no significant trend in rainfall through this period but there is large variability with rainfall extremes of a 257 mm minimum and a 787 mm maximum. 

The comparison with the August 2008 report is revealing. The difference is a decrease of 900 mm rainfall in the 2010 report. The significant decrease occurs after 1948:
 
Changes to Bureau of Meteorology record of Murray-Darling Basin rainfall. Data downloaded August 2008 and October 2010 

The Bureau is already on record adjusting Australian temperature measurements and they now appear to have turned to rainfall, making the last 60 years drier than previously reported. 

One can understand that adjustments might be made to a few of the most recent years as records are brought up to date but a delay of forty or fifty years seems a little long. 

This raises the question how certain is the data that is used by policy makers? 

When we are confronted by apparently definitive forecasts of our future with rising temperatures and less rain, are we living through a period that brings to mind the Polish radio announcement of Soviet times?: 

The future is certain only the past is unpredictable.

(Quadrant)

 

Leading green quangos axed in UK Govt shake-up

Dozens of environmental agencies have been chopped in the long-awaited “bonfire of the quangos” as the UK's Coalition Government strives to balance its books.

The axe fell heaviest on the Environment Department, which lost 50 quangos, confirmed in a statement by Cabinet Minister Francis Maude today. (ClickGreen)

Good. Now get rid of the rest of them.

 

Scientists Poised To Wipe Out Deadly Cattle Disease

Scientists are poised to eliminate the deadly cattle disease Rinderpest, ending a malady that has devastated animal herds for centuries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday.

"It would be the first time in history that humankind has succeeded in wiping out an animal disease in the wild, and only the second time, after smallpox in 1980, that a disease has been eliminated thanks to human efforts," the FAO said in a statement. (Reuters)

 

Gates Agriculture Grants Focus On Seeds, Climate

Gates Foundation, which has donated $1.5 billion to agriculture in developing countries, is focusing more investments on seeds and technology to help small farmers adapt to climate change, the foundation's chief executive said on Thursday.

"Most of our grants support conventional breeding. But in certain instances we include biotechnology approaches because we believe they can help farmers confront drought, flooding, disease, or pests more effectively than conventional breeding alone," Jeff Raikes, chief executive of the foundation started by the billionaire founder of software giant Microsoft, said in a speech to the World Food Prize meeting. (Reuters)

Assisting agricultural development is good but they need to lay off the gorebull warbling nonsense as totally counterproductive.

 

 

HWGA: Carbon dioxide controls Earth's temperature

NEW YORK -- Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth's greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

The study, conducted by Andrew Lacis and colleagues at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, examined the nature of Earth's greenhouse effect and clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. Notably, the team identified non-condensing greenhouse gases -- such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons -- as providing the core support for the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

Without non-condensing greenhouse gases, water vapor and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. The study's results will be published Friday, Oct. 15 in Science. (NASA/GSFC)

This piece of Schmidt (Andrew A. Lacis, Gavin A. Schmidt, David Rind, Reto A. Ruedy) appears to be based on exactly the same model which fails to reproduce observed values. See embedded links in Roger Pielke Sr.'s post Further Confirmation Of Klotzbach Et al 2009.

A few points:

To begin with, in the troposphere (the region of interest), water as vapor and droplets accounts for roughly 95% of the greenhouse effect and CO2 only about one-fifth the value they are using.

Secondly, there is more than ample water in the troposphere to account for 100% of Earth's greenhouse effect but it does not because it effectively has to compete with CO2 and the other minor greenhouse gases for available outgoing longwave radiation in suitable wavelengths. Adding more CO2 might affect the proportion attributed to particular absorbent species but there is little opportunity to engage in net increase (for the pedants there is some opportunity in the super cold, super dry air masses where there is little native greenhouse effect).

Thirdly, their models are programmed with absurdly high CO2 sensitivity, so no one should be in the least surprised their models are sensitive to CO2 levels.

Additionally, atmospheric CO2 levels are largely dependent on temperature due to oceanic outgassing (war soda/beer/champagne effect, depending on your favorite analogy). Were it the controlling and amplifying variable modelers like to pretend then Earth could not cool as rapidly as it does following the northern summer and/or El Niño events and yet despite there being almost double the estimated ice age level of atmospheric CO2 Earth can not sustain the almost 4 °C global warming from northern winter to northern summer, which cools again from summer to winter. If doubling "Earth's temperature control" can not sustain such aggressive warming even 6 months how can it do so year on year?

Finally, the temperature values used in the model do not agree with the real world, making this just one more worthless piece of PlayStation® climatology.

Their marvelous magical multipliers appear entirely imaginary. Their model is a bust and this "study" is a nonsense. Color me impressed, just not favorably.

 

BEISNER: Renewable-energy standards are climate policy in disguise

By E. Calvin Beisner

Just when you thought you were safe from economy-crushing climate legislation with the death of "cap-and-trade" in the Senate, a new threat looms. It's climate legislation in disguise: renewable-energy standards. (Washington Times)

 

Report of the French Academy of Sciences Looks Devastating to the IPCC

by William Yeatman
October 14, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

This morning we received an update from friend at the Institut Hayek in France. Evidently, the French Academy of Sciences soon will release a paper that eviscerates the “beautiful certainties” espoused by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To read Drieu Godefridi’s brief on the imminent report, click here. To visits the Institut Hayek website, click here. (Cooler Heads)

 

And this won't help them: U.N. Climate Panel Agrees To Reforms

The U.N. panel of climate scientists agreed on Thursday to change its practices in response to errors in a 2007 report, and its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri of India, dismissed suggestions he should step down. (Reuters)

 

IPCC Reform? Transparency Needed

Richard Tol offers his views of decisions that may have been made about the future of the IPCC in response to the IAC Review:
The IPCC meeting in Busan is over.

The first message was from Chris Field, co-chair of WG2, reassuring all authors that the decisions made were in the best interest of the IPCC -- without even explaining what those decisions were. Although one could interpret this as a classic example of paternalism, let's give Chris the benefit of doubt and assume that he was tired after an intense meeting and in a rush to the airport.

BBC and Reuters offer some detail into the decisions made: a committee was formed to look into the matter.

Another day, another farce in climate land.

Cheers in all the wrong places.
It would be extremely useful for the IPCC to provide a simple report indicating its response to each of the IAC recommendations. For those who may have missed it, here is a list of those recommendations.  Perhaps an intrepid reporter will ask the IPCC to provide this information.

In my opinion, absent this information, along with a justification for why the IPCC decided to ignore advice that the IAC provided, the institution will remain deeply troubled. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Royal Society Humiliated by Global Warming Basic Math Error

Top international experts prove British numbers on carbon dioxide are wrong. Royal Society blunder grossly exaggerates climate impact.

German born chemist, Dr Klaus L. E. Kaiser has published evidence that proves the Royal Society (RS), London, has been caught out making schoolboy errors in mathematical calculations over the duration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere. Backed up by a review by a leading Swedish mathematics professor the revelation is a serious embarrassment to the credibility of the once revered British science institute and a major setback for its claims about climate change.

A gaffe in their own basic calculations led the RS to falsely find that CO2 would stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years rather than a dozen or so as per peer-reviewed studies show. Global warming skeptics have been quick to condemn the error and demand an apology and immediate correction.

The Royal Society advises the British government on matters concerning climate change. Due to the scale of the error any forthcoming review will necessarily result in a substantial downward revision of the threat posed by CO2 in the official government numbers. (John O'Sullivan, Suite 101)

We have pointed out many times the physical impossibility of CO2 remaining in the atmosphere for anything like the claimed times and it is nice to see this myth finally getting some attention.

 

Lawrence Solomon: Global warming propagandist slapped down

William Connolley, arguably the world’s most influential global warming advocate after Al Gore, has lost his bully pulpit. Connolley did not wield his influence by the quality of his research or the force of his argument but through his administrative position at Wikipedia, the most popular reference source on the planet.

Through his position, Connolley for years kept dissenting views on global warming out of Wikipedia, allowing only those that promoted the view that global warming represented a threat to mankind. As a result, Wikipedia became a leading source of global warming propaganda, with Connolley its chief propagandist.

His career as a global warming propagandist has now been stopped, following a unanimous verdict that came down today through an arbitration proceeding conducted by Wikipedia. In the decision, a slap-down for the once-powerful Connolley by his peers, he has been barred from participating in any article, discussion or forum dealing with global warming. In addition, because he rewrote biographies of scientists and others he disagreed with, to either belittle their accomplishments or make them appear to be frauds, Wikipedia barred him — again unanimously — from editing biographies of those in the climate change field.

I have written several columns for the National Post on Connolley’s role as a propagandist. Two of them appear here and here.

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.

 

<chuckle> Large gaps found in public understanding of climate change

New Haven, Conn.—Sixty-three percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening, but many do not understand why, according to a national study conducted by researchers at Yale University.

The report titled "Americans' Knowledge of Climate Change" found that only 57 percent know what the greenhouse effect is, only 45 percent of Americans understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the Earth's surface, and just 50 percent understand that global warming is caused mostly by human activities. Large majorities incorrectly think that the hole in the ozone layer and aerosol spray cans cause global warming. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Americans have never heard of the related problems of ocean acidification or coral bleaching.

However, many Americans do understand that emissions from cars and trucks and the burning of fossil fuels contribute to global warming and that a transition to renewable energy sources is an important solution.

Americans also recognize their own limited understanding. Only 1 in 10 say that they are "very well-informed" about climate change, and 75 percent say they would like to know more about the issue. Likewise, 75 percent say that schools should teach children about climate change and 68 percent would welcome a national program to teach Americans more about the issue.

"This study demonstrates that Americans need to learn more about the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global warming," said study director Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University. "But it also shows that Americans want to learn more about climate change in order to make up their minds and take action."

###
The executive summary and full report are available online: http://environment.yale.edu/climate/publications/knowledge-of-climate-change

The online survey was conducted by Knowledge Networks from June 24 to July 22, 2010, with 2,030 American adults 18 and older. The margin of sampling error is plus- or minus-2 percent, with 95 percent confidence. (Yale University)

Maybe people are beginning to understand it only too well...

 

Bogus global warming data hurts real scientific efforts

The revelations of bogus evidence in the manmade climate change hoax have become so routine as to go almost unnoticed, but continued revelations now pose a danger to the reputation of the real scientific community — that made up of dedicated researchers — which must be addressed before all lines of intellectual inquiry become tainted.

Consider what we have witnessed within the past several years while governments race headlong — using fraudulent conclusions — to set policies that will cost people across the world hundreds of billions of dollars to regulate benign gases like carbon dioxide. (Frank Beckmann, Detroit News)

 

Breaking News! It’s Global Warming! No Wait it’s Cooling! No Wait…(Part 1)

The world is warming at an unprecedented rate. The dire and irrefutable results of this global temperature heat wave will be starvation, inundation of coastal cities, war and the death of billions and the mass extinction of species. [Read More] (Art Horn and Michael J. Economides, ET)

 

Why Don’t Republicans Believe in Climate Change?

Ron Brownstein and Bill McKibben both have pieces up lamenting the ascendancy of climate change skepticism in the Republican Party. While McKibben ponders the intellectual roots of this phenomenon (a subject I touched on, as he notes, in a column earlier this year), Brownstein points out that the G.O.P. is an outlier among the developed world’s right-of-center parties:

Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”

(Ross Douthat, NYT)

Try Australia. The Leader of the Liberal Party and Conservative Coalition was dumped for being a believer and the Coalition made astonishing inroads into the dominance of the governing Labor Party (to the extent they now cling on with a minority rainbow conglomerate) by blocking climate legislation and standing on a platform of no carbon price - ever.

 

Sheesh! Costing the Earth - Can Lawyers Save The World

Climate change litigation is already big news in the US and the number of environmental cases in our own courts could be about to increase. Tom Heap asks what the law can do.

Climate change has already claimed its first victims. Displaced people from the Carteret Islands, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Niger delta have already become climate refugees but from whom can they seek refuge or even compensation?

Environmental Justice Foundation is calling for legally binding agreements to protect those displaced and there are various legal cases in action that could set a precedent for compensation.

400 Alaskan residents are suing energy companies for creating a public nuisance and for conspiracy (in funding research to 'prove' there is no link between climate change and human activity). Tuvalu, the low lying nation in the pacific, has threatened to sue Australia and the United States for their contributions to climate change and in the latest and most high profile case Katrina victims are taking the big oil companies BP, Shell, Chevron Exxonmobile, to court.

So far displaced people have not been defined as refugees so they have no legal rights but countries could be expected to take a number of migrants equivalent to their contribution or compensate victims for their loss.

Myles Allan of Oxford University has set up models to predict how much climate change attributable to man has caused extreme weather conditions like the flooding here in the UK in 2000. Sophisticated modelling could make it easier to attribute blame and a recent ruling in the European Court means that victims of environmental crime should find it a lot easier to take their cases to court. Big insurance companies are already warning their clients to expect compensation suits but there is still some way to go before precedent has been set in the case of climate change and nobody knows what will happen once these floodgates have opened.

Tom Heap talks to victims of Katrina who are already taking lawsuits and flood victims in the UK on the anniversary of the 2000 flooding to find out whether the courts can really offer compensation where international governments have failed to act. (BBC Radio 4)

Their very first assertion is wrong. JunkScience.com readers would be well aware that the Carteret Islands are indeed sinking, due to tectonic plate subduction, not gorebull warbling.

 

What it really means to be Green

IT’S hard to believe that it’s not satire but the 10:10 campaign’s advertisement showing a teacher blowing up children was a serious attempt to drum up support for climate alarmism.

The video, which attracted condemnation around the world this week, shows a teacher encouraging her young charges to follow the 10:10 campaign’s plan to reduce carbon emissions. When she asks for a show of hands from those who want to join the campaign, all but two of the children thrust their hands in the air.

“That’s absolutely fine, your own choice,” the teacher says, smiling. Then she presses a red button and the two little holdouts explode, their blood and gore spraying all over their classmates.

The same scenario is repeated in a workplace and on a soccer ground where those reluctant to join the campaign are messily vaporised.

This nasty ad wasn’t the work of Chaser-style fringe comedians. This was a serious product of the environmental establishment, an organisation sponsored by Sony - until the company pulled out this week - and in partnership with the Guardian newspaper.

Politicians, schools, and celebrities all over the world have joined 10:10. Even our very own Hugh Jackman has been photographed wearing a 10:10 promotional necklace.

The video was scripted by Richard Curtis of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame, and was the brainchild of the UK’s version of Michael Moore, Frannie Armstrong, director of The Age of Stupid.

It was the considered message from the very heart of the green movement - stand in the way of our plans and we will eliminate you. It’s green Darwinism, known in earlier times as The Final Solution.

Frannie and friends removed the video from the 10:10 website when complaints started, but it was too late. She has let the cat out of the bag.

Now we have the evidence that during the long silence after the twin blows last year of the Copenhagen climate summit and Climategate, green zealots had been busy plotting revenge.

They flipped the switch in their brains that takes them down the blood-spattered path of totalitarian death so well-worn in the 20th century. Now we know - climate change alarmism is a death cult.

We heard the message in its starkest form last month from the US Discovery Channel’s suicide bomber James Lee, whose eco-manifesto demanded no more “filthy human children”, before he was shot dead by police.

And we heard it in the subtle endorsement by Father Frank Brennan when he defended a vote for the Greens during the last election. “On some policy issues, I daresay the Greens have a more Christian message than the major parties,” Brennan wrote in rebuttal of Cardinal George Pell’s rather better description of the Greens as “sweet camouflaged poison”.

But, whatever way you dress it up, the climate alarmist message ultimately can be boiled down to death. (Miranda Devine Blog)

 

Denying the Catastrophe: The Science of the Climate Skeptic’s Position

In last week’s column, I lamented the devolution of the climate debate into dueling ad hominem attacks, which has led in almost a straight line to the incredible totalitarian vision of the 10:10 climate group’s recent film showing school kids getting blown up for not adhering to the global warming alarmists’ position.

In writing that column, it struck me that it was not surprising that many average folks may be unfamiliar with the science behind the climate skeptic’s position, since it almost never appears anywhere in the press. This week I want to give a necessarily brief summary of the skeptic’s case. There is not space here to include all the charts and numbers; for those interested, this video and slide presentation provides much of the analytical backup. (Warren Meyer, Forbes)

 

Europe Defers One Climate Policy Decision, Faces Up to Another

Europe faces two decisions on climate policy this week.  First, they must decide whether to adopt a more aggressive emissions reduction target for 2020, a decision that looks to be deferred until next year.  Second, the EU must decide on a common approach to the Union's negotiating stance going into the Cancun climate meeting next month.

From EurActiv:
Environment ministers are meeting today (14 October) in Luxembourg to set out the EU's strategy for the UN climate conference in Cancún at the end of the year. No decision is expected on whether to raise the bloc's CO2 emission target.

The ministers will revisit the thorny issue of increasing the EU's target of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 to 30%. So far, there has been no consensus on the issue, and a breakthrough is not expected at tomorrow's meeting either.

Draft conclusions from the meeting state that the EU will wait for the European Commission to draw up a 2050 low-carbon roadmap before any unilateral move to 30%, according to diplomatic sources.

The roadmap, scheduled for early next year, will set out a trajectory for emissions cuts with intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040, which could help put the 2020 target into perspective, they said.

The procedural take on the matter by environment ministers at this stage reflects a deep divide between two blocks of member states. While a group of Western European countries including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands argues that raising the EU goal is in its own interests, many Eastern and Central European member states and Italy, among others, say doing so must be conditional on similar commitments from other nations within the international negotiations for a new climate treaty.
Adoption of a unified EU stance leading up to Cancun centers on the future of the Kyoto Protocol:
The ministers will also seek to adopt an EU position for the Cancún climate conference, which takes place between 29 November and 11 December.

The political hot potato is whether to continue with the Kyoto Protocol after its expiry in 2012. The EU was accused by developing countries of killing Kyoto at the Copenhagen negotiations last year. In Copenhagen, the EU insisted it would only accept a new framework that covered all major economies, but the Kyoto Protocol does not set any obligations on developing countries, nor does it include the world's second biggest polluter, the US.
There seem to be three possible outcomes this week: (1) a unified EU position around extending Kyoto, (2) a unified EU position that deviates from Kyoto, and (3) a failure to reach a unified EU position.

Obviously, (3) would likely be fatal to the international climate convention process.  But (2) would also be very problematic since many countries are seeking to build upon the Kyoto Protocol, and thus could be equally damaging to the international process.  Of all the options (1) seems least most likely [UPDATED TO FIX -- Sorry, one word makes a big difference here;-)].

The outcome bears watching.  The EU has proven to be masterful at creating the appearance of consensus in international negotiations.  With the bloc's highly divergent views on climate policy, this week's meeting will require all of that skill and more. (Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Oct. 14th 2010

California is doomed, nervous warmists are prepping their excuses ahead of the Democrats electoral asteroid impact and the Maldive’s government is guilty of participating in a scam, but which one? (Daily Bayonet)

 

New research results change the understanding of atmospheric aerosol properties and climate effects

New research published in the Oct. 14 issue of Nature

Atmospheric fine particles affect the Earth's radiation balance by interacting with solar radiation and by participating in cloud formation. Biogenic volatile organic compounds are key players in new particle formation processes. Hence, terrestrial vegetation has an important role as the newly formed particles cool our climate. The chemical composition of such secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles formed from volatile compounds emitted by vegetation is very complicated and only limited information on the phase state of SOA particles has been available. Thus the scientific community has tried to understand the chemical composition and physical characteristics of SOA particles in order to better understand their climatic implications and also to enable more accurate predictions using global climate models. (Tampere University of Technology)

 

Comments On Judy Curry’s Post “The Culture Of Building Confidence In Climate Models”

In Judy Curry’s post at Climate Etc

The culture of building confidence in climate models

she listed information from Knutti 2008 regarding why there should be confidence in the multi-decadal global climate models. I have reproduced below this text from Judy’s post.

Knutti 2008 describes the reasons for having confidence in climate models as follows:

  • Models are based on physical principles such as conservation of energy, mass and angular momentum.
  • Model results are consistent with our understanding of processes based on simpler models, conceptual or theoretical frameworks.
  • Models reproduce the mean state and variability in many variables reasonably well, and continue to improve in simulating smaller-scale features
  • Models reproduce observed global trends and patterns in many variables.
  • Models are tested on case studies such as volcanic eruptions and more distant past climate states
  • Multiple models agree on large scales, which is implicitly or explicitly interpreted as increasing our confidence
  • Projections from newer models are consistent with older ones (e.g. for temperature patterns and trends), indicating a certain robustness.

I will discuss each of these criteria below

1. “Models are based on physical principles such as conservation of energy, mass and angular momentum.”

Models actually include basic physics for only a subset of the physics, This basic physics includes the pressure gradient forces (e.g. in the atmosphere; oceans), gravity, and advection (e.g. by winds, currents, percolation of water into the soil) on the resolvable scale of the model (which is at least 4 grid increments as I discuss in detail in Pielke (2002)). All other aspects of the physics, chemistry and biology are parameterized using tunable coefficients and functions. The multi-decadal global climate models (and indeed all numerical climate models) require the conservation of energy, mass and angular momentum, but the implication from the first bullet of Knutti 2008 that the climate models are basic physics code is incorrect.

2. “Model results are consistent with our understanding of processes based on simpler models, conceptual or theoretical frameworks.”

This is certainly a necessary test of any complex code. However, the pertinent question is are the model results consistent with real-world observations? For time periods decades into the future, there is no way to test this requirement. In fact, even in hindcasts of past years, the multi-decadal climate models have no regional skill, as I posted on in When Is A Model a Good Model?

3.  “Models reproduce the mean state and variability in many variables reasonably well, and continue to improve in simulating smaller-scale features” and “Models reproduce observed global trends and patterns in many variables”.

This are erroneous claims. As shown, for example, in

Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides, 2008: On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53 (4), 671-684

where, among their conclusions, they write with respect to the global climate models that they 

“…perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.”

Even Kevin Trenberth has written with respect to these models (see)

“…the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate.”

4. “ Models are tested on case studies such as volcanic eruptions and more distant past climate states”

The testing of global climate models when there is a volcanic eruption is a much simpler evaluation than multi-decadal global model predictions associated with natural variability and the diverse range of human inputs into the climate system.

Large volcanic eruptions result in the insertion of large quantities of ash into the stratosphere which reduces the solar irradiance that reaches the surface. This produces a cooling with the spatial distribution of the cooling dependent on where the volcanic emission into the stratosphere occurs. This use of the global climate models is an effective test of its skill and prediction of global and regional climate on the time period of seasons to a couple of years after a major eruption, as real world data can be used to directly compare with the model forecasts. This is a valuable necessary (but not sufficient) test of the skill of global climate models.

The model simulation of distant past climates is much more difficult since observational verification of skill must depend on proxy data. As a result temporal and spatial resolution is coarse, and only the larger climate perturbations can be resolved (not tenths of a degree in a global average temperature, for example).  Moreover, skill with these models with respect to proxy data often occurs primarily due to the imposition of the different topography of earlier times as the bottom boundary condition. With respect to the last glacial maximum, for example, the insertion of continental ice sheets that are thousands of meters high over vast areas directly alters the wind circulations in its vicinity such that finding proxies of cold vegetation on their boundaries is expected even without a model simulation.

The use of the global models, when there are major volcanic eruptions and for past climates, is a worthwhile scientific endeavor. However, it does not indicate if the models necessarily have skill with respect to predicting climate decades from now associated with changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, land use/land cover change and other human and natural climate forcings.

5. “Multiple models agree on large scales, which is implicitly or explicitly interpreted as increasing our confidence” and “Projections from newer models are consistent with older ones (e.g. for temperature patterns and trends), indicating a certain robustness”.

Model to model comparisons, while interesting and necessary, are no substitute for comparisons with real world data. The models themselves are actually quite similar to each other in terms of their dynamical core (i.e. the pressure gradient force, advection) and their parameterizations of the physics. They are not independent tests of skill, as they are themselves hypotheses (expressed in a mathematical set of numerical code).

Finally, the Knutti 2008 list is remarkably silent on what should be the most important test of the multi-decadal global climate models. This test is

What is their quantitative skill at predicting climate variations and change on short (e.g. days); medium (e.g. seasons) and long (e.g. multi-decadal) time scales?

Until this test is completed (the “seamless climate prediction“), policymakers should not have confidence in their forecasts (projections) decades into the future.

For further relevant posts on this subject see

How Independent Are Climate Models?

Q&A “On GCMs, Weather, and Climate”

Dissecting a Real Climate Text by Hendrik Tennekes

Guest Weblog By Gerbrand Komen

Comments On The Article By Palmer et al. 2008 “Toward Seamless Prediction: Calibration of Climate Change Projections Using Seasonal Forecasts” (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

No Trend in Global Hurricane Activity

How much evidence will it take to quiet the claim that hurricanes are increasing in frequency due to global warming?

Global Warming crusaders are particularly fond of promoting the idea that we are having a profound impact on hurricane activity—they seem to never let an event go unclaimed. At World Climate Report (WCR), we have reviewed dozens of papers from the leading scientific journals presenting scant evidence to support a strong link between global warming and hurricane activity, and we hope you never get bored with these essays.

The literature never sleeps, and yet another major article has appeared recently in a leading journal with results well-suited for our never-ending review of this subject.


The authors are Wang, Yang, Ding, Murakami, and Huang—you guessed it, from China, Japan, and the University of Hawaii. The authors report that the research was supported financially by NASA, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ocean University of China, and the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program. We once again see that many organizations are seriously interested in trends in hurricane activity around the world.

Indeed, Wang et al. begin their article noting “The impact of the rising sea surface temperature (SST) on tropical cyclone (TC) activity is one of the great societal and scientific concerns. With the observed warming of the tropics of around 0.5°C over the past 4 to 5 decades, detecting the observed change in the TC activity may shed light on the impact of the global warming on TC activity. Recent studies of the trends in the existing records of hurricane intensity have resulted in a vigorous debate in academic circles. Much of the debates centered on uncertainties of the hurricane intensity records.” Once again, we see scientists acknowledging that yet another “vigorous debate” is ongoing in the climate change world, despite the popular claim that “the debate is over” when it comes to the science of global warming (possibly the most laughable claim we encounter). (WCR)

 

Energy efficiency is not a jobs policy

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) just released its state energy efficiency scorecard.

Spurred by ACEEE’s ranking of California as the most energy efficient state and the fact that California is only exceeded by Michigan and Nevada in unemployment, we ran a simple regression of ACEEE energy efficiency rankings versus state unemployment rankings according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for August 2010.

Unemployment ranking was positively correlated (slope=.15) with energy efficiency ranking — i.e., states with higher unemployment rankings tended to have higher energy efficiency rankings.

ACEEE claims that energy efficiency creates jobs — and maybe it does. But do the jobs created through energy efficiency efforts wind up destroying other jobs — and more of them?

Energy efficiency is a policy of contraction, not one of growth — and job gains only occur during periods of growth. While energy efficiency may make sense on a case-by-case basis, blindly implemented on a societal scale, it is a suicidal policy.

There is plenty of energy out there. We need to put as much of it to good use as soon as possible to get our economy and standard of living back on the positive track. (Green Hell Blog)

 

Sustainable Oil Production?

Who would have thought the current controversy over man-made global warming could lead to significant rethinking of the entire climate change phenomenon and, as an unintended consequence, shatter another environmental group-think error involving sustainable oil production? Stick with me here. We need to review some history first. (John McLaughlin, American Thinker)

See also: Oklo: Ancient African Nuclear Reactors

 

U.S. foundations against the oil sands

The Tides Foundation has spent $6-million to fund green lobbies

By Vivian Krause

There has never been a major oil spill in Vancouver harbour, but this coming Sunday protestors who say a spill is inevitable will take kayaks and canoes out into the water to stare down oil tankers. Chances are there won’t be a tanker in sight, but there will be a party boat, organizers say.

If the campaign against oil tankers were to succeed in Vancouver, overseas exports of Canadian oil would be blocked and Canada would be stuck with only one major customer for Alberta oil: the United States. That’s the trade-off.

Like most protests, the one against oil tankers has all the look and feel of a Canadian grassroots movement. The campaign against Alberta’s oil sands also seems to rise out of the people, but the interesting thing is that there are very few roots under that grass. Money comes in from a small core of U.S. charitable groups. One of those groups — the U.S. Tides Foundation of California (Tides U.S.) and its Canadian counterpart have paid millions to at least 36 campaign organizations. (See list above.)

Read More » (Financial Post)

 

Thank the greenies: Fuel poverty doubles in five years

The number of households who are in "fuel poverty" has more than doubled in the last five years because of surging energy bills, according to official statistics. (TDT)

 

Upcoming webinar by Dr Indur Goklany: Fossil fuels make the third world more resilient against climate change

donderdag, 4 november, 2010 - 20:30
Webinar by Dr Indur Goklany, november 4th, 2010 - 8.30 PM CET

Outline of this webinar: If CO2 continues to be unabatedly emitted, so it is assumed in a worst case scenario, the earth might heat up 4 degrees C. This is supposed to be especially disastrous for third world countries whose poverty blocks them from taking measures against the threat of climate change.

According to US-scientist dr Indur Goklany there is something fundamentally wrong with this reasoning. A large increase in CO2 emissions can only happen as a result of economic growth, and that is indeed what involved parties as the IPCC or the authors of the Stern-report foresee for the future: a considerable increase in world wide wealth.

In their scenarios they however largely ignore the possibility that this increased wealth will be used to offset the problems. That is unrealistic says Goklany: if the countries do get as rich as Stern/IPCC assume, they will for example spend part of that money to build dams to protect themselves. Malaria is a typical poverty disease. If economic growth continues then this disease will have disappeared by 2100, whether the world warms or not. If this prognosis of economic growth is way too optimistic, than that automatically implies that the climate problems will be much smaller since less CO2 is emitted. The two go hand in hand, CO2-emissions are a fingerprint of economic growth.

Economic growth - with its possibly accompanying climate change - is highly preferable above decreasing emissions in Goklany’s view. Economic growth is of benefit regardless of the (highly contested) climate change, whereas reduction of emissions so far has shown to cost more lives rather than save (i.c. biofuels). (De Groene Rekenkamer [The Green Court, NL])

 

Behold the Power of King Corn

by William Yeatman
14 October 2010 @ 8:09 am

Humor me for a moment and imagine that I am a superhero who is part of a Super Friends team at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. We have sworn to use our superpowers only to combat a particular form of evil: rent-seeking. Naturally, we’d need a nemesis. This caricature of evil would represent everything we stand against; it would be the ultimate political panhandler.

Without a doubt, our nemesis would be King Corn.

Fantasies aside, the corn lobby, a.k.a King Corn, is unbeatable inside the beltway. In the 1980s, it secured federal giveaways to NOT grow corn. The lobby has since moved on to the ultimate boondoggle: corn fuels. By playing up jingoistic fears of “energy dependence,” King Corn has convinced the Congress that…

Read the full story (Cooler Heads)

 

Offshore Wind: DOE’s Reality Challenge

by Lisa Linowes
October 14, 2010

[Editor’s note: The feasibility and desirability of aggressively pursuing offshore wind turbines has entered the national discussion. This post by Lisa Linowes, executive director of Industrial Wind Action Group, contributes to this debate.]

We were treated this week to the Department of Energy’s latest advocacy on wind energy: a new report proclaiming the benefits and feasibility of developing wind power along the coastal waters of the United States. The report adds little to the claims touted in DOE’s “20% Wind Power by 2020″ (2008), but this time the focus is on 54,000 megawatts of electrical wind capacity off our eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. Water depths on the Pacific Coast, according to the DOE, still pose a “technology challenge”. [1]

Offshore Wind in the U.S. today

Currently, there are no operating offshore wind plants anywhere in the country. The controversial Cape Wind project (130 turbines) proposed nearly ten years ago is still under fire. Wealthy property owners on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard were joined by Wal-Mart, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and wind developer TransCanada among others in protesting the no-compete, high-priced power purchase agreement under review by the State of Massachusetts.

In Rhode Island, approval of Deepwater Wind’s pilot project is under appeal by the state’s Attorney General and others over alleged illegalities by the legislature in pushing the project through. Delaware’s Bluewater Wind project is in limbo due to poor economics and growing public opposition to expensive renewable energy. A fight sparked in Michigan over a 1000 megawatt wind facility in Lake Michigan packed hearing rooms with angry protests. And the same response came from communities along northern New York after NYPA sought bids to build turbines in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

None of these projects, in total, match the scale and cost of what DOE claims can be built. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Poll: Strong support for renewable energy, as long as it doesn’t cost much

There is strong support for using wind farms and other sources of renewable energy in the U.S. and the largest European countries but little appetite for paying much for it, according to a new poll.

People in those countries are also divided over whether it’s a good idea to rely more on nuclear power, according to the Financial Times/Harris survey. (E2Wire)

Which just to show people don't actually know much about "renewables" or they wouldn't have them at any price.

 

Rising Hopes that Electric Cars Can Play a Key Role on the Grid

Will electric cars one day become part of a network of rechargeable batteries that can help smooth out the intermittent nature of wind and solar power? Many experts believe so, pointing to programs in Europe and the U.S. that demonstrate the promise of vehicle-to-grid technology. (Dave Levitan, e360)

Guess they have to try to find some use for them, given they are virtually devoid of value as transport.

 

 

Cato Study: ObamaCare’s Hidden $550 Billion Cost

In a study released today by the Cato Institute, Duke University professor Chris Conover estimates how much ObamaCare and related provisions will reduce economic output: (Cato at liberty)

 

Polio nearly wiped out but risk of failure high

LONDON - The world is tantalisingly close to wiping out polio, but experts are starting to worry about the high risk of failure and say it could have consequences for confidence in health battles far beyond this crippling disease.

Global health and vaccines experts say they have polio "on the ropes", but are frustrated that the goal of eradicating it continues to elude them more than 20 years after they set their sights on it. They fear failure could crush trust in other major disease projects such as fighting malaria, HIV or measles.

"The failure to eradicate polio so far means there is a smell of a suspicion about all vaccine initiatives," said Professor David Salisbury, former chair of the World Health Organisation's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation. "That's why we must achieve polio eradication. We need to demonstrate that it can be done."

Salisbury and others point to the emergence of "donor fatigue" in global health projects and say the failure to wipe out polio risks making that worse.

Polio spreads in areas with poor sanitation, attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection. Children under five are the most vulnerable to the virus - a disease that until the 1950s crippled thousands of people every year in rich nations.

In 1988, when the WHO and its partners formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to lead the battle, polio was endemic in 125 countries and paralysed nearly 1,000 children every day. Now it is endemic in just four countries - India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan - and there has been a 99 percent reduction in cases since 1988. (Reuters)

 

Most measles cases in US vaccine-preventable

NEW YORK - Two-thirds of US children who contracted measles in recent years were not vaccinated because of their parents' personal beliefs, report health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Before national measles vaccination was introduced, up to 4 million people got measles every year, they note in a report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. In 2000, the US declared that measles had been eradicated within its borders, but the current report shows that infections continue to occur, largely due to "importation" of the infection from abroad and decisions by parents not to immunize their children.

While concerns had been raised that the measles-mumps-rubella or MMR vaccine caused autism, extensive investigation has shown that the shot has no relationship to whether or not a child will develop autism. (Reuters Health)

 

Confused Supreme Court to decide on vaccine suits

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court justices admitted on Tuesday that they were confused by a 1986 law that seeks to make sure that vaccine makers do not exit the business for fear of lawsuits, while ensuring that children hurt by vaccines are compensated.

The justices' questions focused not on the facts of the case, but on the convoluted wording of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

What is not at issue is that 18-year-old Hannah Bruesewitz is disabled, requiring special care for life.

Nor is the question of whether the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, or DTP vaccine, she was injected with as an infant caused her seizures and consequent brain damage, or whether vaccine maker Wyeth, now part of Pfizer, is to blame.

The question is whether Hannah's parents, Russell and Robalee Bruesewitz, can sue.

They tried to take legal action under the vaccine injury law, a no-fault system designed to protect vaccine makers and families alike. It is funded by a tax on vaccines. Parents do not have to prove a vaccine caused their child's injury, but they do usually have to show that the child had an injury that could be caused by the vaccine.

But the court ruled against the Bruesewitz family and they turned to a state court, which said they are not allowed to do that under the 1986 law.

The Supreme Court is not expected to rule until next year and their questions show the justices struggled to understand the meaning of the law and of the intended lawsuit. (Reuters)

 

Acetaminophen no asthma trigger after all?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors have been scratching their heads for years over the higher asthma risk in kids who use acetaminophen [paracetamol], a common painkiller known as Tylenol in the US.

Just last August, researchers studying toddlers in Ethiopia said it was "increasingly likely" that the drug had triggered much of the wheezing that troubled eight percent of those children. And another study hinted it might be fueling a large part of the worldwide increase in asthma (see Reuters Health story of Aug 13).

In a letter to the editor of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, however, researchers from Germany say there is no cause for alarm.

Using long-term data for more than 3,000 children, they report that the link between asthma and acetaminophen only held when the medication was used to treat airway infections -- not stomach flu or urinary tract infections.

"A lot of people associate (acetaminophen) with asthma," said Dr. Eva Schnabel, of the German Research Center for Environmental Health in Neuherberg, who worked on the new analysis.

"Perhaps they should think it over and read the studies again," she suggested.

Schnabel, who has no ties to drugmakers, said most earlier studies hadn't followed children from the get-go and often relied on parents' recall.

But parents whose kids have frequent airway infections might be more likely to remember using a painkiller to lower the fever. And it's possible that the infections that led to acetaminophen use, and not the drug per se, could have caused asthma later on or revealed an underlying vulnerability to the disease.

"There have been several studies showing that viral infections are a risk factor for asthma," Schnabel told Reuters Health.

 

Many obese people see no need to lose weight

NEW YORK - A substantial proportion of obese people don't think they're too fat, new research shows.

Among more than 2,000 obese Dallas County residents surveyed in 2000-2002, 14 percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics -- but just 2 percent of whites -- believed that they needed to lose weight, Dr. Tiffany M. Powell of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and her colleagues found.

People who misperceived their body size were happier with their health, and felt healthier, than those who did recognize their obesity; they were also more likely to think they were at low risk of developing high blood pressure or diabetes or having a heart attack during their lifetimes. In fact, two-thirds of people with body size misperception thought they were at low risk of becoming obese. (Reuters Health)

Hmm... someone certainly has a body size misperception but it is not necessarily those who society has recently reclassified as "overweight".

 

Experts blame diet, not high-fructose corn syrup, for obesity

People take in more calories than they burn

Considering the reputed merits and perils of high-fructose corn syrup, one might feel like the person in the commercial sponsored by the corn industry. You know the one: A person offers another a food or beverage containing the much-maligned substance, with the intended recipient recoiling in horror. What, exactly is wrong with it, the giver asks -- to be met with a blank look.

Just what is it about high-fructose corn syrup that has given it the reputation that it's the Osama bin Laden of the dietary world?

"In my opinion, it's not justified," said Laura Kruskall, a registered dietitian and director of the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"It's not that it's bad," agreed Joanna Gorman, a registered dietitian at University Medical Center, noting that the American Dietetic Association's position is that no foods are inherently bad.

And high-fructose corn syrup is, after all, from a food -- corn -- Kruskall noted. "It does not include any artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives. It is nearly identical to table sugar, approximately half-glucose, half-fructose.

"The reason why it's been demonized is that people link it to obesity and diabetes in particular."

But the link is more of a faulty assumption, the dietitians said. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

 

Researchers Pinpoint Array of Obesity Genes

However, environment and lifestyle still play key roles, experts say

SUNDAY, Oct. 10 -- Scientists have found genes that appear to play a role in the propensity for obesity.

The findings are reported in two new studies published in the Oct. 10 online edition of Nature Genetics. (HealthDay News)

 

Could a nightlight make you fat?

Researchers have long shown that obesity leads to lost sleep—usually due to sleep apnea. They’ve also found that lack of sleep leads to weight gain by making you hungrier, slowing your metabolism and triggering depression (which can lead to increased eating).

None of that is surprising to me.

But when I saw this most recent study about sleep and obesity, I did a double take.

In it researchers exposed mice to dim light at night for 8 weeks. These mice gained 50 percent more weight than other mice who had normal periods of light and darkness. Interestingly, the mice who slept with the dim lighting managed to gain more weight even thought they were not physically eating more food than the control group.

They were, however, eating food at different times. “Something about light at night was making the mice in our study want to eat at the wrong times to properly metabolize their food,” said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.

If the results carry over to humans, it could mean that the time of day (or night) you consume your meals can make a much bigger difference to the size of your waistline than previously thought. (Morning Call)

 

The EPA Ozone Regs: Another Obama Jobs Killer

Just two years ago, President George Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency lowered the ozone standard from 84 parts per billion (ppb) to the current 75 ppb. Ozone is a naturally occurring molecule made up of three oxygen atoms that can be unhealthy at high levels. It is often created when vehicle and industrial emissions (from manufacturers and refineries) react with sunlight.

The EPA normally waits at least five years before revising their ozone standard, but their is nothing normal about the Obama EPA. In January 2010, the Obama EPA proposed reducing the again, this time to 60 ppb. The EPA claims this will save as many as 12,000 lives a year and as much as $100 billion annually in health care spending by 2020. But then there is the cost. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Time for this annual nonsense, already? Britons use three times the planet's resources

People in Britain are consuming three times the resources than the planet can provide, according to a new study. (TDT)

 

Spending Review: what it means for the Environment and Climate Change

The environment might seem like an easy target but the Government will have trouble cutting spending in an area that includes energy security and flooding defence. (TDT)

Really? Flood defense is engineering & public works while energy security should be under the umbrella of energy and industry, what has a tinkerbell ornament like "environment" got to do with anything useful?

 

World Wide Font of nonsense says: Tropical species decline by 60 per cent

The exotic birds and animals of the tropics are disappearing at a catastrophic rate as the rich world strips poor countries of their natural resources, the WWF has warned (TDT)

 

Western lifestyles plundering tropics at record rate, WWF report shows

Living Planet report shows planet's resources are being used at 1.5 times the rate nature can replace them – but long-term decline of animal life appears to have been halted (Guardian)

 

The clean up of the River Thames

Fifty years after being declared biologically dead, the Thames has been hailed as an environmental success story. But how has the iconic river been transformed? (TDT)

 

Electrified nano filter promises to cut costs for clean drinking water

With almost one billion people lacking access to clean, safe drinking water, scientists are reporting development and successful initial tests of an inexpensive new filtering technology that kills up to 98 percent of disease-causing bacteria in water in seconds without clogging. A report on the technology appears in Nano Letters, a monthly American Chemical Society journal.

Yi Cui and colleagues explain that most water purifiers work by trapping bacteria in tiny pores of filter material. Pushing water through those filters requires electric pumps and consumes a lot of energy. In addition, the filters can get clogged and must be changed periodically. The new material, in contrast, has relatively huge pores, which allow water to flow through easily. And it kills bacteria outright, rather than just trapping them.

The scientists knew that contact with silver and electricity can destroy bacteria, and decided to combine both approaches. They spread sub-microscopic silver nanowires onto cotton, and then added a coating of carbon nanotubes, which give the filter extra electrical conductivity. Tests of the material on E. coli-tainted water showed that the silver/electrified cotton killed up to 98 percent of the bacteria. The filter material never clogged, and the water flowed through it very quickly without any need for a pump. "Such technology could dramatically lower the cost of a wide array of filtration technologies for water as well as food, air, and pharmaceuticals where the need to frequently replace filters is a large cost and difficult challenge," their report states. (ACS)

 

Africa's food security is less threatened than many fear

Food security is a concern in Africa, but Africans are better able to adapt their agricultural methods to the threat than many are acknowledging. (CSM)

 

 

APS thinks that Tawanda may teach physics to Hal Lewis

A few days ago, Harold Lewis wrote a very thoughtful resignation letter to the current chairman of the American Physical Society, Curtis Callan.

In the letter, he has recalled some better times when the American Physical Society actually allowed and encouraged the physicists to use their expertise, creativity, honesty, and intelligence to discuss important matters related to science.

The current APS is very different. Most people in its leadership are corrupt and they deliberately try to suppress any debate about questions that would be financially or "socially" harmful to these individuals - and global warming has become a key topic of this kind.

Yesterday, the APS has answered to Dr Hal Lewis in a way that I consider breathtakingly arrogant and dishonest.

First of all, the answer to the important letter by a serious scientist was apparently composed by a secretary, a black female bureaucrat called Tawanda Johnson. Or is it a coincidence that she is signed under the reply and that the quality of the text suggests that indeed, no scientist was involved?

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

No consensus among climate scientists after all

THE Royal Society's report coincides with dissidence at the American Physical Society.

THE Royal Society's September report, Climate Change: A Summary of the Science, has brought into the open the widening difference of views about how the science of climate change should be assessed. It comes after a prominent resignation from the American Physical Society (the top body of US physicists) for the refusal of the society's executive to undertake a similar review despite requests from a large number of members.

In Australia, too, an examination of the Inter-Academy Council's review of the processes and procedures of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that, although the council's chairman claims the IPCC's findings stand, the review itself exposes serious flaws in the panel's information and analysis. The examination by this group, which is a follow-up to its recent publication in the British journal Energy & Environment, is now being widely distributed in Australia.

All three assessments reflect the revelations provided by the exchanges between scientists actively involved in climate research - now known as Climategate - that some research results appear to have been falsified. These reports have spread widely in science circles in Australia. However, apart from The Australian, there has been almost no reference to these revelations in the Australian media. The Age, which had not bothered to cover the Royal Society's report, was quick to report that the Royal Society's vice-president John Pethica (who chaired the report committee) had rejected suggestions that the society had changed its position on climate change. (The Australian)

 

Beware of ‘post-partisan’ energy policy

Just as tea party activism is about to snatch American energy policy from the jaws of cap-and-trade, some on the right are already moving into “bipartisan” mode. The (often) conservative American Enterprise Institute has teamed up with the (liberal) Brookings Institution and the (self-described, “founded in 2003 to modernize liberal-progressive-green politics”) Breakthrough Institute to offer a “post-partisan” energy policy.

Below is the introduction and summary of recommendations of the group’s report “Post-Partisan Power: How a Limited and Direct Approach to Energy Innovation Can Deliver Clean, Cheap Energy, Economic Productivity and National Prosperity.” Our comments are in bracketed bold.

INTRODUCTION

If ever there were a time to hit the reset button on energy policy, it is today. [Agreed, if this means getting rid of centrally-planned and dictated energy policy and politics. Somehow, though...] Congress is set to adjourn without taking substantive, long-term action on either climate or energy. [Great. The defeat of cap-and-tarde is a victory for America.] While conservatives may be celebrating the death of cap and trade, the truth is that the right’s longstanding hopes for the expansion of nuclear power and oil production have also run aground, foundering on the high cost of constructing new nuclear plants and the impacts of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. [C'mon, if the greens had passed cap-and-trade, there would still not be any nuclear power or new oil/gas drilling. To argue to the contrary is either naive or disingenuous.] As a result, energy policy is at a standstill, despite overwhelming public support for accelerating the move to clean, affordable energy sources and tapping fast-growing clean energy industries to create jobs and wealth in the United States. [American-produced energy already is clean — it's the Chinese that could use the Clean Air Act.]

Today, few issues in American political life are as polarized as energy policy, with both left and right entrenched in old worldviews that no longer make sense. [Global warming skepticism is based on sound science. If that's an "old worldview," then call us dinosaurs.] For the better part of two decades, much of the right has speculated darkly about global warming as a United Nations-inspired conspiracy to destroy American sovereignty, all while passing off chants of “drill, baby, drill” as real energy policy. [Speculated? Did you miss Climategate? Glacier-gate? Pachauri-gate? Al Gore's admission that climate regulation is about global governance?] During the same period much of the left has oscillated incoherently between exhortations that avoiding the end of the world demands shared sacrifice, and contradictory assertions that today’s renewable energy and efficiency technologies can eliminate fossil fuels at no significant cost. [The left isn' oscillating at all. They are focused on establishing a one-world socialist paradise. Whatever path gets the comrades there, they'll follow. Global warming has just been there most successful gambit to date.] All the while, America’s dependence on fossil fuels continues unabated and political gridlock deepens, preventing real progress towards a safer, cleaner, more secure energy system. [We have plenty of fossil fuels, and they are cheap and safe. We'd be even more energy independent, if we relied more on our own resources including coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Three cheers for gridlock — it's better than the Obama alternative.]

The extremes have so dominated mainstream thinking on energy that it is easy to forget how much reasonable liberals and conservatives can actually agree on. [Watch out conservatives, here's where the post-partisans get us to walk into the chopper blades.] Fossil fuels have undeniably been critical to American prosperity and development, but we can gradually move toward cleaner, healthier, and safer energy sources. [There is no objective or empirical evidence indicating that alternative forms of energy are cleaner, healthier and safer than fossil fuels.] Indeed, throughout history, as we have become a more prosperous nation, we have steadily moved to cleaner energy sources, from wood and dung to coal to oil to natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear energy. [Nonsense. There is no such transition going on. We use more coal than natural gas. The greens have essentially killed off more nuclear development. Hydropower is only used where possible. The greens want to go back to burning wood and weeds (biomass).] Our goal today should be to make new clean energy sources much cheaper so they can steadily displace fossil fuels, continuing this ongoing process. [Fossil fuels are not "dirty" as used in America.] If we structure this transition correctly, new energy industries could be an important driver of long-term economic growth. [How does more expensive energy without any accompanying benefits lead to long-term economic growth?]

Arriving at a new post-partisan consensus will require liberals and conservatives, alike, to take a renewed look at key facts, which challenge some long-standing assumptions about energy. [Translation: Now that conservatives have triumphed over cap-and-trade, it's time to surrender.]

For liberals this means acknowledging that today’s renewable energy technologies are, by and large, too expensive and difficult to scale to meet the energy needs of the nation, much less a rapidly growing global population. [Does this mean that: (1) liberals should wake up and smell reality; (2) Al Gore and his fellow green profiteers/rentseekers should try to make money the old-fashioned way, i.e., by earning it; and that (3) green Marxist/socialists and other reds should cease and desist?] New mandates, carbon pricing systems such as cap and trade, and today’s mess of subsidies are not going to deliver the kind of clean energy innovation required. And nuclear power, long reviled by many on the left, is far cleaner and safer than most liberals imagine, and holds enormous potential to displace low-cost but high-polluting coal power. [The left doesn't care about how safe nuclear power is. Nuclear power is energy non grata as far as the left is concerned.]

For conservatives this means acknowledging that fossil fuels have serious health, safety, and security consequences aside from any risks global warming might pose. [Sorry, not buying the junk science. This sentence is footnoted to materials from groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Clean Air Task Force.] The biggest obstacle facing nuclear
power is not environmental policy but rather public opposition, high construction costs, and associated financial risks. [All green activist inspired problems.] And while many faults can be found with ethanol and synfuels investments, the bulk of historic federal investments in energy technology — from hydro and nuclear to solar, wind, and electric vehicles — have been an overwhelming success. [Hydro has worked. Nukes can work. but solar, wind and EVs are taxpayer rip-offs.]

This white paper is the product of a more than yearlong dialogue between scholars at three think tanks situated at divergent points on the political compass. Drawing on America’s bipartisan history of successful federal investment to catalyze technology innovation by the U.S. military, universities, private corporations, and entrepreneurs, the heart of this proposal is a $25 billion per year investment channeled through a reformed energy innovation system. [Because central planning (as the 20th century proved) works so well...]

This new system is built on a four-part energy framework:

1. Invest in Energy Science and Education
2. Overhaul the Energy Innovation System
3. Reform Energy Subsidies and Use Military Procurement and Competitive Deployment to Drive Innovation and Price Declines
4. Internalize the Cost of Energy Modernization and Ensure Investments Do Not Add to the National Debt

To accelerate energy innovation and modernization, we propose a role for government that is both limited and direct. It is limited because it is focused, not on reorganizing our entire highly complex energy economy, but rather on specific strategies to drive down the real cost of clean energy technologies. Instead of subsidizing existing technologies hoping that as they scale up, costs will decline, or providing tax credits to indirectly incentivize research at private firms, this framework is direct because the federal government would directly drive innovation and adoption through basic research, development, and procurement in the same way it did with computers, pharmaceutical drugs, radios, microchips, and many other technologies.

Time and again, when confronted with compelling national innovation priorities, the United States has summoned the resources necessary to secure American technological leadership by investing in breakthrough science and world-class education. The United States responded vigorously to the Soviet launch of Sputnik by investing the resources necessary to ensure American innovators, entrepreneurs, and firms would lead the world in aerospace, IT, and computing technologies, igniting prosperous new industries in the process. [The successes of the Manhattan Project and race to the moon should not swell the heads of would-be central planners. Both were exceedingly limited-in-scope projects. Not easy, but limited.] Today, we invest $30 billion annually in pursuit of new cures to deadly diseases and new biomedical innovations that can extend the lives and welfare of Americans. [Investment? We have accomplished precious little with that annual $30 billion. That expenditure has become more akin to workfare for the overeducated.] We similarly devote more than $80 billion annually to military innovations that can help secure our borders. [Another rousing government success!] We propose a similar national commitment to energy sciences and education, which have languished without the funding deserving of a national innovation priority. [We already spend a fortune on education — more than any other nation. What do we get for it? 25th in worldwide math and science?] At the same, this proposal is based on what we know about successful public-private partnerships to build and strengthen regional hubs of innovation, such as the one that evolved into Silicon Valley. Therefore, we propose investment in a national network of regional clusters of universities, entrepreneurs, private investors, and technology companies. [Apparently, we can't make progress until we have the proper bureaucracy set up. Taxpayers need to hold on to their wallets any time the term "public private partnership is used.]

While the left wants to cut fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies and the right wants to cut renewable energy subsidies, we propose across-the-board energy subsidy reform, disciplining all incentives for technology deployment and adoption to a new framework that rewards innovation — as measured through real declines in the cost of generating energy — not simply producing more of the same. [Why not get rid of all subsidies and reform the tax code? Make technologies compete on their own economic merits. Technology is its own incentive; if it needs to be subsidized then it has no real value.] Today’s federal investments — whether for solar and wind or ethanol and nuclear — are structured around scale and quantity, not innovation. The innovation system we propose builds on the successes of military procurement to purchase and prove advanced energy systems while providing competitive markets for emerging energy technologies, which can facilitate mass manufacture, demand progressive innovation, and bring down the real, unsubsidized cost of clean and secure energy alternatives. [Military procurement as a model? Which cost-overrun should we point to? What is this fascination with command-and-control style government?]

These productive investments have the potential to raise America’s economic growth over the long term and thus help reduce the budget deficit. America’s $1.3 trillion budget deficit is largely a consequence of low growth and the increasing cost of structural entitlement programs, but it can be overcome by a combination of higher growth, responsible entitlement reform, and targeted spending cuts. Achieving higher growth will require continued federal investments in productive enterprises, including health, information technology, and energy. [Believe it or not, fire, electric current, the automobile, airplane, telegraph, telephone and many other technologies were all developed and commcialized without government involvement. AEI and Brookings have been in Washington, DC too long.] Furthermore, fear of technology failure should not paralyze strategic investments in innovation, since some amount of failure is inevitable and essential to such a disruptive and non-linear process. [We have nothing to fear, but the government itself.]

To ensure that these limited, targeted new investments do not add to the federal deficit, we propose a suite of options that Congress and the President can use to finance energy innovation. [Because the government can/should be picking winners and losers? President Obama was a community organizer, not Thomas Edison, in his past life (and even Edison was wrong when it came to electricity for the masses).] These include cutting existing energy subsidies, charging new royalties for oil drilling, small surcharges on oil imports or electricity sales, and a very low carbon price. While each of these mechanisms may bother some on both the left and right, all should agree that exacerbating the national debt is unwise. Revenues must be found in order to make these productive investments, which have long-term potential to revitalize the economy. [A growing economy will float all boats — including our bloated government. Growing government will do just the opposite.]

Increasing investment in energy technology and innovation, as we advocate, remains exceedingly popular with Americans of all political stripes. Of all energy policy proposals, from carbon pricing and cap and trade to new oil and gas drilling, expanding production and lowering the price of clean, innovative energy technologies is the most popular approach, regularly receiving support from 65 to 90 percent of Americans in independent news polls, Gallup surveys, and other opinion research. [Unicorns for everyone and free cotton candy would also be popular.]This public support is consistent over time, and reflects the historical willingness of publics to pay slightly more for cleaner and safer energy sources. [Let's poll the public and whether it likes being lied to and ripped off by the government.]

In the pages that follow, we aim to present a practical and bipartisan [Bipartisan = supposed conservatives who want to be invited to tony Washington DC cocktail parties.] approach to American energy policy. The time has come for a fresh start that can bring our nation into the future through a pragmatic drive to make clean energy cheap and abundant. [Fresh start = July 4, 1776]

POST-PARTISAN POWER
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE; BROOKINGS INSTITUTION; BREAKTHROUGH INSTITUTE
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS”

Invest in Energy Science and Education

Secure funding necessary to complete the doubling of Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science budgets. Direct a significant portion of new funds to programs related to energy sciences, including roughly $300 million in annual funding to scale up the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) program over the coming years. [The Department of Energy is a failure and should be abolished.]

Invest roughly $500 million annually to support K-12 curriculum and teacher training, energy education scholarships, post-doctoral fellowships, and graduate research grants. [We need to get the federal government out of education. Has anyone noticed that kids have gotten stupider as the government gets more involved?] Just as the United States rose to the Cold War challenge by enacting the National Defense Education Act and leveling critical investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, a new national commitment is needed today to train, educate, and inspire a generation of energy innovators, engineers, and entrepreneurs. [Cold War defense challenges were solved by men and women who were educated in the days before taxpayer largesse flowed freely to a corrupted university system.]

Overhaul the Energy Innovation System

Help reform the U.S. energy innovation system by investing up to $5 billion annually to establish a robust national network of regional energy innovation institutes bringing together private sector, university, and government researchers alongside investors and private sector customers. Funded at $50-300 million annually, each institute will foster competitive centers of clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship while accelerating the translation of research insights into commercial products. [Because in Washington DC: Bureaucracy=Success]

Bring the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) to scale by providing $1.5 billion annually, while dedicating a significant portion of new funding to dual-use energy technology innovations with the potential to enhance energy security and strengthen the U.S. military. The Department of Defense (DOD) should work actively with ARPA-E to determine and select dual-use breakthrough energy innovations for funding through the ARPA-E program and potential adoption and procurement by the DOD. [Hopefully, DOD's success with pioneering the Internet will translate into a perpetual motion machine.]

Reform Energy Subsidies and Use Military Procurement and Competitive Deployment Incentives to Drive Price Declines

Reform the nation’s morass of energy subsidies. Instead of open-ended subsidies that reward firms for producing more of the same product, employ a new strategy of competitive deployment incentives, disciplined by cost reductions and optimized to drive steady improvements in the price and performance of a suite of emerging energy technologies. Create incentives for various classes of energy technologies to ensure that each has a chance to mature. Decrease incentive levels until emerging technologies become competitive with mature, entrenched competitors to avoid creating permanently subsidized industries or picking winners and losers, a priori. Meet the new morass; same as the old morass.]

Expand DOD efforts to procure, demonstrate, test, validate, and improve a suite of cutting-edge energy technologies. New, innovative energy alternatives are necessary to secure the national defense, enhance energy security, and improve the operational capabilities of the U.S. military. Provide up to $5 billion annually in new appropriations to ensure the Pentagon has the resources to pursue this critical effort without infringing on funds required for current military operations. [We should just surrender to the Chinese now. In return, maybe they'll let us keep using knives and forks.]

Recognize the potential for nuclear power — particularly innovative, smaller reactor designs — to enhance American energy security, reduce pollution, and supply affordable power. [We can "recognize" anything we want, but as long as the greens have the ability to choke of nuclear power through regulation and litigation, they will.] America cannot afford to bank on one technology alone, however, and must pursue all paths to clean, affordable energy, supporting all innovative, emerging clean energy sources, from advanced wind, geothermal, and solar to electric vehicles and advanced batteries, allowing winners to emerge over time. [At what point does the taxpayer get to pull the plug on failed technologies?]

Internalize the Cost of Energy Modernization and Ensure Investments Do Not Add to the Deficit

Secure revenues to ensure these productive new investments do not exacerbate the national debt, through one or a combination of the following means: phase out unproductive energy subsidies, which have not sufficiently driven innovation; direct revenues from oil and gas leasing to energy innovation; implement a small fee on imported oil to drive energy innovation and enhance American energy security; establish a small surcharge on electricity sales to fund energy modernization, similar to the Highway Trust Fund; and/or dedicate revenues from a very small carbon price to finance necessary investments in clean energy technology. [Translation: Make consumers pay more for energy.]

So there you have it —  ”post-partisan energy policy.” It’ll build on what’s failed and then charge people more for it.

Sorry, but we’re for gridlock until the American left packs up and moves to Totalitarian Fantasy Island. (Green Hell Blog)

 

It's about time! US midterm elections: A chilly season for climate crusaders

Open scepticism of global warming could rule next Congress.

Nineteen of the 21 serious Republican challengers for seats in the US Senate believe that climate science is either "inconclusive" or "incorrect", according to an analysis by Washington DC's non-partisan National Journal. A more comprehensive list compiled by the left-leaning Wonk Room website suggests that 31 out of 37 Republican Senate candidates — including nine out of ten sitting senators — have recently disputed the science. Five of the remaining six actively oppose existing climate bills. (Nature News)

 

A Climate Proposal Beyond Cap and Trade

Michael Greenstone has the résumé of somebody who should be despondent over Washington’s failure to pass a climate bill. An environmental economist who worked in the Obama White House, he is now back to being an M.I.T. professor and also runs the Hamilton Project, the well-connected, Democratic-leaning research group.

But Mr. Greenstone is not despondent. He thinks the benefits of the bills that died in the Senate — which would have raised the cost of carbon emissions, through a system known as cap and trade — were sometimes exaggerated. Once the necessary compromises were made, the bills might not have raised the cost of carbon by much. And they obviously wouldn’t have done anything about fast-growing emissions in China and India.

“The first best hope was getting a world price for carbon, and that now looks remote in the coming years,” he says. “But there are ways in which the other options may be preferable to a price only in the U.S.”

To put it another way, the death of cap and trade doesn’t have to mean the death of climate policy. The alternative revolves around much more, and much better organized, financing for clean energy research. It’s an idea with a growing list of supporters, a list that even includes conservatives — most of whom opposed cap and trade. (NYT)

Just be sure to keep talking rather than doing until the world cools some more and we can put this idiocy behind us.

 

Bingaman’s Renewable Energy Standard: Another Proposed Energy Tax

by Daren Bakst
October 13, 2010

Congress seems intent on imposing energy taxes on the American public. First, there was the proposed cap-and-trade legislation; now there’s a renewable energy standard.

While cap-and-trade legislation appears to be dead for now, the same can’t be said for a renewable energy standard. On September 21, 2010, Senator Bingaman (D-NM) introduced the Renewable Electricity Promotion Act of 2010 (S. 3813). A bipartisan group of 32 cosponsors gives this bill a legitimate chance of passage this year. At a minimum, it’s a bill that warrants significant attention.

Background

The legislation would create what is referred to as a renewable energy standard (RES). The RES is a combination of two discreet policy programs. The first is a renewable energy mandate and the second is an energy efficiency mandate.

Electric utilities would be required to meet a 15 percent RES and would have to generate at least 11 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The remaining 4 percent could come from energy efficiency savings—utilities could not exceed this 4 percent number.

The requirements would phase in over time, as shown in Figure 1. (Note: The energy efficiency requirement could never exceed 26.67 percent of the total RES requirement).

Figure 1

Calendar year: Minimum annual percentage

2012 through 2013: 3.0

2014 through 2016: 6.0

2017 through 2018: 9.0

2019 through 2020: 12.0

2021 through 2039: 15.0

The Biggest Subsidy of Them All

Renewable energy sources have been receiving massive subsidies for decades. Even with these subsidies, electric utilities have not purchased renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, because of their high costs and unreliable nature. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Still trying to redistribute your money: Rich must make clearer climate cuts: U.N.

Rich nations must spell out their plans for cutting greenhouse gases more clearly to enable U.N. talks in Mexico to agree the cornerstone of a pact to slow global warming, the U.N.'s climate chief said. (Reuters)

 

That darn "carbon leakage" everyone warned them about: Europe on track for Kyoto targets while emissions from imported goods rise

EU states' progress in meeting protocol targets dampened by emissions from goods produced abroad which have risen by 40% (Guardian)

Although it is not just carbon emissions that are being offshored but the design and production jobs too.

 

Carbon tax not inevitable: Combet

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has hinted the Gillard government is not particularly keen on a carbon tax.

In a deal with the Australian Greens, Labor agreed to set up a multi-party climate change committee to examine ways of putting a price on carbon.

The Greens, who prefer a carbon tax over the government's defeated emissions trading scheme, have urged Labor to bury its carbon pollution reduction scheme.

But Mr Combet said this did not mean a carbon tax was inevitable, as all options were examined. (AAP)

In fact the only inevitability is the collapse of the rainbow conglomerate government -- Aussies expect to be back at the polls within a year. There will be no carbon price in the land down-under.

 

Silly gimmick not far enough into the "never never": Tesco's pledge to carbon-label all products set to take centuries

Four years into Tesco's promised 'revolution in green consumption', 69,500 products will still be without carbon labels (Guardian)

 

BBC told to ensure balance on climate change

Climate change sceptics are likely to be given greater prominence in BBC documentaries and news bulletins following new editorial guidelines that call for impartiality in the corporation’s science coverage. (TDT)

 

La Nina gaining strength as threat of more wet weather in Queensland looms

THERE appears no let-up ahead for Queensland's wet weather, with meteorologists warning the rain-bearing La Nina weather event has strengthened.

National Climate Centre forecasters say another prime indicator – the Southern Oscillation Index – is at its highest since 1973. The early to mid-70s were the last major wet period in Queensland.

The SOI is a simple measure of a climate phenomenon known as the Southern Oscillation in which air pressure shifts between the Asian and east Pacific regions.

Rural productivity – specially in Queensland and NSW – is so closely linked to the oscillation that its variability can be traced by rises and falls in Australia's wheat yield. (Courier-Mail)

 

 

We could wish... Climate change could lead to Arctic conflict, warns senior Nato commander

Global warming and a race for resources could spark a new 'cold war' in the Arctic, US naval admiral warns ahead of key talks on environmental security (Guardian)

... unfortunately Arctic cycles appear to be swinging back to a colder regime and access to these resources will be limited and difficult.

 

China's Will To Drill

Energy Policy: The administration lifts the Gulf drilling moratorium in time for the election, but it's not as good as it sounds. Meanwhile, China buys up Texas oil land to develop the energy reserves we won't.

The lifting of the Gulf drilling ban imposed after the explosion of British Petroleum's Macondo well came as welcome news. But like anything this administration does, one must read the fine print.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the ban was being lifted before its Nov. 30 target because of the "the higher standards we have set" for drillers applying for new permits.

However, the placement of further drilling restrictions by an administration openly hostile to the use of fossil fuels and domestic energy development does not bode well. (IBD)

 

Merkel's Ongoing Fight to Extend Coal Subsidies

The European Commission has decided to end coal subsidies by 2014, a decision which does not sit well with Chancellor Angela Merkel. She wants Europe to revisit the decision, but support is lacking. Even her own economics minister is standing in the way. (Spiegel)

 

Wind power? Saving the earth or just costing it?

LONDON, UK, Oct 12, 2010/ Troy Media/ – If you’re hankering to see Britain’s green and pleasant land and rugged coastline, don’t wait too long. In an increasingly desperate bid to meet its EU climate and renewable-energy targets, the British government is planning to build 10,000 onshore and offshore wind turbines – many 400 feet high – over the next 10 years.

The “British wind experience,” however, constantly cited by Canadian, United States, and other advocates, far from saving the earth, turns out in practice to be costing the earth. (Peter C. Glover, Troy Media)

 

So stop wasting it with stupid ethanol mandates: Rising Corn Prices Bring Fears of an Upswing in Food Costs

First it was heat and drought in Russia. Then it was heat and too much rain in parts of the American Corn Belt. Extreme weather this year has sent grain prices soaring, jolting commodities markets and setting off fears of tight supplies that could eventually hit consumers’ wallets.

In the latest market lurch, corn prices dropped in early October, then soared anew, in response to changing assessments by the federal government of grain supplies and coming harvests.

The sudden movements in commodities markets are expected to have little immediate effect on the prices of corn flakes and bread in the grocery store, although American consumers are likely to see some modest price increases for meat, poultry and dairy products.

But experts warn that the impact could be much greater if next year’s harvest disappoints and if 2011 grain harvests in the Southern Hemisphere also fall short of the current robust expectations.

“We can live with high commodity prices for a period without seeing much impact at the retail level, but if that persists for several months or a couple of years, then it eventually has to get passed on” to consumers, said Darrel Good, an emeritus professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois.

The rise in prices is a good indication of how volatile the market has become for commodity futures in basic farm products like corn or wheat.

Grain prices started to shoot up over the summer on reports of a catastrophic drought in the major wheat-producing regions of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Prices rose not only for wheat, but also for corn and soybeans, since those grains are interchangeable as animal feed and a drop in wheat production could mean increased demand for the other grains. (NYT)

 

 

Supreme Court to Consider Vaccine Case

The safety of vaccines is at the heart of a case expected to be heard on Tuesday by the United States Supreme Court, one that could have implications for hundreds of lawsuits that contend there is a link between vaccines and autism.

At issue is whether a no-fault system established by Congress about 25 years ago to compensate children and others injured by commonly used vaccines should protect manufacturers from virtually all product liability lawsuits. The law was an effort to strike a balance between the need to provide care for those injured by vaccines, some of them severely, and the need to protect manufacturers from undue litigation.

Under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, such claims typically proceed through an alternative legal system known as “vaccine court.” Under that system, a person is compensated if their injury is among those officially recognized as caused by a vaccine. That person, or their parents, can choose to reject that award and sue the vaccine’s manufacturer, but they then face severe legal hurdles created by law to deter such actions.

The case before the Supreme Court is not related to autism. But the biggest effect of the court’s ruling, lawyers said, will be on hundreds of pending lawsuits that contend a link exists between childhood vaccines and autism. Repeated scientific studies have found no such connection. (NYT)

An acquaintance, a lawyer, asked me the other day what you call ten lawyers on the bottom of the ocean, proceeding immediately to provide the response "a very small step in the right direction". She may well be right, at least in the case of tort law.

 

More mythical bodies: Planes Don't Kill People -- Plane Exhaust Does

(Oct. 11) -- If you can't fly the friendly skies without a stiff drink or a sedative, take note: The fumes from airplanes are to blame for more annual deaths than actual airplane crashes.

Maybe not the most reassuring of factoids, but one that offers a reminder of just how safe (relatively speaking) air travel really is.

What's so deadly about airplane exhaust?

Much like the exhaust that pours out of your car, plane fuel emits pollutants (like sulfur dioxide, for example). The particles are tiny, and that's what makes them so deadly: They can easily enter the human bloodstream and cause long-term health damage.

Researchers at MIT, whose work is reported by National Geographic, used a computer model to track plane emissions through the atmosphere. They noted where the emissions were likely to fall and then linked them to human deaths.

They tabulated that around 10,000 deaths per year can be blamed on airplane pollution. Compare that to 1,000 annual deaths caused by crashes. (AOL News)

It is about this model exercise. With regard to the Southern Asia deaths being attributed here to far off U.S. air travel emissions they really should look a little closer to home, i.e., check out the particulates from cooking fires and inefficient stoves fueled by wood, grass, dung and coal. Look also at the haze from agricultural burn offs and then tell us how you can identify air travel as causal. India certainly suffers a disproportionate number of deaths due to poor air quality but that is an artifact of underdevelopment, not developed world air travel. Idiotic piece. Then again, it is ES&T and that ACS publication has had little contact with the real world for the longest time. Complete nonsense.

Update: observant reader notes the author can't even get their address right, according to Cambridge's site, their address is Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK but:

 

Soda smackdown deserves to fizzle out

No, no, no. Telling adults that they can't use food stamps to purchase a soda?

It's a terrible idea.

To be sure, New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, deserves credit for attacking the obesity crisis straight-on. More mayors, governors and CEOs should be zeroing in on this problem, too, because it threatens to take a huge toll in pain, suffering and health care costs.

In New York City, close to 40 percent of public school children now are fat. Among Hispanic children, it's 46 percent. An estimated 57 percent of New York City adults are overweight, too. The status quo is plainly unacceptable.

But Bloomberg's recent proposal to ban food stamp users from buying sodas is an overreach. It would peer over the shoulder and meddle -- punitively -- in the grocery carts of struggling Americans. (The Oregonian Editorial Board)

 

Study Says HFCS Does Not Cause Obesity

For years, high fructose corn syrup has been erroneously implicated as a prime suspect in the obesity epidemic. Inexact scientific reports and inaccurate media accounts have increased confusion about the sugar made from corn. New research proves otherwise.

A new study, presented on Saturday October 9, at the Obesity Society’s 28th Annual Scientific Meeting, further reinforces the facts about high fructose corn syrup. Results from the double-blind study revealed that fructose containing sweeteners (sugar, high fructose corn syrup) do not uniquely contribute to obesity when consumed as part of a healthy weight maintenance diet. The study also found that high fructose corn syrup no more contributes to caloric intake than table sugar (sucrose). (Food Manufacturing)

 

Ha... World Must Tackle Water-Shortage Threat: Adviser

Water shortages will be the world's most pressing problem in the next decade, compounded by a growing global population, Britain's chief scientist John Beddington said on Tuesday.

Climate change is forecast to disrupt rainfall patterns, leading to more severe droughts and floods, posing problems for the supply of fresh water.

The world's population of about 6.6 billion is forecast to rise by 2.5 billion by 2050, while growing wealth and urbanization is fuelling demand for water. (Reuters)

"Climate change" is the big distraction/excuse of the era. Australian states committed to what is looking like hundreds of billions of dollars worth of desalination contracts while failing to build dams because gorebull warbling was allegedly causing monster droughts of the century/millennium. Naturally it has since been exceptionally wet and billions of tons of potable water are flowing to sea because we lack impoundment storage while we pay significant sums under long-term contracts to have completely useless desalination plants. Stupid game. Forget "climate change" and pay attention to the roughly 60 years it takes to complete the cycle of wetter and drier phases by region.

 

PJTV’s Big Green Part III: The World’s First Carbon Billionaires

PJTV's series on Big Green wraps up with a reminder that there's gold in that green.

In the third and final installment of this investigative series with the Washington Examiner, Joe Hicks reveals the dirty secrets of the environmental movement. Environmentalists have a lot of money, and spend it freely on Democrats. How did Big Green become so powerful and influential? How were the world’s first carbon billionaires created? (PJM)

 

 

Shouldn't have been a first one: The Last U.N. Climate Extravaganza?

In an article in Friday’s paper, Elisabeth Rosenthal and I describe the bad mood and poor prospects pervading the run-up to the next big United Nations climate change conference, which opens at the end of November in Cancún, Mexico.

Delegates and observers say that little progress has been made since the last major climate meeting, last December in Copenhagen, where scores of heads of state tried to thrash out a binding international agreement to lower emissions of the gases that are contributing to the warming of the planet. They failed in spectacular fashion.

Now many are wondering whether the process itself, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is so flawed that it should be scrapped. Is it realistic to expect that 200 nations with vastly different interests, from China to Saudi Arabia to Bolivia to Micronesia, can come together to address a problem that will affect them in vastly different ways? Is there a better way to attack a global problem largely caused by a handful of large industrialized countries?

Should the next so-called “conference of the parties” be the last? (John M. Broder, NYT)

 

EPA sued by over 90 entities for 'Greenhouse' Gas Regulations

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration's move to curb 'greenhouse gases' using the Environmental Protection Agency has drawn legal challenges from more than 90 companies and trade associations. This could be very interesting since any of these legal challenges conceivably might result in subpoenas issued for infamous warmists such as James Hansen and Michael Mann, forcing them to provide documents and prove their flimsy AGW theory under cross-examination in a court of law. Here's what happened when James Hansen was 'boxed in' on the witness stand once before, dumbfounded when cross-examined and asked to name just one other scientist who agreed with his assertion that sea levels would rise more than 1 meter this century, stating "I could not, instantly." (Hockey Schtick)

 

US Utility Companies to Meet Clean Energy Targets with Nuclear and Coal?

Nuclear and cleaner coal would be considered eligible sources in an alternate clean energy standard proposed in the US Senate last week.

The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2010 introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) would require utilities to obtain 13% of their energy from clean sources by 2013, increasing to 20% by 2020 and continuing to rise by 5% every five years through 2050.

But unlike current proposals for a federal renewable electricity standard (RES), clean energy sources would include coal – if at least 65% of greenhouse gas emissions are captured and sequestered – and new nuclear, as well as renewable energy. The bill would also expand the definitions of biomass and hydroelectric, for example to include more types of forest materials.

Under Graham’s proposal, utilities would be allowed to buy, sell and bank credits for use during subsequent years and would be given credits for early retirement of high-emitting fossil fuel generation facilities. They would also be able to make payments of 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour (adjusted for inflation) in lieu of compliance or to use federal energy efficiency credits to meet up to 25% of the total. (OilPrice.com)

Forget RES, CES or any other "energy standard" -- it's just an energy rationing scheme with no upside regardless of the alphabet soup used to disguise it.

 

Warmists and the Cuccinelli Derangement Syndrome

By Chris Horner on 10.12.10 @ 2:45PM

I wrote here about the recently emerged Cuccinelli Derangement Syndrome, as manifested by last Wednesday's Washington Post editorial page: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is an embarrassment for, inter alia, looking into fraud under an anti-fraud statute as opposed to putting climate science on trial. Huff huff, stomp stomp. Even since that recent day, however, the Syndrome has taken a turn -- not for the better, particularly when you consider its sufferers are scientists, academics and journalists -- such that the malady already requires an update. (American Spectator)

 

EDITORIAL: The climate crackup

Alarmist warnings about the planet are falling flat

Switching terminology from "global warming" to "climate change" to newly favored "global climatic disruption" was supposed to help revive the environmental left's plunging poll numbers. It hasn't worked. Nature has, inconveniently, failed to cooperate, with dire predictions of upcoming catastrophes falling flat. Desperation pervades a propaganda effort that has finally gone too far. (Washington Times)

 

Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism

by Steve Goreham

In an address to Green Mountain College on May 15, Carol Browner, Director of Energy and Climate Change Policy, stated “The sooner the U.S. puts a cap on our dangerous carbon pollution, the sooner we can create a new generation of clean energy jobs here in America…” In July, 2009, President Obama lauded the “Cash for Clunkers” program, stating that the initiative “gives consumers a break, reduces dangerous carbon pollution, and our dependence on foreign oil…” Unfortunately, our President is misinformed about carbon pollution.

The phrase “dangerous carbon pollution” has become standard propaganda from environmental groups. An example is a May, 2010 press release from the World Wildlife Fund that called for “a science-based limit on dangerous carbon pollution that will send a strong signal to the private sector.” Environmentalists have successfully painted a picture of black particle emissions into the atmosphere. This misconception is being used to drive efforts for Cap & Trade legislation, renewable energy, and every sort of restriction on our light bulbs, vehicles, and houses—all in the misguided attempt to stop climate change. (Big Government)

 

Stupid gimmick du jour: Carbon footprint labels: the latest aid for ethical shopping

Shoppers familiar with seeing fair trade, organic or rainforest labels during their weekly shop will have to get used to another logo: the carbon footprint.

Leading food brands are increasingly using the Government's black footprint logo and, according to research published today, it will become the second most common ethical label in UK shops by the end of this year. (Independent)

 

D'oh! Green fatigue hits campaign to reduce carbon footprint

Car sales, flights and waste all increase as the recession takes its toll on consumers' motivation

Britons are less environmentally conscious than they were five years ago, with twice as many people now "bored" by talk of climate change as in 2005. Four in 10 take no action at all to reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions. Experts warn that green fatigue is a major reason why there are more cars on the roads, more planes in the sky and no reduction in the mountain of packaging waste. (Independent)

That's the thing about imaginary hobgoblins, you have to keep switching the ones you are warning about before people notice they fail to arrive. Gorebull warbling has simply been too lucrative a cash cow for them to move on and people are wising up.

 

Professor Hal Lewis Joins The GWPF

The Global Warming Policy Foundation is delighted and honoured to announce that Professor Harold (Hal) Lewis, one of America's most distinguished physicists, has agreed to join our Academic Advisory Council. (GWPF)

 

The end is not nigh

Finally, common sense on global warming

Britain's Royal Society, one of the most venerable science academies, has amended its idiots' guide to global warming. Officially titled Climate Change, A Summary of the Science, the 19-page layman's document is a refreshing departure from the strident, doom-and-gloom message that has characterized most scientific statements on global warming, which have been parroted by the Al Gores of the world thusly: humans are to blame, sea levels will rise and the end of the world is fast approaching. (Calgary Herald)

 

Lessons Learned From Swedish Temperature Records, By: Dennis T. Avery

CHURCHVILLE, VA—The ten coldest winter-spring temperatures out of the last 500 in Stockholm, Sweden, were almost all during the Little Ice Age. No surprise there. The coldest was 1569, followed by 1573.

The warmest years: 1863, 1990, 1743, 1525, 1989, 1605, 1822, 1790, 1762, and 2008, in that order. The years since 1976, supposedly with “unprecedented warming,” claim only three slots among the top ten. Apparently, the Modern Warming isn’t all that hot. Nor do we have any temperature readings from the earlier Medieval and Roman Warmings, which the ice cores and seabed sediments tell us were even warmer than today.

In science, observations must be taken much more seriously than theories or computer models. The Swedish data came primarily from long-term records on sea ice conditions in the Stockholm harbor inlet—such as the dates when the ice broke up each year. The data correlation is good when the harbor records overlap with instrumental data. (CGFI)

 

Estimated CO2 Warming Cut By 65%

Any competent researcher involved with the science behind climate change will admit that CO 2 is far from the only influence on global climate. It has long been known that short-lived greenhouse gases and black-carbon aerosols have contributed to past climate warming. Though the IPCC and their fellow travelers have tried to place the blame for global warming on human CO 2 emissions, decades of lies and erroneous predictions have discredited that notion. For anyone still clinging to the CO 2 hypothesis, a short perspective article on the uncertainty surrounding climate change in Nature Geoscience has put paid to that notion. It states that not only did other factors account for 65% of the radiative forcing usually attributed to carbon dioxide, but that it is impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity given the state of climate science.

In “Short-lived uncertainty?” Joyce E. Penner et al. note that several short-lived atmospheric pollutants—such as methane, tropospheric ozone precursors and black-carbon aerosols—contribute to atmospheric warming while others, particularly scattering aerosols, cool the climate. Figuring out exactly how great the impacts of these other forcings are can radically change the way historical climate change is interpreted. So great is the uncertainty that the IPCC's future climate predictions, which are all based on biased assumptions about climate sensitivity, are most certainly untrustworthy. As stated in the article:

It is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) from past records, partly because carbon dioxide and short-lived species have increased together over the industrial era. Warming over the past 100 years is consistent with high climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide combined with a large cooling effect from short-lived aerosol pollutants, but it could equally be attributed to a low climate sensitivity coupled with a small effect from aerosols. These two possibilities lead to very different projections for future climate change.

All truthful climate researchers know these facts, yet publicly the party line is that catastrophic changes are in the offing and CO 2 emissions are to blame. The perspective authors argue that only by significantly changing the amounts of these other pollutants and carefully measuring the impact on global climate over a period of several decades will science be able to figure out what is going on. “Following this strategy, we will then be able to disentangle the warming and cooling contributions from carbon dioxide and short-lived pollutants, hence placing much tighter constraints on climate sensitivity, and therefore on future climate projections,” they state.


And they said it was all carbon dioxide's fault.

Most of the factors under discussion have relatively short lifetimes in the atmosphere, several less than two months. We do not know how the relative influences of these various substances (referred to by climate scientists as “species”) may change in a warming climate. It is also not clear how to reduce short-lived species under present conditions but the uncertainties in atmospheric chemistry and physics must be resolved if Earth's environmental system is to be understood. Again quoting from the paper:

Of the short-lived species, methane, tropospheric ozone and black carbon are key contributors to global warming, augmenting the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide by 65%. Others—such as sulphate, nitrate and organic aerosols—cause a negative radiative forcing, offsetting a fraction of the warming owing to carbon dioxide. Yet other short-lived species, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, can modify the abundance of both the climate-warming and climate-cooling compounds, and thereby affect climate change.

Quantifying the combined impact of short-lived species on Earth's radiative forcing is complex. Short-lived pollutants—particularly those with an atmospheric lifetime of less than two months—tend to be poorly mixed, and concentrate close to their sources. This uneven distribution, combined with physical and chemical heterogeneities in the atmosphere, means that the impact of short-lived species on radiative forcing can vary by more than a factor of ten with location or time of emission. The situation is further complicated by nonlinear chemical reactions between short-lived species in polluted areas, as well as by the interactions of clouds with aerosols and ozone. These processes add further uncertainty to the estimates of radiative forcing.

Unfortunately, climate models neither accurately deal with local effects of these pollutants nor are the complex interactions among these substances understood. That not withstanding, the report is clear—CO 2 does not account for even a majority of the warming seen over the past century. If other species accounted for 65% of historical warming that leaves only 35% for carbon dioxide. This, strangely enough, is in line with calculations based strictly on known atmospheric physics, calculations not biased by the IPCC's hypothetical and bastardized “feedbacks.”

Of course, the real reason for the feedbacks was to allow almost all global warming to be attributed to CO 2. This, in turn, would open the door for radical social and economic policies, allowing them to be enacted in the name of saving the world from global warming. The plain truth is that even climate scientists know that the IPCC case was a political witch's brew concocted by UN bureaucrats, NGOs, grant money hungry scientists and fringe activists.

Now, after three decades of sturm und drang over climate policy, the truth has emerged—scientists have no idea of how Earth's climate will change in the future because they don't know why it changed in the past. Furthermore, it will take decades of additional study to gain a useful understand climate change. To do this, climate scientists will need further funding. Too bad the climate science community squandered any public trust it may have had by trying to frighten people with a lie.

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

 

La Nina to cause record drop in temperature: study

The weather phenomenon known as La Nina will have an impact this year not seen in decades, resulting in a temperature drop in Thailand of 2 degrees Celsius, according to a study supervised by Chulalongkorn University.

La Nina will also result in a premature wet season, in addition to a 30-year-record drop in temperature, researcher Arnont Sanitwong na Ayutthaya told a Bangkok technical seminar.

The study was based in Chiang Khan district in Loei province because it had experienced record low temperatures in two nine-year cycles: 20 degrees for 18 weeks from 1975-1984, and 21 degrees for 20 weeks from 1995-2004.

La Nina is now causing a drop in the temperature of seawater in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator. (Asia One News)

 

Sigh... Confirmation bias? Coral Records Show Ocean Thermocline Rise With Global Warming

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers looking at corals in the western tropical Pacific Ocean have found records linking a profound shift in the depth of the division between warm surface water and colder, deeper water traceable to recent global warming.

The finding is the first real evidence supporting what climate modelers have been predicting as the effects of global climate change on the subsurface ocean circulation.

The report by researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Toronto was published in the latest online edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (OSU)

One location seems to confirm something modelers hope to find... but it also simply shows the phase shift in the PDO. They don't think it shows the same for prior phase shifts but don't know whether their proxy is sufficiently sensitive or durable to do so. Was this really worthy of a press release?

 

Ancient animal urine provides insight into climate change

Geographers at Leicester use forensic techniques to investigate untapped resource

Scientists at the University of Leicester are using an unusual resource to investigate ancient climates– prehistoric animal urine.

The animal in question is the rock hyrax, a common species in countries such as Namibia and Botswana. They look like large guinea pigs but are actually related to the elephant. Hyraxes use specific locations as communal toilets, some of which have been used by generations of animals for thousands of years. The urine crystallises and builds up in stratified accumulations known as 'middens', providing a previously untapped resource for studying long-term climate change.

Funding from the Leverhulme Trust and, more recently, the European Research Council has allowed the Leicester group to join an international team led by Dr Brian Chase, from the Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier, to study these unique deposits. With Dr Chase, Drs Andrew Carr and Arnoud Boom from the University of Leicester's Department of Geography are engaged in exploring novel records of past environmental change preserved within the middens. (University of Leicester)

 

Tibetan Snowpack Decreasing?

No global warming presentation is complete without some pictures of snowpacks and glaciers melting away in alpine environments. The world is warming and the warmth is melting snow and ice in mountainous areas – seeing is believing, and finding pictures of melting snow is rather easy (just wait until spring every year)! (WCR)

 

Modeling the Economics of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Summary of a Workshop

Models are fundamental for estimating the possible costs and effectiveness of different policies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is a wide array of models to perform such analysis, differing in the level of technological detail, treatment of technological progress, spatial and sector details, and representation of the interaction of the energy sector to the overall economy and environment. These differences impact model results, including cost estimates. More fundamentally, these models differ as to how they represent fundamental processes that have a large impact on policy analysis--such as how different models represent technological learning and cost reductions that come through increasing production volumes, or how different models represent baseline conditions.

Reliable estimates of the costs and potential impacts on the United States economy of various emissions reduction and other mitigation strategies are critical to the development of the federal climate change research and development portfolio. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Academies organized a workshop, summarized in this volume, to consider some of these types of modeling issues. (NAP)

What's to model? There is no known downside to a warmer planet and no known upside to carbon constraint. On the other hand humanity benefits mightily from using carbon-dense fuels. Study done. Move on.

 

Argh! Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems

The stresses associated with climate change are expected to be felt keenly as human population grows to a projected 9 billion by the middle of this century, increasing the demand for resources and supporting infrastructure. Therefore, information to assess vulnerabilities to climate change is needed to support policies and investments designed to increase resilience in human and Earth systems.

There are currently many observing systems that capture elements of how climate is changing, for example, direct measurements of atmospheric and ocean temperature. Although those measurements are essential for understanding the scale and nature of climate change, they do not necessarily provide information about the impacts of climate change on humans that are especially relevant for political and economic planning and decision making.

Monitoring Climate Change Impacts tackles the challenge of developing an illustrative suite of indicators, measurements (and the locations around the globe where the measurements can be applied), and metrics that are important for understanding global climate change and providing insight into environmental sustainability. Eight panels provided input on: cryosphere, land-surface and terrestrial ecosystems, hydrology and water resources, atmosphere, human health and other dimensions, oceans (both physical and biological/chemical), and natural disasters. The book also provides an illustrative set of metrics that are likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20-25 years and, when taken together, can potentially give advance warning of climate-related changes to the human and environment systems. (NAP)

 

From CO2 Science Volume 13 Number 41: 13 October 2010

Ocean Acidification Project:
We introduce a new section of our website where we archive marine organism responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Come and find out if ocean acidification is the problem it is claimed to be. Check back often, as new data will be added regularly. Click here to access the project and database.

Editorial:
The Large-Scale Production of Biofuels in a Food-Insecure World: It will do us much more harm than good.

Subject Index Summary:
Acclimation (Tree Species: Citrus): Do citrus trees gradually lose the growth advantage conferred upon them by higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations?

Journal Reviews:
Rapid Ice Loss on the Antarctic Peninsula: How unprecedented is it?

Climate and Fire in Sonoran Grassland and Desert Scrub: How are the two related? ... and what does the result suggest about the future?

A 1300-Year History of West-Central Mexican Cloud Forest Climate: What does it reveal about drought? ... and what does it imply about the Medieval Warm Period?

The Response of Heterotrophic Soil Respiration to Warming: Does it increase or decrease? ... or is it pretty much unaffected by higher temperatures?

Microbial Physiology Impacts Soil Carbon Response to Warming: How may it occur? Let us count the ways.

Plant Growth Database:
Our latest results of plant growth responses to atmospheric CO2 enrichment obtained from experiments described in the peer-reviewed scientific literature are: Cowpea (Singh et al., 2010) and Giant Knotweed (Osada et al., 2010).

Medieval Warm Period Project
Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 889 individual scientists from 529 separate research institutions in 43 different countries ... and counting! This issue's Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Mt. Zarumori, Northern Japan. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project's database, click here. (co2science.org)

 

Government Ends Deepwater Drilling Ban

Drill ships and response vessels work in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast line while attempting to drill relief wells at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill wellhead July 27, 2010.
Photo: Reuters/Sean Gardner

The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted its ban on deepwater drilling seven weeks ahead of schedule, saying new rules cut the risk of a repeat of the BP oil spill, the worst ever to hit the United States.

The U.S. Interior Department said oil companies must comply with new regulations and demonstrate they can adequately respond to blowouts.

"The oil and gas industry will be operating under tighter rules, stronger oversight, and in a regulatory environment that will remain dynamic as we continue to build on the reforms we have already implemented," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.

Analysts said the new rules could slow the return of deepwater drilling to pre-spill levels. An industry group and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana urged Interior to move quickly on permitting, while the environmental group Greenpeace blasted the early end of the moratorium. (Reuters)

 

Good-Bye Job Killing Moratorium, Hello Job Killing Regulations

The White House announced today that the Department of Interior will be lifting the ban on off-shore oil drilling. This is good news. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Michael Bromwich had estimated that the ban cost the region more than 20,000 jobs. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is leaving costly new job killing regulations in its place. Greenwire reports:

The Obama administration is acknowledging that its new offshore drilling safety regulations will raise costs for the oil and gas industry — and may also delay some offshore development, slightly increase gas prices and kill some jobs.

The new rules unveiled last week would increase operating costs by an estimated $1.42 million for each new deepwater well drilled with a floating rig, $170,000 for each new deepwater well drilled with a platform rig and $90,000 for each new shallow-water well, according to an Interior Department notice released yesterday.

Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

China Overtakes U.S. As Biggest Energy Consumer: IEA

China has become the world's largest energy user, having overtaken the United States, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

"China is now the largest energy consumer by our definition," the executive director of the Paris-based IEA, Nobuo Tanaka, told an industry conference.

"Probably half of the oil demand increase comes from China. Nobody knows when it (will) slow down."

The IEA advises 28 developed countries. China is not a part of the IEA but the agency monitors the country as its oil demand can have a significant impact on prices.

Tanaka said Iraq, which has just revised up its estimates of proven oil reserves by 25 percent, could have a major influence on the oil market.

"Iraq can be a game changer. We need Iraq oil," Tanaka said. (Reuters)

 

The Volt Rolls Out to a Media Goregasm (National Review 10.12.10)

Imagine the U.S. government offering $7,500 to well-off buyers of a BMW 3-series convertible, and an additional $2,000 to buy fuel. Imagine the outrage. There you have the problem with the Chevy Volt.

In the midst of a slow economy and voter anxiety, the U.S. government is preparing to roll out its green electric-car program starring Chevy’s plug-in hybrid. While GM has offered the car for media drives, the collective Goregasm from the press hides the fact that the high tech, silent, undoubtedly cool electronic gizmo is a $41,000 plaything for the blue coast jet set.

“I drove a pre-production Volt,” writes one reviewer with the Boston Herald, “(and it) proved to be a far better vehicle than I was expecting, an undeniable engineering coup for GM. The biggest surprise may be how well the Volt handles. The T-shaped battery pack is placed very low in the chassis, and the lower the extra weight is, the better.”

The trouble with pressie car reviewers is the cars are free. Sure, the Volt handles better than the $17,000 Chevy Cruze with which it shares a platform — but if it’s handling you want, you’ll drop your $40 grand on a BMW. Or an Audi A5. Or any number of vastly superior vehicles in that price range.

And that gets to the nub of the issue. The Volt — and its expensive electric stable mates — are rich niche cars for DiCaprio & Co. Which is why the Toyota Prius–dominated hybrid market has never eclipsed 3 percent of cars sold. Which is why the U.S. government is desperately offering a $7,500 tax credit to buy it and another $2 grand for a fast-charging station.

“The Volt strikes us as the closest in concept to the winning formula of the Prius,” writes Car & Driver, which — unlike their media brethren — has managed to maintain some perspective. “This is without a doubt the most important new car since the advent of hybrids in the late ’90s, and GM has nailed it. Is this the handing off of the Prius’s very illustrious torch?”

The Volt is evolution, not revolution. That is, it’s the new green fashion statement. It’s the new Prius. (Henry Payne)

 

Electric car storm erupts in US

Critics in the US have questioned whether General Motors' much hyped Volt electric car is a real EV or just another hybrid

"GM Lied: Chevy Volt is not a true EV".

That's the headline that has greeted General Motors executives after the official media launch of the company's much-vaunted Volt electric car.

Respected US automotive websites Motor Trend and Edmunds Inside Line have reported that the Volt, which GM has always claimed was purely an electric vehicle, actually uses its on-board range-extending engine to power the car's wheels at higher speeds.

GM had claimed that the Volt's 1.4-litre engine was only used to recharge the car's batteries on the move when its batteries had been depleted - but Edmunds Inside Line claims that the Volt will "at times be directly driven in part by its internal combustion engine".

In a media release from General Motors, the brand spruiks "the Chevrolet Volt is not a hybrid" and that it "is a one-of-a-kind, all-electrically driven vehicle".

Not so, says Edmunds.

"In fact the Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid and it has more in common with conventional 'series-parallel' hybrids like the Toyota Prius than the marketing hype led us to believe. There are circumstances in which the Volt operates with the internal combustion engine directly driving the front wheels. That's right, like a Prius."

"Under certain circumstances - speeds near or above 70 mph ... the engine will directly drive the front wheels in conjunction with the electric motors," the website says.

The claims have the potential to affect the price of the circa $40,000 Volt. The Federal Government has approved the Volt for a $US7500 tax credit based on the fact that it is an electric vehicle. Hybrids are not eligible for the credit.

GM vehicle line executive Doug Parks told the Detroit Free Press that the Volt's engine "never drives the wheels directly".

"The engine only generates electricity, and it doesn't do that until the battery is depleted. Electric power is the only way to move the car."

But a GM spokesman, Tom Wilkinson, told the New York Times: "There is some mechanical drive force at high speed. The engineers wanted to maximise the overall performance and eliminate any potential flat spots in the acceleration curve. "

GM has also faced criticism over the Volt's claimed battery range and fuel economy figures.

GM originally claimed the Volt would have an electric-only range of 40 miles (65 kilometres) which has now been revised to "between 25 and 50 miles". Several real world tests by industry website Popular Mechanics have resulted in an average of just 33 miles.

Further testing by Popular Mechanics has also seen GM's claim of "230 miles per gallon" (1 litre per 100 kilometres) quashed, with both city and highway testing of the Volt seeing an average consumption six times higher than GM's claim - 6.2 litres per 100km. (SMH)

 

No, the "disaster" would be CCS itself: Failure to impose CCS levy on energy bills would be 'disastrous', MPs told

Experts fear the government will not impose the levy needed to raise £4bn for demonstration carbon capture and storage plants (Guardian)

 

 

Eye-roller. These dipsticks never heard of an idiotic scare they wouldn't cling to: Warning to Glenn Beck: Don’t Drink Diet Coke

(Kurt Nimmo, Infowars.com)

After almost 30 years of consumption, no body of data links aspartame with health problems.

Aspartame myths page: http://www.aspartame.org/aspartame_myths.html

 

Jaundice at birth may be linked to autism

NEW YORK - Babies diagnosed with jaundice may be more likely to later receive a diagnosis of autism, suggests a large new study.

However, the Danish researchers caution that many questions remain unanswered, making it too early to say for sure if there is a true cause-and-effect relationship between the conditions.

Environmental exposures prior to, during and shortly after birth are emerging as important risk factors for the development of autism, in addition to genetic factors, Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.

Jaundice is a common condition among newborns that results when the yellow pigment found in bile, called bilirubin, accumulates faster than the immature liver can process it. More than half of babies born full-term have some of the characteristic yellowing of the skin and eyes, but it usually resolves itself and is rarely harmful.

Autism, which causes problems with social and communications skills, affects approximately one in every 110 U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a prior study, Dr. Rikke Damkjaer Maimburg of Aarhus University found that children diagnosed with autism were twice as likely to have been admitted to the neonatal care unit as newborns, most commonly for jaundice. Yet she knew that earlier research into a link between jaundice and autism had yielded conflicting results. (Reuters Health)

 

Living under a flight path may be bad for the heart: study

Living with airplanes thundering over your head could put your heart at risk, according to a Swiss study.

After studying 4.6 million adults across Switzerland, researchers found that dying from a heart attack was more common among people with increased exposure to aircraft noise.

"The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place," researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, told Reuters.

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This isn't the first time that noise has been linked to negative health effects, including cardiovascular risks.

But this study could help determine whether the sound is really exerting the effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution. (SMH)

 

Finally moving away from the tragedy of the commons: Brazil Amazon Forest To Be Privately Managed

Brazil will auction large swaths of the Amazon forest to be managed by private timber companies and cooperatives to help reduce demand for illegal logging, a top official told Reuters on Monday.

After years of legal battles and political opposition, the government is reviving concessions for private companies to log its national forests.

"The future of the Amazon -- combating deforestation and climate change -- is strengthening forest management. I don't see any other solution," Antonio Carlos Hummel, head of Brazil's National Forestry Service, said at the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Summit.

The government will grant private companies logging concessions for nearly 1 million hectares (2.47 million) by year-end and, within 4 to 5 years, nearly 11 million hectares (27 million acres), the size of the U.S. state of Virginia.

Existing concessions total only 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres). (Reuters)

 

29 countries' hunger levels 'alarming' - report

WASHINGTON - Twenty-nine countries show alarming levels of hunger and more than a billion people were hungry in 2009, according to a new report on global hunger.

World leaders are far from a 1990 goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015, according to the annual Global Hunger Index published by the International Food Policy Research Institute and other aid groups.

"The index for hunger in the world remains at a level characterized as 'serious,'" the report states. "Most of the countries with 'alarming' GHI scores are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia." (Reuters)

 

How's this work? Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup

Reptiles are being moved to make way for a solar-powered generating station.

Reporting from Primm, Nev. — More than 100 biologists and contract workers fanned out across a nearly pristine stretch of the eastern Mojave Desert on Friday to start rounding up tortoises blocking construction of the first major solar energy plant to be built on public land in Southern California. (LA Times)

Bugs & birds can shut down commercial development but poor old reptilia, at least Testudines, are served eviction notices to accommodate eco bling? Discrimination much? I say, stand up for turtle rights! Turtles before rent seekers!

 

Pining for the Eden that never was: Paradise possible but too costly

THE Murray-Darling river system could be an "environmental paradise".

That would happen if the maximum amount of additional surface water needed for the catchment were returned.

And the Murray mouth would be open all the time, creating the healthiest possible scenario for the basin.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority's analysis indicated between 3000 and 7600 gigalitres a year was needed to repair the system's environment.

Authority chairman Mike Taylor said yesterday: "The higher end of that spectrum would create the absolute best possible scenario for the system overall. However, it simply would not be socially or economically viable." (The Australian)

Before European settlers engineered the river for navigation and water storage it only flowed occasionally, half the time it was a string of billabongs (waterholes) and dry watercourse, irregularly fed by floods from La Niña events and landfalling tropical cyclones. "Restoring" the river to its natural state means letting it die.

 

Murray-Darling water plan will send household bills sky high, experts warn

AUSTRALIAN households are already pay the highest ever rates for electricity. Now get ready to start doing the same for food and clothing.

Murray-Darling And it's all in the name of saving the environment - well part of it anyway.

Proposed drastic cuts to water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin will hit farmers from Griffith to Narrabri and send supermarket prices soaring, industry experts said.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority - an independent body charged with "restoring balance" in some of the country's most productive agricultural areas - released a proposal yesterday to cut up to 37 per cent from irrigators' water allotments. (Daily Telegraph)

 

 

Dead Aim - Joe Manchin for West Virginia TV Ad

Cap & Tax is bad for everyone, not just WV. Nonetheless, you go, Joe!

 

Bill White: “In These Challenging Times, Enron Deserves Our Thanks”

by Robert Bradley Jr.
October 12, 2010

“Enron also welcomed the challenge of responsible environmental stewardship, and called on industry to address the issue of global warming even as some companies feared the impact of pollution control on their bottom lines.”

- Bill White, “In These Challenging Times, Enron Deserves Our Thanks,” Houston Chronicle, October 26, 2001.

Former Houston mayor and current gubernatorial candidate Bill White is running away from his far Left energy/environmental past–one that he developed as deputy secretary of the Department of Energy in the Clinton/Gore Administration from 1993 until 1995. And when times were good and when Obama was cool,  Houston’s mayor flaunted his climate alarmism. But no more…

White now pretends to be a fiscal conservative and no longer supports cap-and-taxtrade. But isn’t this the same fellow that as Houston mayor created new staff positions and supported high-cost energy to promote his Climate Alarmism agenda? White, indeed, championed wildly uneconomic solar projects for Houston and has promoted industrial windpower at every turn. White tells as much in a toned-down interview with Mother Jones.

White proudly fronted the James Hansen event at Progressive Forum, even introducing the controversial NASA climate scientist who has called for show trials for oil company executives and compared coal trains to Holocaust death trains.

Mayor White also introduced Tim Flannery at the Progressive Forum, another wide-eyed climate alarmist who states: “If humans pursue a business-as-usual course for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilization due to climate change becomes inevitable.”

With such dire prognostications, why not let government grow and the cost of energy and energy appliances rise in the name of ’stabilizing climate’ and ’saving mankind’.

This begs the question: What would Governor Bill White do through the back door to promote the Obama/Gore climate agenda.

Rick Perry Has Energy Issues Too

I am no particular fan of Texas Governor Rick Perry and have critically blogged on him at MasterResource. I remember standing just a few feet from him at a fundraiser some years ago where he criticized George W. Bush for losing his way in Washington towards big government–only to then launch into how great Texas was because of its windpower boom. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Climate Talks Marred By Bickering, Progress On Finance

China hit back on Saturday at U.S. claims it was shirking in the fight against climate change, likening the criticisms to a mythic pig preening itself.

Frustration between the world's two top carbon polluters overshadowed week-long U.N. talks seeking progress on the shape of a new climate pact, with negotiators making some progress on financing but failing to dispel fears the process could end in deadlock.

Su Wei, a senior Chinese climate change negotiator, swiped at comments from top U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern as the climate change talks drew to a close in the north Chinese city of Tianjin.

Stern, in remarks at a U.S. university, said Beijing could not insist rich nations take on fixed targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions while China and other big emerging nations adopt only voluntary domestic goals. (Reuters)

 

The Carbon Footprint Of Climate Change Delegates

After Copenhagen, there was Bonn. Now there's Tianjin, China. Next month, there will be Cancun, Mexico. It seems the United Nations is continually holding climate change meetings that require thousands of delegates to fly all over the world in an effort to reduce the world's greenhouse gas emissions. But it's a big question whether any of these talks will produce a concrete result. If not, there's always next year's big meeting in South Africa. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, about the carbon footprint of this rolling series of international meetings, proposals to reduce it, and what is actually supposed to be taking place. (NPR)

 

Stupid: Aviation Deal Clears way for emissions scheme: EU

A global deal on emissions curbs by airlines struck late on Friday will allow the European Union to press ahead with plans to charge airlines for emissions permits from 2012, the European Commission said on Saturday.

The EU agreed in 2008 that airlines should be included in its emissions trading scheme (ETS), which forces industry to pay for permits for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit into the atmosphere.

The ETS is the EU's main tool for combating climate change and it wants to see the system adopted worldwide. Aviation is responsible for some 2 percent of the world's carbon emissions. (Reuters)

 

<GUFFAW!> Gillard acts to head off ETS scare campaign

THE federal government aims to legislate for a price on carbon late next year and have a scheme operating well before the next election in a bid to lessen the impact of a predicted fear campaign as voters go to the polls. (SMH)

There will be no such legislation "late next year" for the simple reason the rainbow conglomerate government will be history by then. Australia will never have any form of carbon tax.

 

Price on carbon 'the only way' says PM

JULIA Gillard has been advised that putting a price on carbon is "the only practical way" Australia can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

A report released yesterday by the Prime Minister's task group on energy efficiency has urged her to push ahead with implementing a price on carbon along with rolling out a national energy savings initiative.

The day after she dumped her citizens' assembly idea in favour of a climate change commission of industry experts, Ms Gillard restated her commitment to the introduction of a carbon price. (The Australian)

 

A Greens dream is a nightmare for the rest of us

Why do the Greens hate people?

At every turn they want to reduce the quality of life for human beings or in the worst case authorise a doctor to help kill some via euthanasia.

How can any political party charged by the constitution with the responsibility of governing for the peace, order and good government of the Australian people be taken seriously when the people always come second. And be under no illusions, the Greens are part of the cobbled together Labor government.

Gillard said before the election no carbon tax. Reason for the change? - a demand for one by The Greens.

There will be a Citizens Assembly, Gillard said before the election, to discuss a consensus approach to climate change. After the election no Citizens Assembly.

Instead a committee is established to take this role but only believers need apply. (Bronwyn Bishop, The Punch)

 

Energy-efficiency weather data 30 years old

THE weather data used by the federal government to determine how billions of dollars are spent to make buildings more energy-efficient is 30 years out of date.

The old data seriously undermines policy objectives to limit climate change, experts have declared.

The problems are acknowledged internally by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency but its senior officers have not released up-to-date weather data, despite repeated pleas over several years from the industry.

The failure to release updated data means that any change in climate affecting Australia's cities, towns and regions since the 1970s was not influencing the development of environmentally friendlier buildings.

The weather data, a sophisticated package of climate measurements done by Australia's meteorological networks, is used to determine how buildings should be constructed to achieve optimum energy efficiency. The requirements to improve energy efficiency are widening and becoming more stringent. (The Australian)

 

Michael Mann: Vote Democratic and save me from jail!

Poor, poor pitiful Michael Mann. Check out his op-ed in last Friday’s Washington Post — our comments in bracketed bold.

Get the anti-science bent out of politics
By Michael E. Mann
Friday, October 8, 2010; A17

As a scientist [Wanna poll that assertion?], I shouldn’t have a stake in the upcoming midterm elections, but unfortunately, it seems that I — and indeed all my fellow climate scientists — do. [Republicans = Inquisition, don't ya know...]

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has threatened that, if he becomes chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he will launch what would be a hostile investigation of climate science. The focus would be on e-mails stolen [There's no evidence that the e-mails were "stolen."] from scientists at the University of East Anglia in Britain last fall that climate-change deniers have falsely claimed demonstrate wrongdoing by scientists, including me. [As between so-called climate-change deniers" and Michael Mann, "falsely" and "wrongdoing" only apply to Mann.] Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) may do the same if he takes over a committee on climate change and energy security.

My employer, Penn State University, exonerated me [False: PSU never really investigated Mann; it more or less just took his word that he had done nothing wrong. Since there was no genuine investigation, he could not have been genuinely "exonerated."] after a thorough investigation [LOL!] of my e-mails in the East Anglia archive. Five independent investigations in Britain and the United States, and a thorough recent review by the Environmental Protection Agency, also have cleared the scientists of accusations of impropriety. [All were as whitewashey as PSU's. "Independent" is probably not the right adjective to describe the investigations; "staged" is much more accurate.]

Nonetheless, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is investigating my previous employer, the University of Virginia, based on the stolen e-mails. [Even if the e-mails were stolen, how exactly does that exonerate Mann? BTW, Daniel Ellsberg stole files (Pentagon Papers) and he was/is a hero of the Left.] A judge rejected his initial subpoena, finding that Cuccinelli had failed to provide objective evidence of wrongdoing. [The judge said that Cuccinelli was within his rights to file such subpoenas and that he needed to be more specific as to what he was looking for.] Undeterred, Cuccinelli appealed the decision to the Virginia Supreme Court and this week issued a new civil subpoena.

What could Issa, Sensenbrenner and Cuccinelli possibly think they might uncover now, a year after the e-mails were published? [Evidence of f-r-a-u-d.]

The truth is that they don’t expect to uncover anything. Instead, they want to continue a 20-year assault on climate research, questioning basic science and promoting doubt where there is none. [No, they are just questioning whether the hockey stick was a fraud and whether a fraud was perpetrated on taxpayers.]

Cuccinelli, in fact, rests his case largely on discredited claims that Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) made during hearings in 2005 at which he attacked me and my fellow researchers. [Discredited? By who? When? Where? Any names? Details?] Then-Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) had the courage and character to challenge Barton’s attacks. We need more political leaders like him today. [Boehlert = RINO]

We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer [Tobacco company hijinks = Michael Mann innocence?], and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. [What false claims is he referring to? Does he know anything about either? Or is this just more guilt by Mann-uendo?] The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change. [No one questions "the reality of climate change"; it's the causes and drivers that are being debated.]

The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.[These last three sentences are disputed by skeptics.]

Burying our heads in the sand would leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate. [Humans have always been at the mercy of nature. Fossil fuels have greatly lessened our vulnerability.] The only sure way to mitigate these threats is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next few decades. [Really? No more bad weather if we reduce CO2 levels?] But even if we don’t reduce emissions, the reality of adapting to climate change will require responses from government at all levels. [There is no evidence that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have any discernible effect at all on the climate.]

Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome — indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking. [Quite a statement from someone who tried to silence critics.]

But the attacks against the science must stop. [No one is attacking science. We're attacking junk science.] They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science. [Mann accuses his opponents of what he is doing — an old trick of narcissists and Communists.]

How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing? [Easy... tell them not to engage in junk science or fraud.]

America has led the world in science for decades. It has benefited our culture, our economy and our understanding of the world. [No thanks to Michael Mann and his kind.]

My fellow scientists and I must be ready to stand up to blatant abuse from politicians who seek to mislead and distract the public. They are hurting American science. And their failure to accept the reality of climate change will hurt our children and grandchildren, too. [If Michael Mann wants to "stand up" to something, why doesn't he stand up for a debate against a skeptical climate scientist? I think we all know the asnwer to that one.]

Michael E. Mann, the author of “Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming,” is a professor in the meteorology department at Penn State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. [PSU's continued employment of Mann gives a whole new meaning to Nittany lion.]

We urge people to move to Virginia just so they can vote for Ken Cuccinelli in future elections. (Green Hell Blog)

 

The Scientist Vote

Conformity: "Vote Democrat," says a meteorologist and noted global warming proponent. But Democrats won't be getting the vote of the esteemed physicist who just resigned from a scientific body for silencing debate.

Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, took to the pages of the Washington Post Friday to say that while "as a scientist, I shouldn't have a stake in the upcoming midterm elections," he regretted to announce that "unfortunately, it seems that I — and indeed all my fellow climate scientists — do."

Mann warns that Republicans would launch "a hostile investigation of climate science." But investigation is, in fact, warranted.

Harold Lewis, physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been a member of the American Physical Society, the second-largest association of physicists in the world, for 67 years — most of the organization's existence. A couple of days before Mann's piece appeared, Lewis tendered his resignation. (IBD)

 

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life'

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society. (James Delingpole, TDT)

 

The scientific world is fracturing

The rift between real science (the pursuit of truth) and PR-science (the pursuit of of money and power) is growing. Associations like The Royal Society, the APS, and the American Chemical Society are beginning to fracture internally as eminent members reject the unscientific pronouncements made on their behalf by small “secret and stacked” committees.
Hal Lewis comes from the elite upper levels of science — a physics professor at University of California (Santa Barbara), and a member of the Defense Science Board (a group of the top 40 or so, advising the Pentagon).

He’s resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) today, after 67 years. The APS is the world’s second largest organization of physicists, with 48,000 members. He is scathing of the fall from grace of the once renowned institution. (Jo Nova)

 

Grubby Spiegel hit piece on S. Fred Singer: The Traveling Salesmen of Climate Skepticism

A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research. In the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole. In all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action.

With his sonorous voice, Fred Singer, 86, sounded like a grandfather explaining the obvious to a dim-witted child. "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate," the American physicist told a discussion attended by members of the German parliament for the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) three weeks ago.

Marie-Luise Dött, the environmental policy spokeswoman for the parliamentary group of Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), also attended Singer's presentation. She said afterwards that it was "extremely illuminating." She later backpedaled, saying that her comments had been quoted out of context, and that of course she supports an ambitious climate protection policy -- just like Chancellor Merkel.
Merkel, as it happens, was precisely the person Singer was trying to reach. "Our problem is not the climate. Our problem is politicians, who want to save the climate. They are the real problem," he says. "My hope is that Merkel, who is not stupid, will see the light," says Singer, who has since left for Paris. Noting that he liked the results of his talks, he adds: "I think I achieved something." (Spiegel)

 

Schellnhuber Admits: “Climate Science” Would Not Stand A Chance In A Public Debate

P Gosselin 9. Oktober 2010

Prof Schellnhuber: Climate science would not stand a chance in a public debate. Photo source: PIK

That’s the amazing thing warmist and alarmist Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has recently admitted, according to Der Spiegel here (read the last paragraph).

Now in English here!

And again they assert that the public is just too stupid to have a say in this important public issue.

Schellnhuber is even so arrogant that he compares himself, his fellow “climate scientists” and climate science to Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity (read below).

More on that in just a bit, but first during the night, Anthony Watts posted news that prominent scientist Hal Lewis is resigning from the American Physical Society. Anthony asked other bloggers to spread the news. Anthony feels so strongly about this that he even equated it to Martin Luther:

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door.

Dr. Lewis has had enough of the charlatans and frauds infesting climate science all over the world. Read his complete resignation letter here.  In it he writes about Climategate’s aftermath and climate science:

It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.- Hal Lewis

Now, Schellnhuber and Der Spiegel

Two days ago Der Spiegel came out with one of the nastiest hit pieces I’ve seen in a long time called: Crusade Against Science – The Charlatans of Climate Science. (Note they’ve softened the title in English). The title I translated was the one used here, scroll down.

After reading the Der Spiegel piece, the first thing that popped into my head was:

Wow! No wonder Fred Singer left Germany in 1940!

Fred Singer. Photo source: CFACT

Der Spiegel singled out Fred Singer and attacked every aspect about him, rehashing all the old tobacco and merchant-of-doubt stuff. Naomi Oreskes’s fingerprints were everywhere here. Face it, she’s hopelessly infatuated with Fred Singer.

Der Spiegel calls Singer “one of the most influential climate deniers worldwide” and a lead denier in the NIPCC, which it describes:

Sounds impressive, but is actually just a collection of like-minded scientists that have gathered around him. Also one German is in it: Gerd Weber. a meteorologist who for 25 years was at the service of the German coal industry.

Der Spiegel also goes after Pat Michaels and Myron Ebell, writing that spreading doubt in USA has been easier than in Europe, but that Singer and the “deniers” are working on that too, and have teamed up with the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). Der Spiegel:

Behind the impressively sounding name is hardly anything more than a post office box in Jena. President Holger Thuss is a local CDU politician [conservative party].

Indeed it is so. There is simply no funding for them and so this small but committed group is forced to operate on a shoestring. EIKE is not showered with tens of millions of euros like activist groups and warmists are. Yet, notice how fearful Der Spiegel and the Science Establishment in Germany are. Even Der Spiegel feels it has to mobilise and slap down the EIKE shoestring operation.

Schellnhuber and debate

Der Spiegel writes that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has nothing against having a discussion with serious scientists, but refuses to debate with whom he considers “amateurs”. Der Spiegel:

In the end, the science has gotten so complex that the large part of the population is not able to follow it. The climate sceptics, on the other hand, are satisfying “a need for simple truths”.

And that’s precisely where Schellnhuber sees the sceptic’s secret to success. Unfortunately a public debate would not help: “Imagine if Einstein had to defend his theory of relativity on talkshow Maybritt Illner. He wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.”

What Schellnhuber is saying here is amazing. He’s saying that his climate science would not stand a chance in a public debate. How right you are Herr Schellnhuber. But here it is so because your science is light-years away from Einstein’s when it comes to quality, and not because the people in the land of poets and thinkers are unable to understand it.

And so that’s why he accepts having a discussion only with people who agree with him.

UPDATE: A look back…more on The Great Transformator here:

1. http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot: reform democracy
2. scepticism-is-anti-science/
3. creation-of-a-CO2-budget-for-every-person

(No Tricks Zone)

 

Michael Coren with Dr. Tim Ball

An hour with Dr. Tim Ball and the truth about climate change, in five parts: (Australian Conservative)

 

Environmental Propaganda and Strategies: Personal Attacks, Never the Issues

Certain names or words trigger predictable responses to an article. People use software designed to detect keywords and immediately some respond with attacks, invariably prefaced by false personal attacks. Often responses are strategies by special interest groups. I’ve done radio for years and learned how they coordinate to phone in first and take the same personal attack approach. They rarely discuss the issues. Radio stations learned to bypass them by skipping the first number of calls. (Tim Ball, CFP)

 

Cold facts on global warning

With the science of climate change still in its infancy, Dr Ruairi Hanley believes the Green movement’s predictions of global apocalypse are mere scaremongering

In 1989, aged 12, I recall reading my geography textbook with a sense of terror. The authors stated that world oil supplies would be exhausted by 2010. Other cheerful predictions revolved around lethal acid rain, which would destroy crops and result in global famine amid swarms of rampaging locusts.

All of this was presented to Irish schoolchildren as incontrovertible fact, supported by unnamed ‘scientific experts’.

Some 21 years later, oil reserves have actually increased as a result of human ingenuity. Worldwide food production has also improved dramatically due to advances in agricultural science. Even the dreaded acid rain mysteriously failed to materialise and is apparently no longer an issue.

In 2010, we now have a new group of global ‘experts’ who tell us, once again, that we stand on the brink of apocalypse via a phenomenon known as climate change. This latest scare has spawned a multi-billion dollar global industry and a political movement that spans the developed world. It has evolved from an environmental theory to something approaching a religious cult, such is the level of zeal that its adherents demonstrate. (Irish Medical Times)

 

Several sources actually confirm this item: Study sniffs farting ferals

FARTING camels could be the reason for global warming.

The feral, wind-breaking creatures will soon be monitored in Central Australia to find a link between the animals and emissions that cause global warming.

And while the camels are able to give off emissions while they are alive, new research is trying to prove the animals are even worse when they are dead.

The Territory Government has given Charles Darwin University $10,000 to "engage Aborigines to monitor feral camels' impacts on carbon emission".

This will allow them to find out if greenhouse gas emissions from decomposing and farting camels can be blamed for climate change. The Northern Institute's camel researcher Dr Benxiang Zeng said the project was going to monitor the impact camels had on vegetation and the degeneration of landscapes.

But it will also look into the impact of released greenhouse gases from farts and dead animals.

"We are trying to do some monitoring on feral camels - including research on the impact of camel culling activities and camel farts," he said. "We want to find out what impact it has, to cull hundreds of feral camels.

"They die on the ground and break down."

The project, to be conducted on indigenous land in Central Australia, will combine invasive species, climate change and Aboriginal participation by engaging indigenous communities. "I believe it is the first time to link feral camels to climate change," Dr Zeng said. (Northern Territory News)

 

Climate superstition with a neo Malthusian dressing: Population trends: Another influence on climate change

BOULDER--Changes in population growth and composition, including aging and urbanization, could significantly affect global emissions of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years, according to a new study out next week.

The research, appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was conducted by an international team of scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. It was funded by a European Young Investigator's Award, the Hewlett Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR's sponsor.

By mid-century it is estimated that global population could rise by more than three billion people, with most of that increase occurring in urban areas. The study showed that a slowing of population growth, following one of the slower growth paths considered plausible by demographers at the United Nations, could contribute to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers found that such slow growth paths by 2050 could account for 16 to 29 percent of the emissions reductions thought necessary to keep global temperatures from causing serious impacts. The effect of slower population growth on greenhouse gas emissions would be even larger by the end of the century. (NCAR/UCAR)

 

GRACE – Clueless AGW Science

Last November, the headlines read “NASA Satellites Detect Unexpected Ice Loss in East Antarctica“

Remarkably, they claimed that ice was disappearing at a rapid rate from an area of East Antarctica (500 km from the coast) – where the temperature never gets anywhere close to the melting point. (Real Science)

 

JPL Acknowledges That The Basis Of Hansen’s Sea Level Numbers Is Wrong

Antarctic temperatures are far below freezing all year.

During June, I explained on WUWT that the University of Texas GRACE interpretations were wrong due to glacial rebound (isostasy.) Later in the summer they acknowledged that my explanation was correct.

a new study published in the September issue of Nature Geoscience suggests that the true melt rate might be much slower than that. (Access a PDF of the study here.) A joint team of American and Dutch scientists took another look at the GRACE data and found that Greenland and West Antarctica may be melting  just half as fast the earlier studies estimated. As researcher Bert Vermeersen, a professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, told the AFP, the earlier estimates failed to account for glacial isostatic adjustment—the rebounding of the Earth’s crust after the end of the last Ice Age:

Hansen’s “non-linear” theory was ridiculous to begin with, and was undermined by the JPL study.

Under BAU [business as usual] forcing in the 21st century, the sea level rise surely will be dominated by a third term: (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on the gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005–15 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. That time constant yields a sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century.

His doubling has been halved. That means ice loss rates have not changed, which was obvious from sea level data. Temperatures in Antarctica are cold and getting colder.

How does this crap get through peer review? Ice doesn’t melt in summer temperatures of -10C, and Antarctica is getting colder.

(Real Science)

 

Sea Level Trends Nearly Constant For The Past 100 Years

Over the past five years, sea level has risen at an average of 2 mm/year.


http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global.txt

But as you can see, this is mainly due to the El Niño spike. If we look at the four years prior to that, the trend lowers to 1.4 mm/year.

Which is lower than the average rate (2 mm/year) for the last 100 years.

There is no ice sheet meltdown happening. Sea level rise is not accelerating. The whole story is completely in shambles. (Real Science)

 

Update On John Holdren’s Ice Free Winter

John Holdren holds the highest position of scientific authority in the country. He was hand chosen by President Obama. He also appears to have less scientific competence than most first graders.

...if you lose the summer sea ice, there are phenomena that could lead you not so very long thereafter to lose the winter sea ice as well. And if you lose that sea ice year round, it’s going to mean drastic climatic change all over the hemisphere. - John Holdren, 2009

Temperatures are well below freezing across the Arctic now, and about -20C near Greenland. they will continue to get colder for the next few months. New ice is forming at the rate of one Manhattan every minute and a half, in areas that were previously ice free.

The North Pole has gone completely dark. There is no SW radiation to warm things up. Temperatures are too cold to hold much water vapour, so there is almost no greenhouse effect. It is butt cold in the Arctic, and only a scientific illiterate would think otherwise. (Real Science)

 

Invalidated even before publication: Land 'evapotranspiration' taking unexpected turn: huge parts of world are drying up

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The soils in large areas of the Southern Hemisphere, including major portions of Australia, Africa and South America, have been drying up in the past decade, a group of researchers conclude in the first major study to ever examine "evapotranspiration" on a global basis.

Most climate models have suggested that evapotranspiration, which is the movement of water from the land to the atmosphere, would increase with global warming. The new research, published online this week in the journal Nature, found that's exactly what was happening from 1982 to the late 1990s.

But in 1998, this significant increase in evapotranspiration – which had been seven millimeters per year – slowed dramatically or stopped. In large portions of the world, soils are now becoming drier than they used to be, releasing less water and offsetting some moisture increases elsewhere.

Due to the limited number of decades for which data are available, scientists say they can't be sure whether this is a natural variability or part of a longer-lasting global change. But one possibility is that on a global level, a limit to the acceleration of the hydrological cycle on land has already been reached. (Oregon State University)

Large areas of Australia were in drought, which rather reduces evapotranspiration but that is no longer the case. For example climate hysteric Flimflam Flannery claimed Brisbane (Queensland) would be out of water in 2010 but as of 03:00 GMT, October 12, current water holdings are 110.4% (completely full yielding some 8 years requirement impounded, with some emergency flood control storage temporarily [we hope] occupied for controlled release). An unusually small percentage of Australia is currently drought affected (some portion of this arid land is always so declared) while the majority is somewhat soggy.

 

Lawrence Solomon: New Zealand’s Climategate –Act II

Last November, I reported on accusations from New Zealand that a government agency called NIWA — New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research – had cooked the books on global warming.  According to global warming skeptics at the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, the country’s temperatures had not climbed over the last century, as graphs produced by the agency claimed.  Based on the actual raw data for the last century, New Zealand’s temperature has been steady over that same period.

The skeptics took the agency to court to demonstrate that it had cooked the books. Their Statement of Claim, filed on behalf of the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust, asked the High Court to determine that the New Zealand Temperature Record was invalid and to stop NIWA from providing this invalid data to any governmental authority that might use it to set policy. In this way, the plaintiffs hoped to prevent New Zealand from setting a global warming policy on the basis of flawed science.

Last month, NIWA filed its own Statement of Defence, and it was startling. Yes, NIWA declared, it did publish temperature data called the New Zealand Temperature Record, or NZTR as it was widely known, but it was not required to do so by law.

“There is no ‘official’ or formal New Zealand Temperature Record;” the Statement of Defence went on, the temperature record merely being “an informal description for a collection of different streams of climate information.”

Next question: Should the New Zealand government base its official climate change policy on an informal, unofficial data set?

Act III to come.

LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of
Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.

 

“Let’s Try a Free Market in Energy” by Charles Koch (Part II: Planning, Politics, and Power)

by Administrator
October 8, 2010

“The majority of businessmen prefer power and government-guaranteed profits to philosophical consistency; they are more than willing to trade off market principles for a system that promises less competition and more security….  Almost every major piece of interventionist legislation since 1887 has had important business support, and certainly regulation in the oil and gas industry is no exception.”

“Economic planning by its very nature is people planning. It is part of a misguided policy that would return us to the dark ages of political economy where the State controlled the entire economy and society in its own political interests. To return to that system is to finally abandon the American experiment and the American dream.”

- – Charles G. Koch (1977)

I would now like to turn to the more subtle historical and political implications of Thornton Bradshaw’s call for planning in oil. Bradshaw would have us believe that his stance on government planning is an unorthodox, even radical political position for a prominent business leader to take, and a sharp break with tradition. This is a totally misleading impression, however. Important and influential business leaders have always been anxious to convince the public and the Congress that the free market cannot work efficiently (in their industry), and that some governmental planning and regulation would be more rational and in the public interest. They have told us repeatedly that the free market cannot work, that it is often “irrational”, and that it is incapable of planning and investing long-range. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

How Good Are You At Understanding and Saving Energy?

BY JACK DINI – What’s the most effective thing you could do to save energy? When asked this question during a recent survey, 20% of the respondents said that they could turn off the lights. Wrong! Lighting accounts for a relatively small proportion of the average person’s energy use and almost all of us could save far more energy in other ways—for instance by turning the heating down as little as a single degree.

What about glass versus aluminum containers? Which requires the most energy? If you said glass you were correct but most folks in the survey didn’t. Glass requires so much energy to make—or recycle—that it is always more eco-friendly to use aluminum cans, even if one is talking about virgin cans compared to recycled bottles. Making a glass container from virgin material uses 40 percent more energy than making an aluminum one, and 2,000 percent more when recycled material is used. (Hawaii Reporter)

 

Obama’s Sunshine Scam

By Steven Milloy
Human Events, October 8, 2010

It’s hard to sufficiently mock President Obama’s decision to install solar panels on the White House. But I’ll try.

The cost of the panels at this point is unknown. But the White House has assured the public that the installation job will be offered through a competitive bidding process. Given that Jimmy Carter spent about $30,000 in the 1970s installing solar panels on the White House (removed in 1986 by President Reagan), you can bank on President Obama’s folly blowing that price tag away, especially when you consider all the federal employee staff time, and security and public relations efforts that will go into the project.

Since the annual savings of the system is estimated to be only $2,300, you could also safely bet that the system will never actually pay for itself—no matter how many decades (centuries?) the system is used.

The system won’t make the White House energy independent since nighttime, clouds and rain will all force the building to remain hooked up to its existing power sources and back-ups.

Finally, the system will offer no environmental benefits. Whether or not you believe that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are changing global climate for the worse, whatever few tons of carbon dioxide emissions that might possibly be avoided through White House (or anyone else’s) use of solar panels will scarcely offset the new coal-fired power plant that China erects every other week.

The panel installation can be, then, little more than a too-little-too-late exercise in public relations to salvage something legislatively for President Obama’s green base.

While even President Obama has given up on a cap-and-trade bill coming out of this Congress, he no doubt would like to prod Congress into passing a so-called national renewable electricity standard (RES) in the upcoming lame duck session of Congress. An RES would require that a certain percentage of electricity generation come from solar, wind biomass and other supposedly renewable sources. Conveniently, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D.-N.M.) and the retiring Sam Brownback (R.-Kan.) have just introduced such a bill (S. 3813).

Although the Bingaman-Brownback bill is little more than cap-and-trade in renewable drag, it has attracted some Republican support in the Senate from Susan Collins (Maine), Jon Ensign (Nev.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa). But Democratic skeptics like Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) have offset these Republican votes. Sen. Dick Durbin has also rained on the Bingaman-Brownback RES parade, telling Congressional Quarterly, “It’s not an easy and quick bill. There are many choices, and most of them are controversial. To think we can do them quickly in a lame duck is a long shot.”

The President’s desperate green supporters insist the White House project is not completely symbolic. The CEO of solar panel maker Sungevity told Climatewire that, “This is not about Carter and another President doing solar; it’s about the fact that solar is able to save customers money.” Just who those customers are and how much money they’re actually saving, wasn’t disclosed, however.

The Center for American Progress’ Richard Caperton told Climatewire that if the President used the solar panel announcement “appropriately,” he could “show that the [solar] industry leads to jobs.” But of course the vast majority of solar manufacturing jobs are in China, where renewable energy workers earn about 1/10 of American workers.

DuPont is expanding its facility in Circleville, Ohio, to manufacture solar energy materials, accepting $56 million in federal stimulus and state aid for the $175 million project. What does the taxpayer get for all that money? Seventy new jobs created, 444 existing jobs retained and 230 construction jobs. Add all the jobs up and divide and you get a per job cost of $235,000, $76,000 of which comes from taxpayers.

Taxpayers are on the hook for about $114,000 for each stimulus-funded solar panel job at projects in Longmont, Colo., and Tipton, Ind. Then there is the $592,000-per-solar-job cost at the Emmet J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis, Ind.

Pardon me, but since the purpose of all this is to force consumers to spend more money buying high-priced energy (but only when the sun shines), as a taxpayer, I vote for unemployment.

Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a new book from Regnery Publishing. (Green Hell Blog)

 

California, where the graft is greener

by Steve Milloy
GreenHellBlog, October 8, 2010.

The banana-fication of California is reaching critical mass.

The Antelope Valley Union High School District has entered into public-private partnership (taxpayer beware!) with private firm PsomasFMG to build a 9.6 megawatt photovoltaic system, according to a report in Climatewire. And what a deal it is.

The school system, which expects to save $40 million over the life of the panels (no word of how long “life” is), will not have to put any money down, instead signing a 20-year power purchase agreement with PsomasFMG for about 80 percent of its power needs. Southern California Edison will generously provide the other 20 percent at a reduced rate. A “bonus” feature of the deal is that PSomas will donate $20,000 to train a teacher to design a special algebra curriculum (6th grade to high school) to train students to work in the solar industry. Solar algebra? Are you kidding me?

But while the school district is “saving” millions in electricity bills (who knows how the “savings” were actually calculated), federal and state taxpayers will be paying for this scam, including a 22-cents-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy from the state-run California Solar Initiative. While it apparently is illegal for school districts to get federal funding for such projects directly, the project will evade the law by using PsomasFMG as the subsidy recipient. Try a scheme like that at home with, say, federal tax or election laws and see in which federal prison you land!

And many Californians appear to approve of this sort of activity.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll claims that Proposition 23, a ballot initiative to roll back California’s global warming law until unemployment recedes, is losing 49%-37%. That any Californian who could vote himself out of a paper bag would oppose Proposition 23 is incredible — the state has a budget deficit of $19 billion and and unemployment rate of 12 percent. The state needs to create economic growth and revenue producing jobs as opposed to innovative ways to milk a shrinking tax base.

Perhaps, we can hope, the poll is just another mainstream media ploy to discourage voters from turning out to save California from the green grifters.

In any event, the people behind the Antelope Valley school district scheme should be investigated — not cemented in place by the defeat of Proposition 23. (Green Hell Blog)

 

Peter Foster: The growing fallout of the shale revolution

A sign that shale gas has great potential is that greens are trying to shut it down

Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert said this week that Alaskan natural gas would likely flow through the province ahead of gas from the Mackenzie Delta. Not so long ago, such a statement would have been regarded as treasonable. Now it appears merely common economic sense. In fact, the real issue is whether either source of Arctic gas will be developed before the age of hydrocarbons ends. That is due to the stunning improvements in the technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that have made the production of vast amounts of shale gas feasible.

This gas not merely presents the possibility of an economic bonanza in many areas, including B.C. and Quebec, but of enhancing much-coveted U.S. energy independence. It also promises to rearrange energy geopolitics. But for the moment, it is aggravating a supply glut in North America. On Thursday, prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange slumped 6.4% to US$3.62 per million British thermal units (which is roughly equal to a thousand cubic feet).

Read More » (Financial Post)

 

Nope: South Africa To Look At Maize For Biofuels

South Africa must review its biofuels policy to include maize to allow farmers to use their surplus crop for energy production, the agriculture minister said on Friday.

The government unveiled blending ratios for biofuels three years ago but said maize, South Africa's staple food, could not be used in the production of biofuels in order to ensure food security and keep a lid on high prices.

"Agriculture is not only about food production but also concerns energy. So with the surplus maize, we as government must look again at our biofuel policy," Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told a conference. (Reuters)

 

Fleecing the gullible: Anger over electricity charges for solar-powered homes

WHEN Neil Rayner put solar panels on his roof, he did so under two assumptions: it would help clean up the planet and that his electricity bills would become noticeably cheaper.

He was wrong on the second count.

Mr Rayner's electricity costs are increasing - the result of being forced to pay a much higher rate for power drawn from the national grid than people without household solar systems.

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''It is a rip-off and the problem is we are not told that this would happen when we put solar on,'' he said.

Mr Rayner is not alone. The average non-solar home is charged between 17¢ and 19¢ per kilowatt hour of electricity used due to a Victorian government moratorium on price increases while a new ''smart'' metering system is rolled out.

But in what is described as an oversight, the moratorium does not apply to households that sign a contract to receive a premium rate for excess power generated on their roof and fed into the grid.

Instead, energy companies are charging people with photovoltaic solar panels up to double the standard rate during peak hours.

In Mr Rayner's case, AGL charges him 32¢ per kilowatt hour during the evening - the time he is most likely to need the power grid to run his home in McKinnon.

''If I had known, I would not have put panels on my roof - it's not worth it,'' he told The Age.

''I reckon I could just about set up a business explaining to people what they need to look out for if they are thinking of putting solar on, because it's become a very complicated exercise.''

Chris Shattock, of Beaumaris, estimates that since installing solar panels at his home his electricity charges have been 40 per cent higher than if he had been charged the lower rate reserved for non-solar homes.

''By having panels I am at a big disadvantage, even though I am being paid to feed some electricity back into the grid,'' he said. (The Age)

 

Welcome to the Europe’s Ill Wind website

Europe’s Ill Wind is a film about the views of people living near existing or planned wind farm developments. Their objections have been dismissed by the wind industry, government and pro-wind campaigners as selfish NIMBYism, leaving unanswered many questions about the reliability and environmental credentials of wind energy.

This site is under construction. In the near future, we will be publishing more information about the views in the film, and links to many further sources of information. There will also be an extended version of the film and extended interviews with the people who have appeared in it.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FILM * (Europe's Ill Wind)

* Film not reviewed by JunkScience.com

 

“The Miserable Hum of Clean Energy” (Noise is an emission too, AWEA and D.C. environmentalists)

by Robert Bradley Jr.
October 11, 2010

“The people who build wind farms are not environmentalists. . . . Business is a delicate balancing act, and chief executives are always walking a tightrope between the needs of the community, their employees, and the marketplace.”

- Paul Gipe, Wind Energy Comes of Age (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995), p. 454.

The front page exposé in the New York Times of another problem of industrial wind—coming on top of Robert Bryce’s eye-opening Wall Street Journal piece on air emissions relating to firming wind energy—presents another problem for Big Wind and Big Environmentalism.

Windpower’s noise problem is nothing new–it has just been swept under the rug by the industrial wind complex. The oft photoshoped pictures of wind turbines skip the sound–that would ruin the idyllic facade of the energy source that is radically uneconomic and an inferior energy source compared to conventional electricity generation.

Small wind has a noise problem too. Big wind? Suffice it to say you don’t want to live or work near an industrial wind park, or even a solitary wind turbine, unless you have to.

Property values will work to internalize the externality over time, which is bad for existing owners and good for new owners. And some existing land owners will receive land royalties to put up with their discomfort. But what about victimized neighbors? And in a free society, wind turbines would not exist for the noise problem to be an issue. (Funny how government intervention has unintended consequences.) Electricity would be generated in much greater quantities indoors in power plants.

Tom Zeller’s “For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy” (New York Times, October 5, 2010, p. 1)  brings wind’s noise problem to the attention of the environmental Left, in particular. Wind has not solved this problem, one that Paul Gipe spent 20 pages (pp. 371–91) discussing in his 1995 book, Wind Energy Comes of Age (New York: John Wiley & Sons).

Gipe confronts the noise issue squarely (p. 371):

“Next to aesthetic impact, no aspect of wind energy creates more alarm or more debate than noise…. Wind turbines are not silent. They are audible. All wind turbines create unwanted sound, that is, noise. Some do so to a greater degree than others. And the sounds they produce—the swish of blades through the air, the whir of gears inside the transmission, and the hum of the generator—are typically foreign to rural settings where wind turbines are the most often used.”

“The people who choose to live in [rural, wild] locations do so primarily because the land is unsuitable for other urban uses,” Gipe explains in his book (described as “the most complete reference ever published on generating electricity from wind”). “They reasonably expect that the area will remain rural and undeveloped” (p. 324).

Zeller’s NYT piece is reprinted in its entirety due to its historical importance. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Sluggish Economy Curtails Prospects for Building Nuclear Reactors

WASHINGTON — Just a few years ago, the economic prognosis for new nuclear reactors looked bright. The prospect of growing electricity demand, probable caps on carbon-dioxide emissions and government loan guarantees prompted companies to tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that they wanted to build 28 new reactors.

The economic slump, which has driven down demand and the price of competing energy sources, and the failure of Congress to pass climate legislation has changed all that, at least for now.

Constellation Energy’s announcement on Saturday that it had reached an impasse with the federal government over the fee for a loan guarantee on a new reactor in Maryland is a sign of how much the landscape has been transformed.

Essentially, the Energy Department argued that Constellation’s project is so risky that the company must pay a high fee or provide other assurances of repayment if it wants the taxpayers to guarantee its construction loans. Constellation said the government’s demand was “unreasonably burdensome.”

The government is hardly the only one to question the economics of nuclear power right now. The would-be builders of seven reactors around the country have deferred their projects in the last few months.

J. Scott Peterson, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s trade group, said the “pause” in nuclear building plans mirrors delays in other industrial projects. “It’s principally because of the economic situation,” he said. (Reuters)

 

Obama kills Maryland nuke power project

President Obama is so concerned about greenhouse gas emissions that he’s essentially killed the Calvert Cliffs (Maryland) nuke power project.

Oh sure, Constellation Energy technically pulled the plug on its own project, but only after the Obama administration demanded $880 million in exchange for a $7.5 billion loan guarantee.

That the Obama administration would allow a mere $880 million to come between it and its supposed goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is absurd. The administration has blown billions of dollars on a variety of allegedly green stimulus projects that have no prospects of accomplishing anything meaningful.

President Obama is doing what the greens want (i.e., killing off nuclear power) and he is doing it in a way that provides political cover (i.e., making Constellation the bad guy). (Green Hell Blog)

 

The Promise of Fusion: Energy Miracle or Mirage?

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars trying to create a controlled form of nuclear fusion that could be the energy source for an endless supply of electricity. But as a federal laboratory prepares for a key test, major questions remain about pulling off this long-dreamed-of technological feat. (Alex Salkever, e360)

 

 

Obamacare vs. the Rule of Law

On September 30th, Janet Adamy reported for The Wall Street Journal that McDonald’s was considering canceling its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless new Obamacare regulations were waived. The White House pushed back hard with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Jessica Santillo claiming: “This story is wrong. The new law provides significant flexibility to maintain coverage for workers.” But this Tuesday we learned that Adamy was correct. According to Bloomberg News McDonald’s had sought, and eventually won, a waiver from the upcoming Obamacare regulations. This allows them to continue providing health insurance coverage to 115,000 workers. In fact, McDonald’s workers were just some of the over 1 million of Americans who were spared losing their current health care coverage thanks to one-year waivers from the Obama HHS.

The White House effort to discredit reports that Obamacare is forcing companies to consider dropping health care coverage comes on the heels of a letter HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent to the nation’s health insurers threatening to exclude them from the yet to be implemented Obamacare health exchanges.  The letter warned there “will be zero tolerance” for “falsely blaming premium increases” on Obamacare. And who would determine if premium increases were or were not due to Obamacare? The Obama administration of course. When it comes to the health care sector, Obamacare has turned Secretary Sebelius into judge, jury, and executioner. And we are just beginning to witness the scope of Obamacare’s bureaucratic powers. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

How Republicans could block healthcare reform

WASHINGTON - Republicans could keep their promises to stop healthcare reform even if they cannot repeal it, simply by blocking legislation needed to pay for it, one expert argued on Wednesday.

Control of one house of Congress could give the Republicans power to cripple the law, creating "zombie legislation," healthcare expert Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution wrote in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Healthcare reform is President Barack Obama's signature policy.

The Affordable Care Act passed in March without a single Republican vote. It is supposed to get health insurance to 32 million Americans who currently lack it, help set up local clinics to help provide needed care, set new standards for health insurance and, eventually, begin to transform the fragmented U.S. healthcare system.

Many Republicans running for Congress in November have been promising to roll back as many of its provisions as possible or even to repeal it if they gain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Repeal would be unlikely, Aaron said, as Obama would veto any such attempt.

Republicans are headed for gains in both chambers in the November 2 elections and could take control of the House, but are not expected to win enough seats to override a presidential veto.

"A more serious possibility is that ACA opponents could deliver on another pledge: to cut off funding for implementation," Aaron wrote. (Reuters)

 

Below is a media release from the pharmaceutical-medical industrial complex whining that we only spent $139 billion on health research last year.

No mention of what the public got for that sum -- regardless Research!America says that not enough is being spent.

The whole public-private public health research establishment is quite a racket -- ripe for the 112th Congress to reform.

Research!America is a welfare queen propaganda outfit supported by http://www.researchamerica.org/major_donors

These people (and their supporters) ought to be arrested.

US invested $139 billion in health research in 2009

Research spending stagnant since 2005 as portion of health costs

WASHINGTON—October 7, 2010—The U.S. invested $139 billion last year in health research from all public and private sources, according to Research!America's latest annual estimate. That amount represents only 5.6% of the $2.47 trillion overall U.S. health spending in 2009—or 5.6¢ of every health dollar—which varies no more than 0.2% from 2005 levels.

The estimate is available here: http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/healthdollar09.pdf.

The 2009 investment grew by only 0.1% over 2008. This small increase can be attributed largely to the federal stimulus funding for research provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Federal research investment was nearly $46.8 billion in 2009, up from $38.6 billion in 2008. (EurekAlert)

 

Science funding cuts: We won't fill the gaps, say firms and charities

Big R&D spenders say they won't step up funding of university research in the UK to make up for science funding cuts

Companies and charities that spend billions of pounds on research and development in the UK have said it is not their job to fill the gaps in university funding that will be left if the government's proposed cuts to the science budget go ahead. (Guardian)

Indeed it is not their function. It is an open question whether taxpayers should be stuck with the bill for the welfare queens either, rather obviously I think not. Public funds must return some benefit and not be used as open checks for resume-buffing politicians and celebrity causes. How do you suppose a cost-benefit analysis of "the war on cancer" would come out? Note the disproportionate spending on say, breast cancer, simply because no politician is game to deny the feminist brigade. Far too much money is squandered studying the "health effects" of gorebull warbling, despite the fact that only occurs in PlayStation® games written expressly to generate scary warming scenarios. We need to get back to a rational basis for how society directs its effort and resources.

 

Nothing new in the land of fruits and nuts... Overestimate fueled state's landmark diesel law

California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high - by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.

The staff of the powerful and widely respected Air Resources Board said the overestimate is largely due to the board calculating emissions before the economy slumped, which halted the use of many of the 150,000 diesel-exhaust-spewing vehicles in California. Independent researchers, however, found huge overestimates in the air board's work on diesel emissions and attributed the flawed work to a faulty method of calculation - not the economic downturn.

The overestimate, which comes after another bad calculation by the air board on diesel-related deaths that made headlines in 2009, prompted the board to suspend the regulation this year while officials decided whether to weaken the rule. (SF Chronicle)

 

Prenatal arsenic exposure quintuples infant death risk

NEW YORK - Babies born to mothers with high levels of arsenic exposure are five times more likely to die before their first birthday than infants whose mothers had the least exposure to the toxic mineral, new research shows.

"We observed clear evidence of an association between arsenic exposure and infant mortality," Dr. Anisur Rahman of Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden and colleagues state in the November issue of Epidemiology. And the fact that death risk increased as exposure rose, they add, "is supportive of a causal relationship."

The study was conducted in Bangladesh, where millions of tube wells dug 30 years ago to improve the country's water supply are now known to be contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic.

Public health experts estimate that as many as 77 million people in Bangladesh have been poisoned by arsenic in drinking water; potential approaches to reducing exposure include filtering water through pond sand, using different types of wells, and harvesting rainwater.

Arsenic causes cancer, and has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other chronic illnesses. But studies investigating the effects of prenatal arsenic exposure have had mixed results, Rahman and colleagues say. (Reuters Health)

 

Whaling activist sunk own boat 'as a publicity stunt'

It was one of the most dramatic moments in the annual hostilities between the Japanese whaling fleet and members of the militant conservation group Sea Shepherd: the ramming of a protest boat, which sank in the icy waters of the Antarctic.

But all was not as it seemed, according to the Ady Gil's captain, Pete Bethune, who claimed yesterday that Sea Shepherd deliberately scuppered its own boat last January as a publicity stunt. Acting on orders from the group's founder and president, Paul Watson, Mr Bethune boarded the vessel with two fellow activists and opened compartments and hatches to let in water, he said.

The allegation was denied by Mr Watson, who released emails revealing that Mr Bethune, a New Zealander, had been expelled from the organisation. The group posted a video on its website which appears to confirm that Mr Bethune let the Ady Gil sink while it was being towed back to port by another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Bob Barker.

However, the sabotage claim and the public war of words between the two former comrades seem certain to damage Sea Shepherd's credibility. (Independent)

Um... what credibility?

 

Too much of a good thing: Human activities overload ecosystems with nitrogen

Resulting ecological damage is serious, but could be reduced by wider use of more sustainable, time-honored practices

Humans are overloading ecosystems with nitrogen through the burning of fossil fuels and an increase in nitrogen-producing industrial and agricultural activities, according to a new study. While nitrogen is an element that is essential to life, it is an environmental scourge at high levels.

According to the study, excess nitrogen that is contributed by human activities pollutes fresh waters and coastal zones, and may contribute to climate change. Nevertheless, such ecological damage could be reduced by the adoption of time-honored sustainable practices. (NSF)

 

Argh! The next idiotic scare: Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean

The ocean has absorbed a significant portion of all human-made carbon dioxide emissions. This benefits human society by moderating the rate of climate change, but also causes unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry. Carbon dioxide taken up by the ocean decreases the pH of the water and leads to a suite of chemical changes collectively known as ocean acidification. The long term consequences of ocean acidification are not known, but are expected to result in changes to many ecosystems and the services they provide to society. Ocean Acidification: A National Strategy to Meet the Challenges of a Changing Ocean reviews the current state of knowledge, explores gaps in understanding, and identifies several key findings.

Like climate change, ocean acidification is a growing global problem that will intensify with continued CO2 emissions and has the potential to change marine ecosystems and affect benefits to society. The federal government has taken positive initial steps by developing a national ocean acidification program, but more information is needed to fully understand and address the threat that ocean acidification may pose to marine ecosystems and the services they provide. In addition, a global observation network of chemical and biological sensors is needed to monitor changes in ocean conditions attributable to acidification. (NAP)

 

Farmers next to GM fields benefit from pest reduction, study shows

US study finds reduced numbers of crop-damaging pests on corn farms that adjoin those growing GM crops

Farmers growing conventional corn next to GM crops can benefit from the reduction in crop-destroying pests without paying the premium for GM seeds, a new study has shown.

The research, published today in the journal Science, examined 14 years of records in the top US corn-producing states of Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin, looking at the prevalence of the European corn borer, a moth whose caterpillars eat into corn stalks and topple the plants.

The so-called Bt GM corn varieties were first planted in 1996 and produce toxins taken from a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis, which is deadly to the pest. In GM fields, the pest is eradicated, but the data showed that in neighbouring non-GMO fields the pest populations shrank by 28-78%, depending on how much GM corn was being grown in the surrounding area.

The study also found that the caterpillar-killing GM varieties grown in the vast US corn belt had retained their potency 14 years after being first sown, showing the pests had not developed resistance. (Guardian)

 

GM cultivation totalled 134 million hectares (330 million acres) in 2009; 77% soybeans, 49% cotton

The cultivation of genetically modified plants increased globally in 2009 with the field area rising by nine million hectares over 2008 to a total of 134 million.

This growth totalled 3% in industrialised nations (2 million hectares) and 13% in developing nations (7 million hectares). In the case of soy, approximately 77% of global production is achieved with GM soybeans and his figure is 49% in the case of cotton. (MercoPress) [1 ha = 1.47 ac]

 

Clean Living in the Henhouse

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. — The stuff doesn’t even smell that bad.

In Henhouse No. 1 at the Hi-Grade Egg Farm here, the droppings from 381,000 chickens are carried off along a zig-zagging system of stacked conveyor belts with powerful fans blowing across them.

The excrement takes three days to travel more than a mile back and forth, and when it is finally deposited on a gray, 20-foot high mountain of manure, it has been thoroughly dried out, making it of little interest to the flies and rodents that can spread diseases like salmonella poisoning.

Standing by the manure pile on a recent afternoon, Robert L. Krouse, the president of Midwest Poultry Services, the company that owns the Hi-Grade farm, took a deep breath. The droppings, he declared, smelled sweet, like chocolate.

“This is the kind of thing that gets egg farmers excited,” Mr. Krouse said.

Controlling manure and keeping henhouses clean is essential to combating the toxic strain of salmonella that sickened thousands of people this year and prompted the recall of more than half a billion eggs produced by two companies in Iowa. (NYT)

 

Bio warfare scientists help solve mystery of dying bees

The cause of the mysterious decline of the honey bee in the United States – and elsewhere in the world – may have been found in the form of a "double whammy" infection with both a virus and a fungus.

A unique collaboration between university researchers and military scientists in the US has found that a combination of a virus and a fungus in the gut of honey bees may result in the phenomenon known as colony-collapse disorder.

Over the past four years, bee keepers in the United States, Europe and Asia have reported dramatic declines of the key insect that is critical to the pollination of many valuable crops. Between 40 and 60 per cent of honeybee colonies have suffered a complete collapse in the US alone.

One of the difficulties of finding a cause is that the affected bees often fly off in different directions leaving behind, at most, a single queen and a few workers. This has made it almost impossible for entomologists to carry out post mortems on corpses of the missing bees.

Now a team of researchers led by Jerry Bromenshenk of the University of Montana in Missoula has completed an exhaustive survey of bees that bee keepers have managed to collect from collapsed colonies to see whether they are suffering from any unusual infections. Working with scientists at the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Centre in Maryland, who have developed expertise in detecting and analysing biological molecules, Professor Bromenshenk and his colleagues found that many of the bees were infected with both a virus, called invertebrate iridescent virus (IIV), and a fungus known as Nosema apis.

"These findings implicate co-infection by IIV and Nosema with honey bee colony decline, giving credence to older research pointing to IIV, interacting with Nosema and mites, as probable cause of bee losses in the USA, Europe and Asia," the researchers write in their study published in the journal PLoSOne. The scientists do not know how the combination of the two infections could be causing the disorder, but they point to the fact that both virus and fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather as well as infecting bees through the gut, indicating that insect nutrition may be involved. (Independent)

 

New virus causing mass deaths of frogs

Common frog populations around the UK have declined by more than four-fifths because of a virus which causes their internal organs to haemorrhage.

Populations infected with ranavirus, which is thought to be relatively new to the UK, suffered an average 81 per cent decrease in adult frogs over a 12-year period, research from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found.

The study, using data collected from the public by the frog mortality project and charity Froglife, showed long-term declines in numbers because of the virus – as well as the sudden mass die-offs of frogs which the disease is known to cause.

But the research, published in the ZSL journal Animal Conservation, also found that some populations of frogs recovered from mass mortality events – suggesting that some frogs may be immune to the virus. (Independent)

 

Rapidly Evolving Rodents

That humans can alter the natural environment is well known. We have been hunting, fishing and clearing land for agriculture for tens of thousands of years. More recently humans have gained the ability to drain swamps, dam rivers, level mountains and pave over darn near anything. Environmentalists think this kind of activity is abhorrent, and go so far as to claim that H. sapiens are responsible for a new major wave of extinctions. In general, animal species can either move, go extinct or adapt to human caused environmental changes. Many biologists will tell you that species just can't evolve fast enough to deal with rate of human induced change. As it turns out, this isn't exactly true.

Rapid morphological change in mammals has been infrequently documented. However, recent research has revealed that evolution often occurs on contemporary timescales, often within decades. Well known examples of rapid evolution include such morphological changes as beak length in Florida soapberry bugs, wing length in Galapagos finches, or female lifespan in Trinidadian guppies. In “Contemporary evolution meets conservation biology,” Craig A. Stockwell, Andrew P. Hendry and Michael T. Kinnison link rapid contemporary evolution to the same root causes of the so called extinction crisis.

“Ultimately, contemporary evolution is influenced by complex interactions among population size, genetic variation, the strength of selection, and gene flow, making most management scenarios unique.” they stated in the February 2003 issue of Trends in Ecology & Evolution. “In a world filled with contemporary evolution, conservation efforts that ignore its implications will be less efficient and perhaps even risk prone.”

Recently, a team of scientists used next-generation sequencing technology to conducted a genome scan of nucleotide diversity and differentiation in natural populations of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Sticklebacks are a small silver-colored fish, under two inches in length, that are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere in both fresh and saltwater habitats. According to a report in PLoS Genetics by Paul A. Hohenlohe et al., oceanic threespine stickleback have invaded and adapted to freshwater habitats countless times across the northern hemisphere. These freshwater populations have often evolved in similar ways from the ancestral marine stock from which they independently derived.


Example of rapid stickleback evolution.

”Populations of freshwater stickleback arise when new habitats open up and are colonized,” said William A. Cresko, professor of biology, member of the University of Oregon's Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and a member of the research team. “Alaska has a lot of lakes that have been around only about 10,000 years, formed after glaciers receded. Instead of dying out when they were cut off from saltwater, they evolved very rapidly and in a lot of ways, such as in their bones and armor, the shapes of their jaws, as well as coloration and behavior. When one population no longer recognizes and won't mate with another population, they effectively become a new species, so some of the regions we are identifying may be important for speciation, too.”

Here is documented evidence of evolutionary adaptation to climate change that must have taken place very rapidly, on the order of just a few thousand years, or in a few instances in just a few decades. But stickleback are just tiny fish with a genome about one sixth the size of a human's. Even more exciting evidence of rapid adaptability has surface—this time involving mammals.


The Norway or Brown Rat (rattus norvegicus) is found through the world.

In another recent PLoS article, “Recent and Widespread Rapid Morphological Change in Rodents,” Oliver R. W. Pergams and Joshua J. Lawler report that over the last 100+ years, rapid morphological change in rodents has occurred quite frequently. Prior examples have often been identified within isolated island populations but Pergams and Lawler report that these changes have taken place on the mainland as well as on islands. Their results suggest that these changes may be driven, at least in part, by human population growth and climate change. Here is how they charaterize their work in the article's abstract:

Here we document rapid morphological changes in rodents in 20 of 28 museum series collected on four continents, including 15 of 23 mainland sites. Approximately 17,000 measurements were taken of 1302 rodents. Trends included both increases and decreases in the 15 morphological traits measured, but slightly more trends were towards larger size. Generalized linear models indicated that changes in several of the individual morphological traits were associated with changes in human population density, current temperature gradients, and/or trends in temperature and precipitation.

Some biologists would argue that the rapid changes often observed in such studies are due to phenotypic plasticity—the ability of some species to adjust their physical characteristics in response to their environment. Phenotype is what an organism looks like, its observable physical or biochemical characteristics as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences. As University of Toronto evolutionary biologist Anurag A. Agrawal explained in “Phenotypic Plasticity in the Interactions and Evolution of Species” (Science October 12, 2001):

When individuals of two species interact, they can adjust their phenotypes in response to their respective partner, be they antagonists or mutualists. The reciprocal phenotypic change between individuals of interacting species can reflect an evolutionary response to spatial and temporal variation in species interactions and ecologically result in the structuring of food chains. The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity has led to the success of organisms in novel habitats, and potentially contributes to genetic differentiation and speciation. Taken together, phenotypic responses in species interactions represent modifications that can lead to reciprocal change in ecological time, altered community patterns, and expanded evolutionary potential of species.

Evolutionary biologists have been interested in studying the genetic basis of phenotypes, and early work was focused on traits presumed to be unaffected by the environment. Simply defined, evolution involves changes in the predominant genotypes of a local population as a result of natural selection. The change is either a result of selection favoring a recent mutation or a previously rare genotype. Nowadays, it is recognized that phenotypic changes can be influenced by environmental changes without altering an organism's genetic makeup, or genotype. In other words, phenotypic plasticity is a non-genetic adaptation to changing environmental conditions.


Examples of phenotypic plasticity in fish.

Noting that plasticity is notoriously difficult to distinguish from direct genetic evolution, Pergams and Lawler contend that phenotypic plasticity can also be the result of natural selection. “Our results clearly demonstrate rapid morphological change in multiple rodent species from both island and mainland populations.” they conclude. “Furthermore, some of these changes appear to be driven by altered climates and growing human populations.” Regardless of whether you call it evolutionary change or phenotypic plasticity it amounts to the same thing—successful organisms can rapidly adapt to changing environmental conditions, regardless of the source of those changes.

The bottom line according to Pergams and Lawler: “Species that are able to respond quickly to environmental changes, whether through phenotypic plasticity, movement, or evolution will have a higher probability of surviving the rapid human-driven land-use and climate changes projected for the coming centuries.” In other words, the evolutionary race belongs to the adaptable. In this sense, whatever pressure mankind is putting on other creatures is simply a part of the evolutionary winnowing process. Far from being a threat to nature we are doing nature's evolutionary dirtywork.

And far from being H. sapiens' helpless victims, all sorts of lifeforms are busily adapting to environmental changes, both natural and man-made. From an evolutionary point of view, the cause of change does not matter, only the response. One of the reasons for mankind's success is our adaptability. We have spread to practically every continent and every type of ecosystem on Earth.


Rat Evolution. Picture by Alexis Rockman from Future Evolution.

It should, therefore, not be surprising that rats, a species that is found in many of the same places as people, are also highly adaptable. Omnivorous and opportunistic the Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) is one of the best known and most common rats. Thought to have originated in northern China, this rodent has now spread to all continents, except Antarctica, making it the most successful mammal on the planet after humans.

As I pointed on in my post about Tyrannosaurs rex, when a dominant species eventually answers nature's final curtain call, its extinction makes room for the rise of its successor. Perhaps we should reflect on the fact that the ever adaptable rat is waiting in the evolutionary wings.

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

 

 

Behind the meltdown of the climate-change bill

President Obama killed the climate change bill. That's the brunt of the article, "As the World Burns, How the Senate and White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change" by Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker. Lizza tells the tale of how Washington's erstwhile "Three Amigos" - also known as K.G.L., for Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.- cobbled together a cap-and-trade climate-change bill that had "the support both of the major green groups and the biggest polluters" - until the deal fell apart.

The story has generated a lot of Beltway buzz and some ire among Senate staffers. But if the White House did have a role in killing the bill, kudos to Obamaland. (Debra J. Saunders, SF Chronicle)

 

Who Killed Cap And Trade?

This is going to sound a little weird, but I think my friend and former colleague Ryan Lizza's long New Yorker piece on the failure of cap and trade is both a phenomenal tour de force of reporting while also fundamentally wrong. As an argument, the article makes two basic claims. First, the failure of cap and trade means "perhaps the last best chance to deal with global warming in the Obama era, was officially dead." And second, the legislation's death can be largely, or perhaps even principally, attributed to the Obama administration's bungling and lack of commitment. (Jonathan Chait, New Republic)

 

But you'll have to get out and vote to make it so: Scenarios: Republican Election Impact On Climate Control

Republicans are poised to make big gains in the November 2 congressional elections, putting them in position to reverse Democrats' drive for comprehensive climate control legislation.

President Barack Obama's Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

A Republican takeover of either chamber, or even large gains by Republicans, will make it harder, or impossible, for Obama to win legislation imposing mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

That's especially true if next year's Senate is populated by more skeptics of human-induced global warming.

Even with tough opposition though, Obama will have the power to steer the country away from fossil fuels. And Republican bills that stray too far from Obama's energy and environment goals will surely be vetoed, with little chance of Congress mustering the supermajority needed to override him.

Here are some possible moves to look out for if Republicans do well at the elections. (Reuters)

 

Climate talks: US threatens to give up consensus route

NEW DELHI: With the formal UN climate talks getting stalled in the penultimate round of the year, US has come out in the open threatening to break away from the consensus route and try to seal a climate deal outside the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The US deputy special envoy for climate change Jonathan Pershing was quoted as having said at the on-going Tianjin talks, "It may mean that we don't use this process (the UN negotiations) exclusively as the way to move forward."

Murmurs over an attempt by US and other rich countries to get key economies to sign a `plurilateral' agreement outside the UN climate convention gained ground with the US and developed countries remaining entrenched in their recession-year position of not offering deep emission reduction targets or substantial funds. (Times of India)

 

China Says Climate Talks Stall on Lack of Commitments to Cut Emissions

China said a failure by developed nations to honor their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions is hindering progress in talks in Tianjin aimed at reaching an agreement to mitigate climate change.

Negotiations between delegates from about 175 governments in Tianjin, northern China, are being held up as the host country declined to discuss the legal framework for a second set of emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol after the first expires in 2012.

China is boycotting the talks because developed countries listed in the Protocol are trying to add a global target rather than discuss their individual commitments, said Huang Huikang, China’s special representative for climate change negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Our intervention is not to block discussions of the Kyoto Protocol group, we just want to keep the group’s discussion the right way,” Huang told reporters today. “The key issue is the lack of substantive progress on the developed countries’ side.”

China, the most populous country and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is hosted a meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for the first time. (Bloomberg)

 

President Obama Used Stimulus Funds to Reward Companies Pushing His Energy Policy

General Electric and Other Corporations Win the Taxpayer-Funded Sweepstakes, says National Center of Public Policy Research

Washington, D.C. -- Today policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to corporate special interest groups that received taxpayer money through the stimulus thanks to the President and that also are lobbying for Obama's energy policy.

"It's alarming that many of the remaining corporate members of the United States Climate Action Partnership – a cap-and-trade lobbying group – such as General Electric, Duke Energy, NextEra Energy, Exelon, and Honeywell all received economic stimulus funds. It seems pushing Obama's agenda has financial rewards. The coordinated effort between big government and big business threatens our free enterprise system," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project. (National Center)

 

“Let’s Try a Free Market in Energy” (Letter from Charles Koch to FORTUNE Magazine in 1977 in Response to ARCO’s Thornton Bradshaw’s ‘My Case for National Planning’)

by Administrator
October 7, 2010

[Editor Note: This letter by Koch Industries's CEO Charles G. Koch, addressed to Fortune Editor-in-Chief Hedley Donovan, provides a pro-free market rebuttal to ARCO's CEO Thornton Bradshaw's "My Case for National Planning" (Fortune, February 1977).

Koch's scholarly effort is reproduced below as a historically important document in the energy debate. It is authored by a rarity of rarities, a principled free-market capitalist. The context and timeliness of the rebuttal was stated in the Libertarian Review:

While this essay was only the latest in a series of attacks on a free market economy and defenses of National Economic Planning to appear over the past few years by intellectuals, businessmen and labor leaders alike, Bradshaw's piece deserves special scrutiny. For it comes to us from a man who both is a leading representative of American major oil companies, and was a member of Jimmy Carter's task force on energy during the 1976 presidential campaign. Moreover, it has been published at a time when both oil and government energy policy are getting widespread public attention.

"Let's Try a Free Market in Energy" by Charles Koch

This article is a reply to Thornton Bradshaw's provocative "My Case for National Planning" which appeared in the February, 1977 issue of Fortune. In that essay, Bradshaw asserted that a free market has never worked efficiently in crude oil, that it never could work efficiently in oil (or in the more exotic energy sources that must be developed), and that the only solution to our present crisis is to adopt governmental planning and pricing in certain energy raw materials. I will maintain, in rebuttal, that most of Thornton Bradshaw's major contentions are wrong-headed and blatantly self-serving, and that his proposal for planning and pricing can only make matters far worse than they already are. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

China Digs In On Rich-Poor Climate Pact Divide

China said on Thursday it will not bow to pressure to rethink a key climate change treaty and was preparing to cope with a "gap" in the pact after 2012 if rich nations fail to add new greenhouse gas goals in time.

Envoys from 177 governments are holding week-long talks in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin on the shape of a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N.'s main weapon in the fight against climate change.

Kyoto's first phase, which binds about 40 rich nations to meet emissions targets, expires in 2012 and there's no clarity on what happens after that, worrying investors in clean-energy projects who want long-term certainty on climate policies and financing. (Reuters)

 

Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methods to Support International Climate Agreements

The world's nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor changes over time. In this context, the present book focuses on the greenhouse gases that result from human activities, have long lifetimes in the atmosphere and thus will change global climate for decades to millennia or more, and are currently included in international agreements. The book devotes considerably more space to CO2 than to the other gases because CO2 is the largest single contributor to global climate change and is thus the focus of many mitigation efforts. Only data in the public domain were considered because public access and transparency are necessary to build trust in a climate treaty.

The book concludes that each country could estimate fossil-fuel CO2 emissions accurately enough to support monitoring of a climate treaty. However, current methods are not sufficiently accurate to check these self-reported estimates against independent data or to estimate other greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic investments would, within 5 years, improve reporting of emissions by countries and yield a useful capability for independent verification of greenhouse gas emissions reported by countries. (NAP)

Two things:
  1. What agreements? and;
  2. Who cares?

Time for everyone to realize the planet actually is quite fine with anthropogenic CO2 emissions and people benefit from them mightily, so forget about 'em and start looking at real problems for a change.

 

European Truckmakers Fear EU's Tough CO2 Curbs

Producers of heavy trucks protested on Thursday at European Union plans to impose strict curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide from the vehicles, saying they were unrealistic and ill-designed.

The chiefs of Volvo, Fiat's unit Iveco and DAF said they had asked the European Commission and the European Parliament to redesign the planned law, warning them of chaos in an industry employing 250,000 people.

The 27-nation EU wants to cut emissions of CO2 by 20 percent from their 1990 level, by 2020, in its battle against global warming. Reducing pollution from heavy trucks is to be part of the plan, which the Commission is likely to propose next year.

The EU is debating plans to cut emissions from vans and light trucks to 175 grams of CO2 per km by 2016, and the CEOs fear a similar scheme might be imposed on heavy trucks. (Reuters)

 

Down-under: Climate action

by Christopher Carr
October 7, 2010

The Great Divide

Julia Gillard is seeking to create a “community consensus” on the need for a carbon price. She has established the Climate Change Committee that includes the Greens and two independents, and the Climate Change Commission, which will be staffed by true believers in anthropogenic global warming. It is assumed that there is no legitimate scientific doubt that man-made CO2 is the principal driver of climate change.

However, the Gillard Government is navigating an increasingly difficult political path between a new breed of trendy middle class radicals who have invaded hitherto working class bailiwicks in inner city electorates, and suburban battlers who are becoming increasingly stroppy about rising electricity prices.

Thus she could be seeking to buy time. The committee’s proceedings will supposedly be confidential, thus lessening pressure on the Government from the Greens and their allies, provided nobody leaks. However, with garrulous Rob Oakeshott now on this committee, the chances of maintaining confidentiality appear remote. And whoever heard of the Greens remaining silent in the face of an opportunity for still more publicity? (Quadrant)

 

Wishful thinking by down-under Socialists: Carbon price is back on the table

THE government will push its case for a price on carbon further today with a report that finds ambitious cuts in energy use will be more easily achieved if done in conjunction with an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax.

The report by the prime minister's taskforce was handed to the cabinet in July and recommends Australia adopt a target of a 30 per cent increase in energy efficiency by 2020. (SMH)

 

Everything's on the table … except an agreement

WHEN Labor and the Greens say the new climate committee will consider ''all options'' they really mean all options except one. The one option off the table is an emissions trading scheme, at least one implemented straight away.

The tacit understanding between Labor and the Greens is that they can't agree on emission reduction targets - the Greens think Labor's minimum target of 5 per cent by 2020 is negligently inadequate and Labor thinks the Greens' proposed minimum target of 25 per cent would be political suicide. (SMH)

Any form of carbon constraint is political, economical and environmental suicide. Don't do it. Don't talk about it. Don't even think about it because it is too stupid for words. Atmospheric carbon dioxide supports aerobic life on Earth. It is an asset, a valuable resource. Leave it alone.

 

Bjorn Lomborg says he agrees with Al Gore, sort of

One of the world's most famous global warming contrarians says he sees eye to eye with Al Gore on climate science – for the most part – and claims his view have been distorted by those on both sides of the global warming debate.

Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish academic and the self-proclaimed "skeptical environmentalist," said he "fundamentally" agrees with the global warming crusader and former vice president.

“We agree that global warming is real, that it’s man-made that it is an important problem," Lomborg told POLITICO in an interview Wednesday. But, “We disagree very much about how to tackle it.” (Politico)

As we have pointed out many times, Lomborg is merely a less-loony believer but a total believer nonetheless. He has always been a gorebull warbler, not a skeptic at all.

 

Satellitegate: US Agency Faces Courtroom Climate Showdown by John O'Sullivan, guest post at Climate Realists

The controversy over ‘Satellitegate’ hots up as NOAA faces a court appearance for refusing to release evidence that would show whether one or more US satellites exagerrated global warming temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on reporting the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere. When the story first broke NOAA bizarrely announced it would withdraw satellite ‘images’ from its archives but failed to state whether reams of cooked data had also been withdrawn.

An official US Government statement last July confirmed that the NOAA-16 earth orbiting satellite used to measure surface temperatures suffered failure due to a “degraded” sensor system. But skeptics now fear that because government climate scientists won’t answer any more questions or reveal the discredited data archives they may be guilty of fraudulently cooking the books to show super boiling temperatures.

The story broke after an anonymous member of the public contacted a skeptic blog when he stumbled across thousands of alarming readings on a government website. The website showed thousands of surface temperatures of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dubbed Satellitegate the shocking revelations proved that all such bogus data had been fed automatically into data banks that the US Government then sold all over the world.

As proprietary temperature data products the junk numbers were used by domestic and international weather and climate researchers. Fears are growing that the junk data may have contaminated scores of climate models worldwide and artificially increased average global warming records by several degrees.

In the three months since the story hit the news NOAA still hasn’t come clean as to the true extent of the data contamination. Now it may be necessary for lawyers to file an official Freedom of Information request (FOIA) to compel the government, under federal legislation, to stop the cover up and reveal the truth. (Climate Realists)

 

Legal Defeat For Global Warming In Kiwigate Scandal

Thursday, 07 October 2010 08:48 John O'Sullivan, Suite 101

In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud.

New Zealand’s government via its National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has announced it has nothing to do with the country’s “official” climate record in what commentators are calling a capitulation from the tainted climate reconstruction.

NIWA’s statement claims they were never responsible for the national temperature record (NZTR).The climb down is seen as a dramatic legal triumph for skeptics of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) who had initiated their challenge last August when petitioning the high court of New Zealand to invalidate the weather service’s reconstruction of antipodean temperatures.

According to NZCSC, climate scientists cooked the books by using the same alleged ‘trick’ employed by British and American doomsaying scientists. This involves subtly imposing a warming bias during what is known as the ‘homogenisation’ process that occurs when climate data needs to be adjusted.

The specific charge brought against the Kiwi government was that it’s climate scientists had taken the raw temperature records of the country and then adjusted them artificially with the result that a steeper warming trend was created than would otherwise exist by examination of the raw data alone.

Indeed, the original Kiwi records shows no warming during the 20th century, but after government sponsored climatologists had manipulated the data a warming trend of 1C appeared.

New Zealand Government Abandons ‘Official’ Climate Record
The NZCSC story reports that the NZ authorities, “formally stated that, in their opinion, they are not required to use the best available information nor to apply the best scientific practices and techniques available at any given time. They don’t think that forms any part of their statutory obligation to pursue “excellence.”

NIWA now denies there was any such thing as an “official” NZ Temperature Record, although there was an official acronym for it (NZTR). However, the position now taken by the NZ government is that all such records are now to be deemed as unofficial and strictly for internal research purposes.

The article urges that if the government will not affirm that their temperature reconstruction is official then, “Nobody else should rely on it.”

Researcher from Climategate University Implicated in Data Fraud
As reported in a Suite101 article by the same writer of April 2010 'Kiwigate is a Carbon Copy of Climategate' it was shown that the scientist who made the controversial “bold adjustments” is none other than Jim Salinger who is also a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Salinger was dismissed by NIWA earlier this year for speaking without authorization to the media. The discredited researcher originally worked at Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), the institution at the center of the Climategate scandal.

Salinger was also among the inner circle of climate scientists whose leaked emails precipitated the original climate controversy in November 2009. In an email (August 4, 2003) to fellow disgraced American climate professor, Michael Mann, Salinger stated he was “extremely concerned about academic standards” among climate skeptics.

Bogus Data Destroyed before it could be independently verified
In circumstances strangely similar to those witnessed in the Climategate controversy Kiwigate appears to match Climategate in three key three facets. First, climate scientists declined to submit their data for independent analysis. Second, when backed into a corner the scientists claimed their adjustments had been ‘lost’. Third, the raw data itself proves no warming trend.

References:

Treadgold, R., ‘Observations on NIWA’s Statement of Defence,’ (October 6, 2010), Climate Conversation Group (www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz: accessed online: October 6, 2010)

Costa, A.C. and A. Soares, ‘Homogenization of Climate Data: Review and New Perspectives Using Geostatistics,’ Mathematical Geoscience, Volume 41, Number 3 / April, 2009.

New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, ‘NIWA Challenged to Show Why and How Temperature Records Were Adjusted’ (February 7, 2010), accessed online April 26, 2010.

NZCSC & Climate Science Conversation Group; Press Statement of December 18, 2009; accessed online ( April 26, 2010).

Salinger, J. Climategate email Filename: 1060002347.txt. (August 4, 2003).

Suite 101, 6 October 2010 (GWPF)

 

The False Charges Aimed at Climate Skeptics

The climate change debate should focus on evidence rather than on smearing opponents

To dismiss the findings of any scientist due to his or her funding sources is a logical fallacy referred to as “motive intent”—assuming that what someone is saying is wrong because of a suspect ulterior motive.

While it may be a convenient shortcut for those who do not want to take the time to learn the science, it makes no sense unless a particular scientist has a history of dishonesty, or suddenly changed his or her opinion after funding from a vested interest is known to have started.

In the case of the climate scientists who work with the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), this has never been the case. Indeed, the research of professors Tim Patterson, Bob Carter and Chris Essex has never been funded by special interests such as energy companies or environmental lobby groups, and all three of these experts have displayed a consistent and balanced stance on climate change for years before it became an intense political issue. (Tom Harris, Epoch Times)

 

Informative Interview Of John Gash In EOS On “Amazonia And Global Change”

There is a very informative interview of John Gash by Leslie Ofori in the September 21 2010 issue of EOS. The article is titled

Amazonia and Global Change

is based on the AGU monograph of the same name.

The article starts with the introduction

“The Large-Scale Biosphere- Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) is multidisciplinary international scientific project that seeks to understand the functioning of Amazonia as a unique ecosystem. The AGU monograph Amazonia and Global Change, edited by Michael Keller, Mercedes Bustamante, John Gash, and Pedro Silva Dias, synthesizes the results of the study. In this interview, Eos talks with micrometeorologist John Gash, who specializes in measuring and modeling evaporation from forests. He is a senior researcher in the Department of Hydrology and Geo- environmental Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam”

and excerpts include the questions and answers [where I have highlighted key text]

Eos: One section of the book focuses on land use changes. How have land use and land cover in the Amazon region changed in recent years? What are the effects of land use and land cover change on the region? What is the impact of land use on the climate?

Gash: The deforestation of Amazonia has been proceeding seemingly inexorably since the early 1970s. Recent years have seen an acceleration of soya production, but cattle ranching still dominates managed lands. Both land uses completely replace the forest ecosystem. LBA has given us new understanding about the role of new roads and the development options for intensification rather than extensification of agriculture. Physically, deforestation changes the albedo (reflectivity) of the surface, the surface aerodynamic roughness, and the response to drought. While the deeper rooted trees continue to transpire and photosynthesize during the dry season, pasture grass and crops are dormant. This affects the balance between water and heat fluxes into the atmosphere, which in turn affects atmospheric boundary layer growth. Small- scale deforestation may lead to increased rainfall, but large- or basin- scale deforestation is expected to lead to less rain.

Eos: Another section of the book covers the atmosphere. How does the Amazon’s biosphere interact with the atmosphere?

Gash: The surface energy and water balance affects the thermodynamics and therefore the dynamics of the atmosphere. Changes in Amazon precipitation caused by land use change have been shown to interfere with climate patterns in areas as distant as Europe and North America. The emission of biogenic volatile organic compounds that form cloud nuclei affects rainfall generation, and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) may be increasing plant productivity. All these interactions change when forest is replaced by agriculture.

Eos: Does smoke from biomass fires have direct and indirect effects on the atmosphere? If so, what are those effects?

Gash: Yes, definitely. Smoke particles create a new regime of aerosols. In the wet season, when there is little burning, aerosol concentrations are very low and large cloud droplets form on naturally emitted organic condensation nuclei; but in the dry season, aerosols released during burning produce a large population of small droplets, which inhibits precipitation. These aerosols can be transported long distances from the source regions, and their effect may be significant over large areas. The dry season aerosol concentration also increases the amount of diffuse sunlight; this initially increases photosynthesis, but at high concentrations, photosynthesis is seriously diminished. Large-scale burning inhibits dry season rainfall.”

This interview is yet another example which documents that hypothesis 2b in our paper

Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union

is rejected. Hypothesis 2b reads

Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.”

The only hypothesis that is consistent with the Gash interview is

Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.

The 2007 IPCC clearly failed in properly testing the hypotheses that we present in our EOS paper. The next assessment, of course, has been made aware of this and we will see if they properly include this issue in their next assessment. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

"Politicians are more prepared to have people die of extreme weather events than undermine their Climate Change scam...."

MUST SEE (via Climate Realist site): Piers Corbyn latest on "Climate Fools Day 2010", "Climate Wars" and the Royal Society Review = http://bit.ly/9HueD5 (Weather Action)

 

Sigh... from the mob who brought you the bbq summer and mild winter: Crop failures set to increase under climate change

Large-scale crop failures like the one that caused the recent Russian wheat crisis are likely to become more common under climate change due to an increased frequency of extreme weather events, a new study shows.

However, the worst effects of these events on agriculture could be mitigated by improved farming and the development of new crops, according to the research by the University of Leeds, the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of Exeter. (University of Leeds)

 

Does increased solar activity lead to cooling?

Gavin Schmidt, BBC, and many others discuss an interesting paper about the Sun's role in our climate published in Nature,

An influence of solar spectral variations on radiative forcing of climate (abstract)
and written by Joanna D. Haigh, Ann R. Winning, Ralf Toumi, and Jerald W. Harder (UK, US). The authors focus on an important subtlety - the spectral dependence of the solar variations.

» Don't Stop Reading » (TRF)

 

An active Sun cools the world? How daft!

Valiant efforts of British physicists to deny that the Sun is important in climate change have always been good for a laugh. Names like Mike Lockwood and Arnold Wolfendale spring to mind. But with what she’s published in today’s Nature a professor at Imperial College London, Joanna Haigh, wins the my Gag of the Year prize.

The 200-year-old problem for solar-terrestrial physicists is to explain why the historical record shows strong and persistent links between solar activity and climate change over decades, centuries and millennia. Variations in visible light won’t do the job. The only mechanism powerful enough is Svensmark’s hypothesis about cosmic rays governing low cloud cover – see http://calderup.wordpress.com/category/3b-the-svensmark-hypothesis/.

Haigh has never gone along with Svensmark, preferring instead to focus on ultraviolet light from the Sun, which does vary more than the visible light, and generally to minimize solar effects on climate. But in her new paper she offers to tear everything up and scatter it to the wind, because a satellite measured an increase in the intensity of visible light between 2004 and 2007, when solar activity was in decline. From the paper:

Daily measurements of the solar spectrum between 0.2 mm and 2.4 mm, made by the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) instrument on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite3 since April 2004, have revealed that over this declining phase of the solar cycle there was a four to six times larger decline in ultraviolet than would have been predicted on the basis of our previous understanding. This reduction was partially compensated in the total solar output by an increase in radiation at visible wavelengths.

As summarized in an ICL press release:

The researchers used satellite data and computer modelling to analyse how the spectrum of radiation and the amount of energy from the Sun has been changing since 2004. Instruments on the SORCE satellite have been measuring the Sun’s energy output at many different wavelengths. The researchers fed the data from SORCE into an existing computer model of the Earth’s atmosphere and compared their results with the results obtained using earlier, less comprehensive, data on the solar spectrum.

Read the rest of this entry » (Calder's Updates)

 

Solar Forcing And Climate – Other Research Results

Anthony Watts on Watts Up With That has posted on the new Nature article in

Study sheds new light on how the sun affects the Earth’s climate

The complexity of solar forcing has been emphasized previously also [and thanks to the encouragement of Kiminori  Itoh on this subject!]. Peter Pilewskie, for example, emphasized the role of changes in the absorption of solar irradiance as a function of altitude in the troposphere as part of his excellent talk to my class in 2007; see

Pilewskie, Peter, 2007: Solar Forcings of the Climate System. April 20, 2007.

This subject was also proposed as a “strawman” for a National Research Council Panel in 2008, which started with the text

Detection and Attribution of the Solar Influence on Climate Change

Summary: The NRC will convene a one-day meeting that will consider the timeliness and utility of a study or workshop that would be focused on applying current understanding to help clarify an ongoing debate on the contribution of solar variability to the observed climate change, both regionally and globally.

with excerpts

Despite an emerging scientific consensus that natural causes cannot explain the observed warming, either in the past few decades, or during the industrial epoch, a rancorous and sometimes political debate over solar versus anthropogenic causes of climate change continues, especially in the popular media. Indeed, absent resolution of enduring claims that solar variability has caused significant (30-70%) recent surface global temperature increases, it is difficult to envision policymakers here or abroad undertaking what are likely to be, at least in the short term, unpopular and/or economically painful measures to slow global warming.

and

The study under consideration would augment and advance two recent NRC reports on 1) Radiative forcing and 2) Responses, by assessing how the extended complexities of the climate system likely precludes such a separation of forcings and responses, especially in the case of solar variability. A third NRC report assessing surface and atmospheric temperature trends is also relevant since the atmospheric responses to solar forcing becomes increasingly stronger, relative to anthropogenic (and other) influences, at increasing heights above the surface, so that the attribution of anthropogenic change in the troposphere and stratosphere is unlikely to be the same as that of surface temperature.

from my post

Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC [I recommend reading the entire strawman proposal].

This was yet another example of the suppression of viewpoints that countered that of the IPCC as I document in the above post as well as in the repost

Protecting The IPCC Turf – There Are No Independent Climate Assessments Of The IPCC WG1 Report Funded And Sanctioned By The NSF, NASA Or The NRC – A Repost Of And Comment On A January 13 2009 post

The proposal was rejected as I wrote in my post. As I summarized

Except for Judith Lean, Art Charo and myself, however, there was no support for the Strawman proposal. The proposal for a formal NRC Panel was rejected by the others, unless it was very narrowly focused, such as on “decadal forecasts”. The agency representatives (from NASA and the NSF) were similarly not willing to support such a study.

The reason, undoubtedly preordained before we even met on that Monday, is that a significant number of the members of the Committee were (and presumably still are) active participants of the IPCC assessment, as documented above.

Thus, the intensity of the dismissive and negative comments by a number of the committee members, and from even several of the agency representatives, with respect to any view that differed from the IPCC orthodoxy, made abundantly clear, that there was no interest in vesting an assessment of climate to anyone but the IPCC.

The IPCC is actually a relatively small group of individuals who are using the IPCC process to control what policymakers and the public learn about climate on multi-decadal time scales. This NRC planning process further demonstrates the intent of the IPCC members to manipulate the science, so that their viewpoints are the only ones that reach the policymakers.

Events since 2008 have confirmed the conclusion in the last paragraph. (Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science)

 

Global Warming Hoax Weekly Round-Up, Oct. 7th 2010

An explosion of outrage was triggered by the detonation of children by alarmists at 10:10, Bill Gates wants fewer customers and the Maldives installed solar panels and blondes.

There’s only three days left before the green day of action on 10/10/10, but I hesitate to start a countdown in case hippies gets the wrong idea. (Daily Bayonet)

 

Assessment of Intraseasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction and Predictability

More accurate forecasts of climate conditions over time periods of weeks to a few years could help people plan agricultural activities, mitigate drought, and manage energy resources, amongst other activities; however, current forecast systems have limited ability on these time- scales. Models for such climate forecasts must take into account complex interactions among the ocean, atmosphere, and land surface. Such processes can be difficult to represent realistically. To improve the quality of forecasts, this book makes recommendations about the development of the tools used in forecasting and about specific research goals for improving understanding of sources of predictability. To improve the accessibility of these forecasts to decision-makers and researchers, this book also suggests best practices to improve how forecasts are made and disseminated. (NAP)

 

Is there no end to this tedious crap? Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch where human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth's climate. Because carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is long lived, it can effectively lock the Earth and future generations into a range of impacts, some of which could become very severe. Emissions reductions decisions made today matter in determining impacts experienced not just over the next few decades, but in the coming centuries and millennia.

According to Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia, important policy decisions can be informed by recent advances in climate science that quantify the relationships between increases in carbon dioxide and global warming, related climate changes, and resulting impacts, such as changes in streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, extreme hot summers, and sea level rise. One way to inform these choices is to consider the projected climate changes and impacts that would occur if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were stabilized at a particular concentration level. The book quantifies the outcomes of different stabilization targets for greenhouse gas concentrations using analyses and information drawn from the scientific literature. Although it does not recommend or justify any particular stabilization target, it does provide important scientific insights about the relationships among emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations, temperatures, and impacts.

Climate Stabilization Targets emphasizes the importance of 21st century choices regarding long-term climate stabilization. It is a useful resource for scientists, educators and policy makers, among others. (NAP)

 

Book Review: Power Hungry

As I began to work on my review of Robert Bryce’s latest book, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, it became less a traditional review and more a summary/commentary on some of the key points in the book. [Read More] (Robert Rapier, ET)

 

Electric Cars Put Lithium Miners On Fast Track

Lithium miners are reaping the benefits of a political and industry push to get more electric vehicles on the road, with shares in some Canadian-listed miners up more than 50 percent in the past two months.

Four major producers have long dominated lithium output and demand is likely to double in the next 10 years as automakers roll out hybrid and electric cars using lithium-ion batteries. (Reuters)

 

 

Chinese millionaires love foreign luxury cars: 460.000 in seven months

China's imported auto market continues to flourish with sales of 460,000 in the first seven months of this year. It represents a growth rate of 150% compared with the same period of last year. (MercoPress)

 

Obama’s Energy-Policy Goals Versus China’s

The Obama Administration is continuing its goal of making the United States reduce its carbon footprint by enacting climate and energy legislation, although it may come in “chunks” rather than in one comprehensive bill. According, to President Obama, his proposed energy policy “is good for our economy, it’s good for our national security, and, ultimately, it’s good for our environment.” (Institute for Energy Research)

 

LOL of the day: EWG claims EPA panel nominee is biased

October 8, 2010

Mr. Edward Hanlon
Designated Federal Official
Science Advisory Board
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Mail Code 1400R
Washington, D.C. 20460-4164

Dear Mr. Hanlon,

This letter responds to the comments of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) concerning the nomination of Dr. Michael Economides to serve on the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Panel for the Review of the Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan.

The EWG objects to the nomination of Dr. Economides because, by authoring an op-ed that was published in the Syracuse Post-Standard on September 13, 2010, “Mr. Economides appears to be biased in favor of a predetermined outcome to EPA’s study…”

If such a standard — i.e., publicly expressing an opinion relating to an area of one’s expertise — is grounds for disqualification, then the SAB will need to disqualify many of its current members.

For example, consider the following examples of current SAB members with well-known opinions and biases:

  • Gina Solomon, a member of the SAB Drinking Water Committee is an employee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental activist group. Ms. Solomon, herself a self-acknowledged activist, has a long history of making alarmist statements to the media on a variety of environmental topics — too many to do justice in this short letter. But one may get a flavor of her various biases from her blog (http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/gsolomon/).
  • Arnold Schecter, a member of the SAB Dioxin Review Panel, has many times expressed his alarmist opinions regarding dioxin. Mr. Schecter’s Facebook page, not surprisingly, reveals that he is a fan of the Environmental Working Group — which perhaps is why EWG hasn’t requested to have Mr. Schecter disqualified from serving on the Dioxin Review Panel.
  • Bruce Lanphear, a member of the SAB Lead Review Panel, has often expressed alarmist opinions about exposure to lead, including that “there is no safe exposure to lead.” Mr. Lanphear has also called for a ban on commercial uses of lead.

There is no question that many other members of the SAB and its ad hoc committees and panels could be exposed for the apparent wrong of expressing an opinion.

If Dr. Economides is to be disqualified for holding opinions in his field of expertise, is the EPA prepared to similarly disqualify the above-mentioned individuals as well as all other SAB participants who can be shown to have publicly expressed their opinions?

Sincerely,

/s/

Steve Milloy
Publisher, JunkScience.com

cc:
Lisa Jackson, Administrator
Angela Nugent, DFO SAB

 

Paris Oil Drillers Target 100 Billion Barrels Near Brie, Wine

Pierre Henry farms wheat and corn east of Paris in an area famous for its Brie cheese. The next big hit might be crude oil.

Henry’s farm, 78 kilometers (49 miles) from the French capital, sits atop what geologists call the Paris Basin, an area bordering Champagne and Chablis vineyards that struck oil in 1958. Henry leased a field to Exxon Mobil Corp. in 1985, which drilled wells that have pumped for a quarter century.

These days Vermilion Energy Inc., Toreador Resources Corp. and partner Hess Corp. are targeting a bigger prize, oil trapped in Paris Basin shale rock that was previously too hard to tap. Techniques developed to pulverize rock and release petroleum have revolutionized exploration and boosted U.S. natural gas production 20 percent since 2006. Vermilion said it has had “positive” results so far in the area.

“If the Paris Basin was in West Texas it would already be drilled and would have pretty substantial production,” Craig McKenzie, Toreador’s chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview in August. (Bloomberg)

 

Terence Corcoran: Power failure

The soaring price of electricity is due to the green-energy activism of George Smitherman

The Swedish retail giant IKEA announced yesterday it will invest $4.6-million to install 3,790 solar panels on three Toronto area stores, giving IKEA the electric-power-producing capacity of 960,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. According to IKEA, that’s enough electricity to power 100 homes. Amazing development. Even more amazing is the economics of this project. Under the Ontario government’s feed-in-tariff solar power scheme, IKEA will receive 71.3¢ for each kilowatt of power produced, which works out to about $6,800 a year for each of the 100 hypothetical homes. Since the average Toronto home currently pays about $1,200 for the same quantity of electricity, that implies that IKEA is being overpaid by $5,400 per home equivalent.

Welcome to the wonderful world of green economics and the magical business of carbon emission reduction. Each year, IKEA will receive $684,408 under Premier Dalton McGuinty’s green energy monster — for power that today retails for about $115,000. At that rate, IKEA will recoup $4.6-million in less than seven years — not bad for an investment that can be amortized over 20.

No wonder solar power is such a hot industry. No wonder, too, that the province of Ontario is in a headlong rush into a likely economic crisis brought on skyrocketing electricity prices. To make up the money paid to IKEA to promote itself as a carbon-free zone, Ontario consumers and industries are on their way to experiencing the highest electricity rates in North America, if not most of the world.

Read More » (Financial Post)

 

NRC Chairman Killing Yucca Without Authority

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Gregory Jaczko has ordered his staff to stop the review of the nuclear materials repository at Yucca Mountain. Aside from the harmful policy implications of this action, the chairman seems to be moving forward without any authority to do so.

President Obama has made it clear that he supports terminating the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository. And despite there being no scientific or technical evidence to support the decision and the fact that he has no plan for how the United States should manage its nuclear waste absent Yucca, he has that right. But neither he, his Administration, nor the NRC has the right to ignore existing statute, the legal process, or the will of Congress.

What Does the Statute Say?
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, clearly states that the federal government is responsible for managing America’s commercial nuclear waste, and the Yucca Mountain Development Act of 2002 explicitly identifies Yucca Mountain as the location of the nation’s nuclear materials repository.

No Congress has passed any bill to reverse these laws. Thus it becomes very questionable how the Administration or NRC can shut down all Yucca activities without either a plan to replace Yucca or congressional authority to terminate the project. Continue reading... (The Foundry)

 

Enzyme May Help Unlock Biofuels From Waste

A new chemical process may help unlock biofuels from trees and plant waste in a shift from using food crops such as sugar cane to generate fuel, scientists said Thursday.

They said they found an enzyme that helped break down chitin, a stiff material similar to woody cellulose that is found in the skeletons of crustaceans -- such as lobsters or crabs -- as well as insects.

"We regard this as a breakthrough," Gustav Vaaje-Kolstad, a Norwegian scientist who led the study in the journal Science, told Reuters. "Our goal is to make more valuable production from waste."

Other scientists are also developing ways to accelerate the breakdown of "biomass" waste ranging from sawdust to citrus peel that could create a new generation of biofuels. Biofuels help cut use of fossil fuels blamed for stoking global warming. (Reuters)

 

 

Really? Fattening Pollutants? Study Suggests Chemicals in Mother’s Blood Contribute to Child’s Obesity

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives (NIEHS)

Newswise — Babies whose mothers had relatively high levels of the chemical DDE in their blood were more likely to both grow rapidly during their first 6 months and to have a high body mass index (BMI) by 14 months, according to a team of scientists based in Barcelona, Spain. DDE, an endocrine disrupter, is a by-product of the pesticide DDT.

Published online October 5 ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), the study examined data collected between 2004 and 2006 on a representative sample of 518 Spanish women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Among babies whose mothers were normal weight pre-pregnancy, those babies whose mothers had DDE levels in the top 75 percent of exposure were twice as likely to grow rapidly during their first 6 months as babies whose mothers had the lowest DDE levels. Infants in the top 50 percent of exposure were three times more likely to have high BMI scores at 14 months. The researchers did not observe an association between DDE and weight for babies of mothers who were overweight before pregnancy.

Two other human studies have shown an association between prenatal DDE exposure and obesity later in life. “However, this analysis suggests, to our knowledge for the first time, that fetal DDE exposure may promote rapid growth starting in the immediate postnatal period,” report lead author and epidemiologist Michelle A. Mendez, of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, and her colleagues. Laboratory studies have suggested that “exposure to chemicals with endocrine-disrupting properties might promote shifts in appetite regulation, but may also promote obesity through metabolic changes,” says Mendez. (Press Release)

And why didn't this effect show up when people were significantly exposed to DDT and its metabolites? After the Second World War DDT was seen as the miracle crop and domestic pesticide and liberally sprayed indoors and out but there was no concern about obesity during decades of significant exposure. Why now when there is really trivial exposure by comparison? Are they suggesting people have evolved a new response to the compounds in the last decade or two that did not exist during the decades of extensive exposure? Looks more like a case of kids that are fed a lot grow faster and are more likely to be overweight later. It also looks to be a really shaky data dredge-based hypothesis.

 

The myth of unhealthy cabin air exposed

THE air you breathe on a plane is as likely to make you sick as being in an office environment, a new report has found.

The study, by the National Research Council in the US, contradicts previous investigations that have found high levels of dangerous toxins in the air on planes.

Risks: How flying can harm your health

It found that cabin air is as no more of a health threat than the air in any other enclosed environment such as cinemas, offices and trains.

“There is always an increased risk of infection whenever you enter a confined space, but an aircraft cabin is no worse an environment than the office you sit in every day,” said Dr Mark Gendreau, an aviation medicine expert. (news.com.au)

 

Poor healthcare may shorten American lives: study

WASHINGTON | Thu Oct 7, 2010 12:20am EDT

Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects -- obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate -- are not to blame, researchers reported on Thursday.

Instead, poor healthcare may be to blame, the team at Columbia University in New York reported.

They found that 15-year survival rates for men and women aged 45 to 65 have fallen in the United States relative to the other 12 countries over the past 30 years.

Such figures are frequently cited by supporters of healthcare reform, and critics often point out that the United States also has higher rates of obesity, more traffic fatalities and more murders than these countries.

Columbia's Peter Muennig, who led the study published in the journal Health Affairs, said his team accounted for these factors this time.

"But what really surprised us was that all of the usual suspects -- smoking, obesity, traffic accidents, and homicides -- are not the culprits," Meunnig said in a statement. (Reuters)

The shame of it is that health care zealots may be to blame by misdirecting so much effort (and funding) to politically correct causes (anti-tobacco; obesity; gun crime; speed limits...). Always addressing the wrong problems just doesn't improve health outcomes, no matter how good or superior it makes the zealots feel.

 

Mother's light drinking does not harm baby: study

LONDON, Oct 6 - Women who have one or two alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy do not harm their children's behavioural or intellectual development, according to a study by British scientists on Wednesday.

The researchers found that pregnant women who drank up to a glass (175 millilitres) of wine, up to 50 ml of spirits or just under a pint of beer a week did not affect their children.

But children whose mothers were heavy drinkers were more likely to be hyperactive and have behavioural and emotional problems than those whose mothers did not drink during pregnancy, the scientists said. (Reuters)

 

US EPA atrazine standard a watered down version of WHO's new water level recommendations

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended that the allowable concentration of atrazine in water be increased to 100 parts per billion, up from its previous two parts per billion standard.

The new WHO safety standard greatly exceeds the U.S. EPA mandate that water contain less than three parts per billion, which “activists groundlessly say is still too much,” points out ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. She also expresses her pleasant surprise at reading this report. “The fact that the WHO comes out and loosens the standard is truly amazing to me. I’m not used to reading news like this. They were following a scientific path — now the U.S. EPA should take lessons from WHO and do the same.”

The stringent U.S. requirements were implemented in light of an NRDC campaign launched against the EPA and backed by the work of one scientist — University of California, Berkeley biologist Tyrone Hayes — whose finding that atrazine harms frogs has not been replicated by any other lab and whose intemperate assertions have been widely discredited. (ACSH)

 

Transgenic Corn Trickles Into Mexico Despite Fears

Genetically modified corn is trickling into Mexico after overcoming years of legal barriers, but where some farmers see the promise of reduced imports others see a threat to their heritage.

For years the revered status of corn in Mexico, widely believed to be the birthplace of the grain, has made the country hesitant to adopt transgenic maize seeds.

Mexico is a major food importer and is finding itself outpaced by agriculture exporting giants like the United States to the north and Brazil to the south. Proponents of GM crops say they could help reverse the trend.

Last year, after a decade of political wrangling, Mexico completed a package of laws to allow for controlled experiments with the genetically engineered seeds, designed to resist certain pests or herbicides, reduce costs and increase yields.

In small, isolated fields in three states in northern Mexico, Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred, the agricultural unit of DuPont, recently completed the tests with positive results. (Reuters)

 

 

Sen. Bingaman’s Insidious National “Renewable Electricity Standard” (S. 3813)

by Glenn Schleede
October 6, 2010

On September 21, 2010, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced a bill that would create an insidious national “Renewable Electricity Standard” (RES). Bingaman now has 32 cosponsors but expects 60.

The bill would result in higher monthly bills for millions of home owners and renters, farms, businesses, industries, hospitals, educational institutions, and any other organization that uses electricity.

Despite the intense citizen displeasure with Congress, Bingaman’s RES bill shows that both Democrats and Republicans, while in Washington, are eager to favor special interests and their lobbyists while ignoring the adverse impact of their actions on the nation’s ordinary citizens, consumers and taxpayers. The bill belies Republican claims that they favor less federal government intrusion, control, and damage.

Key Provisions

The bill would require that, by 2013, 15% of the electricity sold by an electric utility must be generated from wind or certain other “renewable” energy sources, or from energy efficiency. The bill would create a new US Department of Energy (DOE) bureaucracy to oversee and enforce the new federal demands. Under the bill, up to 4 of the mandated 15% could, theoretically, be achieved by actions that improve energy efficiency but the measures that qualify are tightly defined so utilities may have to use electricity from renewables instead of energy efficiency to meet the bill’s requirements.

As demonstrated by states and European countries that have imposed similar “renewable” energy requirements, higher electric bills are a direct result. [Read more →] (MasterResource)

 

Disingenuous EPA statement of the day

October 6, 2010

In an interview with Politico.com about her damn-the-critics approach to greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said,

“The Clean Air Act is a tool. It’s not the optimal tool. But it can be used. And, in fact, I’m legally obligated now to use it. And so we’ve laid a lot of groundwork on that and we’ll continue.” [Emphasis added]

But EPA is not, in fact, legally obligated to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act.

In its March 2007 decision Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled only that the EPA may — not that it had to — regulate GHGs. And the Bush administration subsequently declined to regulate GHGs.

It wasn’t until December 2009 that the Obama EPA got around to declaring greenhouse gases to be a threat to the public welfare (the so-called “endangerment” finding), an optional pronouncement that enabled the EPA to move toward regulating greenhouse gases.

But just as the EPA opted to make the endangerment finding, it could opt to reverse it, thereby relieving the agency of any obligation to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act.

Lisa Jackson knows full well that the EPA does have to regulate GHGs, yet she plays to the media like her hands are tied to following an economically-suicidal and environmentally-futile course. (Green Hell Blog)

 

EPA Estimates Its Greenhouse Gas Restrictions Would Reduce Global Temperature by No More Than 0.006 of a Degree in 90 Years

Tough new rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency restricting greenhouse gas emissions would reduce the global mean temperature by only 0.006 to 0.0015 of a degree Celsius by the year 2100, according to the EPA's analysis.

As a side effect, these rules would “slow construction nationwide for years,” the EPA said in a June 3 statement.

Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee highlighted those findings in a report released last week.

The GOP minority report, issued last Wednesday, said a series of proposed and partially implemented new regulations on industrial boilers, greenhouse gas emitters, and ozone levels will put over 800,000 jobs at risk with little environmental benefit.

The authors cite the EPA’s own staff to show that greenhouse gas regulations, which would require major sources of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to obtain permits and limit their output, could seriously harm the economy if implemented. (Chris Neefus, CNSNews.com)

 

Oh, the poor dears... No carbon market boom without U.S.: delegates

The global carbon market will not be worth $1-2 trillion a year by 2020 if the United States does not speed up efforts for a federal emissions trading scheme, delegates warned at a carbon conference in London on Monday.

"There will be, I'm afraid, no real expansion of the carbon markets to their global potential without movement in the U.S.," said Henry Derwent, chief executive and president of the International Emissions Trading Association.

"Until someone explains to them (the U.S.) how wrong they are, we will be stuck with a comfortable living in the European market but nothing, nothing near the potential we should be earning," he added. (Reuters)

... carbon scammers are not raking off the fortunes to which they feel entitled and it's all those nasty 'murica's fault, too! Bad 'murica!

 

Why do they keep this pantomime running? China and US clash at climate talks

US negotiating stance deemed 'totally unacceptable' by China after American climate envoy accuses delegates of trying to renegotiate Copenhagen accord (Guardian)

 

Groundhog Day

Insanity, it is said, is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result:

Jonathan Pershing, the lead U.S. negotiator at global climate-change talks in China, said little progress has been made and warned that efforts may splinter if no accord is reached at the next meetings in Cancun, Mexico.

“The consequences of not having an agreement after Cancun are something to worry about,” Pershing said today in a briefing with three news media in Tianjin. At the same time, the U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change said he remained optimistic. “I still believe compromise can be reached.”
(Roger Pielke Jr.)

 

World Whacko Fraternity says you are doing bad: World Gobbling Up Greenhouse Gas Budget: WWF

Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide risk overshooting by a third the threshold beyond which dangerous global warming looms, the environment group WWF said on Wednesday, urging climate talks in China to tackle the gap.

Negotiators from 177 governments are meeting this week in the north Chinese city of Tianjin trying to agree on the shape of the successor to the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol, the key U.N. treaty on fighting global warming, which expires in 2012.

Climate talks so far this year have focused on trust-building funding goals, with little talk about countries' targets to reduce the greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and other sources, heating up the atmosphere.

The report from WWF said the world is precariously close to eating up its "carbon budget" -- the limit of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions that would hold atmospheric concentrations below levels likely to trigger dangerous climate change, says the report. (Reuters)

Do you suppose there's any point in trying to explain to these fools there's no such thing as an achievable maximum limit on anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions? As far as life on Earth is concerned there is only adequate atmospheric carbon dioxide resource or there is not and the "is not" means shortage and starvation.

 

If Ken Cuccinelli is on a witch hunt then…

October 6, 2010

… Michael Mann is a witch.

The Washington Post today editorialized that the Virginia attorney general is on a witch hunt. [Click for Cuccinelli's new investigative demand to the University of Virginia.] But even the Post is not too thrillled with Mann’s work, labeling it “not unacceptably poor.” At least now we’re all only debating how “poor” Mann’s hockey stick is.

The Post tries to exonerate Mann by claiming that he was cleared by the National Academy of Sciences and his employer, Penn State. Neither claim is true.

First, while the post refers to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, it was actually a panel of the non-prestigious, for-hire National Research Council that actually reviewed Mann’s work. Below is the NRC’s conclusion about the hockey stick:

In response to a request from Congress, this report assesses the state of scientific efforts to reconstruct surface temperature records for the Earth over approximately the last 2,000 years and the implications of these efforts for our understanding of